Sunday 18 March 2018

Something is still rotten in the state of Ireland

REMEMBER the quartet of cowboys who rode up to fortress Finance in Merrion Street on 29 September 2008? The most powerful bankers in Ireland carried a numbing message to the government: Ireland Inc. was about to collapse; its banks were bust. It was a stick-up.

On that night the raiders demanded that they be pulled back from the precipice. A shell-shocked government unlocked the doors of the treasury and wrote them a blank cheque. That episode should have been the bankers’ last hurrah.

As players in the most catastrophic decision in modern Irish history, a move that led directly to the humiliating and draconian EU/IMF bailout of November 2010, the famous four might today expect to be sidelined, impoverished, shamed.

Far from it. They are ex-bankers, members of a select gang. No matter how dismal their track records, former bankers are on the pig’s back. Some are comforted from the chaos they created by pensions that most people caught in the crisis can only imagine.

Others have moved on to pastures new, untainted by the collapse they caused and welcomed aboard other enterprises as if their actions were just another bit of impressive experience for their CVs.

Today in the Sunday Independent, exclusive extracts from the explosive new book - 'The Untouchables' by Shane Ross and Nick Webb - reveal the insiders who are still living high off the fat of the land.

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