Banksters: How A Corrupt Elite Destroyed Ireland's Wealth

New book by Martina Devlin & David Murphy

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(Mods, please move to “The Return of the Banana Republic” forum if more appropriate - thanks)


Terrible book, badly written, no editing, clunky and the ‘official’ story as dictated by Lenihan and Ronan Fox. Jobsworth stuff from our fearless and intrepid state broadcaster business reporter. The book ends with that hoax Karl Marx quote about capitalists encouraging workers to buy new technology leading to nationalisation of banks and…communism.

Tell you what. Anyone would be doing well to get a good book onto the shelves about Ireland’s very, very recent history. The pace of events has been startling with the dust swirling manically rather than showing any sign of settling.

Id say there are a few scribes out there trying to cash in but it will probably be at least a year before we get anything insightful or comprehensive to read. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fintan O’Toole or Gene Kerrigan are on the case though.

A good editor/writer could knock a very good book together using the pin archive as an excellent source. Its all here and there are a few decent writers too. It could even be done as a collective effort and would make a more powerful intervention than dail demos or a new political party. Combining this archive with a series of serious interviews would provide all the info thats needed, beyond that its a structural and aesthetic challenge. One of the many problems with Banksters is that it has no overarching analysis, rather its a ‘this happened then that happened’ merry go round of incoherence. It failed to grasp the big picture (historical transfer of wealth upwards, bubble that restructures the economic deal in society) but it also failed to deliver the zeitgeist mood of the moment as its badly written. But there are a few books coming no doubt, I just hope that theres one that does justice to the story.

that’s an excellent idea. The Pin archive captures perfectly the cover ups, the spin and the outright lies by the politicians, the media, the estate agents and the professional economists and many posts on this forum demonstrated exactly the kind of critical analysis that was actively suppressed back when it could have actually made a difference.

You would need a very good lawyer to sift through it for libel, but an investigation into the birth of the Pin (a reaction to the crack down on free speech at AAM as far as I know) would be eye opening to a lot of the general public who still foolishly believe what they read in the esablished media (AAM is probably the most established web forum in ireland and it’s founder is regularly invited to panel discussions on radio and television.)

Psst !!! I made exactly the same points to OW more than a year ago by PM and asked if he had any object to me pillaging the PIn’s Archives for that very purpose. The project is much advanced thank you very much. Incidentally Comrade O’Toole will be reading the MS before publication

Laughinglawyer, looking forward to reading your book with huge interest.

I STILL don’t think the general public realise the scale of hype, spin, vested interestedness and downright criminality that went on in this banana republic. Anything that puts it out there on the public domain is so much the better.

My favourite anedote on the Pin was one where you needed a deposit cheque in hand to VIEW an apartment. The plans included a balcony, the actual apartment had NO balcony, but the legal advice was to be DELIGHTED that you were so lucky to get the opportunity to buy it!!!



Other than a few unsubstantiated quotes the book does not go beyond of what is available in the media. It is only apt that such a superfluous peace of rubbish should conclude by quoting a hoax. More than E13.99 I regret the time wasted reading it.

The most annoying aspect of the public debate is the desire to put the boot into bankers. Bankers are not policy makers. They do not set up the framework but merely act within it. Banks and developers weren’t even the biggest benefactors of the property boom - the government was. They took some 40% of the total transactions in VAT and duty And therefore it is not surprising that the govt was cheerleading the boom on the way up and even trying to flog a dead horse. And yet the populist rubbish peddaled ad nauseum by the likes of Devlin & Murphy focuses on the bankers. I have no problem with Fitzgerald being dragged through mud for fiddling with books but the rest of the guys so extensively ‘researched’ in their book are clean. They did what the policy makers allowed them (in fact encouraged them) to do.

If you want write a book on the Irish boom then do the David McWilliams edition of Galbraiths book titled “Paddy the plasterers guide to A Short History of Financial Euphoria”. Here is a quote from the original book.

If there is a single person you want hang a lot of blame then it is that man who wrote blanks cheques for his boss and then when he got the top job made writing blank cheques national economic policy. All the others are just bad actors.

Correct to a point Dom. Definitely true that any straight business person only has an ethical responsibility to play by the rules as they are laid down by the state. But seeing the bankers as a separate category from the politicians and senior civil servants and regulators is a mistake. This group represents (along with a few others in law, media, business, church) the Irish ruling class, they operate in concert in their own interests. They also may believe that these coincide with the interests of everyone else. NAMA is one of those moments when its clear whose interests are being served, and it aint joe soap. The ruling gang in Ireland is tiny and very secure. Individually they are disposable (Madoff made a good whipping boy in the US for example) but you’ll rarely see one of these guys sacrificed in Ireland. In fact Patrick Gallagher (original developer of the stephens green center I think) may be the only one who ever did jail time, and i might be wrong about that, he may not have gone to jail. Murphy et al are mere stenographers, like the great majority of Irish journalists.

Gallagher went to jail alright,but not down here. He was convicted in the North.

Its also worth noting that the Financial Regualtor had consultative panels with industry. Regulatory policy was officially set by the regulator but it was industry writing the rules. They managed to convince the regulator that what they were doing was okay.

I found this book written in a typical tabloidesque style and clearly in support of Lennihan but what I did find was the quotes from various parties before the collapse.

The regulator has the final say and the buck stops there. The inmates can ask the warden to run drugs business in M’joy but eventually it is the warden’s responsibility for the stuff he authorised.

O’Tools, After the Ball is worth a read.
Pretty much had things nailed down in 2003.