May 19, 2017, 1:05 p.m.
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labour party state european union government aib

Stream Keywords: labour party,european union,aib state,aib government,government state

Yesterday in the Dáil, the Government lost a vote on an amendment to a Labour Party motion calling for the sale of 25% of the State's stake in AIB to be postponed until the European Union fiscal rules are relaxed.
However, the Department of Finance said the vote was not legally binding and intends to continue with its planned timetable for the sale of shares in the lender.
The State owns more than 99% of AIB.
SIPTU President Jack O'Connor described the Government's decision as "absolutely indefensible".
Mr O'Connor added that the proposal to use the proceeds of the sale to pay off part of the national debt is "scandalous and a waste of precious financial resources that could be used to resolve the dire housing crisis.
"Before any shares are sold, there should be a national debate as to whether it is right to sell them off at all, in any circumstances, because of their strategic potential in the context of an uncertain future." 
The ICTU is also opposed to the move, with the organisation's President Patricia King saying the decision is "unacceptable given the urgent social and economic needs facing working people, not least the housing crisis".
Ms King added: "There is something seriously wrong when the Government can divert massive financial resources from the sale of 25% of its AIB holding to make a marginal impact on the national debt burden while almost 100,000 people languish on public housing lists across the country.
"The decision is also in direct conflict with a vote of the Oireachtas which directed that any sale of the Government's shares in AIB should be delayed until the euro zone fiscal rules are altered in order to allow revenues from any such disposal to be used to resolve emergencies such as the one we face in relation to chronic lack of social and affordable housing for our people.

Meanwhile, the Financial Services Union said there needs to be further engagement between the union, AIB and the Government before any sale to address potential agreements over job security and terms and conditions, future pension provision, and retention of the branch network. 
Yesterday, Labour leader Brendan Howlin said the planned use of the proceeds from the sale of AIB to pay down debt would reduce Irish debt levels by little more than 1% of GDP.
He said: "Labour's motion rejected that idea, and instead said that the sale of AIB shares must be postponed until the proceeds can be invested in building homes and hospitals, and schools and public transport."
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty described the passing of the motion yesterday as "bizarre" and that it "seems to be a result of distraction about the leadership race meaning Fine Gael forgot to call a vote.
"It is also bizarre that the Labour motion seeks changes to the very rules they championed."

In a statement yesterday, the department said: "Private Members Motions are not legally binding on the Government and the Government’s position was set out by the Minister in the Dáil debate on these motions last week.
"The Government position remains unchanged. The Programme for a Partnership Government clearly allows the Minister to sell up to 25% of Allied Irish Banks up to the end of 2018.
"The Minister has consistently stated that any sale of Allied Irish Banks will be based on advice from his officials and advisers based on market conditions and maximising value for the taxpayer."