Gardaí have had the Anglo tapes for over four years, says Kenny

“The buck stops with the government, and I’m going after them.”

Updated 22.36

EARLIER TODAY, TAOISEACH Enda Kenny promised a full, comprehensive and adequately resourced Oireachtas inquiry into the affairs that led to the banking guarantee and the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank.

The claim came in the Dáil this afternoon during a session of Leaders’ Questions that was dominated by the tapes of Anglo affairs published in the Irish Independent this week.

The Taoiseach also assured TDs that Gardaí were in possession of the tapes – saying they had been originally handed over to Gardaí four years ago when they began their criminal investigations into the running of the bank.

Kenny repeatedly asserted that forthcoming laws setting up an Oireachtas inquiry system would be adequate to deal with an investigation into the affairs of Anglo – amid suggestions from the opposition benches that the legislation could not go far enough.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the rejection of the Oireachtas Inquiries referendum in 2011 meant that any internal Dáil investigation was barred from making adverse findings against someone outside of political office – including the Anglo executives who feature on the tapes.

“The bottom line is, because of the Abbeylara judgement, a parliamentary inquiry cannot hold such people to account,” he said.

Martin called on Kenny to resurrect draft legislation from 2005 which would have allowed a tribunal to be chaired by an independent overseas judge, and which could have avoided the undue length and cost from earlier tribunals.

Kenny, however, insisted that moral authority could only be asserted if elected representatives were carrying behind the inquiry – saying other investigations, such as the Peter Nyberg report, had been held in private and suffered as a result.

‘Why can’t you ask Shatter to explain the delays?’

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, meanwhile, asked why criminal proceedings against some senior Anglo figures had taken so long.

“We have the Minister for Justice bale to come in here with tittle-tattle and able to give us detail – why can’t you ask the Minister for Justice to supply a report on Garda investigations into these matters?” he asked.

“If bankers deliberately defraud the state, boast about it, laugh about it, boast about their meetings with ministers… with respect, the buck stops with you.”

Kenny said a careful criminal prosecution took time and that the process could not be rushed, but promised: “The buck stops with the government and I’m going to go after them.”

The Taoiseach also revealed that he and his former finance spokesman, Richard Bruton, had been fed “a tissue and a fabrication of untruths” by Anglo.

Kenny said the pair had been invited into Anglo as opposition leaders shortly after the bank guarantee was introduced, where the extent of the lender’s problems were played down.

Originally posted at 16.30 today

Read: Gilmore ‘shocked’ by Anglo Tapes, while Howlin is ‘personally sickened’

More: In full: Ex-Anglo exec denies that he tried to mislead the Central Bank

Plus: Here’s how the world has covered the Anglo Tapes

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