COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte has welcomed the climbdown by the governor of the Central Bank, who has decided to submit analysis of the Anglo Tapes to gardai.
However, his cabinet colleague Michael Noonan said bank governor Patrick Honohan could serve his country better by focusing on his regulatory work, rather than listening to all the Anglo Irish Bank tapes.
The Central Bank now says it will offer gardai a breakdown of why exactly it has not asked them to move ahead with a criminal probe into the tapes published by the Irish Independent, the 'Sunday Independent' and Independent.ie this summer.
Mr Rabbitte told the Irish Independent he welcomed Mr Honohan's change of mind, and defended the Central Bank's initial reluctance to pursue the matter.
"I do welcome that (decision). I can understand that his point may well be that apart from the disgraceful and contemptuous conduct of the players caught on the tapes, perhaps it is the case that the Central Bank already has the substance of what is involved," he said.
"But he has taken the correct decision and I welcome his announcement."
Mr Rabbitte refused to question the Central Bank governor's initial reluctance to pursue the matter, and insisted his successful performance as governor to date meant he would not condemn the initial inaction.
"I think the new governor has brought a rigour to the supervision of the banks that was missing before, and for that reason I would be reluctant to criticise him," he said.
Mr Honohan previously revealed the Central Bank had only listened to the extracts of the tapes published by this newspaper and not hundreds more hours of recorded conversations.
When asked whether Central Bank officials should have listened to all the tapes, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said: "The Central Bank is independent in the way that it conducts its business and it is independent of government.
"But I understand there's in excess of 200 hours of tapes. I think Governor Honohan could serve his country better by doing his regulatory work and his administrative work as head of the Central Bank rather than sitting listening to 200 hours of tapes."
The startling revelations in the Irish Independent's Anglo Tapes investigation left the Irish public furious – and made headlines around the world.
The ensuing scandal prompted an immediate investigation by the Central Bank, which doubles as the Financial Regulator.
But on Tuesday, it said it had not found any new issues relating to suspected criminal offences, following its examination of the Anglo Tapes.
See the full report on Finance Minister Michael Noonan's address to the Confederation of British Industry in Belfast in the Business section.