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No written record of Taoiseach asking for bank guarantee documents

Enda Kenny made a ‘verbal’ request to his department’s Secretary General for records related to the decision to issue a blanket guarantee of the Irish banking system.

The Department of the Taoiseach on Merrion Street (File photo)
The Department of the Taoiseach on Merrion Street (File photo)
Image: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

Updated 7.59pm

THERE IS NO written record of Taoiseach Enda Kenny asking officials in his department for documentation that explains the rationale behind the bank guarantee of September 2008, with the request having been made “verbally”.

This comes after TheJournal.ie requested all correspondence related to Enda Kenny’s much-publicised request to officials in the Department of the Taoiseach for documentation explaining the rationale behind the now infamous blanket guarantee of the Irish banking system in 30 September 2008.

Kenny has repeatedly stated on the Dáil record that there is a paucity of documentation relating to the night of the guarantee and said last July that he “asked senior officials in my Department about the papers held in the Department relating to the night of the bank guarantee”.

In fact, the Department of the Taoiseach said, in response to a Freedom of Information request from this website, that Kenny asked the Secretary General of his Department for copies of all records that relate to the guarantee.

“This was a verbal request and arising from it, the Secretary General provided the Taoiseach with the relevant records,” the response said.

The Department of the Taoiseach did not respond to a request for comment on when and how this request was made and when the relevant records were furnished to Kenny.

There are at least 146 different records, a schedule of which has previously been published by this website.

A schedule of these records was released again in response to this FOI request, along with 35 fully or partially released documents which are mainly press releases already in the public domain, fax cover sheets, and correspondence with Oireachtas officials as legislation giving effect to the guarantee was pushed through the Dáil and Seanad in the weeks that followed the guarantee decision.

‘Government records’

A total of 106 documents were withheld as they were when the original FOI request was made by Fianna Fáil in the summer of 2012 on foot of the Taoiseach’s claims.

Many of records have been withheld under section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act which concerns the confidentiality of government records.

While an “urgent’” letter from the then president of European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet to then Taoiseach Brian Cowen is withheld, an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter has been released.

Other descriptions of the withheld documents include ‘minutes of Government meeting’, a ‘memorandum for government’, a ‘draft guarantee bill’ and notes concerning discussions on 30 September 2008 – the date the Fianna Fáil-led government made the decision to guarantee the banks.

Kenny first claimed that no documents existed in his Department in July 2012, telling the Dáil: “There is no file in the Department of the Taoiseach.

“There is no file on the discussions or the meetings that took place, and the rationale applied to that.”

The disclosure of some 146 different documents being in existence led Fianna Fáil to describe Kenny’s claims as part of a “disingenuous smear campaign” and “a lie”.

But a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said the records are “procedural and administrative documents that refer to certain meetings taking place” and do not constitute documentation that explain “the rationale behind the decision”.

Originally published 8.00am

Previously: Did the Taoiseach talk to staff in his department about the bank guarantee?

Fianna Fáil: Claims of no bank guarantee documents are ‘a lie’, and this FOI proves it

Read: The Department of Finance has lost letters connected to the bank guarantee

FLASHBACK: 30 Days in September: An Oral History of the Bank Guarantee

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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