Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Painful legacy from bank bailout still looms large

Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

In the RTE docudrama The Bailout, a recollection of memories and records from the time of the crash that ultimately destroyed Ireland’s independence, and led to even more poor decision making, right up to the present day, the narrative is well presented.

Brian Lenihan, a lovely guy who many would say possibly gave his life for Ireland, proved that being an intellectual, and an academic, didn’t protect him from the panic that grew around the Government of the day, Fianna Fáil, who were completely taken in by the banks assurances. Fianna Fáil made the terrible mistake of “negotiating” in a hurry.

That’s never done, in business.

They should have insisted on some examination of the facts, and allow the two most offending banks to fail.

I’ve often written about the lack of political education in government, and the need for real knowledge.

No point having high level intellect alone, ministers also need plain ordinary savvy about the subject.

Lenihan had both education and intellectual ability, but wasn’t prepared for the intricacies of financial wheeling and dealing.
In short he didn’t realise that banks told lies of such magnitude that he couldn’t really begin to comprehend that they were telling him porkies on such a massive scale.

We’re paying, and will continue to pay for a long, long time.

Yet the banks are still in some cases, holding out despite austerity.

No sign of much reality in the current government either, despite, once again, having wonderful people, with top level intellect in charge.

Three obvious candidates for the above description are the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the Tanaiste Simon Coveney, and the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

None have the faintest idea about the housing crisis.

Coveney, a nice man and a real academic, had a chance at it, and was grateful to leave the post as quick as he could, to do something that he actually knows about.

The Taoiseach sounded like a far fetched idealist when he spoke recently about housing in the Dail, and Eoghan Murphy really hasn’t a clue about what to do.

Both the Taoiseach and the Minister are both suffering from the same problem.

Neither really and truly care in the way that matters, and are heavy on public relations, short on factual solutions.

Eoghan Murphy is busy putting on his helmet and yellow jacket to be photographed.

He’d be better employed staying in his office and applying simple solutions, that work.

What solutions, you ask?

By actually building houses.

Yes, and paying for them, from the public funds.