The BBC’s Jim Fitzpatrick summed up the reaction of people in Ireland to the release of tapes of conversations by top executives in the doomed Anglo Irish Bank.
He said the reaction was “one of shock, verging on nausea, and teeth-grinding anger.”
I live in Donegal, and believe me, that’s a perfect description to the feeling experienced by the average person in Ireland who woke up to the damning audio revelations on Tuesday morning.
Basically, the tapes feature executives John Bowe and Peter Fitzgerald laughing unreservedly at the fact that they will dupe the - then Fianna Fail - government, in September 2008, into bailing out the bank.
They had asked for 7bn euro. The bailout ended up costing the government and consequently the taxpayer 30bn. The politicians aren’t blameless here either. They should have known better. The monster that we then knew as Anglo was nationalised in 2009 and has since swallowed up money from every man, woman and child on our small island.
There is less child benefit, there are less medical cards, there is less financial help for those with disabilities, there is less employment. There is less money because these people lied and we now know that now, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
We have heard the man at the very top of Anglo laugh about the amount of money being thrown around. It is sickening behaviour.
What’s even more sickening is the ominous feeling that somehow, these people have gotten away with it. These men, lacking in any real moral compass have escaped relatively unscathed from the drama. I would seriously doubt that Drumm, or Bowe, or Fitzgerald are looking ahead to the next 20 years with negative equity hanging over them. Most of the rest of us are facing that prospect, every day, when every penny we have goes back to the bank.
I thought it interesting how one news site later on Tuesday, reporting Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s reaction to the tapes, said that ‘Dublin’ was to open an inquiry into the debacle. Not the government, not the financial regulator, not the Taoiseach but the capital city.
It was interesting use of language. These ‘men’ for want of a better word and more legal freedom, should be made to answer to the country and to each and every one of us who live here. They should be dragged away from the comfort of clandestine meetings in well padded boardrooms and held to account.
The pathetic statements they issued on Tuesday did nothing but show those involved up for what they really are. Bankers in ivory towers who believe they don’t owe anything to us minnions down below. The anger is palpable now, let’s hope it doesn’t disappear or fade away.