SCUM BANKERS SHOULD BE JAILED; TDs Fury at Financial Bosses in Bail-Out Debate ECONOMY IN CRISIS: Dail's EUR400bn Row as Employment Plunges and Firms Struggle

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Byline: BY MICHELLE O'KEEFFE

OPPOSITION TDs yesterday railed against the Government's EUR400billion bank rescue plan as a war of words erupted over the risk to taxpayers.

Green backbencher Paul Gogarty described bankers as "scum" as he told the House he was only supporting the deal through gritted teeth.

The Dublin Mid West TD fumed: "They made vast sums of money off the backs off innocent people and they don't deserve to be bailed out. But it is the only way to protect Irish society."

However, defiant Taoiseach Brian Cowen vowed to press ahead with the huge taxpayer-funded guarantee - and said he had French backing for the move from President Nicolas Sarkozy.

But TDs slammed the fat-cat financial bosses as a heated debate on the emergency legislation raged in the Dail.

Fine Gael's Michael Ring said the bankers should all be in jail for what they have done to the country. Labour added it would not support the bail-out unless they got straight answers about what the Government intended to do with taxpayers' money.

The unprecedented move to stave off takeover bids and boost investor confidence saw Irish stock soar again in markets yesterday and the ISEQ index gained two per cent.

But politicians are demanding strict conditions to the deposit guarantee it is providing to help prop up the "Safe Six" - AIB, Bank of Ireland, EBS, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said he would not support the measure unless some of their reservations were addressed.

He demanded to know how much taxpayers are being asked to guarantee, the exact charges which will be levied on banks in the event and the full conditions of the scheme. He added: "The Government is proposing to give a blank cheque to the banks and we are not prepared to do with taxpayers' money what it would not do with its own.

"Are you going to allow executives to keep their fist in the till? …