THE SIGN-IN books for the Departments of Finance and the Taoiseach from September 2008 provide an interesting but inconclusive insight into who visited both buildings in the weeks leading up to the€440bn State guarantee of the Irish banking system.
The books, published in full below, are not complete a record of who visited the Departments in the weeks before the bank guarantee was issued.
But they do give an insight into who was visiting these two crucial departments in September 2008 as the global financial system went into turmoil and Ireland edged closer to the fateful bank guarantee.
The sign-in books were released to Labour TD Kevin Humphreys after the intervention of the Ceann Comhairle.
As TheJournal.ie reported in July, Humphreys asked for the book from the Department of the Taoiseach and was told there is no exhaustive record of visitors.
A visitors’ book is maintained at the welcoming pavilion to government buildings but there is no requirement to sign it and generally people arriving by car will not sign the book.
Analysis of books for both departments from that month indicates that most of those who signed it were journalists, photographers, civil servants, officials from State agencies and lobby groups. The books do not appear to be maintained after 5pm or at the weekend.
The sign-in records for the Department of Finance show officials from various government agencies as well as journalists signing in. The name ‘Noonan’ appears repeatedly but this is a cleaning firm and not anything to do with the current Minister for Finance.
A meeting between Seán FitzPatrick and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan on 18 September at the Department is not recorded with no record of the Anglo chairman having signed in.
On Friday, 26 September the book contains the signature of the Financial Regulator’s Con Horan who was there to see Department of Finance official Kevin Cardiff as was an official from the Central Bank and a representative from Arthur Cox, the Department’s legal firm.
It was on this day that the Department of Finance was advised by Merrill Lynch that a blanket bank guarantee was the ‘best, most decisive, most impactful’ solution, according to Simon Carswell’s book ‘Anglo Republic’
The sign-in book was closed over the weekend of the 27 and 28 September.
Monday, 29 September shows officials from Revenue, the regulator, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the National Treasury Management Agency singing in. On 30 September journalists from various Irish and international news outlets are recorded as signing in.
The sign-in book for the Department of the Taoiseach is faded slightly but again shows officials from various agencies and government departments as well as journalists signing in.
The photocopied records are badly faded in the days leading up to the the date of the guarantee: