After claiming on RTE radio last weekend that the guarantee decision was taken “on the day before. It was a Sunday. We had a Cabinet meeting. We’d gone through it in quite a bit of detail” John Gormley is now stating that this was not, in fact, the case. Today’s Irish Times reports:
Mr Gormley said in a statement that a meeting of the Government was held on Sunday, September 28th, to discuss the budget for 2009.
“At the end of this meeting, the Minister for Finance briefed colleagues on problems experienced by Irish banks in context of international developments; that contingency arrangements were being prepared; that the situation was being closely monitored, and that the focus was on banking system stability.
“While no formal decision was taken, arising from the briefing there was a clear understanding some Government action would have to be taken if the situation deteriorated,” Mr Gormley said.
So, we’ve gone from “you couldn’t just make a decision on the spur of the moment. You’d have to discuss it for days in advance. Of course, not. No, you just can’t do it like that.” to “some action had to be taken” with the specific action that was taken being done as follows:
The further deterioration in the situation on that Monday led on to the discussions and decision on the night of Monday and Tuesday, September 29th and September 30th, 2008.
i.e. they took the decision when Gormley was in bed.
Personally, I think Gormley would be better off sticking with “Wasn’t my idea, I was in bed” as a political strategy. More seriously, for the circumstances of such a momentous decision to be so murky more than two years afterwards is highly unsatisfactory.