Sunday 4 December 2016

A sad end to noble fight for the country

Published 11/09/2011 | 05:00

For months it has been claimed that the ECB bounced us into the €85bn bailout last November. Now we know for sure.

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Just days before he died, a weakened, ailing former minister Brian Lenihan revealed to a small number of his Fianna Fail colleagues exactly how Ireland came to request help from the IMF and the ECB.

Cast your mind back to last November. Here was a man fighting desperately almost single-handed to save his country, fighting to keep the bank machines from running empty, fighting his own Taoiseach at every turn, and let us not forget fighting a terminal illness. He was a man under extraordinary pressure.

Mr Lenihan, like Ireland, was weakened and Jean-Claude Trichet and his ECB turned the screw. While many in this country will regard Mr Lenihan's tenure in finance as a failure, he himself regarded the fact that the ATMs never ran dry as a success. In his own way he was right.

For two and a half years, he sacrificed his health and ultimately his life to try and rescue his country from the holy mess created by others.

The significance of the revelation is that now we know that Mr Trichet, a fat cat non-elected bureaucrat, was effectively ordering an elected senior minister of a sovereign state into submission.

It was an utterly intolerable situation and a terribly sad end to a dignified fight.

Sunday Independent

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