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Sinn Féin request to release Jean Claude Trichet bailout letter supported by EU Parliament despite MEP Jim Higgins voting against its release

15 March, 2014 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin’s Midlands Northwest EU candidate Matt Carthy has today welcomed the EU Parliament’s support for the release of the infamous bailout letter sent from Jean Claude Trichet to then Minister Brian Lenihan in November 2010. He went on to criticise Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins for voting against the release of the letter.

It is alleged that Mr Trichet threatened to pull funding from Ireland's banks unless the government accepted a bailout and banned the burning of bondholders.

Speaking after the parliament voted in favour of the amendment tabled by Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson, Mr Carthy said:

“I am delighted that the European Parliament supported the demand from Sinn Féin that Jean Claude Trichet’s bailout letter be released. I am however very disappointed that MEP Jim Higgins sought to continue the cover up regarding exactly what happened at the time of the banking collapse by voting against the release of the letter. The question is what are those in the ECB and EU trying to hide from the Irish people? And why is Jim Higgins supporting them?

“As recently as 7 March, the ECB again refused to release this letter to the European Ombudsman. At a time when so many Irish people are suffering the brunt of damaging austerity measures being implemented by our government, we must push for openness and transparency from the decision makers behind these policies.

“In light of that, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has submitted a formal question to the ECB asking under what conditions they will release the letter and what action they may take if Minister Noonan released it unilaterally.

“Yesterday the Parliament supported this call but two Irish MEPs- Emer Costello of Labour and Jim Higgins of Fine Gael voted against it while Pat “The Cope” Gallagher of Fianna Fáil didn’t vote even though he was present. This is a disgrace.

“It is difficult for any reasonable person to understand why MEPs whose priority should be to represent the best interests of the Irish people would vote against this request.

“The truth behind Ireland’s bailout that locked us into untold years of cutbacks in vital services could be revealed in this letter. Why then did Emer Costello, Jim Higgins and Pat Gallagher shun this amendment? They owe it to the people to answer this question.”


Note to the editor:

Text of amendment below in bold

54. Points equally to the potential conflict of interest between the current role of the ECB in the Troika as ‘technical advisor’ and its position as creditor of the four Member States as well as its mandate under the Treaty as it has made its own actions conditional on decisions it is itself part of; nonetheless, welcomes its contribution in addressing the crisis but requests that potential ECB conflicts of interest, especially as regards crucial liquidity policy are carefully scrutinized; notes that throughout the crisis, the ECB has had crucial information on the health of the banking sector and financial stability in general, and that with this in mind it has subsequently exerted policy leverage on decision-makers, at least in the cases of the Greek debt-restructuring where the ECB insisted that CACs were to be removed from government bonds it held, the Cypriot ELA operations and the Irish non-inclusion of senior-bondholders in the bail-in and calls on the ECB to publish the letter of 19 November 2010 from Jean Claude Trichet to the then Irish Finance Minister as requested by the European Ombudsman

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