Saturday 19 October 2019

Kenny meets Merkel for talks as her party colleagues rage

Fionnan Sheahan, Colm Kelpie and Martin Banks

ENDA Kenny spoke with Angela Merkel yesterday – but the mounting fury in Germany over the revelations in the Anglo Tapes was not discussed.

Party colleagues of the German chancellor are raging after it emerged that Anglo executives sang the German national anthem as deposits from Germany flowed into Anglo as a result of the bank guarantee.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan admitted that the Anglo comments were damaging to Ireland and could influence public opinion in countries which have provided bailout funding.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet Chancellor Merkel on the margins of the EU summit in Brussels, which marks the end of Ireland's EU presidency.

Ahead of the summit, the Taoiseach and chancellor spoke on the phone yesterday regarding issues being raised at the summit, including the negotiations on the EU's €1trn budget. However, government sources said the Anglo revelations "weren't raised" by either side.

A senior German politician and ally of Chancellor Merkel publicly voiced his disgust at Anglo executives being recorded singing 'Deutschland Ubber Alles'.

"We are offended," said Michael Fuchs, deputy leader of governing party the Christian Democratic Union. He said: "If you have a feeding hand, you shouldn't bite into it."

Mr Fuchs said the language used in the tapes was "really dangerous" as German lawmakers try to convince local taxpayers to support European countries like Ireland.

"It's absolutely unbearable that somebody is talking like this," he said.

Mr Fuchs added that he didn't believe Europe's bailout fund would be able to retrospectively provide funds to the surviving bailed-out Irish banks.

Mr Noonan said the Anglo collapse triggered the first moves which led to the Irish bailout – and conceded that the revelations were not helpful.

Last night in Brussels, Mr Noonan re-opened negotiations aimed at securing agreement on the creation of a single European bank supervision regime.

The main debate centres around how much flexibility should be given to countries to determine who should be hit for losses when a bank has to be wound up.

Meanwhile, one of Anglo's longest serving directors, Michael Jacob, acknowledged that he was aware of the coverage of the Anglo tapes in recent days but refused to comment.

Approached at his home in Blackrock, Mr Jacob said: "I've heard some of it, yes.

"I'm not going to talk about it to be quite honest."I don't want to comment."

Irish Independent

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