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FG may have had conflict of interest

Is it any wonder Enda Kenny is so determined there should only be an Oireachtas inquiry into the banking crisis because his party must have a lot to fear if any of the light shone on the decision to offer the guarantee strayed from Fianna Fáil and extended to the elephant in the room, which is why Fine Gael agreed to support the guarantee too.

Fianna Fáil wants the public to believe it was simply a bad decision made under pressure based on false information provided to the Government by Anglo and not that Anglo got a blank cheque because of its financial support of Fianna Fáil and its representatives.

However, we also know that when the previous Government sought a consensus in the Dáil to support the guarantee it held meetings with both Fine Gael and the Labour Party, and it is reasonable that these parties requested to see the data upon which the decision to offer a guarantee was being made, so that they could decide if they would support the Government.

Therefore, assuming both parties received the same information, why did Labour decline to support the guarantee while Fine Gael agreed to support it? In the rush to condemn Fianna Fáil, it is important to remember Fine Gael has never published audited accounts of where its non-State funding comes from and for the last ten years it has never declared receipt of a corporate donation. In fact, one of the first things Enda Kenny announced when he became leader was that he was overturning Michael Noonan’s policy not to accept corporate donations.

Another detail is that at the time of the guarantee Fine Gael’s finance spokesperson at the time was Richard Bruton, who has an MPhil in Economics from Oxford and whose thesis was on Irish public debt. It cannot be possible he did not know what information was needed to make an informed decision about whether Fine Gael should offer its votes to the Government in order for the Irish taxpayer to take on the massive burden of private sector banking debt.

Joan Burton doesn’t have an MPhil from Oxford but she managed to figure out that the debt burden being proposed was simply not worth the risk and the Labour Party voted against the guarantee.

So, a perfectly legitimate question must be raised over whether Fine Gael also had a conflict of interest between the financial support it received from Anglo Irish Bank, and the developers who stood to gain the most from the guarantee and its decision to offer its vote in favour of the guarantee.

Desmond FitzGerald

Canary Wharf




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