Kenny silence on Trichet phone call not ‘sustainable’

Ó Cuív urges Taoiseach to detail content of conversation about debt burden sharing

The banking inquiry found the ECB issued an explicit threat to Ireland if it proceeded to burn senior bondholders. The warning was issued through a phone call between Michael Noonan andJean-Claude Trichet followed a phone conversation between Enda Kenny and Mr Trichet. File photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The banking inquiry found the ECB issued an explicit threat to Ireland if it proceeded to burn senior bondholders. The warning was issued through a phone call between Michael Noonan andJean-Claude Trichet followed a phone conversation between Enda Kenny and Mr Trichet. File photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been urged to detail the content of his conversation with former European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet about burden sharing.

The final report of the Oireachtas banking inquiry found the ECB issued an explicit threat to Ireland if it proceeded to burn senior bondholders.

The warning was issued through a phone call between Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Mr Trichet.

This followed a phone conversation between Mr Kenny and Mr Trichet.

Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív said the role of the Taoiseach in the story had yet to be explained.

He said: “It appears that Mr Kenny spoke to Mr Trichet in the period between Mr Trichet being told that the Government would burn bondholders and the Government performing a u-turn.

“Enda Kenny has not offered any explanation of that call, what was said and whether the threat of a bomb going off in Dublin was made to him directly.

“All we know is that after they spoke, the Government quickly moved in a very different direction and abandoned a central election promise.”

The Oireachtas banking found that the withdrawal of emergency bank funding was used as “an explicit threat” by Mr Trichet if the Government moved to introduce burden sharing.

Mr Trichet is claimed to have said in March 2011 that “a bomb will go off” in Dublin if the bondholders were burned.

The committee was told Mr Noonan spoke twice to Mr Trichet and Mr Kenny also had a conversation with Mr Trichet.

Change of position

Mr Ó Cuív said the Taoiseach must now detail the content of his discussion with Mr Trichet and explain why the Government changed its position.

He said: “Enda Kenny’s continued silence on this central issue is not sustainable.

“Following publication of the banking inquiry report and the ongoing discussion about Michael Noonan’s conflicting claims, Enda Kenny should confirm whether the call took place, give an honest and straightforward account of his conversation with Trichet and confirm whether he spoke to him again after the Government’s u-turn was announced.”

The final report of the banking inquiry was issued last week and its strongest criticism was reserved for the ECB.

However, the Minister for Finance has come under criticism for his comments to the committee.

Mr Noonan had told the inquiry Mr Trichet had warned a bomb would go off in Dublin if bondholders were burned.

The Minister has since denied a threat was issued by Mr Trichet.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said Mr Noonan was sent a copy of the report before its publication and did not object to its findings.