Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore supports Kenny’s army claim

Former tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has backed Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s claim that there were talks about the army securing banks during the eurozone crisis, and also said that there had been plans to relaunch the punt.
Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore  supports Kenny’s army claim

However, Mr Gilmore has denied Mr Kenny’s claim that the suggestion to secure ATMs with soldiers had come from then-Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan.

Mr Gilmore has described in his political memoir, published this week, how the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition at one stage considered emergency legislation for a flu epidemic, which was a front for security controls during the eurocrisis.

Speaking to RTÉ yesterday, the former Labour leader outlined how, as minister for foreign affairs in mid-2012, that he was aware of speculation of a two-tier euro for bailed-out countries, such as Ireland.

“We had to consider the possibility of, for whatever reasons, if we found ourselves outside the euro,” said Mr Gilmore.

He said there was a crisis meeting where Mr Honohan was present, where Government officials discussed the possibility of relaunching the punt. Scenarios considered included shutting the banks and whether people could not withdraw money from ATMs

“One of the things we considered was the possibility of public disorder, of panic,” said Mr Gilmore. “There was a decision made to ask senior officials to liaise with the gardaí and the army about the security measures that would be needed in that period of time.

“I recall someone saying at the meeting: ‘Oh my God, will we have to have soldiers guarding the ATM machines?’ I can’t recall who said it. I’m sure it was an image that was still in the Taoiseach’s mind. I’m satisfied it wasn’t the governor of the Central Bank.”

Mr Kenny has been called a “spoofer” after claiming at a conference in Madrid that Mr Honohan advised in 2012 the army may need to guard ATMs — a claim not supported last week by the former governor but now given some credence by Mr Gilmore.

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