Former Irish leader Brian Cowen admits blame for Irish economic collapse
Said he often wonders what his government could have done differently
Brian Cowen, the former Prime Minister of Ireland, had admitted that his Government should accept some blame for Ireland’s economic downfall.
The Irish Times reports Cowen addressed a closed event at Georgetown University in Washington last Wednesday. During his speech he said he often wonders what his government could have done differently.
“All in authority have to take their share of responsibility for our present dilemma, and I, taoiseach at the time and a former minister for finance, do so more than most,” Cowen said.
During his lecture which was over 8,000 words Cowen said the “understandable need” to find someone to blame often resulted in the complexity of the situation being oversimplified.
“Given what we now know, it is clear that serious mistakes were made in individual European countries, including Ireland.”
His remarks, which are the first time he addressed the issue since leaving public office only came to light this week.
“Governments make mistakes in good times and in bad times and I and others have apologised for those made by my government and for previous governments led by my party,” he said.
The former Fianna Fail leader said that in hindsight budgetary policy in Ireland following the economic crisis “should have leaned more heavily against the wind”.
The former Irish leader defended his Government’s introduction of the controversial banking guarantee in 2008.
“It subsequently transpired the banks were insolvent, but that was not known at the time.”
"Whether a narrower guarantee would have staved off an implosion of the banking system at a lower cost to the state is a matter for economic historians to ruminate on," Cowen added.
"We had to deal with this crisis in real time. Our view at the time was that we would get one shot at calming the markets."
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