Saturday 16 December 2017

Taoiseach refuses to take blame for mess

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen repeatedly refused to accept any responsibility for the banking meltdown -- pointing once again to the international nature of the crisis.

Mr Cowen was accused of being culpable from his period as finance minister.

But the Taoiseach insisted it has been an international financial crisis.

He said: "The idea that Ireland would've been immune to what has happened in relation to the fall of Lehman and the total meltdown of the international financial system, it's time we actually recognised that this country couldn't be immune from those developments."

Mr Cowen rejected suggestions from Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny that he was responsible for policies that created the property bubble.

"The deputy will be aware that we've had a global banking crisis in this country, in this world, for the last two years," he said.

Later Mr Cowen said it had always been his position that every government accepted responsibility "insofar as it applies to it" -- and then proceeded to point to the global nature of the crisis and the Government's actions since September 2008.

The Green Party also backed Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's banking strategy.

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan admitted he had originally sought the nationalisation of the entire banking sector 18 months ago, but said this was the wrong approach and would have cost the country more in the long run.

He said the banking crisis was the "worst market failure in the history of the State", but not the first in that sector.

"What we have to do is face up to that problem now and deal with it," he said.


Mr Ryan said Anglo Irish Bank operated under a "false fraudulent banking model".

He also said other parties were responsible for fuelling the boom.

"The political system let us down, but I feel we need to move on now," he added.

Hailing the much sharper discount applied by NAMA, the minister said he was proud of his party's role in the actions taken by the Government over the past 18 months.

"The Green Party in government has done several difficult things," he added.

Irish Independent

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