Doherty calls for Taoiseach to resign over Fitzpatrick revelations

Donegal South West TD Pearse Doherty has called for Taoiseach Biran Cowen to resign over the revelations that he had previously undisclosed contacts with former Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Sean FitzPatrick prior to the 2008 bank bail out.

Donegal South West TD Pearse Doherty has called for Taoiseach Biran Cowen to resign over the revelations that he had previously undisclosed contacts with former Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Sean FitzPatrick prior to the 2008 bank bail out.

In extracts from a new book published in the Sunday Times at the weekend FitzPatrick said he had dinner and played golf with the taoiseach at the exclusive Druid's Glen Golf Club in Co. Wicklow two months before the Government introduced the bank guarantee scheme to help save the troubled banks.

FitzPatrick also revealed that he rang Mr Cowen in March 2008 to discuss problems with Anglo's market situation, and the shareholding of businessman Sean Quinn.

The taosieach has admitted the previously undisclosed contacts with FitzPatrick and was yesterday under pressure to make a full statement on the issue. The taoiseach will also face scrutiny on the matter during leaders questions in the Dil tomorrow. Due to Dil rules Sinn Fin are not able to table a no confidence for a number of weeks but Deputy Doherty called on the opposition parties to do so.

Deputy Doherty said that the fact the taoiseach has kept meetings with FitzPatrick secret over the last year and a half indicates he has something to hide. He said the taoiseach had lost the confidence of the public and he deserves to lose the confidence of the Dil through a motion of no confidence.

Speaking to the Donegal Democrat, he said the revelations raised further questions over the motivations behind Government banking policy in the run up to September 2008 and the introduction of the bank guarantee.

"You can't go away and have a round of golf with Seanie FitzPatrick who is the now the subject of a Garda investigation and is partly to blame for bringing the IMF to our shores, and keep that from the Dil even after numerous times being quizzed about his relationship with the same individual.

"He has been caught here red-handed and he really needs to do the laudable thing now and step down. It is harsh but that is the reality. To try and convince us that this was just two friends on a day off having a round of golf and that they were not discussing anything to do with the banking crisis or the problems that Anglo Irish Bank was in is not good enough. It is just unbelievable."

"The revelations that he spoke by phone to Mr Fitzpatrick in March 2008 while still Minister for Finance in relation to the share prices in Anglo Irish Bank raises further questions about the cosy consensus between the Fianna Fil government and the bankers and speculators who have brought down the economy," he said.

"The taoiseach needs to come clean on the full extent of the Government's contacts with senior bankers in Anglo and other banks and how much they really knew when they introduced the bank guarantee in September 2008."