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Here's when we'll find out if that infamous Trichet-Lenihan letter will be released

The ECB’s governing council will consider releasing the letter at its meeting next week

Former finance minister Brian Lenihan
Former finance minister Brian Lenihan
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated 3.15pm 

THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL Bank will decide on 6 November if the infamous letter from its former president Jean-Claude Trichet to former finance minister Brian Lenihan in 2010 is to be released.

Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly has said he has secured a commitment from the ECB that it will decide on the release of the letter at its next governing council meeting on Thursday week.

Kelly believes he has a commitment from the bank that the letter will be released and it is just a case of what date it is to be published following the recent completion of the EU-wide bank stress tests.

He said he he has been told the letter will be released directly to him and will also be released publicly for the first time.

In the letter, sent in November 2010, Trichet is reported to suggest that emergency loans to Irish banks would be cut off if the government refused to leave the bond markets and accept funding from international sources i.e. enter the bailout.

In correspondence to Kelly, released over the weekend, the ECB stated that it is reviewing the decision to withhold the letter in light of the completion of the stress tests.

“We would like to reassure you that it is our intention to reassess the matter in the light of  the outcome of the Comprehensive Assessment, which should become available by end-October,” ECB secretary general Pierre van der Haegen said to Kelly in an email seen by TheJournal.ie

‘Immediate release’

Asked about the matter at an event in Dublin today, the junior finance minister Simon Harris said he would welcome the publication of any document that would cast “further light and transparency” on the events surrounding Ireland’s entry into the Troika bailout four years ago.

“The publication of this letter can only be a good thing in terms of adding to the pool of knowledge that we have about the events that led to the bank guarantee and the bailout,” Harris said.

The Fine Gael TD cautioned that the release of the letter was solely a decision for the ECB but said he hoped the bank would review it “as promptly as they can”.

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Meanwhile, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson and banking inquiry member Pearse Doherty has called on Finance Minister Michael Noonan to pre-empt the ECB and release the letter immediately.

“In the context of the Banking Inquiry it is inconceivable that this letter would not be available and public,” Doherty said.

“Minister Noonan should act now and make public his copy of the letter. Transparency campaigners like Gavin Sheridan and the EU Ombudsman have requested this letter but have been rebuffed time after time.”

First published 12.19pm 

Read: This MEP reckons he’s about to get a copy of that infamous Trichet-Lenihan letter

The Lenihan Letters: What’s been released, and what hasn’t

Released: Brian Lenihan’s letter where Ireland asks for a bailout

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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