Why John Gormley Stayed In Bed

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John Gormley appeared on Vincent Browne’s show last night and gave his account of what happened the night of the bank guarantee.

It was, oh what’s the word? Gobsmacking.

Vincent Browne: “You were home at bed when the decision (blanket guarantee) was taken.”

John Gormley: “So was everyone. The only people in government buildings were, in fact, minister Lenihan and the Taoiseach.”

Browne: “And the story was there was some difficulty getting through to you on your phone and a guard had to go around and wake you up?”

Gormley: “No that was my garda driver and I subsequently spoke to Minister Lenihan then.”

Browne: “And the garda driver had to wake you up?”

Gormley: “Of course, it’s two o’clock in the morning or whatever.”

Browne: “And when you heard that you were being asked to approve a guarantee of this magnitude did you think: ‘Good God, I should get up and go in and see what’s going on’?”

Gormley: “No. Because we had already discussed it for about a week on and off. Some people, and I took the view too, that maybe nationalisation was the way forward. You have to remember the context…”

Browne: “But you didn’t think, as the leader of the party that was in coalition government with Fianna Fáil, you didn’t think that maybe you should get out of bed and go into the department of finance where these discussions were going on?”

Gormley: “No, because we had already discussed it, Vincent, you know. That’s the whole point.”

Browne: “And you went back to bed…”

Gormley: “Well of course. I remember speaking to Brian Lenihan, I said what option are we going for? In fact I’ll tell you what the exact words I used: ‘are we going for the David McWilliams option?’ That’s what I said, I remember, on that particular evening. And he said yes, and as far as I was concerned that was the best option as I understood it at that time.”

Browne: “Because David McWilliams told you?”

Gormley: “He is a person that I think a lot of people have respect for. And we had discussed it. When I had mentioned nationalisation he said, no that’s not a good option at all.”

Browne: “How come that there was a bill presented to Brian Lenihan and Brian Cowen that night, there was a bill already drafted for the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank? How come that happened if nationalisation wasn’t on the table over the previous weeks or months?”

Gormley: “Well that’s an interesting point because I mean, it’s the one that I had gone for, myself. So I suppose the department of finance had just put that in just in case we didn’t decide for the guarantee.”

Browne: “But you didn’t think given the seriousness of the issue you should get out of bed and go in?”

Gormley: “Ah well look Vincent, I think you’re kind of exaggerating the importance of where I was. You know the fact of the matter is that at two o’clock in the morning most people are at home and that’s where I was. There was little point at that stage of me going in when I knew what the decision was, and the decision was to guarantee.”

Browne: “You didn’t know! There was no decision until all the ministers were consulted.”

Gormley: “Yeah it’s, it’s, it’s. Well look eh, it’s, em. There’s a device used when cabinet meetings are, you know, that you, actually, you have, you know, phone in and that’s…”

Browne: “You phone in. So, ring a friend?”

Gormley: “No it’s just it’s, very often cabinet decisions are made in that way right?… It’s a legitimate way to actually make a decision in relation to a matter.”

Watch the full interview here

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