A great country for a bunch of bankers


More than anything else, what the lengthy court case revealed was that the wrong people were on trial. The Financial Regulator was told by Anglo about the Quinn problem and the Maple 10 plan in several meetings, and for that reason we can assume that senior people in the Department of Finance and therefore the government also knew about it.  

Plus other pillars of Irish business knew what was going on. Anglo was getting advice on the plan from a leading Dublin law firm, and the Maple 10 financial transaction was performed by the investment bank Morgan Stanley. Yet none of these stalwarts saw any illegality at the time. 

The Anglo trial was about specific offenses under company law, not about who caused the banking crisis and the financial collapse here. In that sense it was a side show that did not deal with the main event.   

The people who should have been on trial are those who were on duty when the boom was underway and then when the financial collapse was unfolding, the people at senior level in the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator's office, as well as senior people in the main banks, the law and accountancy firms involved, and even the politicians who failed to grasp what was happening.  

Instead of that what we got was Seanie FitzPatrick and two of the Anglo executives on trial on points of company law. Seanie got off but the two executives, the sacrificial lambs, may get some jail time.  

It is true that FitzPatrick was a significant player in the events that caused the financial collapse. But so were many other senior people, especially the top executives in the other banks and building societies which had to be rescued at a cost which bankrupted the state, as well as all the professionals, civil servants and others from the top layer of Irish officialdom who were involved or who failed to do their jobs.  

Instead of being held to account, many of these people walked away from the disaster with huge payoffs and big pensions. Even their reputations have survived, and you see them popping up in public now as though nothing happened. 

For example, one of the top bankers involved was a guest at the recent banquet for the president hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle. Many more of these people are still occupying the top positions in law firms and accountancy firms here, and are still getting obscene salaries for giving advice!   

Meanwhile, ordinary taxpayers here are being screwed to pay for it all, for the cost of the bailout, even for the cost of the trial that failed to find Sean FitzPatrick guilty of anything. It's a rotten country to be an ordinary worker and taxpayer.  

But it's a great little country for bankers!