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Banking inquiry will be far too little, far too late, as per usual

God help us all, they're going to have a Banking Inquiry.

If this was any other country, the kind of country where a commission would be set up, would investigate things for a few months and would then produce a report, you might think a Banking Inquiry could be a good idea.

But this is Ireland.

Prediction: The Banking Inquiry will take years.

It will find out nothing beyond what we know already.

Any of the juicy details will be blacked out with marker because everyone involved will have had a team of lawyers working to ensure they are not in any way traduced by this inquiry and because we will not want it to in any way compromise any legal cases arising out of skullduggery in the banking sector.

Such legal cases will still not have happened in a decade or two when the report comes out, but they will still be telling us that the bad guys will pay, some day.

We will be the midst of another boom by the time the Inquiry Report comes out and the only person who will read it will be Fintan O'Toole who will come out of retirement to write a book entitled: See? I Told You.

The only thing that the inquiry will do in the short run is to revive the beleaguered legal profession.

Shane Ross Business section

All those out-of-work solicitors will suddenly have something to do and a whole new cabal of barristers will be become multimillionaires as "the legal team for the inquiry's legal team" and similar titles.

Allow me to save us all this trouble. In the 200 or so words I have left I'll give you, in a nutshell, an inquiry into what happened in the banking sector.

Okay. Everyone got greedy -- the whole country.

Most of us kept it in check but many people bought badly made apartments in Ireland in which they installed young people waiting to get on the property ladder.

Then they bought badly made apartments in Spain. When Spain got full up, Irish people went further and further into Eastern Europe, where there were unmissable bargains in badly made apartments in places we had never seen or heard of.

You couldn't go wrong. Wealthier people bought commercial property in the North of England.

Wealthier people again bought big-name hotels in London for prices that astonished London people.

They also bought tracts of wasteland for hundreds of millions, in order to build more badly made apartments on them, because we apparently didn't have enough of them.

The banks went around asking people to take money to do this kind of thing.

No one created any value anymore.

Everyone wanted to be a property developer and so did the banks.

Because they were under huge pressure from the pension funds who owned them to keep showing big profits.

So the banks borrowed money to loan to everyone else.

They also ran a sideline in currency speculation and various other get-rich-quick schemes.

And, much like Breifne O'Brien, it was all fine as long as everything kept going up.

But then everything stopped going up and actually started going down and suddenly everyone wasn't so smart anymore.

Is there a lesson to be learned here?

Next time, let's all try and stay a bit more calm.

And Brian, you can have that for nothing. I won't even charge you for my legal team.

Sunday Independent