Revelations of Anglo tapes ‘appalling’, says Noonan

Minister for Finance claims ‘extraordinarily strong’ measures in place to deal with fallout

Speaking on RTÉ 1 Television’s The Week in Politics, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  said today he did not want to prejudge any criminal cases that might be ongoing in relation to the collapse of Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reutersr

Speaking on RTÉ 1 Television’s The Week in Politics, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said today he did not want to prejudge any criminal cases that might be ongoing in relation to the collapse of Anglo Irish Bank. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reutersr

 

What was revealed in the Anglo tapes this week was “appalling”, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said, but the recordings were made over four years ago and reflected a general distaste for bank culture in Europe and across the world.

Speaking on RTÉ 1 Television’s The Week in Politics, he said he did not want to prejudge any criminal cases that might be ongoing in relation to the collapse of Anglo Irish Bank.

Asked what approach the Government was taking with regard to former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm being located in the US, he said: “Three people have been charged, I understand it has gone to books of evidence, the books of evidence are being scrutinised, and hopefully that will appear before the courts in the first half of next year.”

The matter was very complex, he said, and the prosecuting authorities “are fearful that if they move too quickly or imprudently, that they will blow the case - so they must be cautious”.

He claimed an “extraorinarily strong package of measures, both domestically and at European level”, was in place to deal with the Anglo fallout.

The rejection of a constitutional referendum amendment by the public on Dáil committee inquiries after his Government came to power in 2011 had delayed the holding of a banking inquiry, he added. Minister for Public Reform Brendan Howlin was currently taking legislation proposals through the Oireachtas to deal with the situation, he went on.

Presenter Sean O’Rourke asked why, in the context of the US taking prompt legal action against whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Irish Government could not act similarly with regard to Anglo. Mr Noonan replied that the Constitution had a mechanism called the separation of powers to protect all citizens. “It’s up to the prosecution authorities and the criminal justice authorities to deal with it.”

The Government, he maintained, did not politically interfere in criminal inquiries.

He added there were sufficient legal resources in place to pursue white collar crime.

Asked about the upcoming budget and the impact the €1 billion savings from the promissory notes would have, Mr Noonan said there were options emerging but targets had to be met, such as reducing the deficit to below 3 per cent by the end of 2015.