'Johnny Logan Group' set up to examine funding
Eurovision star Johnny Logan has a new claim to fame thanks to the Banking Inquiry.
Former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, Kevin Cardiff yesterday revealed that a working group in his department was called the "Johnny Logan Group".
The name was based on the title of Logan's Eurovision song What's another Year and was chosen for the group which was trying to extend national funding by a further year during the banks bailout.
Mr Cardiff said they discovered ways to extend the funding of the State "beyond the end of 2013". The group found "a few months of extra funding was potentially available", he said.
Mr Cardiff was responding to a question from Deputy Pearse Doherty about the NTMA recommending on March 28, 2011 that senior bondholders across the six main banks be burned to save €16bn.
Earlier, he revealed that contingency plans were put in place in the Department of Finance in 2010 in case Ireland was forced out of the euro currency or "unceremoniously shown the door".
Mr Cardiff said only a small number of individuals knew that plans were being worked on, and that default was a serious consideration.
"This was dynamite stuff," Mr Cardiff said. "We had to work on it, but we couldn't even hint in public that this was a serious consideration."
The former civil servant described how he had made "discreet" enquiries to the International Monetary Fund in September 2008 about how Ireland could access an IMF programme "just as a precaution".
William Beausang, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Public Expenditure said a press release announcing the Bank Guarantee was being prepared at least six hours before the end of the meeting on the night of September 29, 2008.
Mr Beausang said that his email records show "that at 21.11pm I received a document intended to be a draft Government Press Release announcing the introduction of a guarantee for the domestic banks".
His evidence suggests he was involved in preparing the press release several hours before Taoiseach Brian Cowen told the Banks that the Guarantee was to be put in place.
"My electronic files show that I was subsequently involved over the next 20 minutes or so in preparing a revised draft of the statement which set out its intended scope," Mr Beausang said.