Friday 15 December 2017

Banking inquiry: At last a bit of juicy detail about night of bank guarantee

NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh
NAMA CEO Brendan McDonagh
Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

The banking inquiry has been chugging away nicely for a few months now.

So far it has been short on new detail or anything that might make us nerds sit up.....until today.
Step up Brendan McDonagh, director at the NTMA, the manager of the country's debt, and chief executive at NAMA.

Up until now, at least for business and political hacks, there had been little detail about that fateful bank guarantee and what happened on the night it was introduced.

We were told there was no documentary evidence.....perish the thought we'd have a bit of transparency.

And we were beginning to believe that we'd hear no more.

But on the day the banking inquiry stepped up a gear to move into the Nexus Phase, Mr McDonagh dropped a bombshell.

He, and colleagues from the NTMA, were there in Government buildings on that night in September 2008 when the guarantee was decided on.

They were present from 9pm and 1am while the decision to guarantee the banks was being taken, he told the banking inquiry today.

And while he and other NTMA executives, advisers to the Government on all things debt related, were in government buildings, no one thought to ask their advice.

The news is truly shocking and begs the question....who was really running the country at the time. The bankers?

It seems that the more we hear, the more that this would appear to be the case.

And then you ask, am I really surprised to hear that while possibly some of those best placed to advise the Government on what to do to sort out the banks were locked out of talks?
Sadly the answer is no.

It's frustrating and infuriating the more we hear about run-up and subsequent collapse of the banks and the economy.

But it is also important that we learn as much as we can about in a bid to to make a repeat of events less likely.

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