THE FINANCE MINISTER has said the coverage of the taped conversations involving senior figures at Anglo Irish Bank is something Ireland “could have done without”.
Michael Noonan said the international coverage of the recordings, which are being published by the Irish Independent this week, could damage Ireland’s standing in the opinion of the countries which are funding Ireland’s bailout.
“I’ve no doubt at all it would influence public opinion in the countries that provide us with the funds that are needed for our bailout programme,” Noonan told reporters outside a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels.
“We have put a lot of energy into restoring Ireland’s reputation – I hope it’s a passing phase and it doesn’t do permanent damage,” he said.
“But we could have done without it.”
The minister said he would be speaking with the German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble over the course of this evening’s summit – which aims to wrap up a common set of rules on who foots the bill for saving a struggling bank – but did not say if he would broach the topic of the tapes.
Noonan also explained the delay in bringing criminal charges against some figures in Anglo because of the sheer size of the case against them:
There are tea chests – hundreds of tea chests – full of documents, and then there are tapes as well.
So it’s very difficult to put the book of evidence together.
Noonan also explained that the tapes would have originated from the mandatory recording of conversations involving treasuries in banks, which he said was understandable.
John Bowe, the sole figure who has appeared in all of the recordings made available to date, was the director of treasury at Anglo.