Thursday 19 October 2017

FF: Bank inquiry must get power to quiz ex-ECB chief

MICHAEL McGRATH: Trichet played a key role in events
MICHAEL McGRATH: Trichet played a key role in events

JOHN DRENNAN Political Editor

THE real test of the government's much-touted package of Dail reform will be if it empowers the proposed inquiry into the banking crisis to cross-examine Jean Claude Trichet, Fianna Fail Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has warned.

Mr Trichet played a key role in the series of events that led to the arrival of the Troika and the bailout of the State.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr McGrath said: "The real litmus test of this Dail reform will be if it creates a scenario where the proposed banking enquiry can question Mr Trichet. That is the gold standard''.

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He said that anything else simply "is not worth the penny candle".

He added that ongoing revelations – that when it came to burning the bond-holders, the fact that Mr Trichet had said a firm 'Non' to both the late Brian Lenihan and Michael Noonan – meant it was all the more essential that any inquiry should examine the foreign factors behind the bailout.

"Those who were responsible domestically – such as Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern – are prepared to testify. This means it is now imperative we get the testimony of Mr Trichet.''

Any enquiry, Mr McGrath said, that did not have the evidence from Mr Trichet about the role of the ECB "would be the equivalent of a two-legged stool''.

The Opposition finance spokesperson added that Mr Trichet's evidence would provide any inquiry with an important link to "the key issue of the unpublished correspondence between the government and the ECB in late 2010 and who was behind the threat to the government that the lifeline of banking funding would be threatened if a bailout was refused''.

Mr McGrath also urged the Tanaiste and Taoiseach to issue a public request that Mr Trichet testify to the forthcoming banking Inquiry.

He said "if the government's claims about the extent and role they have played are accurate, it is not beyond the capacity of the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste to request that Mr Trichet attend''.

Deputy McGrath added that "if this is not possible, they should also issue an invitation to Mario Draghi to cast some light upon these matters''.

Sunday Independent

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