Jan 18, 2009

Nationalising Anglo Irish Bank

Ah yes, the thievery and corruption is exposed. The former chairman Seán FitzPatrick transferred the bulk of €87 million of loans/debts to another bank each year while the auditors were doing their job. After they had finished and given Anglo the ok, back the loans would flow.

The upshot of this is that instead of injecting €1.5 billion to save Anglo, the government is turning red. Why they have suddenly departed from the save-our-crony with a bailout is unclear especially with prominent economists arguing in its favour.

A paper by TCD economist Patrick Honohan on the banking crisis argued that capital injections in the banks were a prerequisite for recovery. The financial regulator needed to decide now which banks had systemic importance to the economy – in other words, are “too big to fail”, and which are “zombie” banks.

Luckily, Taoiseach Cowen is off in Japan begging the Japanese to import Irish beef to boost the economy and doesn't have to listen to those pesky reporters asking awkward questions. How very convenient.

Some of the letters in the Irish Times struck the right note.

Madam, – Brian Cowen says it will be “business as usual” at Anglo Irish Bank. Surely he can’t mean this literally? – Yours, etc,

AIDAN FEIGHERY, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Madam, – Now that you and I are part-owners of Anglo Irish Bank, I wonder if you could let me know which is the appropriate Government Department to approach for a no-strings-attached, interest-free and fully concealable loan of approximately €87 million? – Yours, etc,

JONATHAN SHANKEY, Lally Road, Dublin 10.

Madam, – I note, in the light of the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank, that the Minister for Finance, as 100 per cent shareholder, is now the sponsor of the forthcoming Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival 2009.

The festival is usually seen as leisure time for the hard-pressed financial and construction sector, but given the reality of Minster Lenihan’s call for patriotic action, should this sponsorship not now be cancelled? Is is appropriate for a state company in the light of the wider economic reality? Listed runners for the race include Honest John, Endless Intrigue, Do Less Than Me, Conflict of Interest and Touch of Irish. – Yours, etc,

Cllr JOE RYAN, Cromwellsfort Drive, Wexford Town.

Madam, – If Bertie the socialist was still Taoiseach, wouldn’t all the banks be nationalised at this stage? – Yours, etc,

Dr JACK McGINLEY, Pearse Street, Dublin 2.

Madam, – The State now owns Anglo-Irish Bank. Anglo-Irish Bank owns land and property which are held as security for loans that may never be repaid. Is there now any good reason we should continue to have a social housing waiting list or people homeless (both of which have doubled during the Celtic Tiger years)? – Yours, etc,

Fr PETER McVERRY SJ, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Upper Sherrard St, Dublin 1.

I'm going to drop in to my local branch for my daily coffee from now on. After all, a nationalised bank belongs to all the people. Perhaps I'll help myself to a stapler or two while I'm at it.

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