Friday 23 February 2018

Bertie Ahern: 'I wish I had foreseen the financial crash'

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he will appear before a banking inquiry but dismissed the idea he should have seen the financial crash coming while he was in office.

The former Fianna Fail leader, who led the country through the Celtic Tiger years,  said he “wished” he foresaw the banking crisis because he “might have been able to do something.”

“Unfortunately it all happened after my time,” he said.

Mr Ahern was forced to step down as leader of Fianna Fail after the publication of the Mahon Report on payments to politicians for planning decisions.

He was succeeded by Brian Cowen who introduced the bank guarantee scheme and oversaw the financial bailout.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk, Mr Ahern said he thought he might have missed signs but reports from the time gave no indication that the banking system would collapse.

 “I have read back the ESRI and OCED reports and all the other reports and one of the lines that’s right in 2008, in all of those reports, is that our banking system is very sound and healthy,” he said.

Mr Ahern, who infamously said economists predicting the collapse of the housing market should killed themselves, laughed at the suggestion of listening to dissident views.

“They are normally wrong actually, the voices in the wilderness, and now and again they are right,” he said.

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