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Trichet Sent Irish at Least 3 Letters Before Bailout, Times Says

Former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet wrote to then-Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan at least three times in the five weeks before the nation sought a bailout in November 2010, the Irish Times reported, citing the letters.

Trichet said in a letter dated Oct. 15, 2010, that the ECB was concerned about a rapid rise in its funding to Irish banks, the newspaper said. On Nov. 4, he told Lenihan in a letter that the ECB was monitoring Ireland’s commitment to its four-year budget-cuts program, it said. Trichet urged Ireland to enter an aid program on Nov. 19, a day after Irish Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan said a bailout was necessary, the Times said.

Trichet told Lenihan by phone on Nov. 12 that the ECB could no longer give Irish banks unconditional support without the state entering an aid program, the Times said. Lenihan, who died in June last year, said in an interview aired in April 2011 on BBC Radio 4 that Trichet wrote to him that day and “raised the question about whether Ireland would be participating in a program.”

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