David Drumm and the Anglo Tapes Might Expose Hijack of Irish Democracy

It’s a little disconcerting to hear people expressing horror at the cursing in the Anglo tapes.  Hello?  This is Ireland where everyone fucking curses all the fucking time.  What exactly is the problem with Drumm and Bowe swearing in the course of a private conversation?

Let’s look instead at the tone of those discussions, and in particular the conniving, the scheming and the utter lack of respect for the regulatory authorities.   But of course, respect has to be commanded, and it’s now plain that the people supposedly in charge of controlling the banks were weak, indecisive and in some cases, downright incompetent.  They were also supine, deferential and ineffectual in the face of a complete banking meltdown.

The latest Anglo tapes reveal a plan to artificially prop up the failed bank’s balance sheet by temporarily getting money from another bank, but where’s the surprise?  We knew that five years ago.  We knew that all the banks were engaging in this charade by passing a ball of money between them because the regulator failed to set a single day and time when they were all simultaneously audited.  Today my books are checked and in the afternoon, I send you the money.  After you get cleared, you pass it on to the next guy and so it goes.

Nobody was watching – not even the highly paid private firms of accountants who were supposed to carry out the detailed scrutiny, because it’s all a buddy’s club.


I can understand what motivated the bankers: profit and fear.  I can imagine that some of the politicians might have been motivated by the same things, but I don’t get what drove the civil servants to be so utterly stupid.  What was in it for them?  Did they stand to make a huge gain by preventing the collapse of the non-banks?  No, they didn’t.  Their salaries would be the same tomorrow as they were yesterday.  Did they stand to lose a huge amount if the banks went under?  No, for the same reason.

So why did they become so pally with the bankers that they found themselves uttering soothing words over the phone, empathising with their predicament when in fact they should have been kicking them hard in the crotch and demanding answers?  How did it come about that the man directly supervising Anglo could call John Bowe to ask if he might possibly make the time to drop down for a few minutes?  Unless we’re clever we might bring the whole thing down on top of us.  What’s this we stuff?  Why on earth would a civil servant say such a thing to the man he’s supposed to be watching?

We all remember how, back in 2009, the banks and a number of civil servants issued legal threats against newspapers.  Both Anglo and Irish Nationwide responded extremely aggressively to any suggestion that they might be unviable, even though any fool could see they had already failed beyond redemption by that time.  Likewise, certain civil servants threatened action against anyone who suggested they might have lacked the competence to advise the government properly on the bank guarantee.  Four years later, it’s plain that the banks were dead ducks and also that the civil servants were not up to the task of controlling their excesses.

Is it Stockholm Syndrome?  I don’t think so.  To me, it looks more like residual envy.  They used to see these banking spivs as masters of the Universe, they used to lionise them, look up to them and wonder why they themselves were stuck in a humdrum civil service job while the smart boys were on the really big money.  It’s bound to have an effect if you happen to be the regulator and you know that the guy you’re trying to intimidate earns ten times as much as you do.  He might be a slippery three-card-trick merchant, he might be Del-Boy, but he has a flasher motor than you.  It’s human nature.

So I think what happened is this: the mindset became established and the civil service found it impossible to shake off the feeling of deference after the slide had begun.  Once people find their place in the pecking order, it’s very hard to change the relationships without changing the people.  And that’s why Drumm felt he could get away with intimidation, bluster and bullshit.  The regulators didn’t really understand the problem, and they were still labouring under the legacy of deference engendered in the Tiger years.

So, what about Drumm?

Well, he’s clearly up to his neck in the whole disaster, but it would be a mistake to focus exclusively on him and it would also be a serious error to dismiss what he’s been saying since the tapes started to be released.  Now that Drumm is cornered, he’s extremely dangerous to just about everyone who had any sort of involvement with the financial disaster, however peripheral that involvement might have been.  He’ll name names.  He’ll point fingers, and if he’s going down, you can be sure he’ll take as many with him as he can.

government buildings

Drumm has already started asking questions and naming names.  What did Lenihan know?  What did Cowen know?

What was the involvement of the AIB chief executive and its chairman, Eugene Sheehy and Dermot Gleeson?  What about the Bank of Ireland CEO and its chairman, Brian Goggins and Richard Burrows?  They were present in Government Buildings on the night of the guarantee, the night of the now-notorious incorporeal cabinet meeting.  Did Sheehy, Gleeson (a former Attorney General), Goggins and Burrows (currently chairman of British-American Tobacco) act as members of a quasi-cabinet, while the elected ministers slumbered in their beds?  If this is true and if such a quasi-cabinet made the most momentous decision ever taken on behalf of Ireland, the implications are enormous.

