Belfast Telegraph

Kenny urges 'Tiger years' inquiry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ramped up pressure on members of the previous coalition government over the bank guarantee and bailout.

Hours after being branded a "political thug" for his allegations of an "axis of collusion" between the former Fianna Fail-led government and Anglo Irish Bank, the Taoiseach added fuel to the fire and repeated the need for a parliamentary inquiry.

Mr Kenny said: "We do need to examine the culture of the so-called Tiger years, which led to this situation of toxic nexus between the banking world and the world of government and senior personnel."

He agreed with remarks from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the tapes - published by the Irish Independent - were hard to stomach and an insult to people trying to earn an honest living. The latest recordings hear how bosses were ordered to go to the Central Bank with "arms swinging" to demand a multibillion-euro taxpayer bailout - or "moolah" - as Anglo was collapsing in 2008.

The Taoiseach, speaking in Brussels as he attended the final European Council meeting of Ireland's presidency, said the tapes highlighted the "vulgarity" of the time.

"We have worked very hard to rebuild our integrity and our reputation after all that's happened," Mr Kenny added. "We are now processing legislation in our own country so that a public investigation can take place through that in parallel to the criminal proceedings which are moving independently through the court system where a number of charges have been proffered against certain personnel."

Fianna Fail has accused Mr Kenny of playing party politics following his claims against its former ministers, which include current leader Micheal Martin. The party's justice spokesman Niall Collins branded the Taoiseach a "political thug" and "boot boy" on Thursday, claiming he has no respect for the office he holds.

Meanwhile, one of the three Anglo chiefs recorded in the tapes quit his current job on Thursday. Peter Fitzgerald, who was appointed spokesman when the toxic lender was rebranded, resigned as interim chief executive at the Irish Association of Alcohol and Addiction Counsellors.

Mr Fitzgerald, who has denied any wrongdoing or misleading regulators, was heard talking to John Bowe on the eve of the Irish Government introducing the controversial 440 billion euro bank guarantee in September 2008. They talked about Anglo chiefs trying to get seven billion euro from the Central Bank of Ireland. The rogue lender was ultimately bailed out by the Irish state with 29 billion euro.

Then chief executive David Drumm also features in the tapes - at one point outlining the his brusque strategy for bringing cash into the bust bank. "Get into the f**king simple speak: 'We need the moolah, you have it, so you're going to give it to us and when would that be? We'll start there'," he tells Mr Bowe.


From Belfast Telegraph