MICHEÁL MARTIN HAS said there is “no mystery about what happened on the night of the bank guarantee”.
Speaking to Morning Ireland in the wake of the Anglo Tapes controversy and his party’s slide in weekend opinion polls, the Fianna Fáil leader claimed there was “no secret” about the moves taken on 29/30 September 2008.
“Everybody knows who was there on the night. From the Taoiseach to Brian Lenihan, to Department of Finance officials to the Attorney General to the Central Bank governor, deputy governor, the financial regulator to the NTMA officials. The Nyberg Commission reported extensively on all of that.
There has been an attempt to try and suggest that underhand activity went on on the night and that people were going hither and tither. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that.
Martin called on the Taoiseach to withdraw suggestions that there was collusion between banking officials and the Fianna Fáil-led government as the country’s banking system teetered on the brink of collapse.
“He has no evidence in any shape or form to back that up. He behaved as a partisan Fine Gael leader and not as a Taoiseach of the country when he made that [statement]. And I don’t want to be political about it but I think it is important that you don’t try in advance of any inquiry try and prejudge the outcome and arrive at the conclusion without evidence.”
Citing a book entitled the Fall of the Celtic Tiger, Martin said he believes the guarantee was the ‘least worst’ option available to the government at the time of the guarantee.
He said the decision was taken to ensure confidence in Ireland’s financial system as “deposits were flying out of the country”.
“On the night, we were faced with the collapse of the economy. It could have put the economy back 25 or 30 years…the advice from the meeting that had taken place that a bank guarantee was absolutely essential.”
Martin revealed that he had spoken to his predecessor Brian Cowen in recent days, confirming the former Taoiseach would participate in any banking inquiry.