Saturday 16 December 2017

Maeve Dineen: What Brian Lenihan should really tell the nation's banks

Maeve Dineen

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan gives a speech in the next few days on the banking industry; and this is what he should say.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is more than 18 months since that fateful night when representatives from some of your banks marched into my office and admitted the Irish banking sector was facing ruin. I've never trusted you since then and I've delayed making this speech several times in the hope you would help yourselves. But now, after 18 months in which you have received generous bailouts and turned this country into a laughing stock, I've lost my patience. It is for this reason I am reluctantly going to reform the industry myself. Some of my plans will come as a shock, but you have nobody to blame but yourselves.

"First, let me tell you what I am not going to say: I am not going to comment on the long-running debate about banking supervision or tier ratios -- not because I don't care about these but because they will be imposed on us by Europe whether we like it or not. Anybody who thinks Germany or France will take advice from Ireland on such matters clearly does not understand just how much things have changed.

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