Brian Cowen: 'I am happy that we did what we did'
Published 03/07/2015 | 02:30
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen has accepted "full and complete responsibility" for his role in the economic collapse.
Back at Leinster House yesterday, he told members of the Banking Inquiry they had "no monopoly on upset" and that he was "sorry" for the hardship and distress caused by austerity.
"The human cost of dealing with this crisis, which we sought to mitigate as best we could, was the most difficult aspect of the decisions we had to make," he said.
However, he defended his term as finance minister between 2004 and 2008, saying: "When I was there, I'm happy with … we did what we did but, obviously, with hindsight now, I would do things a little differently, clearly."
He admitted that as minister he should "have been more doubting, more questioning by challenging the broad consensus of opinion".
Mr Cowen made it clear that, in 2010 if the Government proceeded to burn bondholders, then the Troika would have stopped any bailout programme. "We were left in no doubt that burning bondholders would have meant no EU-IMF programme; it was one or the other. We assessed that there was a far greater financial and economic benefit to the country entering the programme at the time than to burn remaining bondholders."