Bankers behind tracker scandal a ‘shower of bastards’, Seanad told

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin criticised for unparliamentary language

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said there were at least 30,000 cases involving tracker mortgage issues. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said there were at least 30,000 cases involving tracker mortgage issues. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

The senior bankers who caused the tracker mortgage scandal were described as a “shower of bastards’’ by Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin in the Seanad on Thursday.

During a discussion about the controversy, prompted when most major financial institutions took customers off lower tracker interest rates and put them onto higher rates, he said young people in disadvantaged communities around the country could get “on the wrong side of the law” for minor infractions.

“Everything is thrown at that young person, basically because he or she is poor. But this shower of bastards are getting away with murder, year in year out, in this democracy.”

Cathaoirleach Denis O’Donovan said the adjective used by Mr Ó Ríordáin to describe bankers was inappropriate.

Mr O Ríordáin said there were at least 30,000 cases in terms of tracker mortgage issues.

“We are also looking at people who have lost their homes and still the Government will say we can give the banks more time,” he added.

Strong views

Fine Gael Senator James Reilly said while he shared Mr Ó Ríordáin’s strong views on the banks, he did not believe there was a need for the unparliamentary language used.

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh said the Government’s intention to “admonish” the banks was no more than a smack on the wrist, or a wag of the finger, and it was also meant to maintain the status quo.

Independent Senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell said there was no competition among the banks. She said 95 per cent of the Irish banks were commercial, whereas in Germany only 14 per cent were and most of the rest were involved in either social or community banking.

“There is no competition, yet we have possible collusion,’’ she said.