Friday 24 November 2017

Burton demands Cowen detail phone calls on bank guarantee scheme

Joan Burton
Joan Burton
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

FORMER Taoiseach Brian Cowen is under deepening pressure over the bank guarantee scheme.

Labour Party minister Joan Burton called on the former Fianna Fail leader to reveal details of telephone conversations the night the Government bailed out the banks in September 2008.

She said a third day of leaked recorded phone calls from within the walls of Anglo Irish Bank, published by the Irish Independent, have reignited people's frustration and anger.

On the latest tape, Anglo's former chief executive David Drumm is joking with a senior executive hours before the Government bank guarantee laughing "Another day, another billion" - referring to the doomed lender losing one billion euros a day at the time.

Ms Burton said Fianna Fail backbenchers who were in Government at the time and Mr Cowen, the former party leader who would have taken the late-night calls from banking chiefs, need to speak out.

"Can he tell us exactly what happened in it, can he find a mechanism to just come forward and say what happened and what did he know?" she asked.

Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan said the long-awaited parliamentary inquiry was now inevitable.

"I think this is going to come and I'm actually looking forward to it," he said.

Social Protection Minister Ms Burton said there is nothing to stop Fianna Fail politicians who were members of the Government who gave the blanket guarantee coming out and telling the country exactly what happened.

"I think it's really reignited people's absolute sense of frustration and anger," she said about the tapes.

"We still don't know exactly what led Fianna Fail to that fateful decision that they made."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny last night ruled out a Leveson-style inquiry into why the Irish economy was brought to its knees by a multibillion-euro banking meltdown.

A parliamentary investigation is planned for the autumn with laws on its scope and powers expected in the coming weeks as ministers reel from damning revelations in recorded phone calls at Anglo.

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