Business Banking Inquiry

Sunday 25 September 2016

Ten things we have learned from Brian Cowen's evidence to Banking Inquiry

Published 02/07/2015 | 18:28

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen arrives at Leinster House to give evidence at the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry
Former taoiseach Brian Cowen arrives at Leinster House to give evidence at the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry

Here are ten things we have learned from Brian Cowen's evidence to Banking Inquiry today:

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1: Brian Cowen regrets the hardship and distress caused to Irish people by the decisions he took while in office.

2: He said the decision to introduce the blanket bank guarantee was the most decisive step possible to protect the Irish banks. "It was our one shot," he said.

3: He said he was not lobbied by anyone in the months before the guarantee, despite Kevin Cardiff previously saying senior bankers had called for it.

4: Mr Cowen attended a dinner with the board members of Anglo Irish Bank in April 2008, but insisted it was a social occasion, with very little discussion about the bank.

Read more: 'I accept responsibility for crisis, I am sorry for hurt it has caused'

5: Mr Cowen insisted he was not beholden to any property developers or interest groups. "I am my own man, and I am proud of that fact," he said.

6: Mr Cowen said much of the mythology around the Galway tent was "nonsense". He said it was simple fundraiser for Fianna Fáil.

7: He said even in 2007, the increase in property lending did not lead him to think there was any imminent risk to the country.

8: Mr Cowen said there was little or no sign of the crisis when he handed over the Department of Finance to Brian Lenihan in May 2008.

Read more: Brian Cowen's blame game: Best quotes from Banking Inquiry

9: He said at the time he felt economist Morgan Kelly's articles about the crash were "pessimistic" and painted the "worst case scenario". However, he conceded Kelly was proved right.

10:  Brian Cowen said he can't recall reading a document from the Dept of Finance that presents evidence of a 'soft landing'.

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