Barry Cowen staunchly defends brother’s time as taoiseach

TD says banking inquiry report found no FF role in collusion or treason as alleged by FG and Labour rivals

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has staunchly defended his brother, former taoiseach Brian Cowen, following the publication of the Oireachtas banking inquiry’s final report.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has staunchly defended his brother, former taoiseach Brian Cowen, following the publication of the Oireachtas banking inquiry’s final report. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.

 

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has staunchly defended his brother, former taoiseach Brian Cowen, following the publication of the Oireachtas banking inquiry’s final report.

Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday night, during a debate on homelessness, Mr Cowen said the Fine Gael-led Government had wanted the publication of the committee’s report to be the launch pad for their re-election.

However, he said the facts did not back the Coalition’s hope up.

Barry Cowen said the banking inquiry report did not find an axis of collusion between the party and developers as alleged by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Referring to comments made about his brother, he said: “There was no mention of acts of treason by any member of the last government as was alleged by deputy [EAMON]Gilmore to the cat calls of his colleagues.”

Mr Gilmore, the former tánaiste, had alleged that Brian Cowen was guilty of economic treason for his role in the State’s loss of its “economic sovereignty”.

Barry Cowen continued: “No mention of there being documents shredded in the offices of the Department of Taoiseach now occupied by Enda Kenny considering he said that he had sought to find those documents despite the fact they were in the hands of the Department of Finance.”

“Rather there was confirmation of the fact that the Central Bank and the regulator assured the government of the solvency of Irish banks.”

In his evidence to the inquiry, Brian Cowen said there was no intention to mislead the Irish public about his government’s talks with the EU and IMF on a bailout programme in November 2010, but he accepted it was a “miscalculation” on his part not to reveal the fact sooner.

He also said he still believed the blanket bank guarantee decision made on the night of September 29th 2008 was the best one that could have been taken given the information available to the government then.