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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 20, 2009 @ 3:25 pm


    Harry McGee

    The report is out later this evening. I’m afraid I won’t be able to summon up a John the Baptist type peroration or start licking my chops in anticipation. I don’t think – given what we know already – it’s going to amount to a hill of beans.

    There will be some new, and intriguing, information. But no smoke. No fires. No guns. (Incidentally this paper’s business editor John McManus wrote a very significant opinion piece on conflicts of interest on Monday which you can link to here.)

    Specifically, we will be no wiser as to the identity of the  Troublesome Ten. No matter. The opposition will use what the report contains – or doesn’t contain – as a launching pad for another fusillade of attacks directed at Government.

    Somebody (a member of the public unknown to me before and after the conversation) rang me just before midnight last night to swear that a junior minister from Fianna Fail was one of the ten and that was why the Government was so spooked. Turns out the late night telephone conspiracist was talking about a TD who isn’t even a junior minister. And that guy is as likely to perform a naked jig on the plinth of Leinster House as he is to be one of the secret investors. 

     But you can see where all this is going. There is a belief out there that something dodgy is going on.

    Politically, the Government (and specifically FF ministers and the Taoiseach) are in a bind. If the names don’t get out there, they will be perceived as protecting friends or being involved in a cover-up. And if any of the names are contiguous (ie linked, even tenusouly, to FF) they will be back-footed.

    Fine Gael have taken cheap political advantage of all this but their cynical manoevring is no different to the kind of carry-on Fianna Fail did between 1995 and 1997. And the Greens? We demand the release of the names. Um, if it’s legally possible. Talk about premier league fence-sitting!

    The political atmosphere has grown poisonous. The antipathy between Cowen and Kenny has lost any pretentions of nicety or politiness. And the mutuality of respect between Cowen and Gilmore has also slipped away of late. Who was it who said that life was was short, brutish and nasty? He must have been referring to Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil.

    • Harry says:

      In first version of this a few minutes ago, I said it’s out at 4.30pm. But that’s wrong. Dept of Finance was quickly on to say it’s later. Sorry if I caused any confusion.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Was it Hobbs? and wasn’t that about why we had a social contract?

    • Harry says:

      Thomas Hobbes, not Eddie Hobbs! (I suspect you were setting that one up Dan.) English philosopher from the 17th century who interestingly came up with the notion of the social contract (ah, Bertie’s hero!).
      His exact quote was that life in the state of nature was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.

    • peter murray says:

      Personally, I’m not in the least bit worried whether or not a criminal prosecution of the “Golden 10″ is compromised. Their civil liability to the bank and its shareholders (that’s us, folks!) won’t be compromised by having them named and shamed.

      They should be named, and contemporaneously, the government should apply in the High Court to have their private assets frozen pending the outcome of civil proceedings for unjust enrichment and oppression of the shareholders (that’s us again, folks!)

      However, so that their little ones don’t starve while the proceedings drag through the courts,they should be allowed access to the equivalent of the relevant social welfare allowance appropriate to their family circumstances.

    • Stocious says:

      In regard to the hypocrisy and BS of not naming the 10 investors, this is in stark contrast to a certain episode in 2005 when the government and more specifically Michael McDowell trampled over due process and had no problems naming names:

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Honestly, Harry, it was more Calvin and Hobbs I was thinking of!

    • Harry says:

      The ten names will be out by the end of this week, I’d say. Sunday Times has already put four names into the public domain. And there’s a chase, feeding frenzy, and the divvil and all. There have been no denial so far from the four names. As somebody pointed out yesterday, the same paper’s list of those who were definitely NOT among the Anglo 10 was far more interesting.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Hmmm…Harry. So to recap there are ten model Anglo Borrowers, four are known, five are in hiding and one will be revealed!

      It’s like the beginning of Battlestar Galactica or something.

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