No sympathy as 'scapegoat' claim sparks outrage
Published 10/01/2011 | 05:00
ANGLO Irish Bank shareholders last night reacted with fury at claims by its former boss Sean FitzPatrick that he was a scapegoat and was one of the biggest victims of the banking collapse.
Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne said he had very little sympathy for people like Mr FitzPatrick following the collapse of the bank.
"Either he knew full well what was going on, in which case he and others are utterly corrupt and criminal, or they didn't know, in which case there were monumentally incompetent and brainless," the broadcaster and road safety supremo told the Irish Independent.
"That was why shareholders were angry and why people his age had no time to recover from this setback."
Mr Byrne said that like many others, his pension shares were in Anglo, Bank of Ireland and AIB.
They were supposed to be "as safe as houses" but now those shares were worth nothing.
"He was the boss of the bank and his mistake was he thought it was his bank and that he could do what he liked with it," Mr Byrne added.
Author Tim Pat Coogan, who also had shares in the now nationalised bank, rejected suggestions Mr FitzPatrick was a scapegoat and one of the biggest victims of the banking collapse.
"He would have lost money, but to me he was one of the biggest perpetrators (of the collapse). He took the actions. He was the trend setter and all the other banks followed his example. I don't know how he can claim he is a scapegoat," he said.
Like many people, Mr Coogan said he wanted to know what happened, how the collapse happened and what was the political culpability.
He had recently suggested that the incoming government should introduce emergency powers -- as had been done to deal with the IRA -- to retrospectively deal not just with bankers and developers but those involved in a "golden circle" of greed who had been above the law. Mr Coogan said he would "allow" Mr FitzPatrick his right to get on and live his life "provided he lived a good portion of it behind bars".
Another well-known Anglo shareholder, former Kerry Gaelic footballer and publican Pat Spillane, said he had no sympathy for Mr FitzPatrick.
Nobody had yet been jailed for their part in "screwing" the country while people were being sent to prison for not paying their licence fee.
"Maybe nothing illegal was being done but people were playing the system," he said.
"He (Mr FitzPatrick) said he is a victim but he was part and parcel of the whole thing and was part of the reason the Irish economy is the way it is.
"The people who are not responsible for screwing the country are paying the price," Mr Spillane added.