Sunday 23 November 2014

Noonan is 'unaware' of legal concerns over ECB letter

Gordon Deegan

Published 29/05/2014 | 02:30

Finance Minister Michael Noonan
Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the Dail that he is unaware of any legal concerns expressed by the ECB regarding the disclosure of a letter sent by the ECB to the late Brian Lenihan in the run-up to the bailout in 2010.

The ECB has, to date, refused to release the contents of the November 2010 letter from Jean-Claude Trichet to Mr Lenihan.

In a written Dail response to Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty on the matter, Mr Noonan stated that "in early 2014, when the ECB initially sought my views in the context of its discussion on the possible release of the letter, I indicated that the decision to release the letter was a matter for the ECB.

"It is important for relationships between institutions to be developed and sustained in order to allow for confidential negotiations to take place especially on particularly sensitive issues," Mr Noonan said.

"Requests to release the letter have been considered under our own Freedom of Information legislation on a number of occasions. The decision has been to refuse these requests in line with relevant sections of the FOI Act and the refusal to release has been upheld on one occasion by the Office of the Information Commissioner."

Mr Noonan added that he did not know of "any concerns expressed by the ECB regarding the possibility of legal action arising from the disclosure of the letter at this time or in the future".

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