Taoiseach denies he misled Dáil over Anglo

Sunday 21 July 2013 22.37
The Taoiseach has said previously he was in contact with Anglo Irish Bank executives
The Taoiseach has said previously he was in contact with Anglo Irish Bank executives

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has denied that he mislead the Dáil regarding his contact with executives from Anglo Irish Bank.

Speaking to Nuacht RTÉ, Mr Kenny said he did not have any meetings with David Drumm until an official meeting that took place at Anglo headquarters.

He also denied meeting Matt Moran, chief financial officer with Anglo Irish Bank, until he received a message to contact him by telephone.

"You may ask Matt Moran about that if you wish," he said.

Opposition parties have called on the Taoiseach to clarify what contacts he had with executives of the bank.

It follows the publication of emails in the Sunday Independent today in which a former Anglo bank executive claimed to have been in contact with Mr Kenny in November 2008 when he was in opposition.

The Taoiseach has said before he was in contact with Anglo executives on a date previous to that mentioned in the paper.

Sinn Féin says Kenny and Martin have questions to answer

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said the scale of the contact between Mr Kenny and former officials at the bank needs to be known.

Sinn Féin has also said Mr Kenny needs to make a statement on contacts he had with bank.

However, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said Mr Martin also had questions to answer on the matter.

A Government spokesperson, while not confirming or denying that such contact on specific dates was made, said that any contacts between Fine Gael and the banks during the banking crisis were aimed at highlighting the impact the continuing uncertainty about the banking system was having and its impact on credit availability.

But Fianna Fáil says the newspaper reports appear to be a very serious development.

Mr Martin said that in recent weeks the Taoiseach reacted to the Anglo Tapes, published by the Irish Independent, and spoke about an "axis of collusion" without a scrap of evidence.

The Fianna Fáil leader said the reports leave the Taoiseach red-faced because they show he was engaged in personal informal contact with Anglo senior management, and that they suggest the Taoiseach deliberately misled the Dáil in response to the Anglo Tape story when he talked about his personal contact with Anglo, as the only example he cited was a meeting in September 2008.

Mr Martin said the Taoiseach needs to make a comprehensive statement explaining the revelations.

Frances Fitzgerald labels accusations 'ridiculous'

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has said the idea that Mr Kenny, when he was leader of the opposition in 2009, could have briefed Anglo Irish Bank on government strategy was "ridiculous".

Ms Fitzgerald told RTÉ's The Week in Politics that the government itself at the time did not know what it was going to do with the banks.

She added that Fianna Fáil has questions to answer because Beverley Flynn, also mentioned in the Sunday Independent story, was a direct "conduit" to then Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan.

Minister Fitzgerald said it was on record that Mr Kenny had met Anglo's management after the bank guarantee.

Elsewhere, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has described the revelations in the newspaper as "tenuous".

Mr Varadkar said it would not be unusual for the leader of the opposition to have contact with major businesses or banks.

"Trying to draw some sort of connection between Enda Kenny as opposition leader and the disastrous decisions that were made by the previous government is very tenuous indeed," he said.