Enda Kenny ‘told tall tale’ over ATMs

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of ‘telling a tall tale’ and called on to make a statement to the Dáil over his claim he was told to call in the army to protect ATMs.

Mr Kenny yesterday said he had not received a specific briefing on the issue despite telling a political conference in Madrid last week that he was advised to do so during the eurozone crisis.

Opposition TDs in recent days have questioned why Mr Kenny never made the claim when he appeared at the banking inquiry and why the matter is only being raised now.

The Taoiseach had claimed Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan warned him during the crisis the army may be needed to guard banks and ATMs in the event of capital controls being implemented by the Irish government. He told the European People’s Party in Madrid last week: “The governor told me, it looks like this weekend, a few years ago, you’ll have to put the army around the banks and around the ATM machines, and introduce capital controls like they had in Cyprus. So we’ve pulled back from that brink.”

Following queries raised about this claim, Mr Kenny yesterday said he had not in fact had a specific briefing on securing the ATMs with the army. His spokesman later said the matter was informally discussed in government buildings by a special taskforce in early 2012 during the eurozone crisis.

Minutes of the meeting were not kept as it was a security-related issue, he said. The Central Bank is unwilling to comment on Mr Kenny’s claim.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty called on Mr Kenny to make a statement in the Dáil and of “telling a tall tale”.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath also said: “The Taoiseach’s story of plans to deploy the army to protect ATM machines has, predictably, collapsed.”


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