Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has called on the Taoiseach to clarify comments he made this morning to a European audience that his Government had contingency plans in place to direct the Army to surround banks and protect ATMs and that capital controls, similar to those imposed in Cyprus were being considered.
Deputy McGrath commented: “This is not the first time a member of the Government has painted an apocalyptic description of an imminent deploying of the army to prevent a run on the banks. Last November Minister Coveney made a similar assertion stating “The Taoiseach was getting briefed by the Central Bank that he needed to have a fall-back position whereby the army may have to surround banks to protect them, because we could literally run out of money”.
“We sought the details of this alleged briefing on the Dáil record and Minister Noonan confirmed that “The Central Bank would have no role in relation to briefing on security deployment by the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces.” Nor was any such information presented to the Banking Inquiry by either the Taoiseach or former Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan. One would assume that had it actually happened in the manner described the Taoiseach would have been keen to advise the public of this when he gave his sworn evidence to the Inquiry.
“It smacks of an attempt by the Taoiseach to make himself look good in front of his European political colleagues. The truth is that he opposed many of the measures the last government introduced to deal with an extremely serious national and international banking crisis.
“Unless the Taoiseach immediately confirms the detail of what specific events he is referring to people will be left with no alternative but to assume that this is yet another self-aggrandising story.
“There is also something incongruous about the claim that the Taoiseach made that the arrival of the Troika represented a “bloodless coup”. The Troika agreed a programme to be implemented over 3 years with quarterly reviews built in. At all times they made clear that any of the fiscal measures contained in the agreement could be substituted for another measures of equal value. In fact the government claimed to have succeeding in extracting concessions from the Troika during the lifetime of the programme. This would hardly have been the actions of a dictator who had carried out a coup,” concluded Deputy McGrath.