In September 2004, Deputy Brian Cowen was appointed Minister for Finance. In accepting the seal of office as Minister for Finance, he undertook to defend the interests of the Irish taxpayer and to protect the stability of the Irish economy in so far as that was possible. Yesterday, we saw the culmination of the stewardship of the Taoiseach.
On 24 April 2008, a month before he became Taoiseach and in his capacity as Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen attended a private dinner organised by his good friend, Mr. Drury, along with Seán FitzPatrick and the board of Anglo Irish Bank at a restaurant in Dublin. At that stage, because the IMF report was on his desk indicating that the property situation in Ireland was about to burst, he knew, because he had extended the facility for loans in respect of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority site, that Mr. FitzPatrick and others were both on the board of the authority, as pointed out by Deputy Hogan, and on the board of Anglo Irish Bank. The Taoiseach also knew of the difficulties that a senior investor in Anglo Irish Bank, Mr. Seán Quinn, was having in respect of shares as the Taoiseach and the regulator had been informed of that.
All of this took place during the Taoiseach's tenure as Minister for Finance, when his duty was to defend the interests of the Irish taxpayer and to protect the stability of the Irish economy. It is the Taoiseach's view that Anglo Irish Bank was systemic to the Irish economy and he spoke to those bankers about the Irish economy. At the private dinner in 2008 with the board of Anglo Irish Bank, did the Taoiseach discuss these issues with the board and these bankers? Did he ask questions that a good Minister for Finance should ask in respect of what was a situation clearly beginning to spiral out of control, and which culminated yesterday in the Taoiseach and his Government imposing an extra debt of €50,000 on every family in the country which they did not ask for, did not cause and for which they are not responsible? It is the Taoiseach who is responsible.