FIANNA FÁIL HAS called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to clarify comments made in the Dáil today where he stated that there were no files on the bank guarantee in his department and suggested that they may have been “shredded”.
During Leaders’ Questions, Kenny took issue with questions from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on banking debt by returning to the issue of the bank guarantee introduced by the Fianna Fáil-led government on 30 September 2008.
He said: “In respect of the bank guarantee – which you completed at 4am in the morning – nobody knows what you said. There is no file in Department of Taoiseach on this.
“It’s either shredded or disposed of, dispatched of. In other words, the government has no evidence of discussions that took place, of what you said,” he added, referring to Martin who was then Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The comments have prompted a response from the Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath who said this evening that the Taoiseach should clarify the matter by producing evidence that the files may have been shredded.
Otherwise he should withdraw his remarks, McGrath said.
In a statement, the Cork TD said: “The Taoiseach needs to clarify whether he has any evidence that files on the bank guarantee have been shredded, and if so, whether he has referred the matter to the Gardaí.
“If he has no such evidence, then the comments should be withdrawn. Surely the civil servants working for the Taoiseach could clarify for him the existence of such a file?
“It ill behoves the Taoiseach to cast aspersions in this way on persons that could include serving and former civil servants, his predecessor as Taoiseach and former government ministers – one of whom is deceased,” he added referring the late finance minister Brian Lenihan.
The issue of a lack of documentation related to the ill-fated decision to issue a blanket guarantee of the banks is well documented with the report into the banking crisis by the current governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan, noting the problem.
“A detailed review of the ensuing discussions is hampered by the absence of an extensive written record of what transpired,” he wrotes in the report published in May 2010.
Writing on businesspost.ie, the Sunday Business Post political editor Pat Leahy reports that the coalition government has been unable to find any files on the bank guarantee.
In March of last year, current finance minister Michael Noonan said that the banking guarantee of September 2008 “will go down in history as the blackest day in Ireland since the Civil War broke out.”