Gormley seeks to clarify bank guarantee events


MINISTER FOR the Environment John Gormley last night attempted to clarify the sequence of events leading to the introduction of the bank guarantee on September 30th, 2008, following his comments on the issue on RTÉ radio at the weekend.

Mr Gormley said in a statement that a meeting of the Government was held on Sunday, September 28th, to discuss the budget for 2009.

“At the end of this meeting, the Minister for Finance briefed colleagues on problems experienced by Irish banks in context of international developments; that contingency arrangements were being prepared; that the situation was being closely monitored, and that the focus was on banking system stability.

“While no formal decision was taken, arising from the briefing there was a clear understanding some Government action would have to be taken if the situation deteriorated,” Mr Gormley said.

He added that there were discussions between himself and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan on that Sunday. The further deterioration in the situation on that Monday led on to the discussions and decision on the night of Monday and Tuesday, September 29th and September 30th, 2008.

He was responding to a statement from Labour Party spokeswoman on finance Joan Burton, who challenged Mr Lenihan to say if the account given by Mr Gormley to Marian Finucane last Saturday was correct.

Ms Burton said that in his radio interview Mr Gormley said the Cabinet had agreed on the Sunday to introduce the blanket bank guarantee that was announced in the early hours of September 30th.

“There is now an obligation on Minister Lenihan to confirm whether or not the account given by Minister Gormley is correct.

“If this is the case, he should say why this crucial piece of information has not been disclosed previously.”