Business Irish

Saturday 21 April 2018

What's another year at Anglo?

"How long, how long must we sing this song?" cries Bono in 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday'. It is a question that is on many lips as we digest the news that the High Court has granted the Director of Corporate Enforcement yet another one year to his four-year investigation into Anglo Irish.

Why must everything take so long in Ireland.

The probe into what went on in our banks has already taken about as long as World War I. Now we are told that it will probably take longer than World War II.

Four years is also coincidentally the length of time that it took Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, beginning in 1508 and ending in 1512.

Four years lying on your back is a long time, but it probably beats four years of trawling through computer files.

When it comes to investigations, four years is also a long time. Eliot Ness began an investigation of Al Capone and his business in 1929.

Two years later, Capone was indicted for income-tax evasion and sent to jail.

Still, not everything can be done quickly. It took almost eight years for the US to put a man on the moon from President Kennedy's speech in 1961 to the event itself.

Hopefully, it won't take as long to wrap up the rather less ambitious project of completing the ODCE's investigation.

Of course, this is no reflection on the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement which must battle to complete a punishing probe with a tiny complement of staff.

It is instead a reflection on governments that starve the ODCE of staff and funds, and fail to streamline the legal system to make it easier to conduct large investigations.

Irish Independent

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