Thursday 17 August 2017

The people who ruined us are still taking us for fools

They wasted millions, and we're left struggling with bills while they get off scot-free, writes Brendan O'Connor

It's no surprise that the people who ruined this country continue to make eejits of us all. Take David Drumm. Drumm is one of a handful people who really beggared this place. No small part of the €80bn that we and our children will pay off over the next while is the direct, personal responsibility of Drumm.

Drumm himself borrowed a few quid in his time. He personally owed Anglo, ie us, over €8m. Now it looks as if we will never see much of that €8m because Drumm fled to America and has now thrown himself into the loving arms of the kind US bankruptcy laws. We heard a lot about how the men who ruined this country were going to be pursued to the ends of the earth. So what are we doing about Drumm, who is only in America?

Well, we would certainly like him to come back. Asked on Friday if she thought Drumm should be returned to Ireland, Mary Harney said: "Yes. I would love that to be the case." Not just like it. She would love it. Well that's going to have Drumm quaking in his boots stateside, isn't it? Quaking with laughter. The best a senior minister can do is say she would love him to come back. Maybe if we say pretty, pretty please he'll hop on a plane. Maybe we should tell him it would be rude not to come back.

If Mary Harney's strong words weren't enough, Brian Cowen then waded in and said he agreed. He said everyone would like to see Drumm come home. He said "one would hope" that that would happen. So Harney would love it and Cowen hopes it happens. That's fighting talk, isn't it? If that doesn't work, perhaps we should threaten Drumm with the naughty step, tell him to go into a corner and think about what he's done

No wonder the small group of people who ruined this country refuse to show remorse, to temper their lavish lifestyles, or to face up to what they have done. No wonder they still have the gall to act self-righteous, as Paddy Shovlin did last week, when their chickens come home to roost. Shovlin and his partners are being asked to pay back about a tenth of the hundreds of millions they borrowed for one deal and Shovlin has basically said he can't pay it or the other millions he owes and there you go. He seems to feel he is being victimised by being asked to pay off his debts. Meanwhile, we're begging for money because we're short for a children's hospital. So that's it. None of the big boys are paying their debts and why would they, given that none of them have faced any consequences and the best the Taoiseach can do is hope they would pay it back. They're laughing at us. And meanwhile the only people paying our debts are us, the little people, the fools in the middle.

If we were any good, the whole lot of us would decide en masse to stop paying our mortgages. After all, if it's good enough for the big boys, it's good enough for us. And let's face it, what are any of them going to do about it? We'll just say we're suffering from moral hazard.

Sunday Independent

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