Former taoiseach Brian Cowen has said there is nobody more sorry than him about what happened to the Irish economy.

Mr Cowen was speaking after launching a book in Edenderry in Co Offaly.

He said there was no government in the western world that could honestly say it had seen the collapse of the international markets coming.

Mr Cowen, who was Taoiseach from 2008 to 2011, said he was not responsible for everything that happened.

He said he had retired from political life and did not intend to engage in tit-for-tat commentary or political controversy.

Mr Cowen said he would deal with any issues that arise in any forthcoming Government inquiry on what he described as an "unprecedented situation".