Monday 18 December 2017

Minister says Anglo recordings are ‘quite a story’

Education minister Ruari Quinn
Education minister Ruari Quinn
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A SENIOR government minister has said that “the whole country is very angry at the way in which our national economic sovereignty was forfeited” following explosive revelations in today’s Irish Independent about how Anglo Irish Bank executives lied to the government while desperately seeking a bailout.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said the extraordinary details that have been revealed from a phone conversation where an Anglo boss discussed how he knew a requested sum of €7bn would not be enough to save the bank, is “a new chapter to the story”.

He was responding to a recording of the conversation between former Anglo executives John Bowe and Peter Fitzgerald, which occurred shortly before the former government agreed to the disastrous state guarantee of Irish banks in September 2008.

Responding to the revelations, Mr Quinn said: “It’s quite a story obviously – I haven’t had a chance to analyse it but we will be in the Oireachtas when the banking inquiry takes place and I hope that these matters and others will be fully examined.

“I think the scale of what happened to Anglo and the impact it had on all of us as taxpayers is such that any inquiry is going to be tightly scrutinised and watched.

“And as a member of the Oireachtas and a member of government I’m acutely conscious that I don’t want to say anything that in anyway prejudices the outcome of that inquiry.”

Asked about the apparently flippant manner in which the €7bn sum was decided upon at Anglo he said: “look let’s hear the full story”.

He said: “Let’s let the inquiry find out exactly what did happen.

“The whole country is very angry at the way in which our national economic sovereignty was forfeited effectively by the way in which the then-government hitched the taxpayers to the liabilities that were taken out by the banks in the first instance”, he added.

Asked if the recording was the first piece of evidence showing that Anglo bosses knew they were misleading the government when seeking a bailout, Mr Quinn said: “I think it’s added a new chapter to the story but I’m not going to comment on how big an additional piece of evidence it is.”

Mr Quinn, who was attending a conference on reforming the Leaving Cert points system for college applications in Maynooth, said he did not know when the banking inquiry would take place, saying: “I don’t personally have a timeline myself, that’s not my area of responsibility.

“I know that (Public Expenditure and Reform) Brendan Howlin has introduced legislation to enable the Oireachtas to have a proper inquiry and I don’t think that has yet been completed”, he said.

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