Monday 20 November 2017

Conor Lenihan: 'There's no doubt they had a difference of opinion but Cowen didn't overrule my brother'

Former TD Conor Lenihan
Former TD Conor Lenihan

David Kearns

Former Fianna Fáil front bencher Conor Lenihan believes ex-Taoiseach Brian Cowen did not overrule his late brother when it came to guaranteeing Anglo Irish.

The former TD and Minister of State said Professor Patrick Honohan had introduced the idea of Mr Brian Lenihan being overruled by the then Taoiseach, but that such an idea failed to take into account how “discussions between ministers were often a great deal more subtle than one person overruling another”.

Speaking briefly to RTE’s News At One, Mr Lenihan said today's evidence at the Bank Inquiry was broadly in line with “what we understand of that period”.

“There’s no doubt that there was a difference of opinion about the nationalisation versus the broad guarantee given in relation to Anglo.

“But I don’t believe it was a matter of serious disagreement, it was just a difference of emphasises.”

He told RTE that Mr Cowen was correct when he said the least injurious option was entertained in relation to the guarantee, saying it was not an ideal solution to the difficulties being faced at that time but that it “was the only one that could effectively be used to protect the public and protect depositors in Irish banks.”

Meanwhile, Independent TD Shane Ross has said Mr Cowen's answers at the Banking Inquiry are somewhat "unconvincing".

He told News At One that the former Taoiseach’s answers were "opaque" and it will be left to the committee to judge.

Mr Ross said that it will never be possible for anyone to contradict whether he overruled, or persuaded Brian Lenihan and he questioned why they had not agreed anything in advance.

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