Enda’s big plan sure to give bankers last laugh
The Taoiseach has provided another Merlot moment for the shameless suits
The Taoiseach unveiled a major stimulus package for the toothless yesterday.
The rapacious bankers will be delighted.
Baring his gums in a fearsome manner, Enda Kenny responded to the public outrage over the Anglo tapes by missing the point spectacularly.
He was so wide of the mark in the Dáil as to make us believe his misreading of the situation had to be deliberate.
Outside Leinster House, people are furious with the arrogant suits who blithely joked about sticking them and their children with a debt running to tens of billions.
Their laddish sniggering at the prospect of getting one over on the regulators while their game-playing ultimately consigned this country to penury, shocked the public.
A public that considered itself unshockable after the economic turn of events of the last few years.
Yet, God bless their innocence, many still turned towards the Government to see what they would do about it.
And what steps does the Taoiseach propose to take?
He’s going to remove his teeth and go hell for leather after Fianna Fail.
Notwithstanding the fact that the people dealt decisively with that party at the last general election, it seems Enda intends to play politics with this dispiriting situation the way Anglo’s rugger-buggers played with our future.
Although, as he informed the Dáil, he has a big weapon which he intends to deploy in the Government’s investigation of the catastrophic collapse of the banking system five years ago.
A parliamentary inquiry and “moral authority.”
That’ll put the wind up the bankers. Enda holds the same sort of moral authority over them as the Catholic bishops hold over him.
There was always going to be just one subject on the agenda during Leaders’ Questions, and that was the Anglo tapes.
An indication of the approach the Government intended to take could be seen in the body language of Enda and his Ministers as the Fianna Fáil leader rose and asked for “a comprehensive independent inquiry” into the events surrounding the collapse of the financial and banking system.
The Taoiseach looked sideways at Micheál Martin as he spoke, a knowing smile on his lips. Beside him, his Ministers smirked.
Clearly they thought Micheál – a minister in that disgraced administration, has some cheek to get involved. After all, to quote one of the Anglo bankers, he had “skin in the game”.
But Deputy Martin didn’t want a parliamentary inquiry with no teeth. Would it be strong enough? he asked.
There would be questions of political independence, for starters, while such an inquiry wouldn’t be able to hold non-officeholders to account.
Even if, as Enda said later, “the buck stops with the Government” any parliamentary inquiry he sets up won’t have any power to compel the banking buckos who caused the mess to stop and listen to them.
Micheál Martin said he had no problem with an investigation chaired by an international judge or a process along the lines of Britain’s Leveson inquiry.
This could involve all the principals in this sorry saga, including politicians.
But the Taoiseach focused his sights firmly on the last government and “the axis of collusion” between Anglo Irish Bank and Fianna Fáil.
And dredged up the lowlights of the relationship between those two entities, just in case anybody had forgotten.
No. In his view, a parliamentary inquiry is the way to go.
The Fianna Fáil leader was on the button when he concluded that Enda’s response confirmed “why it will not be possible to have a non-partisan independent inquiry here”.
It’s a strange turn of events when the leader of Fianna Fáil comes out on top in a Dáil discussion of the economic collapse presided over by a government of which he was a member.
But Enda was adamant. He “assumed” his way was best because it would have “the moral authority to call former politicians of influence” who would tell them how they were duped by “the boys”.
He told the Dáil he met executives from that bank some weeks after the ill-fated bank guarantee and they sure pulled the wool over his eyes.
Not only was he taken in by them, but Richard Bruton was with him at the time and they were treated “to a tissue and a fabrication of untruths, as it transpired”.
So the Government will gnaw away at the political remains of Brian Cowen and the rest, but can’t do anything about the boastful bankers who cost us billions.
“People want to know the political environment,” insisted the Taoiseach.
The Garda is looking after everything else.
And there’s the lawyers to consider too.
Gerry Adams wondered why nobody in Government knew anything about the Anglo tapes, particularly, as the Taoiseach indicated, the Garda has had them since 2008.
Given that the Minister for Justice is privy to all sorts of “tittle-tattle” from the boys in blue, he felt it strange that this juicy information didn’t come his way.
But it didn’t. And Enda was back to complaining how not a shred of information about the night of the bank guarantee remains in Government Buildings.
“Scandalous,” said Mattie McGrath.
“The BBC and the whole world are discussing what is going on in Ireland. ”
He followed up on what the Sinn Féin leader had to say. “Are we to seriously believe, five years on, that nobody in government asked were there any records?”
The Taoiseach reminded him that he was once a member of Fianna Fáil.
The boys who beggared a nation won’t have to front up in his parliamentary inquiry, but Enda will go after the schmucks in Fianna Fáil.
Providing a fearless voice for the toothless and another Merlot moment for the shameless suits.