Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD, has called on the Government to publish the full record of contact between the Department of Finance and the European Central Bank (ECB) in the period leading up to Ireland’s application for a bailout in November 2010.
Deputy McGrath was responding to a story in today’s Irish Times which provides details of the pressure applied by the former President of the ECB, Jean Claude Trichet, on the late Brian Lenihan verbally and in writing, which was designed to force Ireland to enter into a bailout programme.
Deputy McGrath stated: “It is very disturbing to read details of the extraordinary pressure put on then Finance Minister, the late Brian Lenihan, by the President of the ECB in October and November 2010 to force Ireland to apply for a bailout programme. The Irish Times has today revealed details of crucial correspondence from the ECB dated October 15th, November 4th, November 12th and November 19th, and a decisive telephone conversation between Mr Lenihan and Mr Trichet.
“I believe that full details of the role of the ECB around the time of Ireland’s entry into a bailout programme should be made public. The information that has come into the public domain paints a picture of relentless pressure from the ECB on the Government to accede to its demand for Ireland to enter a formal programme in the false belief that it would prevent contagion throughout the rest of Europe. Subsequently the ECB insisted during the bailout negotiations, to the cost of ordinary Irish citizens, that no losses whatsoever could be imposed on senior bondholders in Irish banks.
“The Irish people deserve to have access to all records of the period leading up to and during the negotiations of our formal programme with the EU / ECB / IMF. It is not good enough for information as important as this to be drip fed into the public arena by way of selective leaks. I repeat my call on the Government today to release the records of all contact with the ECB before and during the bailout negotiations. It is my view that these records will allow a greater understanding of the circumstances of Ireland’s entry into a programme and the pernicious role of the ECB in insisting that Irish citizens bear the full cost of a banking bailout.”