Sinn Féin has been accused of amateur dramatics and showmanship by using the Anglo tapes controversy to divert attention from Gerry Adams’s failure to address any of the serious issues raised in last Monday’s harrowing TV programme on The Disappeared.
Fianna Fáil Justice spokesman Willie O’Dea said Pearse Doherty’s disclosure in the Dáil yesterday that his party had anonymously received new Anglo Irish tape recordings and had handed them over to gardaí and the Central Bank, was nothing more than a diversionary tactic.
He said if there was anything worthwhile in the recordings Mr Doherty could have disclosed them to the Dáil under parliamentary privilege.
Mr O’Dea was referring to Darragh MacIntyre’s documentary where the Sinn Féin president was visibly uneasy denying accusations made by the now dead IRA members Brendan Hughes and Delores Price, who claimed Mr Adams was the IRA commander in Belfast who ordered the disappearance of mother-of-10 Jean McConville. She was abducted and murdered in 1972 — her remains were only discovered in 2003.
However, Sinn Féin has rejected claims it was trying to divert the public’s attention away from the Disappeared, describing Mr O’Dea’s accusations as “absolute nonsense” and said it had the tapes for a number of weeks and was awaiting legal advice on what to do with them.
Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty told the Dáil he had decided not to publish them at this stage on legal advice, but intended to make them public in the future. He had personally hand delivered copies of the tapes to Garda Headquarters and the Central Bank for the Garda Commissioner and the Governor of the Central bank.
“We have also retained a copy of the tapes with my solicitor with a view to publishing them on a future date. As the publication of these secret conversations would be in the public interest, the Government must move speedily towards the establishment of a banking inquiry,” he said.
It’s believed the tapes are over an hour long and comprise conversations involving seven people who are all senior Anglo officials. An edited version of one of the conversations and part of another are already in the public domain.
It’s understood the recordings were on a memory stick anonymously dropped into the party’s offices on Parnell Square in Dublin two weeks ago.
They relate to the period of Feb to Sept 2008 when the Fianna Fáil/Green coalition introduced the disastrous €440bn blanket bank guarantee which eventually led to the 2010 bailout.
A Garda spokesperson last night confirmed the tapes had been received “and we’re working through them at the moment”.
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