03 Jul 2022

Bonfire of the Vanities in bank saga

The sensory sensation of hearing the Anglo banking tapes has thrown the events of the autumn of 2008 into a vivid, sharp relief.

The sensory sensation of hearing the Anglo banking tapes has thrown the events of the autumn of 2008 into a vivid, sharp relief.

People always had their suspicions that the machinations behind the bank guarantee, and specifically Anglo-Irish Bank, might prove to be a sordid tale, and these suspicions were only confirmed during the course of last week.

However, rarely have we been afforded the glimpse into the inner workings of an institution as we have been, courtesy of these tapes.

And thoroughly sordid the whole thing has proven to be.

At times these recordings have been redolent of a comic script, except of course that these players were far from comedians, and the stakes proved to be the financial well being of the State itself.

A full and thorough narrative of the events leading up to and around this bank guarantee still has to come, and not soon enough.

It has taken the public release of these tapes, and the tone and attitude of the particicpants therein, to lead to an even greater focus and need for an inquiry into the events of 2008.

This inquiry is now paramount, as is some sort of a reckoning with what has taken place within the whole banking, business and political spheres.

The content and tone of these tapes is shocking and indeed hard for anyone to stomach.

However, as bad as it may be, we need the full narrative of what occurred, and then take it from there.

A parliamentary inquiry is almost definetly on the cards.

There are plenty of pitfalls with this method, but its surely better than nothing, and might even be quite effective, if it does not descend into a partisan point scoring exercise.

The findings of any inquiry won’t be pretty, and should lead to actions and consequences for all involved.

A parliamentary inquiry will, afterall, be only a starting point.

What transpired in late 2008 has all the ingredients of hubris, farce and tragedy.

It is evident from listening to the small snippets of these tapes that the ‘masters of the universe’ who ran the likes of Anglo clearly thought they could get away with anything, and the State was there merely to do their bidding.

We are all paying as a result, and the reality is we will be for years. At the very least we are entitled to a full account of what took place, of only to ensure that this sorry saga is never repeated.

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