Sunday 22 April 2018

Taoiseach joins with Merkel in attack on bankers

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

ENDA Kenny described the 'Inside Anglo' revelations as a "thunderbolt" as he backed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's harsh criticism of the senior bankers.

The Taoiseach called on former bankers and politicians to "stand by the Republic" by telling the truth to a banking inquiry.

He also said he fully agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who expressed her "contempt" for the actions of the Anglo bankers.

In his most charged language yet, Mr Kenny said: "These tapes are a thunderbolt. They show the contempt and the arrogance and the insolence of senior personnel working in that bank towards everybody."

The Taoiseach once again put the spotlight back on Fianna Fail, which recently called him a "political thug" for claiming that there was an "axis of collusion" between Fianna Fail and Anglo Irish Bank.

At the conclusion of the Irish presidency in Brussels, he called for a banking inquiry to look at the culture of the so-called Tiger years, which, he said "led to this situation of a toxic nexus between the banking world and the world of government and senior personnel".

Mr Kenny added: "It is time for those privileged people who worked that system, who controlled that system, who were that system, to stand by our Republic."

The call to "stand by our Republic" will have resonance in Fianna Fail because it it is the same phrase used by former FF TD Des O'Malley when he refused to join his party in opposing a bill to allow the sale of contraceptives.

"What I'm saying is that the people who worked, controlled and were this system should now have the opportunity in all their forms to come forward and stand by the Republic," said the Taoiseach.

He denied that his use of phrases such as a "toxic nexus" and an "axis of collusion" would lead to a Dail banking inquiry that was politically charged.

"We will try to conduct this in an impartial calm manner," he said. "But when you speak to people who have been affected by the carry-on of these people, that's where the rage and the anger and the frustration is so evident."

Mr Kenny went on to say that the people who controlled the system at the time of the banking crash "have a lot to answer for". He again complained about the lack of a paper trail in his department in relation to the banking guarantee.

"As Taoiseach of the country, if I meet the town clerk from Enniscorthy, notes are taken of what's happened here. This was the single biggest financial transaction ever made in the history of our State and there are no papers of any consequence relevant to that in the Department of the Taoiseach."

CONFIDENCE

Mr Kenny's comments were even more forceful than those of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had expressed her "contempt" for the way that the bankers on the Anglo tapes were destroying the confidence of ordinary working people in the system.

The Anglo tapes revealed a senior banker mockingly singing the words "Deutschland über alles" from the old German national anthem.

She said the confidence of the honest, hard-working people who pay their taxes was being destroyed.

"I cannot but express my contempt at this," she said.

Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins, who called Mr Kenny a political thug in the Dail during the week, hit back at the Taoiseach's latest comments in Brussels. He accused Mr Kenny of trying to exploit the Anglo tapes for his narrow political advantage.

Irish Independent

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