How did the Irish banks implode?

A number of questions need to be asked because of the impact of the banking meltdown on the whole of Irish society.

Is there a need for an inquiry? Yes

Why? Because the investigations by the Gardai and the Director of Corporate Affairs have, to date, not yielded evidence of wrong doing or otherwise in open court so that the public are still left in the penumbra relative darkness of speculation instead of proven fact. Yet the tax payer has lost € billions.

What is in the public arena? Questionable transfers of deposits involving Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Nationwide and also Irish Life and Permanent.

Property based lending policies that were reckless and incompetent leading to a banking failure requiring extraordinary state intervention.

Pathetic corporate governance in some financial institutions.

Failure of competence in the Financial Regulator.

Failure of competence at the Department of Finance.

Failure of political leadership and competence in policy terms involving successive Ministers for Finance and the current and former Taoiseach.

An explanation as to why the three major political parties had manifestos at the last election which indicated that they did not recognise the financial graffiti on the economic wall.

An All-Party Dail Committee of Enquiry into the banking collapse should be set up. Sessions must be open to the public and broadcast. If there is a need for legislation or a referendum to allow this to function effectively, then lets have both of these first.

Problem – To try to minimise the likelihood of this Enquiry interfering with any decision to prosecute taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions or by the Director of Corporate Affairs.

Secrecy is not an appropriate condition in this case. There are no victims of intimate crime as in the paedophilia enquiry. The world bond market is not influenced by the sight of the captains and the kings being brought before the public to account for their actions, particularly when the outcome will impose good governance on the banks and consequently reduce the financial risk to foreign buyers of Irish debt.

A Dail Committee will reassert the primacy of the legislature and public representatives acting in the voters’ interests.

We Irish get the politicians we deserve. We vote them in. Fianna Fail has thus far avoided the fate of the Canadian Conservative Party or the Italian Christian Democrats even thought they richly deserve it. I will be more than surprised if it happens here because we are a deeply conservative society where self delusion, myth and shibboleth are ingrained.