Monday 26 September 2016

Central Bank found napping on the job

Published 08/08/2015 | 02:30

While the behaviour of the bank was reprehensible until now we were unaware that the Central Bank had been tipped off years before, that tracker mortgage holders were being mistreated, but inexplicably failed to act
While the behaviour of the bank was reprehensible until now we were unaware that the Central Bank had been tipped off years before, that tracker mortgage holders were being mistreated, but inexplicably failed to act

The thing about misery is that there is too much of it for everybody, unlike money which is finite and carefully protected. It is deemed so precious that we employ watchdogs to keep an eye on it. But what happens when they fail to bark or, even worse, bite when they get a warning?

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Things can get very bad indeed. People can be thrown out of their homes through no fault of their own.

We know that it was Permanent TSB that "deeply regrettably" overcharged people and was responsible for wrongdoing, and as a consequence the roof was unjustly taken from over people's heads.

While the behaviour of the bank was reprehensible until now we were unaware that the Central Bank had been tipped off years before, that tracker mortgage holders were being mistreated, but inexplicably failed to act.

How often have Edmund Burke's words echoed despairingly in the void left after the crash: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

We know there are no excuses for Permanent TSB's behaviour. It does add insult to injury to know that it was rescued by the Irish taxpayer at a cost of €4bn.

But for the Central Bank - in the guise of the Financial Regulator - to preside over such inequity while having being warned, is nothing short of disgraceful.

Order is said to be a balancing act of extreme precariousness. The role of the financial overseer is to maintain this order; when it fails, it is the small stakeholder, or even householder, left to pick up the pieces and take the pain.

Report after dismal report on the economic disaster that befell this country has singled out a lack of regulation. We know what the consequences have been for those who wrongly lost their homes, but what are they for those who might have prevented this? The nation is nauseous with the bad odour that has hung over some financial institutions.

The rights of Irish citizens were trampled upon by Permanent TSB and the Central Bank - which is the custodian of those rights - stood by. So what are the consequences for the culprits?

The people who found themselves out on the street were shown no quarter. Why should there be tolerance for those who showed none?

Numbers are up in cost of playing Lotto

Not winning the Lotto is the norm for most players, now the cost of their not winning is to rise. The National Lottery is upping the cost of participating. One has only slightly less chance of dying in an air crash - 11 million to one - than scooping the jackpot. But, we are told, that this is the first time that the price has been increased in nine years.

A two-line play will rise from €3 to €4. If the Lotto Plus option is taken, the cost of being in the draw will be €5.

But not only will it cost more to play, in their wisdom the lottery is adding two new numbers, making that elusive dream win even more elusive­ ‑ only now you can pay more for it. Presently your chance of nailing all six numbers are over eight million to one. These odds will now lengthen to 10.7 million to one. Oh, and did we mention it will cost you more? Remember it could be you!

Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) believes that the alterations will result in bigger bumper jackpots, better sales and bigger cheques for good causes. Well you pay your money and take your chances.

But now you pay more money, and take more chances.

See, everybody wins.

Irish Independent

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