Bowe said “that number is seven, but the reality is that we actually need more than that…the strategy here is you pull them in, you get them to write a big cheque and they have to keep, they have to support the money. If they saw the enormity of it up front..they might decide they have a choice…they may say the cost to the taxpayer is too high…if it doesn’t look too high at the outset…then I think we have a chance, so I think it can creep up.” So in essence, the mantra was get the money in, don’t let them know how serious the financial situation is, once we have the bailout, they will be tied into sustaining the bank in perpetuity, and so it has transpired.
The shocking and surreal attitude of the Anglo executives and officials is mind-boggling and reveals a culture of smug Machiavellian manoeuvring by Anglo, unsurpassed in even the darkest of days in our political legacy. But who was monitoring the banks actions, how much did the Government of the day, the Financial Regulator, the auditors and the Central Bank actually know. The Sun newspaper on Tuesday asked, “How come nobody's in jail?” and that is the question on everyone’s mind today. How can such a monumental incident and miscalculation occur without anyone being held to account, nobody being imprisoned, no assets being seized, no lavish pensions being frozen and nobody held to account, five years after the fact. The events that led up to the bank guarantee and the fallout thereafter destroyed the nations economy and sovereignty, imposed unemployment, hardship, negative equity, unwarranted and unnecessary penance and penury on the people.
The bank was clearly not solvent and we now need a robust inquiry that will have the powers to induce all the relevant necessary information and disclosure from all parties involved. The Oireachtas inquiry will require the power of discovery and the ability to compel those at the centre of power during the banking crisis to give full disclosure of the series of events that lead up to the bank guarantee and it’s aftermath, that means we must have detailed accounts from the Taoiseach of the time, Brian Cowen and his cabinet, full disclosure from the civil servants at the centre of the negotiations and transparent and open details of the loan deal from the Financial Regulator, Patrick Neary. This Oireachtas inquiry and/or commission of inquiry must be independent, transparent and free from political manoeuvring and posturing, answers must be achieved, with definitive results and accountability at the end of a swift and speedy process that is cost effective to the taxpayer.
Through the revelations of Anglos behaviour before, during and after the bank guarantee scheme by the Irish Independent, we have seen their utter contempt for the Financial Regulator, the Central Bank and irrefutable arrogance in the face of bank regulation. The boys brigade of the Anglo Elite have been exposed as the chuckle brothers of what we have always expected is an old boys bankers club that thinks it above reproach and answerability to the people of this state. Their casual attitude, cavalier culture, and general mindset, was best exemplified by Paul Williams analogy this morning that, “It was a 2008 version of Gordon Gecko’s ‘Greed is Good’”, philosophy.
* John O'Donovan is a freelance journalist and radio producer. He is a lecturer in Journalism & Media Communication, Griffith College Dublin and IADT Dun Laoghaire.