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Irish premier Cowen's silence over golf and talks with disgraced banker

Taoiseach Brian Cowen failed to inform Fianna Fail or Green Party ministers of previously undisclosed meetings with disgraced former Anglo Irish Bank chief Sean FitzPatrick.

Mr Cowen's hopes of staging a pre-election Fianna Fail fightback were dealt a devastating blow yesterday by damning new revelations about his cosy relationship with Mr FitzPatrick.

The Taoiseach will face questions over his failure to disclose personal dealings with the disgraced bank boss in the run-up to the 2008 bank guarantee, prompted by Anglo's near collapse. Mr FitzPatrick revealed he rang Mr Cowen in March 2008 to discuss problems with Anglo's market situation, and businessman Sean Quinn's troubled shareholding.

Mr Cowen also played a round of golf and had dinner with Mr FitzPatrick in July 2008.

Mr Cowen admits he did not tell his cabinet colleagues about his dealings with Mr FitzPatrick.

“There was no reason to inform other ministers, because the Taoiseach did what was required. He informed the Governor of the Central Bank of the content of the phone call,” his spokesman said.

Mr Cowen faces a showdown with Greens' leader John Gormley tomorrow. However, the talks are not expected to result in the junior coalition partners walking out of government before the expected election in March.

Belfast Telegraph