| 19°C Dublin

Time for Drumm to return and face questions after 'sorry'

DAVID Drumm should return to Ireland to answer questions on Anglo Irish Bank's collapse if he has remorse, a senior Fine Gael TD has said.

It comes after former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive Mr Drumm apologised for the language and tone of the Anglo tapes – but not for the lender's role in the economic crisis.

His expressions of remorse and regret have been brushed aside.

"If Mr Drumm showed any form of remorse or regret he should immediately get on a plane, come back to Ireland and submit himself to the authorities and tell his side of the story," Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan told the Herald.

"Any expression of remorse or regret by Mr Drumm ring hollow in the context of his remaining out of the jurisdiction of the State."

 

Witnesses

Mr Drumm and his family moved to the US more than four years ago and has said that his lawyers have advised him not to return to Ireland.

In a blow to hopes he could be compelled to come back, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said extradition will not be an option if summoned witnesses fail to appear before a planned Oireachtas banking inquiry.

Mr Howlin revealed a bill giving effect to the probe is expected to be enacted within two weeks, after which the Dail and Seanad will determine its terms of reference.

He said "any citizen in the State or any Irish citizen abroad" will be able to be compulsorily summoned to hearings.

While penalties of a fine or jail sentence attach for failing to appear, "there won't be extradition powers", Mr Howlin said, pointing out that "it's not a criminal process".

The inquiry will have the power to gain access to "papers or electronic data", he said.

Mr Drumm described the language in the Anglo tapes as "inappropriate" and "embarrassing".

He added: "(There) is no excuse for the terrible language or frivolous tone, and I sincerely regret the offence it has caused. I cannot change this now, but I can apologise to those who had to listen to it and who were understandably so offended by it."

But he denied Anglo misrepresented its financial position to the Central Bank, pointing out they were not present on the night of the blanket bank guarantee and had not sought the move.

"There was no attempt whatsoever to conceal the extent of the cashflow problems from the Central Bank and the regulator," he insisted.

He claimed Anglo's solvency "was not an issue" in 2008 when the bank sought €7bn in emergency liquidity funding.

Mr Drumm was one of three of the bank's executives recorded laughing about trying to source the money from the State.

Anglo's bailout cost Irish taxpayers €30bn and the lender was nationalised in 2009.

In the latest revelations from the infamous Anglo tapes, Mr Drumm can be heard saying he wanted to "punch" then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in frustration during the crisis.

"I'll probably punch him [Lenihan]," Drumm said on December 15, 2008. "And I mean punch him, as if to say [to Lenihan], 'What are you actually doing?'"

In secret conversations with John Bowe, the bank's head of treasury, Drumm said he wanted the State to cough up between €2bn and €3bn straight away.

Drumm said he planned to tell Mr Lenihan: "What's this about having to go through due diligence? You made that decision on September 29. You've told the f***in' world we're all solvent...

"When you've guaranteed somebody's entire liabilities, it is smart to write a very small cheque to stop them being called."

Meanwhile, Martin Mansergh denied having any inside information on the circumstances surrounding the bank guarantee, despite being a junior minister at the Department of Finance at the time.

"I was in a separate building. My main job was the Office of Public Works," he told RTE's Marian Finucane radio show.

"I was in a separate building, 500 metres away... I was not in the loop. My job in relation to finance was basically to relieve the Minister (Mr Lenihan) of some of his parliamentary responsibilities," he said.

Mr Howlin indicated he is open to re-running the referendum to increase the powers of Oireachtas committees as early as next year.

A previous referendum on the issue was rejected by voters in 2011 by a margin of more than 100,000 votes.

comurphy@herald.ie


Privacy