Brian Lenihan has been accused of amnesia and trying to shift the blame in a new row over who was responsible for the EU-IMF bank bail-out last winter.
The former Finance Minister has been criticized by Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton over his newspaper remarks.
Now the Fianna Fail spokesman for Finance, Lenihan claimed in an interview with the Irish Times on Saturday that the European Central Bank forced Ireland into implementing the controversial bail-out.
Creighton has led the deluge of disbelief at Lenihan’s remarks and has basically accused the former Minister of shifting the blame for a bill he signed into effect.
“I think Brian Lenihan is trying to absolve himself but I don’t think he is going to fool anybody,” Creighton told the Irish Times in response to the interview.
“We never heard this from him when he was in government or indeed since he has gone into Opposition.
He has participated in Dáil debates on a number of occasions and he didn’t say this because he would have been laughed out of court.
“If Mr Lenihan was to be believed, he must have been a very poor negotiator when he was representing Ireland at EU level.”
Creighton also claimed that a number of recent Government moves make a mockery of Lenihan’s statement.
She added: “Since going into Government we have got the EU-IMF to agree that the sale of State assets may be used for job creation purposes and we got an agreement in principle on a reduction in the interest rate paid by Ireland on the bailout.
“We also got them to agree to a reversal of the cut in the minimum wage even though Brian Lenihan had claimed that this would not be permitted by the EU.”
In the original interview, Lenihan had criticised some of the 17 members of the governing board of the ECB for the ‘damaging’ manner in which they had briefed some media about Ireland.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny commented on the interview for the first time on Sunday when he said the bail-out imposed by Lenihan and his government had left the current Fine Gael-Labor coalition with a ‘legacy that is challenging, to put it mildly’.
Kenny remarked: “I think that Brian Lenihan has given some of his version of those events. I don’t know exactly what happened at those discussions, but clearly there is a lot more that we need to find out.”