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Anglo tapes are a thunderbolt – Kenny

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Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L), whose country is holding the rotating EU Council presidency, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (C) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hold a joint news conference at the end of a European Union summit in Brussels June 28, 2013. European Union leaders confirmed on Friday they want agreement by the end of the year on a way to resolve failed banks at European rather than a national level, signaling work would go on despite elections in Germany in September.    REUTERS/Yves Herman (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L), whose country is holding the rotating EU Council presidency, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (C) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hold a joint news conference at the end of a European Union summit in Brussels June 28, 2013. European Union leaders confirmed on Friday they want agreement by the end of the year on a way to resolve failed banks at European rather than a national level, signaling work would go on despite elections in Germany in September. REUTERS/Yves Herman (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny (L), whose country is holding the rotating EU Council presidency, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (C) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hold a joint news conference at the end of a European Union summit in Brussels June 28, 2013. European Union leaders confirmed on Friday they want agreement by the end of the year on a way to resolve failed banks at European rather than a national level, signaling work would go on despite elections in Germany in September. REUTERS/Yves Herman (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)

ENDA Kenny described the Anglo tapes as a "thunderbolt" as the scandal overshadowed Ireland's final day as holders of the European Presidency.

The Taoiseach was forced into the highly embarrassing scenario of defending the country's battered reputation as he held talks with EU leaders in Brussels.

The most pointed of criticism came from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the revelations damaged democracy, adding that she held "nothing but contempt for" the way in which Anglo executives spoke about Germany.

Mr Kenny said that he agreed with Ms Merkel's harsh comments – which were made on the day Ireland should have been celebrating the end of a successful six-month term as holders of the EU presidency.

"These tapes are a thunderbolt. They show the contempt and the arrogance and insolence of senior personnel in that bank towards everybody," the Taoiseach said.

"Towards government, towards citizens with impact on every company community and every family in our country," he added.

Ministers have this week been pointing to the number of deals struck by EU member states during Ireland's presidency.

A six-year EU budget was decided and agreements were reached on the Common Agricultural Policy, banking union, the youth guarantee and the Common Fisheries Policy.

However, there are now fears that the Anglo Tapes controversy will damage Ireland's bid to secure funding from the €500bn war chest known as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

A minister close to Mr Kenny last night admitted that the Anglo tapes revelations have "overshadowed" the end of the presidency.

"The Taoiseach should have been the man of the moment today, of all days, as it brought to an end what has been a great presidency for Ireland," he told the Herald

"But instead, he was forced to deal with the tapes. It's been very damaging," the minister added.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail last night called on the Government to push for the extradition of former Anglo CEO David Drumm for questioning.

He is currently living in America and has not commented on the phone conversations released by the Irish Independent.

Fianna Fail Justice spokesman Niall Collins said that the Irish people need to hear Mr Drumm's explanation.

"The Irish people need to hear directly from Mr Drumm and get his explanation for the language and strategies detailed in these tapes.

"To date, Mr Drumm has evaded any proper scrutiny having moved to the US when the crisis originally broke," Mr Collins said.

"If Mr Drumm refuses to return voluntarily to Ireland to answer questions, the Government should make it clear that it will seek his extradition," he added.

hnews@herald.ie


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