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Saturday 22 July 2017

Cowen ally keeps his head down as Anglo storm rages

Sam Smyth

FINTAN Drury was unavailable yesterday but earlier this week when he was at home, he still wasn't answering media queries.

The enigmatic sports agent and entrepreneur has not been on hand to speak about the Anglo Irish Bank golf outing in Druids Glen and the dinner later -- or indeed anything else.

Nor was the former PR consultant around to deal with queries about phone calls to the Taoiseach when Mr Cowen was on holiday in Vietnam after his St Patrick's Day Asian visit in 2008.

Mr Drury, himself a former director of Anglo Irish Bank, is the recurring link between Brian Cowen, Sean FitzPatrick and the bank that has become a symbol of the economic crash.

His account of discussions during the golf outing at Druids Glen on July 28, 2008 could help bring clarity to the current confusion over what was discussed.

Mr Cowen insists that he did not discuss the enormous problems then facing Anglo Irish Bank. The opposition says it does not believe him.

Another version of who said what at Druids Glen, coming from Mr Drury, may be helpful to Mr Cowen and support the versions given by others at the event. Mr Drury was close to the then Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick. He was also a friend of Gary McGann, another Anglo director, and Alan Gray, a director of the Central Bank.

But he was also an unpaid advisor who had open access to Brian Cowen, a close friend, who was Minister for Finance and then Taoiseach in 2008.

No one has ever doubted Mr Drury's integrity or his loyalty to his old friend from college.

It is also understood that Mr Drury arranged for Mr Cowen to call Sean FitzPatrick around St Patrick's Day in 2008 when he was in the Far East, representing the Government.

Presumably Mr Drury was facilitating one friend to speak to another friend about a potential banking crisis that could impact on the economy.

Standing down as a director of Anglo Irish Bank five weeks after Mr Cowen was elected Taoiseach in May 2008 certainly showed an instinct for good timing on Mr Drury's part.

But those same well-honed instincts may also be telling him to stay well clear of the Cowen-Anglo controversy.

Irish Independent

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