This article was first published in May 2009
Michael Fingleton secretly met Michael Woods in the lobby of the Shelbourne hotel in 2002, and agreed the terms of the clerical bail-out before the official meeting took place. Fingleton concocted the agreement off the record with Woods, who later agreed — illegally — to exclude the Attorney General from the negotiations, at the insistence of the clergy.
Of course, Fingleton never worried too much if billions of taxpayers’ euros were being sidelined to prop up his bank or his clerical friends, even if it endangered the very stability of this State, as it now threatens to do.
Fingleton was the intermediary who shuttled between Michael Woods and the religious orders’ negotiators before the final deal was struck, in which taxpayers’ money would be used to protect the religious orders from legal action by abuse victims. It was Fingleton who told Woods what the clergy would and would not tolerate. It was Fingleton who laid down the law to the government and instructed them as to what was expected of them. It was Fingleton who helped Woods to work out a deal that would bring least pain to the religious orders, and maximise the burden on the taxpayer.
Fingers Fingleton, as you may know, is the man behind Irish Nationwide, one of the two non-banks that have dragged our economy to the depths. He was the man who ran the bank as his own private fiefdom, and who was eventually forced from office last March. Fingers, you might recall, paid himself a €1 million bonus after the government announced its intention to bail out his zombie bank, and also set up a €27.6 milion pension fund of which he was the sole beneficiary.
Of course, Fingers wasn’t just the most arrogant banker in Ireland. He was also the person who slipped Celia Larkin the cheque for €40,000 to pay back that money she’d borrowed from the FF funds in Bertie’s constituency.
According to the Irish Times, Fingleton approved a loan of €40,000 to Ms Larkin on March 4th, 2008 without the standard criteria being fulfilled initially on the loan application. Ms Larkin did not provide documents normally required by customers borrowing such loans when she applied for the money.
He’s a deeply religious man. Fingers proudly boasts of his membership of Opus Dei, a shadowy Catholic brotherhood, and there you have it. One Opus Dei member has a quiet word with a fellow Opus Dei member who just happens to be the government minister responsible for negotiating the deal and everything is wrapped up nice and neatly.
See? This is independent Ireland. The Gaelic idyll.
Not only are our banks, our governing political party and the main church in this country all filthy, despicable and unprincipled organisations who have no qualms about sucking the taxpayer dry. It now seems there’s no difference between the three.