Enda Kenny backtracks on comments about Army patrols at ATMs
THERE are no minutes from the meeting where Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he was briefed about the possibility of the Defence Forces being made available to guard ATMs.
Mr Kenny has backtracked on comments he made in Madrid last week, while still insisting that the option of assigning Defence Force officers to cash machines was considered.
The Fine Gael leader had told a conference: “The Governor of the Central Bank in Ireland said to me: ‘It looks like this weekend ... you’ll have to put Army around the banks and around the ATM machines and introduce capital controls like they had in Cyprus’. So we’ve pulled back from that brink,” Mr Kenny told a conference of the European People’s Party.
He now says that it was not a “specific” briefing from the Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan, but added that the issue was discussed during a taskforce meeting in early 2012.
The taskforce was set up to devise contingency plans in the event of the collapse of the Euro currency.
A spokesman for the Taoiseach was last night unable to provide a date for the meeting.
Asked whether minutes existed, the spokesman replied: “Generally minutes aren’t kept for security matters.”
He added: “A number of contingency were being discussed around what was a very uncertain time.”
Central Bank sources have said they were “confused” by Mr Kenny’s comments in Madrid.
“Clearly as was pointed out to you by the Minister for Finance the question of security in the event of the break-up of the Euro currency was one of the things considered.
“That didn’t happen obviously and we’re now in a much better place,” Mr Kenny said.
He added that the taskforce was set up “to consider the contingencies or possible options for what might happen”.
“There was a lot of talk within different governments that there might be an end to the Euro currency.”
Responding to the Taoiseach’s comments, former Defence Minister Willie O’Dea said: “I think the Taoiseach suffers from flights of fantasy that make Walter Mitty look positively unimaginative.”