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Colm McCarthy: Don't look back in anger but warnings were there

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TAOISEACH BRIAN COWEN SPEAKING TO MEDIA ALONGSIDE  MINISTER FOR FINANCE BRIAN LENIHAN  DURING THE GOVERNMENT PRESS BRIEFING ON THE ECONOMY AT GOVERNMENT BUILIDINGS YESTERDAY AFTERNOON.

 PIC STEVE HUMPHREYS.

 8TH JULY 2008.

TAOISEACH BRIAN COWEN SPEAKING TO MEDIA ALONGSIDE MINISTER FOR FINANCE BRIAN LENIHAN DURING THE GOVERNMENT PRESS BRIEFING ON THE ECONOMY AT GOVERNMENT BUILIDINGS YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. PIC STEVE HUMPHREYS. 8TH JULY 2008.

TAOISEACH BRIAN COWEN SPEAKING TO MEDIA ALONGSIDE MINISTER FOR FINANCE BRIAN LENIHAN DURING THE GOVERNMENT PRESS BRIEFING ON THE ECONOMY AT GOVERNMENT BUILIDINGS YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. PIC STEVE HUMPHREYS. 8TH JULY 2008.

On the night of September 29, 2008, ministers and officials gathered in Government Buildings to consider the crisis at Anglo Irish Bank. Their solution was the much-reviled bank guarantee, which has led to Exchequer costs totalling about 50 per cent of Ireland's annual national income.

Those willing to exonerate the decision-makers point to their ignorance of the true extent of insolvency in the Irish banking system. This is a reasonable point – if those who gathered in Merrion Street that night had been informed that every single bank was bust and that the bill for bank rescue would exceed €60bn, leading the State itself into insolvency, they would, on this line of argument, have followed a less costly course.


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