Opinion

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Banking inquiry insights show us that the real crisis may be yet to come

Economics professor John FitzGerald admitted to the banking inquiry that the Economic and Social Research Institute got it wrong
Economics professor John FitzGerald admitted to the banking inquiry that the Economic and Social Research Institute got it wrong
James Downey

James Downey

Now we know - not everything, but far more than we knew before about how the Irish financial establishment turned a boom of historic propositions in one of the worst economic crashes in history. And we know it thanks to an Oireachtas inquiry in which most of us had previously reposed little faith.

Dr John FitzGerald has impeccable credentials. He worked for the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) for over 30 years. In his evidence to the banking inquiry on Wednesday, he told a sensational story of hubris, ignorance and complacency.

He did not start in the usual place, the bank guarantee of 2008, or the previous year, when the Irish public first began to grow dimly aware that the Celtic Tiger boom was ending and being replaced by the age of austerity.

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