Judge prefers pigs to bankers
'They should hang their heads in shame'
A DISTRICT court judge with a reputation for being outspoken has made clear his feelings for bankers, saying he would rather lie in a gutter with a pig than meet one of them.
"The geniuses running the banks are no different to the geniuses who ran us into the ground in the first place," Judge John Neilan said.
The judge didn't hold back when dealing with a case last week in which a couple owed a bank money from a loan. He remarked that if he ever met one of the banking executives, he would walk away, adding: "I would sooner lie in the gutter with a pig."
He accused bankers in general of "flying off to lovely places", "sunning themselves" and having board meetings so elaborate that "the king of Saudi Arabia wouldn't be as well feted".
He attacked the "appalling arrogance" of senior bankers, saying: "If they had an ounce of decency, then they would leave their offices in shame, with their heads hung low.
"Are they prepared to do this?" he asked, before answering his own question with a resounding "no", adding that they still wanted "the same salary and bonuses".
At Mullingar District Court on Friday, Judge Neilan also questioned the tolerance of the general public in putting up with the behaviour of bankers.
"There was a time in the past when banks and their buildings would be dismantled stone by stone by the people in outrage at what is being done," he said.
Judge Neilan made his comments during the case, which had been brought by ACC against a couple in relation to an outstanding car loan.
The couple said they had understood that the loan had been paid off, but because of the way it was structured, they had unknowingly paid for their second car before they had paid for their first.
The bank was seeking €50 per month towards an outstanding debt of €11,286.
Towards the end of a lengthy hearing, Judge Neilan told the couple that they shouldn't worry about any actions the bank would take against them, because "they have to come through the courts". He adjourned the case.
However, the judge questioned the bank executives' understanding of the difficulties faced by debtors.
"Are they appearing in the district court trying to deal with payments such as this?" he asked.
When the couple asked why ACC Bank hadn't taken the €50 a month the bank had been offered a year ago, the judge replied that bankers were "totally, utterly, absolutely removed from people like you and me".