Department of Finance has ‘has no record of Lenihan phone calls’
Nothing on file for the mobile phone he used in the run-up to the bank guarantee in 2008
Late minister for finance Brian Lenihan: department said it had records of the mobile phone bill of the minister’s driver for the last weeks of September 2008 as well as for Mr Lenihan’s constituency office.
The Department of Finance has said that it has no records of mobile phone calls made by the late minister for finance Brian Lenihan in the in the run-up to the bank guarantee in 2008.
In response to a Freedom of Information Request first submitted in June 2012, the department said that after a two-year examination of its files: “the record concerned does not exist or cannot be found after all reasonable steps to ascertain its whereabouts have been taken”.
The department said it had records of the mobile phone bill of the minister’s driver for the last weeks of September 2008 as well as for Mr Lenihan’s constituency office but nothing was on file for the mobile phone he used during the financial crisis.
The records are considered important in the context of the state’s bank inquiry as it would help show who Mr Lenihan was in contact with in the run-up to the government’s decision to guarantee its banks. It is presumed Mr Lenihan either kept his phone records personally or they have been lost by his department down the years.
In 2012, the Department of the Taoiseach confirmed it had kept the mobile phone records of Taoiseach Brian Cowen on the night of the guarantee, in response to an earlier FoI request. This showed, for example, that he made a brief phone call at 01.06am in the hours before the bank guarantee. It also recorded he sent various text messages up until 20.50pm the day before but the request blacked out whom he was in contact.
The Department of Finance said it had taken a number of steps to try to locate Mr Lenihan’s phone records. These, it said, included writing to the minister’s office, the secretary general’s office, a search of electronic databases and a physical search of the department’s office.
“I find that, so far as I am able to determine, the records relating to phone calls and text messages made or sent do not exist,” the Department of Finance’s FoI office said.