Shane Ross on calls for an Inquiry: “This is already a political battlefield…”

Following up on John’s post, Shane Ross said on RTE this morning that any inquiry into the Anglo Banking mess must be take place outside the political arena. He noted that Labour is already attacking Sinn Fein over their support of the bank guarantee scheme back in 2008. As John has already pointed out this is very delicate politically for Fianna Fail (tune in for Leaders Questions this afternoon for the first installment)…

Ross says the courts should be the route chosen, that the public have already rejected politicians having the power to investigate such matters at a referendum and the outcomes of the Moriarty and Flood tribunals were far from useful given the amount of money spent by the state.

Three senior officials from Anglo Irish are already going through the judicial process. Former chairman Seán FitzPatrick, former finance director Willie McAteer and former managing director of the bank in Ireland Pat Whelan in relation to charges of “giving unlawful financial assistance to buy shares” None of these yet feature in any of the tapes featured by the Independent.

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 11.12.30What really features here is the contempt these guys had for both the regulator and the Department of Finance. They were doing in their dying days exactly what they’d been doing all along: ie, robbing Peter to Paul. As money from German and UK savers (some of whom were to get very badly burnt later on) poured in they reveled in the fact they were headed for safe berth inside government.

Many of the problems illustrated in these dramatic tapes have already been addressed. Cheifest of these is a banking regulator who has teeth (Matthew Delderfield, aka ‘the foreigner’) and is not afraid to use them.

If there are legitimate questions left to ask they are the more mundane political questions as to why the skins of these blokes were rescued when it must have been known at quite senior levels of government, that Anglo Irish was not essential to the system.

As Jonathan Guthrie notes the absence of a robust inquiry of some description provides powerful testimony to the culture of poor scrutiny in the Republic

Anglo Irish appears to have gone on bluffing a nation to which it had doled out so much of the finance needed to pump up property prices. Such gamesmanship would contrast unfavourably with the stoicism of a population that shouldered a fiscal retrenchment equivalent to 17.5 per cent of output without rioting.

That shades into self-abnegation, however, in Ireland’s failure to hold a public inquiry into the crash, even after prime minister Brian Cowen, golf buddy of Anglo Irish’s bosses, had stepped down.

Here in the UK, indignant reports into the failure of bankers are like the No 43 bus: miss one and you can be sure another will come along in a few minutes. Ireland’s small, interconnected elite is less inclined to let it all hang out. Voters north of Hadrian’s Wall should ponder the possible parallels in an independent Scotland.

Ouch!

Try this old recording of a Today Tonight programme on property developer Patrick Gallagher who went bust back in 1982. The bank is much smaller as are the sums of money, but the cavalier manner with other people’s money and people’s entrancement with property speculation is sadly familiar…

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  • Attacking Sinn Fein’s support of the bank guarantee scheme back in 2008.

    Not hard to castigate them; they have consistently shown their total lack of understanding of economics.

  • Mick Fealty

    The point being though, politics is not what should be in focus… Banks, banking, and bankers should…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    In the U.S.A. they simply press criminal charges, here we spend a lot more money holding enquiries…….

    If we wish the American Investment Dollar to ever return to Ireland in any meaningful way, a few court sentences for top bankers and fewer G8 junkets in semi-bankrupt white elephant hotel complexes might just act as a lure!

    But Cameron’s useless Jamboree (so praised on Brian Walker’s 19th June Slugger thread) will hardly be repeatable when Fermanagh falls into a 2012 disaster movie cave-in in the wake of a few weeks of lucerative fracking (see Melanie’s posting on the Slugger “OFMdFM uses the new Entreprise Zones to effect another power grab on Planning….” thread).

  • Sp12

    “The point being though, politics is not what should be in focus”

    It’s an inevitability. The last word often slid into civil war politics yesterday, despite Hooper’s attempts to keep everything in focus.
    http://media.todayfm.com/listenback/98/monday/2/?uniqueID=330875
    Did anyone else notice the censored audio denoted by the beep in the tapes?
    I wonder whose name it will turn out to be.

    As for Labour attacking SF, I doubt they care in the least, Labour are the greens in waiting.

  • PaulT

    “Not hard to castigate them; they have consistently shown their total lack of understanding of economics.”

    Well Joe, SF did not vote for the bank guarantee, they voted to give the finance minister the power to put together a bank guarantee, when it was presented they rejected it, and they were right to, unlike Labour who have renewed the bank guarantee twice.

    As for their knowledge of economics, if it’s so bad why has FF nicked half their policies and why have FG now started nicking them.

    You’re a bit like Mick (and the rest of his merry band) one mention of SF and you all go out and howl at the moon. Which is why rubber-necking on Slugger is so entertaining, it gets more like Hitlers bunker in 1945 every day, as you lot continue to predict the imminent defeat of SF while in the meantime SF continue to grow North and South.

    If in doubt Joe go do a search on P.ie they’ve had some great threads on the pinching of SF economic polices by FF and FG, would be good for you to have a break from posting here every 30 seconds

  • Mick Fealty

    Paul T,

    Nice to have you back…

    “you lot continue to predict the imminent defeat of SF while in the meantime SF continue to grow North and South….”

    On this thread?

  • Paulk

    Well i just think this shows to be true what many have believed all along tbh, bankers knew exactly how bad their books were, lied about it, had the government on the hook and kept going back for more knowing they wouldn’t go to the wall.

    Another website i’ve been looking at said these tapes have been known about for around 4 years, so why are they coming to light now? Cui bono? As i see it no one really comes out of this smelling of roses….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I remember getting some idea of what was coming with all this at a rather well heeled party in West Cork about ten years back, but when politicians and bankers laughed cynically about these things socially back then it was a kind of proof that the Emerald Tiger Ireland had really started playing with the big boys and we/they could forget everything the Christian Brothers had whipped into us/them during those the dark cold years when we all walked about with lots of holes in our v necks.

    “Adult” behaviour, as in “Adult Movie.”

    Perhaps all of this coming out into the open, especially for those who did not know about it already, will make some of our masters act like real adults, but I doubt it.

  • I don’t believe I ever predicted any defeat of SF let alone an imminent one.
    If you don’t like what I write, then don’t read it. Mick decides who gets to stay.

  • Mick Fealty

    Paul K. That may well the case in Spain too. Why employ all those PhDs if they cannot tell how fast and how hard you are eating your own asset base.

  • sherdy

    I think the tapes in Monday’s news were especially indicative of intention to commit fraud, followed by the actual commission of the offence.
    Is it not time the Gardai picked up the two arrogant thugs featured on the tapes and interrogated them with the intention to find out who knew what, who did what, and when.

  • Mick Fealty

    These tapes were in the possession of the Guards for four years….if case for fraud could be made out of it I suspect it would have been..

  • Sp12

    “These tapes were in the possession of the Guards for four years….if case for fraud could be made out of it I suspect it would have been..”

    Haha, do you honestly believe that?

  • Mick Fealty

    Up to now, yes. But when the facts change….

  • Greenflag

    Shane Ross for Taoiseach .

    “That shades into self-abnegation, however, in Ireland’s failure to hold a public inquiry into the crash, even after prime minister Brian Cowen, golf buddy of Anglo Irish’s bosses, had stepped down.”

    Thats called the big CU (Cover Up ) or MPF (MAnaging Political Fallout ) or SOS (Save our Skins ) 🙁

    %^%#@&*

    So how did the Indo get the tapes from the Gardai ? Is there an election on the way or is the Labour Party about to scuttle the coalition earlier than expected?