Friday 9 December 2016

Taoiseach defends his silence on euro crash plan

Published 31/10/2015 | 02:30

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny

The Government has strongly defended its decision not to disclose contingency planning for the possible break-up of the euro and security arrangements around ATMs in 2012.

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Enda Kenny's department last night defended the official denials from Government departments and agencies at the time of the crisis, saying it would have been "unreasonable" to disclose the plans.

"It is unreasonable to expect that contingency planning would be made public while it is ongoing, especially in relation to matters potentially as grave as a collapse of the euro," a spokeswoman said.

"Both the Taoiseach and the Governor (of the Central Bank) have clarified the context in which conversations around contingency planning were taking place," the spokeswoman told the Irish Independent.

Mr Kenny has been subjected to severe criticism all week after his speech in Madrid mentioned the "Army at the ATMs" anecdote.

But it emerged that he was not told by the Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan directly that the Army would be needed to guard ATMs.

However, as revealed by the Irish Independent, detailed contingency plans had been developed by the Government and the Central Bank from mid-2011 onwards in case the euro currency fell apart.

It was in that context that Mr Kenny suggested the Army would be needed within days to guard ATM machines.

The Taoiseach had appeared to have weathered the storm created by his comments at a meeting of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) last week.

However, it was suggested last night that the matter could be raised when the Dáil returns next week.

Embarrassing

Within Fine Gael, there is little appetite to challenge or chastise the leader over the embarrassing episode.

"Lads will be slow enough to put the boot into Enda. They fear he could drop an extra candidate on them for spite," said one senior party figure last night.

In Madrid, Mr Kenny said last week: "The Governor of the Central Bank in Ireland said to me, 'It looks like this weekend . . . you'll have to put (the) Army around the banks and around the ATM machines and introduce capital controls, like they had in Cyprus.'"

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described Mr Kenny's account of events in 2011 as a "fairy tale".

Irish Independent

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