Sunday 23 April 2017

Confusion as Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he did not receive 'specific' briefing from Central Bank governor requiring army to guard ATMs

Confusion as Enda Kenny says he did not receive 'specific' briefing from Central Bank governor requiring army to guard ATMs
Confusion as Enda Kenny says he did not receive 'specific' briefing from Central Bank governor requiring army to guard ATMs
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has admitted that he did not receive a “specific” briefing from the governor of the Central Bank that the army would have to surround ATMs after he took office.

The Fine Gael leader has backtracked on comments he made at a conference in Madrid last week, although he said the issue was discussed at a taskforce attended by officials from the Central Bank including governor Patrick Honohan.

Mr Kenny said last week that he was warned by Mr Honohan that he may need to deploy the army to protect ATMs.

"The Governor of the Central Bank in Ireland said to me: 'It looks like this weekend ... you'll have to put Army around the banks and around the ATM machines and introduce capital controls like they had in Cyprus'. So we've pulled back from that brink,” Mr Kenny told a conference of the European People’s Party.

However, speaking today as Fine Gael launched their Budget calculator Mr Kenny said that he did not received a specific briefing from Mr Honohan.

“These were matters that were being discussed. The Government did set up a taskforce of departments and agencies, of which the Department of Finance, the Taoiseach, the Central Bank were involved,” he said.

Sources insisted that Mr Kenny never meant to imply that there was a specific briefing on the idea of the army being placed at ATMs from Mr Honohan but said it was discussed during taskforce meetings in early 2012.

Central Bank sources have said they were “confused” by Mr Kenny’s comments in Madrid, while the Defence Forces have declined to comment.

Today, the Taoiseach said: “Clearly as was pointed out to you by the Minister for Finance the question of security in the event of the break-up of the Euro currency was one of the things considered. That didn’t happen obviously and we’re now in a much better place.”

He added that the taskforce was set up “to consider of the contingencies or possible options for what might happen”.

“There was a lot of talk within different governments that there might be an end to the Euro currency.”

Meanwhile Mr Kenny has said that the Fine Gael election manifesto will include a promise to equalise the tax code for self-employed workers within the PAYE sector by 2018.

He said both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are committed to high taxes.

Minister of State Simon Harris said that a family with two children a single income of €55,000 would be €474 worse off under Fianna Fáil and €867 worse off under Sinn Féin.

“Imagine what would happen if Micheál and Gerry actually got together,” he said.

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