Brian Cowen didn't wait for the report of the Moriarty Tribunal into Charlie Haughey's financial affairs before appointing one of the key witnesses as the new chairman of the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission (NPRFC).
This is not just any old State sinecure. The NPRFC controls billions of State money, over €10 billion at this stage.
Its new chairman, appointed to the position on 20 December by Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, is Paul Carty. He is well known in business circles as a former managing partner of Deloitte and Touche chartered accountants, a firm from which he has retired.
The wider public may know him better for evidence given to the Moriarty tribunal. He was a director of Celtic Helicopters, involved in paying Charles Haughey's bills and audited accounts for companies involving property developer John Byrne and former Fianna Fáil TD Denis Foley (both Ansbacher account holders).
All Cowen's short statement made reference to was Carty's former role with Deloitte and Touche Chartered Accountants (Ireland), his current roles as "a financial consultant... a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI), the Institute of Taxation in Ireland and the Institute of Directors."
Carty also appeared at the McCracken tribunal, the findings of which resulted in the establishment by the ICAI of the Blayney investigation into alleged malpractice by financial advisers to Dunnes Stores, Haughey and others.
However, Carty took legal action against the Blayney inquiry's work and initial findings and when it finally reported in 2003 there was no finding against him. His old firm, however, was reprimanded. There is no suggestion that Carty knowingly did anything improper in discharging his duties but he seems to have taken a lot at face value for a man now deemed appropriate for such an important position.
When Charles Haughey suggested Mr Carty was acting "in loco parentis" for Celtic Helicopters – of which he was a director from 1985 to 1992 – Carty strongly contested this, saying he was acting as a professional accountant taking instructions from a client.
Carty also gave evidence to the Moriarty tribunal about a €127,000 investment in the company made in 1982 by insurance broker Mike Murphy on behalf of a Monaco based businessman called David Gresty. Carty, by way of a third party, gave Murphy the details concerning an Ansbacher account in Zurich into which the investment should be paid. Carty got this information from Des Traynor, the tribunal heard.
Carty also met with Traynor and Jack Stakelum in 1991 to discuss the payment service for Charles Haughey as the Haughey Boland firm (of which Carty was part) was merging with Deloitte and Touche and Traynor had concerns about confidentiality. Carty told the Moriarty tribunal that £901,514 was spent settling Haughey's bills in the period August 1988 to January 1991 but that after a discussion with Traynor he formed the impression that the money used to settle Haughey's bills came from borrowings.
As auditor to companies controlled by John Byrne and Denis Foley, Carty said he was unaware of loans being repaid from the Ansbacher deposits or bogus documentation being prepared by the bank.
As Cowen's pre-Christmas statement pointed out, the NPRFC controls and manages the National Pensions Reserve Fund that was set up to meet as much as possible of the costs of social welfare and public service pensions from 2025 until at least 2055. It has discretionary authority to determine and implement the investment strategy of the Fund in order to obtain the optimum financial return, subject to prudent risk management.
Meanwhile, Cowen will hope that the Moriarty tribunal's eventual report into Charles Haughey's finances will be as acceptable to Carty as the ICAI's investigation was.