Jim Carroll

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The man with the €27 million pension

No matter what happens in the future, Irish Nationwide will always be associated with Michael Fingleton and his €27 million pension. The building society have just unleashed their latest accounts and they’re not a pretty picture. Even the fact that …

Tue, Apr 20, 2010, 09:36

   

No matter what happens in the future, Irish Nationwide will always be associated with Michael Fingleton and his €27 million pension. The building society have just unleashed their latest accounts and they’re not a pretty picture. Even the fact that there’s a volcano going loco in Iceland can’t disguise this one. Of course, there are very few financial institutions whose books look well at the moment, but Irish Nationwide resembles a turkey which has been plucked clean over the Christmas. There ain’t nothing left. Even the bones have been gnawed.

When the fingers point, they will point at Fingleton. He’s the one who ran Irish Nationwide for 37 years and oversaw how that small-town society lost the run of itself with delusions of grandeur. He’s the character who’s to the fore in books on the strange rise and inevitable fall of the Irish economy by Shane Ross and Matt Cooper. We’ll be paying for the stupidity of that man in the fedora and other gombeens like him for quite some time to come.

It didn’t just happen in Ireland. I’m currently reading Andrew Ross Sorkin’s excellent book “Too Big to Fail” on Wall Street’s alleged masters of the universe and the colossal greed which fed every stupid decision of theirs is unavoidable on every single page. But, as is often the way, we seem to have bred a worse class of eejit here. Always happens for some reason.

However, it’s the scale of Fingleton’s pension fund which continues to astonish me. As in, what is he going to do with all that dosh? Is he going to head to Las Vegas and hit the craps tables for a few days? Does he have one hell of a stamp collection or model railway habit to feed? Is he going to buy a rake of new hats and overcoats? Will he give it all to charity? Is he the only seventysomething gent out there with a €27 million pension fund and a “because I’m worth it” attitude to boot? Answers gratefully appreciated.

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