Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has said Minister Micheal Noonan is backtracking on his commitment to release the infamous Jean Claude Trichet letter of November 2010 to then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.
Speaking today after an exchange during Oral Questions with the Minister Deputy Tóibín said:
“I am very concerned at the Minister’s refusal today to say whether or not he will release the letter even to the Banking Inquiry. In December 2012 Minister Noonan was reported as saying he wanted the letter released. Since then it seems he has backtracked on this commitment and today effectively admitted the ECB has a veto over its release.
“Earlier this month in a reply to my colleague Martina Anderson MEP the ECB said:
‘it would be standard practice and in line with the principle of sincere cooperation among public institutions for the Irish Department of Finance to consult the ECB on the potential release of the letter to the Oireachtas prior to taking any decision. The ECB would respond to the consultation of the Irish Department of Finance on the potential release of the letter to the Oireachtas in the light of the then prevailing circumstances and on the basis of an appropriate weighing of relevant European Union interests.’
“Today Sinn Féin gave Minister Noonan the chance to back up his talk of December 2012 and state that the banking inquiry would be given the letter regardless of the ECB’s opinion.
“He failed utterly to say that he would release the letter to the inquiry. Indeed he seems to have backtracked substantially and seems to have given the ECB a veto over the banking inquiry’s right to all the information.
“The Irish people expect the truth in this inquiry. They expect a 360 degree view on what happened. No institution or Minister should be allowed create a blind spot. Three and a half years after this letter was sent the Irish people expect more from a Minister for Finance than to be still defending the ECB’s interests over the rights of the Irish people to learn the full truth. The hint that the ECB may allow the letter to be released at a letter date raises questions about whether they are biding their time and whether this delaying is to shield them from possible legal action.
“Minister Noonan has the letter and he has the power to release it immediately or at least to the banking inquiry. His refusal to make such a commitment today shows how this government is still afraid to stand up to the ECB.”