Thursday 29 September 2016

Key players differ over events on night of guarantee

Published 01/05/2015 | 02:30

30/04/2015 Former Bank of Ireland Chief Executive Brian Goggin at Leinster House following the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis at Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
30/04/2015 Former Bank of Ireland Chief Executive Brian Goggin at Leinster House following the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis at Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Different opinions from former executives at the two biggest banks emerged at the Banking Inquiry yesterday.

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They centred on when they were finally told a blanket bank guarantee was the chosen solution to the crisis on that night in September 2008.

Bank of Ireland's ex-chief executive Brian Goggin said he knew when he was leaving Government Buildings at 3.30am that a six-bank guarantee had been decided on.

Mr Goggin also said that AIB had been in the room when the final decision was taken.

However, just last week, ex-AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson said he believed a four-bank guarantee had been agreed on before he left Government Buildings that night - one that excluded Anglo and Nationwide. He added that he was not present when the final guarantee decision had been made, and that he didn't find out until the following morning "from the media" that the blanket plan had gone ahead.

It does seem strange to us now that on what has become such an important night on the national calendar, key players would have different memories of such significant events.

Mr Goggin highlighted that Bank of Ireland had no written plan about what kind of guarantee they wanted at the meetings in Government Buildings.

With the absence of any documents from the night of September 29, it will be down to other central contributors to establish the exact timeline of events.

Mr Goggin also made it clear yesterday that former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was in charge on the night with ex-Finance Minister Brian Lenihan doing the "running around" as well as asking questions of those gathered around the discussion table.

Earlier evidence this year from Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan has thrown-up other conflicting views on what was discussed - this time between Mr Cowen and Mr Lenihan.

Mr Cowen is expected to address these other differences when he attends the inquiry later this summer.

A key question for him will be whether or not he "overruled" plans by Mr Lenihan to nationalise both Anglo and Nationwide.

Of course, a mid-week nationalisation would have caused mayhem similar to the Northern Rock situation, but such a move could have been carried over to the weekend.

He also denied that he dismissed plans by the now deceased finance minister not to include unsubordinated, or junior debt, in the guarantee.

While the Banking Inquiry is designed to probe a whole range of issues leading up to the €64bn bank bailout in 2010, the night of the bank guarantee is increasingly becoming central to this.

Irish Independent

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