FAMILY members of the late Brian Lenihan have hit out at officials in Anglo Irish Bank – with his aunt describing the actions of those featured in the leaked tapes as "economic treason".
Mary O'Rourke told the Herald that the message from the tapes is that the bank's bosses "deliberately set out on a path of subterfuge" to get funds from the Central Bank.
"We heard them saying that once the Central Bank got involved they would have to stay involved.
"This is the bank of our country they were talking about – the bank of our people," she said.
Her late nephew Brian was the finance minister in 2008 and oversaw the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank.
Mr Lenihan's brother Conor, a former Fianna Fail TD and Minister for State, said the revelations in the Anglo tapes "confirm a pattern that my brother and I were well aware of at the time".
"Banks were clearly seeking to minimise both the extent of their exposure in lending terms and the true nature of their funding requirements," he said.
"Both of us were sceptical about the level of honesty in the banks when we dealt with them."
Ms O'Rourke, who is herself a former Cabinet minister, said the Government should immediately set up an investigation into the banking crisis.
"Appoint the Public Accounts Committee and chairman right now, in advance of the legislation to allow it. At least they could be doing the background work now instead of waiting," she said.
Ms O'Rourke said she was shocked by the flippancy of the taped conversations between Anglo top brass.
"I know there is a point to be made for gallows humour or black humour being a possible influence on it, but these guys were talking about a swindle of the bank and the country," she told the Herald.
The former senior Fianna Fail cabinet member said she also thought of her late nephew, Brian Lenihan, who had to negotiate the bank bail-out, as she listened to the Anglo tapes this week.
"I thought of Brian, but I was anxious to hear more. Brian would have always been for Ireland, and what riled me was that the Anglo people referred to on the tapes never thought of Ireland," said Ms O'Rourke.
"All they were thinking was, 'Save our own skins'. It is economic treason," she added.