Monday 22 July 2019

'I have no apology to make' - McCreevy to bank probe

Former finance minister Charlie McCreevy in 2003. Photo: Tony Gavin
Former finance minister Charlie McCreevy in 2003. Photo: Tony Gavin

Clodagh Sheehy

Former finance minister Charlie McCreevy has claimed the Fianna Fail-led coalition he served in before the economic crash was "the most responsible than any other government in the history of the State".

And Mr McCreevy denied making any mistakes during his term as finance minister between 1997 and 2004, when he was appointed as European Commissioner by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

"You'd only apologise for things you got very much wrong. I don't believe that I did," he said.

But during a heated day of evidence before the Banking Inquiry, Mr McCreevy was warned he could face criminal sanctions unless he discussed whether or not he believed a property bubble took place.

Mr McCreevy, who received a ministerial pension of almost €54,812 last year on top of an EU pension, was also asked about his relationship with property developer Sean Dunne, whose wedding he attended in 2004 on Aristotle Onassis's yacht, 'Christina O'.

He confirmed he had been friends with Mr Dunne for many years but replied: "I think this is a ridiculous question, Deputy, with respect."

Mr McCreevy's unapologetic performance came ahead of the appearance of his successor in the Department of Finance, former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, before the inquiry today.

At one point, the inquiry was suspended for 17 minutes as Mr McCreevy refused five times to answer a question about the existence of a property bubble.

After seeking legal advice, chairman Ciaran Lynch told Mr McCreevy if he refused to answer a question which fell under his remit he may be subject to criminal sanctions.

Irish Independent

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