On the Marian Finucane programme this morning, the €295,000-a-year (from RTE) Marian read out the following apology to the Department of Finance (it’s from 28:40 in the broadcast available here)
“Okay, no, I’m going to have to read this. On the programme two weeks ago, we were discussing the story on the front page of both the Sunday Independent and the Sunday Times about the developer Paddy McKillen, the Barclay brothers and the Department of Finance. In the course of discussion it was said and I quote “it seemed like the Department of Finance had access to private citizens’ bank accounts” unquote. The Department want to firmly point out that this is untrue and they are not looking into people’s bank accounts. RTE regrets that these statements were inaccurate and were not contained in the articles under discussion. We are happy to clarify that.”
The McKillen story – which appears to have died away completely – was about information released to businessman and developer Paddy McKillen by the Department of Finance under Freedom of Information. Emails between the Secretary General of the Department, John Moran to a representative of Paddy’s rivals, the Barclay brothers, showed the Department had communicated with the Barclays about Paddy’s loans, but really didn’t show very much, with the Department referring the Barclays to IBRC, though Paddy’s camp picked up on an email from the Barclays thanking the Department for its – unspecified – support. The Department denied it did anything improper and finance minister Michael Noonan has backed the Department.