For years now the people of this country have been taking our medicine, swallowing the bitter pill. Sure weren’t we all part of it. We all bought into the dream. The holidays, the cars, the second houses, the au pairs, the gadgets, etc, etc. The flamboyancy of it all. When the banks told us to take out a home improvement loan or a car loan to buy the latest model with all the bells and whistles, or to extend our mortgage and put a few bob into savings, or when they kept increasing our credit card limits, we went along with it. We’re as guilty as Drumm et al, or so they’d have us believe.
For too long we’ve been sitting on our laurels and taking our medicine. Cutting the cloth to measure as it were. Struggling and going without. Seeing our income eroded from pay cuts and job losses and increases in taxes, and increases in mortgage payments and increases in insurance costs. We’re being constantly hammered.
And while they kept telling us we were as guilty as them because we bought into the Celtic Tiger lifestyle, we believed them and let them impose austerity measures of the cruellest kind. Cuts to education, cuts to health, cuts, cuts and more cuts. And so when the contents of the Anglo tapes were revealed this week it’s no wonder the country went berserk.
And it all comes back to a few jumped up bankers sitting on their swivel chairs behind mahogany desks, laughing and singing and swearing down the phone to each other as they plotted Ireland’s economic downfall.
We were criticised by our European neighbours for taking it all lying down. They fought their corners and took to the streets in Greece. We’ve had some flash points of demonstrations. Most notably this week it was the turn of teachers, parents, family and friends of children with special needs who were protesting against cuts to their educational resource hours. And while the Government seem to have swayed under the pressure and reversed these particular cuts, this group have to remain vigilant to ensure that a cut of some other form isn’t imposed through the back door.
But back to the tapes. They are the tipping point which could see the people of this country rise up and retaliate.
The vile and disrespectful language and content of the tapes could ensure that we receive no further assistance from Europe.
The Germans are disgusted and offended. A German politician, Micheal Fuchs, deputy parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Union – the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel – has dubbed the conversations between Anglo’s former top executives as dangerous at a time when the German government is trying to convince taxpayers to support European countries, including Ireland.
Nothing but an independent investigation is warranted.
Ireland’s reputation is ruined, once again, after painstaking steps had been taken to rebuild it. One wonders why it has taken so long for the tapes to be released and now that they are partially in the public domain, with more extracts being drip fed to us every day, no time can be wasted in launching an enquiry into this embarrassing and shameful catastrophe.
These one time elite of Ireland’s banking sector brought this country to it’s knees. Ordinary, decent families have been devastated and ripped apart in the aftermath. It’s no coincidence that our suicide rates have soared at the same time that our economy plummeted. These men have blood on their hands and they should be held to account for their significant part in this awful recession.