It means that an unelected ad-hoc government, partly composed of bankers, took a decision that will leave generations of Irish people in slavery.  And that decision was taken exclusively in order to save those bankers from going out of business.

That’s the real scandal.

Let’s hear what David Drumm has to say.  It might prove interesting.


19 thoughts on “David Drumm and the Anglo Tapes Might Expose Hijack of Irish Democracy

  1. The extent of their greed is what I find to be the most mind boggling and disgusting. It never seemed to occur to any of the bastards that they could fuck up the Irish economy, not that it mattered to them anyway.
    I saw the behaviour of some of the fools at the golf club where I work, with their Bentleys, Merc’s, Ferrari’s and the latest in golf fashion. Some of them were spending E1000 on a bottle of wine, I kid you not. The management here were stoned on the smell of money.
    All of a sudden these “Paddies” had sophistication!
    Megalomaniacs the fucking lot of them!

  2. The entire “Tiger” economy was fuelled by credit. The price of houses soared, no ones salary soared but that didn’t stop some people borrowing ridiculous sums of money, money that had to be repaid from an average income. It didn’t stop the banks from lending ridiculous sums of money that they knew would have to be repaid from an average income. So while Drumm and co. are responsible for bringing us to our knees, Joe Soap must also bear some responsibility as he gorged on a feast of cheap money.
    Ireland is still a wealthy country. Thousands have SKY TV, broadband, smartphones, tablets, foreign holidays.We love to whinge about how hard we have it, much easier than getting off our arses and doing something positive.

  3. So what you’re saying is that we partied on borrowed money – money that foreign and national banks shoveled on to us as all-too-easy loans? Do you say, as Enda Kenny said over a year ago, that as a nation we lost the head of ourselves, or something to that effect?

    I know of many people who didn’t get sucked into a borrowing and spending frenzy. They were marginalised before the celtic tiger roared and they remain marginalised since it got the mange. Large sections of the mortgaged middle income group live daily lives of quiet desperation.

  4. No, what I said was that some people lost the run of themselves. It was a two way street, we can’y blame the bankers for everything. As willing as they were to throw money at people there were many who were willing to take it. I didn’t join in the because for the so called tiger years I struggled to make a living as a self employed person, chasing a dream of being independent.

    People talk of being trapped in negative equity. For the most part they live in 3 bedroom houses that are plenty big to raise a family. They don’t need to move house. I had had negative equity many years ago on a one bed flat with a young child. Couldn’t sell and if I could I couldn’t afford a house. I empathise with those in similar positions.

  5. Yeah No.8, i just don’t buy this whole story about the Irish people getting wanky on credit, buying mansions and BMWs with massive loans from reckless banks. yes some people did, there are always a few loud idiots.
    How about this for a story: people HAD TO take massive loans from the banks to fund the inflated prices demanded for sub-standard shitbox housing in commuter belts -either that or stay living at home with mammy well into your thirties. Still struggling and two kids later the shitbox house is cracking up and there’s no way in hell they’re going to be moving anywhere, forget about relocating for that better job and a decent place to bring up the kids -you’re stuffed and still struggling to pay off that ridiculous 35 year mortgage (nearly seventy when it’s paid off) that you HAD TO take out -not chose -nobody chooses unsustainable debt like that, well some do I suppose, can’t deny the
    Anyway, what’s worse than all that is spending the last five years listening to everyone telling you its all your fault, “oh you Celtic tiger cubs with your plasma TVs and your foreign holidays, losing the run of yourselves” -well Fuck you! NEVER had a holiday or anew car and we’re paying our debts and will be paying them for the rest of our lives thank you very much, without ever having lived this Celtic Tiger fantasy that I’ve been hearing about for the last fifteen years. it never happened for most people you know, it was shit for most people -watching everything get priced out of reach by those speculating idiots and the country run into the ground by FF and the rest of those gobshites who kept them in money and power – OH, jesus stop me.

  6. Daddy-O, nobody forced you to take out a mortgage that crippled you financially. You chose to buy the property for a huge sum, how did you pay it back before it all went pare shaped?
    As for FF, who voted them in repeatedly? We love to blame everyone but ourselves.

  7. While agreeing with opposing points No.8 has a point. The dream was fuelled on credit and the establishment shoved it under peoples noses. In response to the crash Fine Gael were voted in with a huge majority and until recently were doing very well in the polls. I’m afraid that for a lot of people the problem seems to be one of bad apples in the barrel but the problems are systemic and are not being addressed.

