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Accountability among Ireland's elite? Don't bank on it


Workers remove the signage outside Anglo Irish Bank’s HQ

Workers remove the signage outside Anglo Irish Bank’s HQ

Workers remove the signage outside Anglo Irish Bank’s HQ

Even down the country in 2008, the 'man in the street' - reading between the news headlines and hearing local gossip - sensed Anglo was a catastrophe. It was desperately hoped at the time that the Government would decide to let it sink or swim and paddle its own canoe - rather than bailing it out, along with the other banks.

What plausible, weepy rubbish we are expected to give ear to in the current unnecessary Banking Inquiry. We sweated it out already, having witnessed it in reality before our very eyes. Just imagine. The Financial Regulator told an informal meeting with the Taoiseach, Central Bank and the NTMA on September 26, 2008, that two banks were not insolvent but "illiquid".

The former Central Bank director general - Tony Grimes - then went on to say: "A Finance official said one bank had a €2bn hole and another had one of €8.5bn, but no one left that meeting thinking the banks were insolvent." Solve that one.

I heard of a young married man with three children - an excellent worker and 10 years with his company - being dismissed and having to forfeit his pension because three packets of product from a reject line were found on his person after clocking-out.

And what of the executive bankers and regulators at this inquiry who openly admitted they failed in their duties and who were responsible for not just bringing down their banks, but the whole country as well? They simply said: "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa" and walked into the sunshine to continue enjoying their six-figure pensions, or new, even more remunerative, positions.

James Gleeson,

Thurles, Co Tipperary


Banking Inquiry

So the regulator didn't see it coming. He found that 'principles regulation' didn't work.

In Easter 2008 I stayed in a Galway hotel popular with politicians. During a chat with the night porter I was told that Anglo Irish was bust. This was a full six months before the guarantee.

Amazing that no one else seemed to know. If the current regulator wants some advice, I can supply the night porter's name and address.

Brendan Chapman

Booterstown, Co Dublin


Witness after witness has come before the Banking Inquiry to tell of oversights, misjudgments, hindsights and regrets. The banking fiasco now appears to be a big mess that could have been avoided through the suspension of "light-touch" regulation.

The banks were essentially free to do whatever they wanted, according to former financial regulator Patrick Neary. He stated in his evidence that "it was felt that the banks should assess their own risks".

He also admitted that the close proximity of bankers and regulators at various social events was "not appropriate".

It appears that banking regulation in this country was next to nothing during the crisis, with banks that were out of control and regulators who were not regulating.

The banking crisis is still with us, with the taxpayers being required to foot the bill for this disaster.

The public should be interested in the banking inquiry on Sky Oireachtas channel 574, because it is their money that will have to clean up the mess for the reckless and the irresponsible, who have done great damage to this county.

Maurice Fitzgerald,

Shanbally, Co Cork


Time for youth to come of age

Cian Desmond expresses his disappointment in the result of the referendum to reduce the age for presidential candidates. He rightly points out that Michael Collins died aged 31, having done much great work for Ireland.

The federal government of Australia will allow parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage, with any proposal to be decided by the Parliament "in toto", with government opposition and cross-benchers allowed a conscience vote, without any whip.

The difference between Irish TDs and Australian MPs? Lack of consideration for the nation - and fear for their own election outcomes.

To Cian, I would say it is my own considered opinion that following the deaths of Michael Collins and Kevin O'Higgins, the 'old men' - with their rear-view mirror vision - took charge.

The answer for all those young people disappointed with the referendum is for them to simply refuse to vote for any candidate over the age of 50 at the next election. It is long, long, past time the younger generations in Ireland became involved in the Dáil and the county councils and removed for once and for all the ignorant Tammany Hall politics that have kept Ireland in the dark ages since 1922.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia


Love thy neighbour - even Ivan

I can take Ivan Yates pontificating about politics. He is, after all, a former politician.

But when he acts as a cheerleader for the point of view that those who preach that love of neighbour is "now an irrelevance", then all I can do is accuse him of irresponsible drivel.

Just because we do not always live up to this ethical precept does not render the ideal invalid.

The love-of-neighbour ethic is fundamental to all our democratic institutions - and is also fundamental to our survival as civilised human beings on this planet.

The alternative is the arrogance and self-indulgent creed, which we have seen has led to the guillotine, the gulag and the gas chamber.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13


Are the unborn not equal?

Hot on the heels of the passing of the so-called "marriage equality" referendum, Tánaiste Joan Burton has called for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, which recognises the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn baby.

It would appear that the Labour leader believes that some sections of our community are more equal than others. So much for equality.

Luc Desbonnet

Roscam, Galway


Let's not rewrite history

As we continue through this ecade of Commemorations, it is important that there is clarity.

Your property supplement (May 29), in relation to the sale of Glendalough House, referred to Erskine Childers running guns for Sinn Féin in 1914.

The gun-running was, of course, for the Irish Volunteers and not Sinn Féin, which at the time was led by a proponent of a dual monarchy solution and not of the physical force tradition.

Secondly, I can see no reason why Michael Collins, Chief of Staff of the Free State troops, would have to have "escaped through a priest hole", or indeed any other way, from his own army.

Accurate and honest history must not be the victim of these years of commemoration - it must be the winner.

Dermot Lacey

Donnybrook,Dublin 4

Irish Independent