Friday 9 December 2016

Banking Inquiry: Press release announcing Bank Guarantee was being prepared six hours before meeting ended

Clodagh Sheehy

Published 24/06/2015 | 17:46

Brian Cowen
Brian Cowen

A press release announcing the Bank Guarantee was being prepared at least six hours before the end of the meeting on the night of September 29th 2008.

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William Beausang, Assistant Secretary Department of Public Expenditure, has told the Banking Inquiry that his email records show “that at 21.11pm I received a document intended to be a draft Government Press Release announcing the introduction of a guarantee for the domestic banks”.

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His evidence suggests he was involved in preparing the press release several hours before Taoiseach Brian Cowen told Bank of Ireland and AIB, who were present at the talks that night, that the Guarantee was to be put in place.

Mr Beausang said it appeared that the document and been  “authored earlier in the evening in the Central Bank in advance of the commencement of the meeting in Government Buildings.

“My electronic files show that I was subsequently involved over the next 20 minutes or so in preparing a revised draft of the statement which set out its intended scope”.

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Mr Beausang recalled being involved with the Minister’s Press Officer in the preparation of drafts of the guarantee which was announced the following morning.

After preparing the drafts he waited in an ante-room for the main meeting to end and had no contact with any representatives of the banks.

At the end of the meeting, he said, the Secretary General asked him to prepare a Memorandum for Government later that day seeking approval for the guarantee legislation.

Mr Beausang said the draft email had come to him from the Secretary General and he had received it from a mid ranking official in the Central Bank.

There were no instructions with the email but he presumed it was to have a statement ready if one was needed.

His recollection was that he worked on it with the Minister for Finance's press officer Eoin Dorgan.

Mr Beausang did not accept that a blanket guarantee had already been decided when he received the email. He felt it was very clear that no decision had been taken at that time.​

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