Trichet letters will allow witnesses to the banking inquiry to ‘speak more freely’

Ireland took 43 per cent burden of Europe’s banking debt ‘without asking for write down’

 Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said in the Dail today that the publication of the  letters between former finance minister Brian Lenihan and then ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet were “very poignant” considering Lenihans illness at the time. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said in the Dail today that the publication of the letters between former finance minister Brian Lenihan and then ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet were “very poignant” considering Lenihans illness at the time. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Tánaiste Joan Burton hopes the publication of letters between former finance minister Brian Lenihan and then ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet over Ireland’s bailout, will allow a number of people to “speak more freely” at the banking inquiry.

The Irish Times today published the letter from Mr Trichet threatening to cut off emergency funding to the banking system unless Ireland agreed to a bailout and the ECB’s attendant conditions.

This afternoon the European commission formally released the letter and three others between the late minister and former ECB president.

In the Dáil, Independent TD Catherine Murphy said that 43 per cent of the entire European banking crisis was shouldered by Ireland and the Government “never even asked for that debt to be written down”.

“Will you ask them to write that debt off now?” she asked Ms Burton.

The Tánaiste said the letters concerned her former constituency colleague and “they’re certainly very poignant in that context”.

She said “Brian, we are all aware unfortunately was ill, an illness he was going to succumb to. So it is very poignant to see the letter released.”

She said that from a political perspective this arose from a fatally flawed decision to have a blanket bank guarantee.

She hoped the publication of the material today would free up quite a number of the people who might be invited by the Oireachtas banking inquiry to appear before it , “to speak more freely”.