Friday 23 March 2018

Shatter urges ex-FF ministers to reveal contacts with Anglo

Alan Shatter
Alan Shatter

Fiach Kelly, Lise Hand and Fionnan Sheahan

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has cranked the pressure up on former Fianna Fail ministers, by calling on them to reveal their contacts with Anglo Irish Bank in the run-up to the bank guarantee.

In the continuing fallout from the revelations in the Irish Independent's Anglo Tapes, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore appealed to former Anglo chief executive David Drumm to fly back from the US to be interviewed by gardai.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the recordings represented the "smugness" present in society during the boom years.

And Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said it was obviously something the Government would prefer not to be happening. "People are very angry at home and very angry abroad.

"I don't think it's damaging (to the legacy debt negotiations) ... It's very clear that there is still the possibility of getting our legacy debt dealt under the ESM," he said.

"People realise this was five years ago and realise we have done a lot to deal with the situation," he added.

Mr Shatter said he found the revelations "nauseating" and said there was "no sense of responsibility" from those heard speaking on the tapes.

The minister said he found Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin's calls for a banking inquiry "quite bizarre".

He insisted former Fianna Fail Cabinet ministers need to reveal what information they have regarding negotiations between the government and the bank at the time.

"There's nothing to stop them from publicly telling us today what engagements they had of a direct nature with executives in Anglo Irish", he said. "Let them tell us what they know."

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, speaking in the Dail, also criticised former Fianna Fail ministers while responding to questions from Deputy Billy Kelleher on a new code of conduct on mortgage arrears.

"You yourselves had a large element of responsibility in relation to that. You could come in and tell us what exactly you knew and when you knew it.

"As we listen to the Anglo Tapes, they sound more and more like the Vampire Tapes. They've sucked the lifeblood out of this country," she said.

Archbishop Martin referred to the tapes while visiting the Capuchin food centre charitable organisation in Dublin.

"They are two realities of Irish life – of the smugness of some people and the total insecurity and precariousness of the people who live here. Both of those are linked."

French ambassador Emmanuelle d'Achon insisted Ireland still has the support of France.

"We hope that Ireland will get out of the bailout and the programme has been implemented and we hope the best for the Irish economy in the future," she said.

In the Dail, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was accused of behaving like a "political thug".

Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins said Mr Kenny tried to smear all politicians with his claim there was an "axis of collusion" between Fianna Fail and Anglo.

In bad tempered exchanges, with threats to suspend the Dail, Mr Collins also accused Mr Kenny of lying when he claimed there are no documents in the Department of the Taoiseach about the bank guarantee.

"He came in here and he tried to smear all politicians in a sleeveen-type fashion," he said.

"He's acting like a political thug and a political boot boy in a party political fashion."

In response, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said a new Fianna Fail "narrative" was emerging around the banking crisis.

Mr Varadkar described it as: "We weren't knaves, we were just fools. I can assure you Deputy Collins, I never thought Brian Lenihan and Brian Cowen were knaves," he said. "But their ability to believe everything that was told to them by the banking sector shows they were very much fools."

Irish Independent

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