Anglo meal not related to crisis, says Cowen
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen insisted yesterday that a dinner he had with Anglo Irish Bank bosses two years ago had "no relevance" to the banking crisis.
Mr Cowen was a keynote speaker at a private dinner for top Anglo executives, including former chief executive Sean FitzPatrick, in April 2008 -- just weeks before becoming Taoiseach.
But Mr Cowen's officials insisted yesterday it was simply a social event and there was no contribution made to Fianna Fail by the bank for his attendance.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Mr Cowen had a report at the time warning of the dangers of the property bubble.
"He met those bankers and he knew there were difficulties in the property sector because of the IMF report on his desk," he said.
Mr Kenny said the dinner was organised by Mr Cowen's "good friend" Fintan Drury, who was an Anglo board member.
It is understood Mr Cowen agreed to attend the dinner as Mr Drury was about to retire from the board.
Describing the event as a "long-standing dinner engagement with Anglo", Mr Cowen said what was "being suggested" about the function had "no relevance" to the Government's handling of the banking sector.
Mr Cowen's spokesman said last night he accepted a long-standing invitation to the dinner and he attended a number of similar events with other institutions.