Cowen urged to 'clarify' extent of Anglo knowledge
Published 08/11/2010 | 05:00
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen was last night urged to "clarify" if he knew about Anglo Irish Bank's financial state as far back as April 2008, writes Aine Kerr.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Mr Cowen must respond to allegations he was told Anglo Irish Bank was haemorrhaging deposits and facing severe liquidity problems in April 2008.
But a spokeswoman for the Taoiseach has refused to respond to the allegations, saying Mr Cowen did not respond to comment from anonymous sources.
The issue of how much the Government knew about Anglo Irish Bank's problems before the state guarantee in September 2008 is highly sensitive, given the billions it is costing taxpayers.
The Taoiseach has previously told the Dail that a dinner on April 24, 2008, which he attended as Finance Minister, had "no relevance" at all to the economic and banking situation.
Mr Cowen was a keynote speaker at the private dinner for top Anglo executives, including former chief executive Sean FitzPatrick, in April 2008 -- just weeks before becoming Taoiseach and months before Anglo Irish Bank had to be bailed out.
The Taoiseach has previously described the dinner event in 2008 as a "long-standing dinner engagement with Anglo".
But the opposition has repeatedly queried if Mr Cowen raised questions about the bank's finances at that dinner and whether he had any forewarning about the financial state of the bank.
Putting pressure on the Taoiseach to comment publicly on the claims, Mr Kenny said Mr Cowen "should clarify" if anything was said to him about the bank's financial state at the April 2008 dinner.
"It requires clarification from the Taoiseach," Mr Kenny said.
The Fine Gael leader has previously claimed the Taoiseach had a report on his desk at the time warning of the dangers of the property bubble.