Cowen's golf trip

July 28, 2008: Druid’s Glen

Taoiseach Brian Cowen
Sean FitzPatrick (Anglo)
Fintan Drury (Anglo)
Gary McGann (Anglo)
Alan Gray (Appointed in 2007 by Cowen as a Director of the Central Bank/Financial Regulator)

Hmm. Gary McGann certainly rings a bell. Remember he resigned from the board of Anglo just prior to nationalisation.

On January 21, 2002, Mr McGann was appointed to the board of Anglo Irish Bank, along with Tom Browne (then head of its wealth management division).

In 2007, Mr McGann was named as a shareholder in ISTC, the group that collapsed that year with debts of €871m. The group was started in 2005 by former Anglo executive Tiernan O’Mahony. Denis O’Brien and Sean Quinn were also said to be shareholders.

Mr McGann, a past president of IBEC, was also involved in a company called Tysan Invesments with John Kerry Keane: A private individual who is active in the media sector, Paul Coulson: Chairman of Ardagh plc and a director of other companies, Denis O’Brien: A private individual who is active in the media sector, Lindat Limited: The owner of this company is the Chairman of Harcourt Holdings which is active in the property sector in Ireland, Britain and overseas, Lar Bradshaw: Chairman of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and amongst other things, serves as a non-executive director of Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc, Sean Fitzpatrick: A non-executive chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc and serves as a non-executive director of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, Greencore plc, and Aer Lingus, Paddy Wright: Chairman of the RTE Authority and a non- executive director of Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc, Sean Melly: An entrepreneur who is active in the media sector, Pat Gunne: Chief Executive of Gunne Group which is active in the property sector in Ireland, Longstone Estates Limited: A property holding company owned by a family Trust, Lochlann Quinn: Deputy Chairman of Glen Dimplex which is active in the manufacture of electric heating and domestic appliances. Additionally, he is a Director of The Merrion Hotel. Tysan was involved in the purchase of the Atrium Microsoft building in Dublin. Mr McGann became the chairman of the DAA upon its creation in 2004.

Of course Fintan Drury was also appointed by Noel Dempsey to the RTE authority. Paddy Wright (deceased) was a former president of the Jefferson Smurfit group and a former chairman of the RTÉ Authority. Mr Wright had also been chairman of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, deputy chairman of Aer Lingus and president of the employer’s body, the CII. He was also director of Anglo-Irish Bank. Lochlainn Quinn is Labour TD Ruairi Quinn’s brother, and a cousin of Superquinn founder Fergal Quinn (who himself declared a registered interested in Anglo related companies, though later said this was a mistake). The list goes on, and on…

So are we to believe that three directors or former directors of Anglo Irish Bank, who between them have connections to Sean Quinn, RTE, the DDDA, the DAA, Aer Lingus and IBEC, and a member of the board of the Financial Regulator, played golf with the leader of the country in July 2008, and that Anglo Irish Bank was never discussed?

11 thoughts on “Cowen's golf trip”

  1. Yesterday in the Oireachtas the Taoiseach said:

    “We were joined that evening by Alan Gray, an economic consultant, Gary McGann, the chief executive of Smurfit Kappa, and my Garda driver, who also attended the lunch.”

    Why did the Taoiseach not identify the connection between Alan Gray and Gary McGann and Anglo. Here were four senior Anglo employees (board members) having dinner with the Taoiseach and his Garda driver – no-one else. Elsewhere the Taoiseach said

    ” So far as I recall, there was no discussion about Anglo Irish Bank, none” and “I was not there for that purpose [discussion about Anglo], I was there for a broad economic discussion.”

    It seemed to me that the Taoiseach has a clear set of tactics in tackling questions on his dealings and personal contact with Anglo

    (1) Ignore the specific questions which might extract tangible information which might subsequently be verified.
    (2) Proceed to the implication of the question and give a roundhouse denial and justification of economic policy in 2008
    (3) Minimise the giving of specific information which might subsequently be verified, even when robustly and repeatedly questioned
    (4) Challenge the questioner to reveal wrongdoing in word or deed, in particular subsequent word or deed that resulted from a particular contact with Anglo

    Of course the most damning word or deed that succeeded these contacts was the provision of the blanket guarantee in September 2008 which included a guarantee of €15bn to subordinated debtholders (3.3% of €440bn) and to existing bondholders as opposed to future bondholders. A limited guarantee was supported by Patrick Honohan for example.

    We do not have the detail of the meeting at the end of September 2008 which resulted in the guarantee. Was the Taoiseach swayed or persuaded to act in a particular manner by pleadings made or information given at the dinner in July 2008?

    I find it incredible that the Taoiseach did not discuss Anglo business during a dinner with four Anglo employees and his Garda driver. And no-one else. During a very shaky period of Anglo’s history. The Taoiseach says he did not discuss Anglo business. Mind you he is stating his recollection and he emphasises this ” I am stating my recollection” so he might be mistaken.

    Ultimately we may never know what was discussed or what, if any, actions sprung or were influenced from any discussion. It will be for people to decide for themselves if they believe the Taoiseach and for myself I must say I find his statement incredible. And I might be reading more into it that justified but I wonder why the Taoiseach didn’t confirm the connection of the Mr Gray and McGann with Anglo yesterday.

  2. Oops, it seems that David Drumm didn’t attend the dinner so it was the Taoiseach, three (not four) Anglo employees (board members) and a Central Bank of Ireland board member and the Garda driver at the dinner.

  3. Cowen would be better to play with the Devil than that gang.
    The man is in denial,as also his FF party.Nothing changed
    with his takeover of the party,and the sooner there removed
    the better for the country,including the withering Greens
    plus Harney.It’s a new low in politics with moral values.
    God save Ireland.

  4. Have you ever managed to get Brian Cowen’d diary from March 2008 to see when exactly he had the meeting with the CB/FR that informed him about the Quinn shareholding in Anglo before his call with Seanie on Paddy’s day.

  5. Funny but I have discussed this matter with a considerable number of friends and none of them can credit that the Taoiseach could have spent 7 or 8 hours in the company of some of these people and that the question of the parlous state of A nglo would not have merited some reference at some stage in the proceedings—have I got strange friends?

  6. the worst part is the people most hurt by FF and their cronies will emigrate so they wont be around to vote against them come election time

Comments are closed.