Labour seeks answers to RTÉ report


Fianna Fáil needs to answer questions regarding it relationship to Irish Nationwide Building Society after RTÉ's Prime Time Investigates programme last night reported a number of party figures had access to loans from the lender on “easy terms”, Labour’s finance spokeswoman has said.

Joan Burton described disclosures regarding the operation of a system of favoured relationships at the bank as “particularly disturbing”.

“The question now arises as to whether or not other figures in Fianna Fáil, including figures at senior level, were customers of this institution, and whether they operated a system of favoured relationships for particular clients,” Ms Burton said.

She called on the party to clarity the issue as up to €8 billion of Irish Nationwide loans are to be covered under National Asset Management Agency (Nama), and a reported figure of up to €2 billion has been agreed by the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan as part of a rescue package.

“These two institutions were at the core of the international loss of Irish reputation and were at the core of the banking crisis,” Ms Burton said.

“In many ways the guarantee scheme, which Labour opposed, was structured around these two with their close links to Fianna fail and to Government,” she said.

Opposition parties have repeatedly called for an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the banking crisis.

“If this phase of economic destruction is to be fully understood and the lessons truly learned so that we never repeat them a full investigation of the banking sector and its practises over this period needs to happen as a matter of urgency,” Fine Gael frontbench spokesman Leo Varadkar said today.

Mr Varadkar said: “A 21st century Golden Circle, as exposed last night on Primetime Investigates, has corrupted our banking system and destroyed our economy.

“The drivers of this phase of economic destruction were, again, a cheerleading Fianna Fáil Government and greedy speculators and banks,” he added.