Sunday 19 November 2017

Kenny backs Noonan over claims he misled Dáil

Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Damien Eagers
Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Damien Eagers

Cormac McQuinn and David Raleigh

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has backed Finance Minister Michael Noonan against claims that he misled the Dáil over threats made by former European Central Bank (ECB) boss Jean-Claude Trichet.

Mr Kenny said Mr Noonan did not need to correct the Dáil record on the matter.

Social Democrats TD Stephen Donnelly has called on Mr Noonan to resign.

He claimed Mr Noonan misled the house in November 2011 when asked if he had been threatened that liquidity would be withdrawn and the minister denied that any such threats were made.

The Banking Inquiry report found that the withdrawal of emergency bank funding was used as "an explicit threat" by Mr Trichet.

Mr Trichet is reputed to have said in March 2011 that "a bomb will go off" in Dublin if the bondholders were burnt.

But defending Mr Noonan yesterday, Mr Kenny said the Dáil record did not need to be changed.

"He [Mr Noonan] did reveal it in the Dáil in that the risks were pointed out by the ECB of the potential consequences," the Taoiseach said.


Meanwhile, Mr Noonan stood by his insistence that "no direct threat" was made to him, saying that the "bomb" comment was "a prediction" rather than a threat.

"If, on the other hand, Mr Trichet said that the European Central Bank will make sure that a bomb goes off in Dublin - that's a threat," Mr Noonan added.

He said he believes the late finance minister Brian Lenihan "was threatened".

He said he has seen 2010 correspondence where Mr Trichet "did seem to be threatening Brian Lenihan with pulling back emergency liquidity assistance to the banks if the bonds were burned".

Mr Noonan hit back at Mr Donnelly - claiming he is a "poor attendee" in the Dáil.

"He doesn't attend committees, so he doesn't have a full picture of what goes on quite frequently," he said.

Mr Donnelly did not respond to a request for comment last night.

Irish Independent

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