Wednesday 13 December 2017

Lise Hand: Politics uber alles as Coalition fails to demonstrate backbone

WHAT exactly is Enda waiting for? A banker armed with a gun, candlestick, dagger and rope to be found standing over the dead body of Colonel Mustard in the Library?

Or perhaps for a delegation of penitent bankers to show up on the steps of Government Buildings with a big bag containing €30bn they owe us?

Chances are that the loud clack of Ireland's collective jaw hitting the ground yesterday morning in response to the wretched rendition of 'Deutschland Uber Alles' registered on Richter Scales on the far side of the world.

However, while the stick-it-to-the-punter hubris uncovered in the Anglo Tapes is horrifying, it's hardly surprising. Even the dogs on the streets of ghost estates know that it was the unfettered arrogance and greed and breathtaking ineptitude of our banking system which broke the country.

And the selfsame canines also know that, five years after the crash, the bankers still roam the business world like carefree buffalo on the Serengeti, untroubled and untouched.

One would think that this is a political no-brainer for the Government. Every single citizen who has lost a job or life savings or family members to emigration badly wants to see justice served.

Therefore one would assume that the emergence of a whole pile of damning tapes guaranteed to further fuel public rage would send the Taoiseach roaring into immediate action.

After all, various investigations have been proceeding at the pace of a glacier for years now. Surely this presented a golden opportunity for the Coalition to take out their spears and go hunting, with an entire pissed-off nation cheering them on? Alas, the only action taking place in the Dail chamber yesterday was a flurry of hand-wringing from all sides.

Fianna Fail once more strapped on its brass neck as the party leader (and lest we forget, former cabinet minister on the night of September 30, 2008) berated the Government for choosing the option of holding a parliamentary inquiry into the whole murky affair.

"A parliamentary inquiry cannot hold non-public officeholders to account, nor can it make findings of fact adverse to the good name of any person who is not a member of this House or who cannot be held accountable to this House," pointed out Micheal Martin.


But the Taoiseach disagreed. "We will set up our parliamentary inquiry; we will define the set of terms of reference and move on to get accountability and truth in the people's interest,'' he insisted.

The bankers must be bricking it. Imagine being worried by parliamentary dead sheep. They'll have to turn up for the inquiry, of course, which will be rather inconvenient since the helipad in Government Buildings is long decommissioned.

"The victims are the tens of thousands of families, ordinary people around this country, who became victims of the axis of collusion between Anglo Irish Bank and Fianna Fail and the bankers," Enda declared.

Back and forth they all went – Enda, Micheal, Gerry Adams and Mattie McGrath. It was your fault. No, it was YOUR fault. And all the while, the bankers keep laughing all the way to the golf-course. Any chance of a bit of backbone from our Government? Don't bank on it. As usual, it's politics uber alles.

Irish Independent

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