Fury as Trichet snubs inquiry

THE former head of the European Central Bank (ECB) has sparked anger in Government circles after stating he will not appear before the banking inquiry which is due to get under way later this year.

Fury as Trichet snubs inquiry

The nine-man inquiry team is expected to be announced today, and will be headed by Labour TD Ciarán Lynch.

In an early setback to its work, Jean Claude Trichet said that he would not be giving evidence because the bank guarantee decision of September 2008 was made by the Government “absolutely alone.”

The Frenchman has previously denied forcing the late Brian Lenihan to guarantee the banks amid claims that he did so in order to protect bondholders and the wider euro system.

Speaking in Brussels to Newstalk Radio yesterday, he said he did not receive any phone call from the Irish Government on the night of the guarantee and it was a “unilateral” decision.

Asked if he was behind the decision, he said: “I supported nothing, I observed the bank guarantee. It was a decision taken by the Irish Government absolutely alone without any consultation either with the central bank or with other countries.”

He said any decisions by the ECB are taken collectively — with all members of the governing council — which come from individual member states — having an equal say.

“I stick to this rule as long the rule is there,” he said.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said Mr Trichet needs to “show some respect for our national parliament and make himself available for the inquiry.”

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said he would expect anybody who is invited to appear before the inquiry.

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