Brian Cowen has again been unmasked in his dealings with the Anglo Board. He never mentioned another social encounter at the Druid’s Glen golf course with Anglo-Irish Bank directors in the crucial months running up to the bank bailout.
And in the Dail yesterday, he let slip that yet another Anglo director was present – Gary McCann.
McCann is one of the eleven most connected directors in Ireland, according to a TASC report, Mapping the Golden Circle. He was also a member of the board of Smurfit Kappa and a chairperson of the Dublin Airport Authority. In 2008, his salary package from Smurfit amounted to €2.8 million and that makes him one of the top cronies who run Irish business. Just the sort of VIP that Cowen likes to socialise with.
While Cowen was socialising with the Anglo directors, their shares were falling through the floor. In a desperate attempt to rescue them, the bank gave out loans to a Golden Circle of ten people who attempted to intervene in the market to manipulate share prices. These included the top Fianna Fail supporters such as the builders Seamus Ross and Gerry Gannon.
Simultaneously, the Financial Regulator had adopted a ‘Green Jersey’ policy by demanding transaction records from stockbrokers to see if anyone was spreading ‘false rumours’ to cause a drop in Anglo-Irish share prices. A few months later, the same Financial Regulator, Patrick Neary, was informed that Anglo-Irish had received loans from Irish and Permanent for the sole purpose of ‘managing their books’. The loans were paid in before the annual accounts were published and then sent back to Irish Permanent later. Yet the response of Neary to this information provided by Anglo boss, Willie McAtteer, was simply to say ‘Fair play to you, Willie’.
The population is expected to believe that, among all these desperate attempts to salvage the fortunes of the Irish rich,
1. Patrick Neary operated entirely alone in his ‘green jersey’ policy.
2. In Cowen’s frequent meetings with Anglo Directors he never discussed their salvage operation.
3. And that he was not in the slightest influenced by the fact that wealthy Fianna Fail backers were desperate for state help.
Pull the other one.