I find it seldom that I appreciate Angela Merkel’s utterances, though I do have a certain admiration for her. She has too much of an eye on her own electorate to be an effective European Leader, and I think she has largely abandoned any ambition of being an Adenauer or a Kohl. Perhaps there is no longer an agenda of greatness attached to leading what has become a failed project, or at least, a difficult cul de sac.
However I did agree with her last week when she said she had nothing but contempt for the Irish bankers from the failed Anglo Irish Bank, recorded during the financial crisis, singing “Deutschland über ales” after persuading the Irish Government to underwrite the banks. Far more objectionable was their trite and scandalous treatment of the Irish tax payer. Their contempt for the Government and the Financial Regulator, neither of whom, to be fair, appeared to demonstrate anything resembling competence during the entire financial crisis, was manifest in these recordings.
For many years now, the beleaguered Irish tax payer has accepted passively, the incompetence of our Government, and our bankers, but no-one could have reasonably guessed how odious they really were. Listening to these tapes exposes the cesspit of their attitudes and behaviour.
It is difficult to believe that these bankers are not in jail, or that not one of them has been put on trial five years after Bernie Madoff, for instance, went to jail in the US. It is even more difficult to believe, that this Anglo Irish Bank is the stable where NAMA (National Asset Management Agency – Ireland’s “bad bank) and the IRBC (Irish Banking Resolution Commission – the clean up operation for Anglo Irish Bank) recruited many of their own staff. The very staff who ran the country into the ground are tasked to clean up the mess.
But it gets worse. The Irish Government recently proudly announced the “creation of 800 new jobs” in Capita, whose “Financial management function” includes debt collection and restructuring. This new financial industry will involve the closure and receivership of many an Irish firm. Guess where the staff are being recruited from? Rumour has it that they will come from the recently closed IRBC.
So the very people who destroyed Ireland, are not just part of the solution, but are to be the agents of the tidal wave of misery and bankruptcy that is about to overtake the ordinary citizens of Ireland, as the remaining banks try to recapitalize. These are the new Jobs announced by the Irish Government.
Yes Angela, ‘contempt’ is a good word for what they deserve. In Ireland it is only a word however, and the reality is that ordinary citizens are under the cosh, and the very people who showed such contempt for the Irish people, are not in jail, as you would expect, but are being recruited to become the carpetbaggers sifting through the wreckage, to extract blood from the corpse!