Ministers unhappy at bailout briefings
Published 24/11/2010 | 05:00
The finger of blame for the denials of bailout talks last week was pointed squarely at the Department of Finance last night -- with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan not far out of the line of fire.
The handling of the bailout affair has resulted in tensions in Cabinet, criticism in Fianna Fail and contributed to the Green Party's call for a general election.
Ministers Dermot Ahern and Noel Dempsey are understood to be unhappy being left to definitively deny any suggestion of a bailout -- when the European Central Bank was unquestionably putting pressure on the Government to accept one.
Mr Dempsey yesterday repeatedly pointed to "the briefing note" when asked why he denied there were any talks ongoing.
The briefing note the Transport Minister was referring to came from the Department of Finance.
Twice at the start of the week, Mr Ahern categorically denied a bailout was in the offing, describing international media reports as "fiction".
He was accompanied by Mr Dempsey on the second occasion, when the pair famously said they knew nothing about pressure being brought to bear on Ireland.
The ministers specifically said they had spoken to Mr Lenihan earlier that day.
"It caused fierce ripples at Cabinet. Dermot Ahern spoke personally to Brian Lenihan," a source said yesterday.