Business Irish

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Maeve Dineen: 'Victim' FitzPatrick's book is just self-indulgent claptrap

Maeve Dineen

If the Celtic Tiger had an anthem it would be, "Non, je ne regrette rien".

There we were thinking Seanie was doing little else other than playing golf in Delgany, helping gardai with their enquiries and making fleeting appearances in the bankruptcy courts, when all the time he was working away, helping to prepare his own unique version of the Edith Piaf classic.

"When people talk about ruin and losses, I am one of the biggest victims of it," and with that Sean FitzPatrick the disgraced ex-head of Anglo Irish Bank breaks his silence in a new book -- 'The FitzPatrick Tapes'.

He is a victim that few of us have much sympathy for and he won't exactly ingratiate himself with too many people with any new disclosures in the book. But it does give us an insight into the man who has become the public face of our bankrupt country.

It is, of course, full of tittle-tattle about businessmen, regulators, politicians and accountants.

Unsurprisingly, "I", "me" or "my" are the most frequently used words in the book.

Such is his self-regard that Mr FitzPatrick seems to lack all sense of irony, when he says: "It was not about the money -- it was about the thrill of the deal. I was not trying to increase wealth -- I was trying to spend it."

Well I suppose he's being original. I'm tired of people saying money is just a way of keeping scores. Instead Seanie openly admits that he enjoyed spending the money that the rest of the nation will have to stump up for now.

But be under no illusion, the egotism of the man who is the main reason the taxpayer will stump up at least €35bn for Anglo Irish Bank is jumping off the pages. None more obvious than when he says, with an apparent straight face: "We (bankers) were admired for making money and doing it well.

"People on the board loved the culture within the bank, they would get presentations and go 'Jesus Christ'."

He adds further on in the book that, he never stayed up at night worrying about his enormous investments, because he thought they were going to be okay.

Arrogance

But there's one line that really shows his breathtaking arrogance and insensitivity, and that is: "I have to get on and live my life."

Yes, you do Seanie -- but could you ever do it quietly or perhaps, more preferably, from behind bars? This nonsense is equivalent to the Government saying: "We are where we are". At one level, it's undoubtedly true but it is also trite.

I'm starting to think that all the players just want to get on with their lives and pretend the past few years didn't happen like Bertie Ahern is doing, and the dozens of FF TDs who don't have the bottle to stand in the next election.

This is just self-indulgent claptrap and we're being far too easy on them, and indeed ourselves, by saying "C'mon just get on with it now".

Like many people who use their memoirs to settle old scores, Seanie can't help himself either and has a pop at almost everyone from the ex- financial regulator Patrick Neary ("I never thought he was over-endowed with grey matter") to his successor David Drumm ("He was running his own show").

And while he does accept a certain level of responsibility, he joins the long list of people at the top who believed: "We were all in this together."

It was only a matter of time, really.

Most of us believe the banking crisis was the regulator's fault. We've had a property developer write a book telling us it was the bankers' fault, and especially those at Anglo Irish. So, it's only logical that we now get a banker's book blaming the rest of us.

You have to wonder what book will come next? 'My Brilliant Career' by Fingers; 'Nobody warned me' by Brian Cowen; 'How I saved Ireland and did my patriotic duty' by Brian Lenihan; 'How to lose friends and alienate people' by Bertie; or my personal favourite, 'Start your own business in the US', by David Drumm.

Irish Independent

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