Tuesday 12 December 2017

Journalists who dared to question bankers were attacked

Tom Lyons and Gavin Sheridan

A marked feature of the Anglo Tapes is David Drumm's opinion of the media during the financial crisis. In a series of expletive-laden rants, he attacks various journalists, who he calls "pricks" for talking down his beloved Anglo Irish Bank or for other perceived transgressions. The transcript below comes from a conversation between Drumm and John Bowe in September 2008 discussing the bank's financial performance and the importance of communicating the bank's message to the media.

JB: "We cut this either way, the question is are you going to be in Berkeley Square [London] or are you going to be here for the journos?"

DD: "I have to talk to [names Anglo's communications adviser] about the journos because I am unsure of that question. They're gone so bad, that I don't know if it adds to anything. A week ago I was ready to slit their f**kin' throats and on advice my previous experience was to sit down and talk to them.

"We haven't really got anything out of that, so – I mean, I didn't do an interview, I did one session with the RTE guy . . . it was a ridiculous conversation. All he wanted to know was which one of the developers was going to go bust? When was it going to happen? Give me the chances of it happening?

"There was that kind of hype, and I got a bit annoyed at him and said 'you f***ing bought into it, the print media in Ireland!' I said, 'I don't know, you might find Osama bin Laden before a f***in' developer goes bust!' That was just me getting thick. Their agenda is so entrenched, I don't know whether I want to talk to them or not."

Drumm was clearly under some pressure in 2008. Matt Cooper, the Today FM broadcaster, draws his ire.

"It doesn't help when David Drumm, the Anglo Irish Bank boss who was paid €5.9m last year, says that the Irish people are realistic and would tighten their belts when they had to," Cooper wrote. "Remember the hypocrisy of Charlie Haughey, the former Taoiseach, as he told people they were living beyond their means and needed to rein themselves in?"

DD: "I am only after reading the f**king snippet on Google. Matt Cooper, eh, was f**king giving out about me at the weekend. Did you pick that up?"

JB: "I don't read the Sunday papers anymore."

DD: "You are f**king dead right. I don't read them either. I got the Google alert. He is comparing me with Charlie Haughey being a hypocrite! I said on the front page people understand well, in the downturn, you need to tighten your belts. They are practical people. He said that I was like Haughey telling us to tighten our belts while milking the economy, milking the country!"

Asked for comment yesterday, Cooper said he was "honoured" by the name check.

Irish Independent

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