Brian Cowen at The 2013 Fianna Fail Ard Fheis
Mr Patrick Honohan [Governor of the Central Bank] said former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan had told him that he (Lenihan) argued for Anglo and Irish Nationwide to be nationalised on September 29, 2008.
The then minister also said he expressed the opinion that junior bondholders should have been excluded from the guarantee.
According to Mr Honohan, Mr Lenihan was overruled on both fronts.
When asked who had rejected the former Finance Minister’s view, he said the Taoiseach and Attorney General were the other political figures present on the night.
The role of the Attorney General (at the time it was barrister Paul Gallagher) is to advise the Cabinet. So it is reasonable to assume that Mr Lenihan was “overruled” by Mr Cowen.
Brian Cowen has even more banking questions to answer (David Murphy, RTÉ)
Brian Cowen knew from at least March 2008 of [Sean] Quinn’s giant gamble on Anglo [he controlled 28 per cent of the bank] after Sean FitzPatrick rang him on his mobile. In April 2008 he attended a dinner [at Heritage House] where he was introduced to Anglo’s board and executives by his college friend Fintan Drury, then an Anglo director. On Monday, July 28, 14 days after the Maple transaction, Cowen played golf and had dinner with Fitzpatrick, spending all day with him….
Did Brian Cowen Know About Anglo’s €2.3 Billion Loan To Quinn? (Broadsheet, July 30, 2012)
Tom Lyons and Brian Carey, in their book The Fitzpatrick Tapes, wrote that Brian Cowen met with Fintan Drury, who founded and sold Drury Communications which acted as PR advisor to Anglo, at least ten times between September 2004 and May 2008.
In contrast, Cowen met officials from the Financial Regulator only eight times during his term in office.
In relation to the dinner at Heritage House, Lyons and Carey wrote:
There was, according to FitzPatrick no discussion of the ghost at the banquet, Sean Quinn, or of FitzPatrick’s urgent phone call to Cowen only six weeks before. To an outsider it seems extraordinary that the issue would not have surfaced at the Heritage House dinner or that FitzPatrick did not draw Cowen aside to update him.
‘Sorry. I am not saying that it was right or wrong. I just didn’t do those things. I never saw politicians as important in that way. Clearly they were important but I never saw them as to be used or anything like that. I never saw…It never struck me once in my whole life that Fintan [Drury] would be very useful because he was on our board and because he knew Cowen so well. It never struck me once. In my life, I never asked him to do anything with the minister for finance when he was on the board of the bank ever. Never even gone near it.’
Even in exceptional circumstances surrounding the events of March 2008, there was no attempt to seek government support? ‘No’.”
The book also states that Drury resigned a day after the board of Anglo met at the five-star Fota Island hotel and golf resort in which Morgan Stanley gave a confidential presentation outlining Sean Quinn’s CFD position and Anglo had given the problem the code name ‘Maple’. The meeting saw David Drumm dial into the meeting from Boston. This was the last meeting before the Maple Ten transaction.
Mr Drury didn’t attend the Fota meeting and never publicly discussed the reasons for his resignation, according to Lyons and Carey.
[Business journalist] Simon Carswell: “Can I just put it in another way? If Sean Quinn then, as you put it, through 2008 as the share price was falling and he was deeply, in a heavily loss-making position in the margin calls why didn’t he say ‘no I don’t want your loans then, Anglo Irish Bank?’”
Patricia Gilheaney [Quinn family friend]: “Because he was told to put on the green jersey.” And that came from political pressure aswell and that will come out, Simon. And I think you know that.”
Carswell: “Well, perhaps you can explain that because there’s a reference in the Mail on Sunday at the weekend in an interview he gave where he had a conversation with Brian Cowen. I mean do you know anything about that?”
Gilheany: “I believe that Brian Cowen rang him in the days after, when Quinn Insurance went into administration.”
Tonight with Vincent Browne, July 29, 2012
Yesterday: “They Bought Into It”