| 10.4°C Dublin

Higgins hits at Norris's claims over bank vote

MICHAEL D Higgins has accused his presidential rival David Norris of being "economical with the truth".

The Labour candidate claims that Norris has deceived voters by suggesting that he voted against the bank guarantee in the first instance.

Mr Norris repeated his view that the guarantee was the wrong move during the TG4 debate on Tuesday and on RTE's Morning Ireland yesterday.

However, Mr Higgins says the independent was "being somewhat economical with the truth when he has claimed on several occasions during the Presidential election campaign that he 'voted against the bank guarantee'."

According to Mr Higgins, the official record of the Seanad shows that "Senator Norris did not speak in the Seanad debate on the Bill and did not participate in any of the Seanad votes on the legislation".



Crucial

"The official record shows that he was present in the Seanad earlier in the day. However, he does not appear to have been present when this crucial piece of legislation, which has cost the Irish taxpayer so much, was being considered by the Seanad," Mr Higgins said.

A spokesman for Mr Norris was not available for comment at the time of going to print.

The Fianna Fail/Green government announced the decision to introduce the bank guarantee on the morning of October 1, 2008.

The legislation was introduced in the Dail that day and in the Seanad later that evening.

"Almost three weeks later, a motion was taken in the Dail and Seanad to give effect to the details of the Bank Guarantee scheme and Senator Norris did indeed vote against this in the Seanad," explained Mr Higgins, adding: "However, at that stage, public and media opinion had turned strongly against the guarantee.

"The crucial vote on the bank was that taken in the Dail and Seanad on October 1. "Without the passage of this legislation the bank guarantee could not have happened.

Senator Norris missed this crucial debate and votes and he should be more honest with the public on the issue."