Monday 5 December 2016

Former Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said there WERE discussions about liaising with gardai and the army if the euro was to be replaced

Published 01/11/2015 | 10:40

Former Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, before going into RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan radio show to talk about his new book
Former Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, before going into RTE's Miriam O'Callaghan radio show to talk about his new book "Inside the Room" today. 1/11/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Former Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore with Miriam O'Callaghan, before going into RTE's radio to talk about his new book "Inside the Room" today. 1/11/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips
Former Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore with Miriam O'Callaghan, before going into RTE's radio to talk about his new book "Inside the Room" today. 1/11/2015 Picture by Fergal Phillips

Former Labour Leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan was not the person who spoke of the army being used to protect ATM machines.

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Mr Gilmore said he too had heard talk of security arrangements around the possible breakup of the Euro.

Eamon Gilmore
Eamon Gilmore

He told RTE Radio One he recalled a discussion with Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan about the possibility of replacing the Euro and how that would be done.

He said there was discussions about having to liaise with Gardai and the army about how a transition would be managed.

"I recall someone saying that will, I am satisfied it wasn't the central bank Governor but I do remember that phraseology being used," he told RTE broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan on her programme this morning.

He also revealed that Ireland, Greece and Portugal were looked at being put into some form of a second tier Euro.

He told Miriam he considered not taking Labour into Government and becoming the lead party of opposition.

He also spoke of his belief that his new book will be a help to the Labour Party and denied that it would serve to undermine the position of his successor, Joan Burton.

In his memoir, Eamon Gilmore reveals his tempestuous relationship with Joan Burton,
pictured above with Mr Gilmore at a Labour conference in 2011
In his memoir, Eamon Gilmore reveals his tempestuous relationship with Joan Burton, pictured above with Mr Gilmore at a Labour conference in 2011

He said the attempted heave against him by members of his party left him hurt and on the verge of tears.

He said after the Labour Party's best ever election result, there wasn't a place for everyone at the Cabinet table, but could understand why many were disappointed with his choices.

Asked why he chose Brendan Howlin over Ms Burton for the finance portfolio, he replied: "Brendan Howlin had prepared the party's policy documents on reform. He was also the chairperson of our policy committee. He had a broad understanding of all Government departments. He was ideally suited."

Mr Gilmore also made a number of points about his time as Tanaiste in the Coalition Government.

* A deal to replace the promissory note in 2013 not happened, the Government would have fallen.

* The anti-Fine Gael Tesco-style advert entitled 'Every Little Hurts' became an albatross around the neck of the Labour party.

* He had looked for the Department of Finance for Labour but was unsuccessful.

* He said it was at his insistence that there had to be joint decision making between Fine Gael and Labour and as a result the Economic Management Council was formed.

* Labour TD Willie Penrose was unhappy with the junior minister appointment he got

* He accepted he wasn't as publicly visible as he should have been while he was Minister for Foreign Affairs and that helped to create a perception that he was an absent leader.

* He spoke about almost pulling Labour out of Government in the run up of the Budget in December 2012.

* He said Fine Gael had initially agreed to an increase to USC for those over €100,000. He said then Fine Gael came back with an insistence that social welfare rates be cut as a quid pro quo.

* Labour did not want to have to cut child benefit by €10, but said this was a country that was out of money. He also said that cut has since been reversed. "I didn't like making it, I didn't want to make it," he said.

He said he also told Ms Burton what was in the book before extracts appeared in the Irish Independent this weekend and that he made a copy of it available to her.

"I saw Joan Burton on Friday night. We chatted for about half an hour. She would have known what was in the book. I made the book available to her people on Friday," he said.

He said he spoke to her for half an hour at a birthday function of friend they have in common. Neither of them discussed politics, and discussed friends and family during the conversation. Neither of them brought up the subject of the book, which was serialised in the 'Irish Independent' the following morning.

"That is generally respected, that it is for the leader to pick their team, but people generally people can find  way of making their views known," he said.

Speaking on RTE Radio this morning, he said he enjoyed writing the book. "I wanted to tell my version of the story while it was fresh in my memory," he said.

He also spoke movingly about the death of his mother in 2007 just days after becoming Labour leader, and the death of his father when he was just 14 months old. He died while cycling to work, Mr Gilmore told listeners.

His mother remarried when he was 13 and he enjoyed a very positive relationship with his stepfather with both caring for his mother when she developed Alzheimers.

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