The Taoiseach has been accused of misleading the Dáil after it emerged files about the night of the bank guarantee do exist within his department.
In June, Enda Kenny told the Dáil there was “no file” in his department relating to the 2008 decision to guarantee the banks to the tune of €440bn.
But a Freedom of Information request submitted by Fianna Fáil shows there are at least 17 files in Mr Kenny’s department about the bank guarantee dated Sept 30, 2008.
The bank guarantee was approved by Brian Cowen’s government over the phone in what has become known as an “incorporeal” meeting.
The files in the Department of Taoiseach are listed as notes on the decision sought in the meeting, the government decision of the meeting, minutes of the government meeting, notes for the then taoiseach’s use, and memos for government and other documents.
But while it gave a full schedule of the documents in response to the request, the department refused to release 14 of the 17 files.
Mr Kenny originally claimed in the Dáil on Jun 12 that there was “no file in the Department of Taoiseach on this”. He also claimed files on the guarantee were “either shredded or disposed of”.
Later that evening, his spokesman said: “Whether there was or there wasn’t [a file], there isn’t now.”
However, under pressure on the issue later in the month, Mr Kenny was forced to clarify the remarks.
The Taoiseach said his comments on Jun 12 were simply to “highlight the remarkably small volume of documentation held in my department from that night”.
He still insisted later that he found it “incredible that the Department of Taoiseach does not have a single solitary slip of evidence, paper about any of these discussions or the rationale” that resulted in the decision.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin last night in a statement said it was now clear that Mr Kenny’s original claim was not only inaccurate but had undermined his office.
“It’s no surprise to me that the Taoiseach’s claim about files going missing or there being no files in the first place were completely false and without foundation. He misled the Dáil and the Irish people in an attempt to score a political point.”
Separately, the Public Accounts Committee has vowed to seek the release of the files as part of the banking inquiry it intends to hold.
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