Ireland’s Cowen Says Anglo Irish Contacts Not ‘Inappropriate’

Ireland’s Prime Minister Brian Cowen said there is “no question of inappropriate behaviour” when he met Sean Fitzpatrick, former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Corp, a few months before the September 2008 Irish banking guarantee.

“There is no question of any inappropriate behaviour in respect of me in that matter at any time,” Cowen told the parliament in Dublin today. “I had no more closer a relationship with Mr Fitzpatrick as the chairman of Allied Irish Bank or Bank of Ireland. I met them all from time to time. I acted appropriately at all times.”

Cowen had contact, including playing golf, with Fitzpatrick in July 2008, according to a book ‘The Fitzpatrick Tapes,” published Jan. 9. In September, Ireland guaranteed the deposits and liabilities of all its banks.

“I want to make it crystal clear that every decision we made in a time of great crisis in this country was objectively based,” Cowen said. Every decision was taken to protect Ireland, he said.

Anglo Irish was nationalized in 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at cheatley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dara Doyle at ddoyle1@bloomberg.net

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