Cowen: I did my duty when I asked IMF to bail out Ireland
FORMER Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said the previous government did its duty by inviting the IMF to bail Ireland out.
Speaking at a book launch, he congratulated the current Government for the country's imminent exit from the bailout programme.
"All I can wish everyone is that I hope they all get on well and do a bit better than I did," he said.
Mr Cowen, who rarely comments in public, defended his government's entry into the EU-IMF bailout programme.
"We did our duty," he said.
Mr Cowen was on hand to launch a book by journalist PJ Cunningham, 'Lie of the Land', an account of the writer's family background in Clara, Co Offaly, where they are both from.
Mr Cunningham thanked Mr Cowen for agreeing to launch the book, saying: "It's very easy to go with the flavour of the month, but I said to people, 'If Brian Cowen doesn't launch my book, I'll launch it myself'."
Talking to the Irish Independent after the launch, Mr Cowen spoke of the upcoming exit from the bailout that was sought in the final months of his government in 2010.
"It's nice to see that the programme is completed now," he said.
"You'd credit the Government with implementing what has to be achieved as was set out in the plan."
He said he had been in power "in unprecedentedly difficult times" and that it was "a matter for others to decide" if history would judge his time in power more kindly than the criticism that he has faced in recent years.
He added: "This was a really difficult time and things were happening in terms of the financial markets that were just way off the Richter scale.."