Ten things we have learned from Brian Cowen's evidence to Banking Inquiry
Published 02/07/2015 | 18:28
Here are ten things we have learned from Brian Cowen's evidence to Banking Inquiry today:
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.
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.
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'.