‘I would have gone through report’

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan’s defence against negligence has been undermined by his own chief whip who claimed he would have read the full report on Anglo Irish Bank.

Chief whip Pat Carey said that he had faith in Mr Lenihan’s handling of the issue but said if he was given the 120-page PricewaterhouseCooper review of Anglo it would not have been his nature to rely on briefings.

“I tend to be awfully boring and read reports from cover to cover. I mightn’t always understand everything in them.

“I would have gone through the report certainly. Now, whether I would have read everything in absolute minute detail, I would probably just highlight certain things that I need clarification on,” he said.

Mr Carey was speaking on Newstalk’s Lunchtime with Eamon Keane and rejected suggestions the six volumes supplied to Mr Lenihan by PwC could be read in two hours.

Separately junior minister John McGuinness demanded clarity from the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator on whether it had consented to the €7 billion temporary loan from Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) to Anglo.

IL&P’s statement yesterday said it believed it followed the wishes of the regulator when it deposited €7bn with Anglo.

Mr McGuinness told the Last Word on Today FM if this could not be cleared up the Garda fraud squad should be called in.

“I think that level of investigation is absolutely necessary. If we’re going to restore confidence in the banking system... we’re going to have to start somewhere.

“I believe that the Office of Corporate Enforcement has a job to do. I believe that standing alongside that is the fraud squad and the Revenue Commissioners.

“Questions have to be answered... and I believe that the Department of Finance... needs to demand all of this action and to understand clearly what is happening. Nothing short of that will begin the process of cleaning up our banking system, and the public won’t accept anything short of that,” he said.

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