We need to talk about Brian
The Irish Times is building on the foundation work of Gavin Sheridan and Karl Whelan and has determined that there are three letters from the ECB to Ireland in the critical October-November 2010 period. The odd thing is that none of them correspond to the date cited by Brian Lenihan in his BBC Radio 4 interview with Dan O’Brien, as coming on 12 November. The IT conjectures a bit:
The decisive conversation with Mr Trichet followed on November 12th, and it is possible that this arose following a fax or email reinforcing the points made on November 4th. In an interview with Irish Times economics editor Dan O’Brien, conducted after Fianna Fáil had lost power, Mr Lenihan was adamant that a communication from Mr Trichet had arrived on November 12th.
There is an obvious further conjecture: that Lenihan never read the November 4th letter, and the ECB became aware of this and felt the need to follow up a week later. Amongst the speculation that missing week was the possibility that Lenihan was considering a Fianna Fail leadership coup against Brian Cowen.
It probably didn’t affect the ultimate outcome, but the notion that internal party matters were distracting Ireland’s government from dealing with the financial crisis remains an uncomfortable backdrop to the How Did We Get Here question.