So what did Cowen and golf pal discuss?

Cormac Murphy

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen was under pressure today to explain the full extent of his dealings with golf buddy Sean FitzPatrick.

Opposition parties have demanded Mr Cowen give a full account of two previously undisclosed contacts with the disgraced former Anglo Irish Bank boss.

It's now emerged the Taoiseach played a full 18 holes of golf with the bankerin July 2008 in Druids Glen and had dinner afterwards. But the deepening bank crisis wasn't discussed, both men say.

Green Party leader John Gormley is expected to discuss the controversy with the Taoiseach.

Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar said the revelations raise questions over the Taoiseach's relationship with Mr FitzPatrick.

Mr Varadkar insisted Mr Cowen now needs to go on the record about how much he knew about the banking crisis and why he did not act sooner.


"It does indicate that Brian Cowen knew a little bit more about the emerging banking crisis than we have been led to believe in the past," the Fine Gael spokesman on communications and energy told RTE.

The former chief executive and chairman of Anglo said he rang the Taoiseach in March 2008 when the lender's share price was collapsing.

He claims that, during the conversation, he told the then finance minister, there was an issue with the bank shares held by businessman Sean Quinn.

Mr FitzPatrick, in interviews given for a new book The FitzPatrick Tapes, has apologised for the first time over the collapse of the bank.

Extracts from the book, written by Sunday Times journalists Tom Lyons and Brian Carey, were published yesterday.

Fianna Fail TDs have admitted the claims are damaging to the Taoiseach's leadership of the party and the country.

However, Mr Cowen has insisted he and Mr FitzPatrick did not discuss financial affairs during the golf game and dinner, which was a "social occasion".