Minister calls for urgent inquiry into IMF bailout

Former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan

A leading Irish Government Minister has called for an inquiry into the roles of Fianna Fail big wigs Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan in the recent bank bail-out.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton made the call in reaction to weekend claims by Lenihan that the bail-out was forced on Ireland by the European Central Bank.

Burton has now suggested that the part played by then Prime Minister Cowan and his Finance Minister Lenihan in the bail-out may be the subject of an inquiry by a powerful new parliamentary committee.

The Labor Party deputy leader said people in Ireland would not be able to move on from the ‘disastrous’ banking crisis until such time as Cowen, Lenihan and current Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin were subjected to an inquiry in public and ‘made answerable to the people of Ireland’.

Minister Burton also dismissed the weekend claim by Lenihan that he had been betrayed by the ECB in the run-up to the decision last November to bail-out the Irish banks at a cost of billions to the tax-payer.
The Minister went so far as to suggest that Lenihan and the Fianna Fail led government of the day has ‘lied’ to the ECB in the build-up to the EU-IMF bail-out late last year.

“The new Government is committed to holding a referendum later this year or early next year that will confer Oireachtas (parliamentary) committees with real powers of inquiry and compellability,” Burton told RTE Radio.

“Without any further initiative, the people of Ireland would not know for 30 years what the government did, or did not do, on the banking crisis because such decisions are subject to laws of State secrecy.
“The latest report from Finnish banking expert Peter Nyberg had cost more than €1 million but did not tell us anything that we were not aware of.”

Turning her attentions to Lenihan, Burton added: “Brian Lenihan made two catastrophic errors. The first was the disastrous guarantee which he co-authored with Brian Cowen.

“Secondly he set Nama (the National Asset Management Agency) in train. That was not the best thing to do in the case of Ireland.”

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