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Cowen threatens to sue over 'Golfgate' claims

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen last night angrily denied any wrongdoing during his controversial contacts with Anglo Irish Bank chief over a round of golf at Druids Glen.

Mr Cowen told Sinn Fein Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain that if he had any evidence of wrongdoing, then he should make those claims outside the Dail chamber and he would see him in court.

The Taoiseach's robust defence occurred just 45 minutes before he left the Dail chamber for a motion of confidence in his leadership of Fianna Fail.

Sinn Fein raised the so-called 'Golfgate' controversy again in the Dail yesterday and grilled the Taoiseach on why he had failed to originally mention holding an economic think-tank with three figures connected with Anglo Irish Bank.

The Taoiseach met with former Anglo boss Sean FitzPatrick, former director at the bank Gary McGann, former director Fintan Drury and economic consultant Alan Gray in Druids Glen in July 2008.

The golf and dinner meeting took place just months before the blanket state guarantee was introduced.

But Mr Cowen has repeatedly insisted Anglo Irish Bank was not discussed during these meetings.

Mr O Caolain yesterday queried if the Anglo contacts were "inappropriate" -- but Mr Cowen insisted there was "no evidence whatsoever" of any wrongdoing.

And he claimed that if Sinn Fein had any evidence to the contrary, it should say it outside the Dail chamber where TDs don't have any legal protection.

"And I'll see you in court," Mr Cowen told Mr O Caolain.


The Taoiseach assured Mr O Caolain there was "nothing whatsoever to worry about" when it came to the meetings contacts in Druid's Glen, which took place on his day off.

"There is no question of any inappropriate behaviour on my behalf in relation to having a meal after a golf game," Mr Cowen told the Dail.

The Taoiseach said the golf and dinner meeting had "no relevance" to the overall banking situation and there was nothing "untoward" taking place.

"There's not a shred of evidence to suggest there was," Mr Cowen said.

He launched a robust defence of his overall record in Government, claiming everything he had done was in the interests of the public good.

Earlier, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said he had been unhappy with the "recent developments in relation to a certain golf game".

"I think they showed lapses of judgment," Mr Lenihan said of the Anglo Irish Bank contacts and the under-par 'Morning Ireland' interview.

Irish Independent