Business Irish

Tuesday 16 January 2018

How the world's media covered our story

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

IRELAND made headlines around the world – for all the wrong reasons – following the revelations in the Anglo Tapes.

As the scandal snowballed, even German Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) was moved to voice her "contempt".

Germans reacted with particular anger, unsurprisingly so given that senior executive John Bowe was heard mockingly singing 'Deutschland Uber Alles'.

In its editorial, the 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' offered its own unique approach to handling the debacle. Put the Anglo managers, shareholders, bondholders, the Fianna Fail government and the regulators in a bag, it advised, and "when the bag is filled with these people, take a stick and beat it until the wailing is unbearable".

Another German publication, 'Tagesspiegel', wrote: "Their bank was already on the brink but the top Irish bankers still cheerfully joked on the phone in the middle of the financial crisis in the autumn of 2008.

"Bowe sarcastically sings using the first verse of the German anthem. Shortly afterwards, he and Drumm can barely stop themselves from laughing about how they have tricked German savers and the Irish State." Germany's most widely read tabloid, 'Bild', ran the headline: "Deutschland uber alles: broke Irish bankers scoff at German customers."

And, as German public anger rose along with that of the Irish people, Mrs Merkel remarked: "[The Anglo Tapes are] very, very hard to bear – if not impossible to bear – for people who go to work every day in a normal way and earn their money . . .

"I really have only contempt for this."

Business bible 'Forbes' described the revelations as "probably the biggest economic story in Europe this week" while 'The Economist' said it was "no laughing matter".

Political magazine 'The Spectator' labelled it "another horror story from zombie Ireland".

Writing in that publication, Alex Massie said: "The scale of the calamity has been breathtaking. Shocking and pitiful, too."

The 'Financial Times' Alphaville blog remarked "Irish blood is boiling" while the Bloomberg wire service warned that the revelations could possibly damage Ireland's bargaining position in Europe.

As news filtered through yesterday that the Central Bank will not be making any further criminal complaints about Anglo to the gardai and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, 'The Wall Street Journal' and news agency Reuters picked up on the story.

Reuters ran the headline "Irish central bank clears executives over taped comments".

It said the leaked conversations had "stoked ire across Ireland and Europe, tarnishing the country's image as an austerity success story just as it prepares to complete its bailout by the end of the year".

Irish Independent

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