Bashing the banks?


Sir, – Having left banking in the mid-1990s, and given my age, I felt I should stay out of any debate on the subject. However, your editorial (“The Irish Times view on bankers’ bonuses: restrictions should remain”, June 6th) impels me to take issue with you on behalf of the thousands of decent hard-working people in banks because no serving senior banker would dare to come out in defence of anything relating to banks in the current climate.

The leading executives who were responsible for the banking system’s part in the crash number fewer than 10 but the entire profession is stigmatised in manner that would not be acceptable if applied to any ethnic, religious or racial grouping.

Initially, when two or three banks started down the road of expansive lending policies, the were lauded by many in the media and in politics while the two big Irish banks were criticised and considered “fuddy duddy” because of their conservatism and for not facilitating more people attempting to get on the property ladder. See the section of the Nyberg report which deals with the contribution of the media and the Opposition parties to the banking crisis. The boards of the “old-fashioned ” banks subsequently, and foolishly, felt compelled to follow the popular and fashionable ones with disastrous consequences for everyone.

Some of the media coverage post-crash bordered on incitement to hatred and resulted in young people at bank counters bearing the brunt of public anger.

The former governor of the Central Bank, Philip Lane, on suggesting that the cap on bonuses should be revisited, may not have realised that, in making his views public, that he would unleash another spate of bank-bashing.

There will be no rational debate, and there will be no change in pay policy. Politicians are too canny for that, whether it makes sense or not. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – I quote from a description of the new Central Bank building by its architect Henry J Lyons: “The building form is created by wrapping the workplace in a glass skin which is shielded from glare and solar heat gain by an outer layer of anodized aluminium triangular mesh panels. The facade incorporates strong and dynamic sculptural forms expressing a unique identity and is broken down into a number of elements; the double-glazed unitised inner skin, an outer solar shading skin, a unique glazing system to the atrium vertical walls and roof, and a rainscreen cladding which forms the roof plantscreen and rooftop canopy.”

In view of the Central Bank’s former governor Prof Patrick Honohan’s condemnation of the sense of entitlement to which our bankers are prone (“Honohan calls for reform of Irish banking culture”, News, June 1st), I wonder whether he is inclined to make an exception for the vainglorious mausoleum in which the office of his successor is housed. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 14.