Gardaí and Central Bank to examine new batch of Anglo Tapes
Fianna Fáil accuses Sinn Féin of using recordings to deflect attention from Disappeared documentary
Gardaí and the Central Bank are to examine a set of recordings of telephone conversations from Anglo Irish Bank that were anonymously provided to Sinn Féin
Fianna Fáil said it felt the timing of their release was “deeply cynical” and an attempt by Sinn Féin to deflect attention away from a documentary on The Disappeared in Northern Ireland featuring party leader Gerry Adams.
During a Dáil debate on the Finance Bill yesterday, Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the party had received the recordings and that their contents were not currently in the public domain.
He said the recordings centred on the period between February and September 2008, ahead of the introduction of the bank guarantee by the then Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition and Anglo’s collapse.
The Donegal South-West TD said the party had given the recordings to the Garda and the Central Bank but, on legal advice, had decided not to publish them at this stage.
“We have also retained a copy with a view to publishing them at a future date, as the publication of these conversations are in the public interest,” he said.
Mr Doherty said a memory stick containing seven recordings that lasted for about an hour had been anonymously delivered to the party’s offices about two weeks ago.
A Garda spokesman said the tapes had been received and were being “worked through”.
A Central Bank spokeswoman said the bank would consider the material and would “liaise with An Garda Síochána as appropriate”.
It is the second leak of tapes containing recorded conversations from Anglo Irish Bank.
The Central Bank investigated allegations contained in tapes published by the Irish Independent earlier this year but said there would be no further legal action arising from them.
Mr Doherty urged the Government to proceed with the establishment of a banking inquiry as there was “a public demand for truth”.
Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the timing of Mr Doherty’s statement “was curious to say the least” as it came at a time when the party was “under intense pressure following a devastating documentary on The Disappeared”.
“I think people will see Sinn Féin’s statement in that context,” Mr McGrath said. “It would appear they have had these tapes for some time and they have now decided to publically confirm the tapes have been released to the gardaíand then they go on to insinuate something about Fianna Fáil.
“I have no doubt that if Sinn Féin had information that was damaging about Fianna Fáil they wouldn’t be waiting for me to invite them to put it out in the public domain.”
A Sinn Féin spokesman said Mr McGrath’s claims were “a load of nonsense” and that the tapes took time to handle as legal advice was required.