Thursday 14 December 2017

Sloth: Officials stood by as crisis loomed

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

SLOTH: complacency, apathy, the sin of doing nothing to the detriment of oneself and others. Not a sin immediately associated with the thrusting money-making ways of the Celtic Tiger, but one that played its part in hastening its demise.

According to Sir Thomas Aquinas, the antidote to slothfulness is diligence: a scarcity of it meant that complacent public bodies charged with protecting Ireland's economy failed to read the warning signs. Complacency certainly played its part in the legacy of the former financial regulator, Patrick Neary.

The career civil servant was officially a watchdog to the banks. But one report on the banking crisis found he wasn't sceptical enough, and another found that his office was "unduly deferential" towards the banks. According to Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan's report, Neary appeared "unwilling to rock the boat".

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