Cowen gets his spade out and keeps digging

Taoiseach’s threat of legal action – Questions from Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin
January 18, 2011

Commenting on the threat of legal action from the Taoiseach Brian Cowen during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Tuesday Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

“During the course of Leaders’ Questions today the Taoiseach Brian Cowen stated to me:

‘There is no relevance whatever to me having a dinner with regard to what I do in the course of my duties. If the Deputy has any suggestion or evidence to the contrary, he should not abuse the privilege of this House. Let him go outside and say it and I will see him in court.’

“I am taking the opportunity of a public statement to say that the Taoiseach’s dinner with senior figures in Anglo-Irish Bank and a director of the Central Bank was and is relevant to his duties. I repeat outside the Dáil the questions I asked in the Dáil chamber and which the Taoiseach did not answer, instead threatening legal action.

“These are:

“How appropriate was it that a director of the Central Bank, appointed by the Taoiseach, would be engaged in debate on matters fiscal and economic, job creation and budgetary issues with three, either then or previous, senior directors of Anglo Irish Bank?

“Why did it take a question from me in the course of Leaders’ Questions for the Taoiseach to offer the information that it was not only a golf outing with Seán FitzPatrick and Fintan Drury, but that he was also meeting that evening with Gary McGann and Alan Gray, a director of the Central Bank and a member of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, whom the Taoiseach had appointed when Minister for Finance in January 2007? Why did the Taoiseach not offer that information previously?

“What is the situation on the Taoiseach’s dinner with the board of Anglo Irish Bank in April 2008 and Mr. David Drumm’s claim that he spent at least an hour briefing him on the issues in regard to Anglo Irish Bank? Is Mr. Drumm lying or is it that the Taoiseach cannot recall all of the details?

“It has been reported that Mr. Drumm has secured a deal with Anglo Irish Bank which will block the Garda Síochána gaining access to confidential reports which are to be revealed in the context of Mr. Drumm’s court case in the US.

“Is there any basis to these reports? Is there any fear that Mr. Drumm will evade full scrutiny in this jurisdiction and prosecution if same be appropriate because of this?

“Did the Minister for Finance or anyone approve such an arrangement as inferred from the reports before us?”