  8. Unfortunately you are correct as human nature does what it always does.
    I remember being told about that Goggins fecker at the time he was appointed. Bankers of an honest disposition were baffled as all in BOI knew he was anything but an honest upright person. I remember being told back then that the bank was looking like it was in the hands of some really shady people.
    I assumed it was just sour grapes from the talker who’d had high hopes of advancement to the position handed to Goggins and, being anything but a banker myself I could not perceive a scenario as was spoken about that day. It seemed surreal so I paid it little attention.
    The banker who spoke back then retired early a few years ago in an effort to retain his own sanity; and savings.
    I can see clearer now.

  9. No.8, not my own story but a pretty good approximation of the situation that many of my friends and colleagues find themselves in. Let me explain a little better though, the debt situation I have real issue with is the massive national debt that we’re all getting screwed under, this goes on top of the massive mortgage burdens that people had to take out in order to secure even the most basic accommodation. Add to this the extra taxes, the reduction in services and once again the spiralling costs of living (insurance, VAT, banking etc.) that have come about as a result of cronyism, sheisterism, poor governance, government incompetence, good old fashioned gombeenism and of course what Bock here calls the ‘hijack of Irish Democracy’. You cannot add pernicious insult to injury by blaming the majority of normal hardworking people for that mess. And as for FF, -I am innocent of all charges. I comment here just to represent the very many who worked hard, who did not profit from the Celtic tiger, didn’t buy a BMW on credit, never voted Fianna Fail, and are in no such way responsible for this stinking mess. And don’t forget that this isn’t all about mortgages and credit cards -those tens of billions of private baking debt, the bailout and all the rest of that Troika mullarkey was not my making, and neither was it yours so stop handing out the sackcloth and ashes.

  10. Sackcloth and ashes? Spare me the Angelas Ahes woe is me.

    I never voted FF, never borrowed stupid sums that I couldn’t repay. Like many others.

    Like many others I too am saddled with the debts of the bondholders and the fools who borrowed for the trophy house and car.

    I took a job overseas in a shithole so that I could pay my way. I get to pay for all the mistakes and be separated from my family at the same time. So spare me the tears on behalf of your friends and colleagues it’s partly their fault that we are where we are.

  11. ‘It’s partly their fault that we are where we are’
    Sorry No.8, with complete respect to you, we seem to be on the same page but I just don’t get why you say that the state of the nation is their fault (but not yours)? Our situations are the same as far as i can see… If it’s simply because they borrowed heavily to buy a place to live, and you in your wisdom did not, then we will just have to agree to disagree, because I just don’t get it. we’re all in the same boat vis-a-vis paying for the ‘debts of bondholders and fools’ and i think a bit of solidarity would be a good place to start for the likes of us.

  12. Daddy-Owes I get tired of the slumped shoulders, weight of the world, poor me attitude of some. There are plenty who whinge but still have smart phones, ipads, satelite TV, foreign holidays etc. If their world hadn’t fallen apart they’d be discussing their wardrobes, holidays and property portfolios at dinner parties.

    I work where some people sleep 4-5 to a room with a blanket draped across their beds for privacy. They get home once every 2 years to see children and spouses who become strangers. I come home on a break to hear whingeing about mortgages, property tax, water charges etc. We live in a wealthy country where the vast majority don’t go hungry, are literate and have a standard of living that others only dream off. But your friends are right it’s not their fault. Spare me!

  13. It’s a false disagreement.

    The current economic situation has a number of components, and over-borrowing for mortgages is only one of them. Besides, a person who borrowed too much is only a direct problem to the public finances in the event of a default. However, the secondary result of over-borrowing is a lack of disposable income, resulting in a sluggish domestic economy.

    There was absolutely no good reason to underwrite either Anglo or Nationwide, costing the state€30 billion, and as for this 3% of GDP target which is resulting in so much austerity, it has no scientific basis. For all we know, it was picked out of the same fundament as David Drumm’s demand for cash when his bank was going under.

  14. I don’t know what a tracker mortgage is.
    Seriously, and I am sure you guys will laugh at me, but was there not a complete lack of any morality in all of this?
    There appeared to be no moral compass by any of these guys, be they politicians, bankers developers and yes some Joe and Mary Smiths who gauged their value by the size of their houses and where they shopped.
    personally i dont mind paying towards this fiasco, but when I see money being pissed down the drain by our ruling classes as if it was 2005 I do get somewhat peeved !!!

  15. You don’t mind paying towards this fiasco? Really??

    Are there other people out there like you?

  16. my guess the reason the civil servants took legal action is they themselfs and up to there necks in debt and are in the same boat as the bankers dependant on getting bailed out . and they will sadly.

  17. You mean sort of insider deals offered by their buddies in Anglo et al? I wouldn’t be surprised.
    Not only that though, there was (is) a whole heap of people who thought that these wheeler dealer types were the sort of thing this country needed and were more than happy to facilitate them in keeping the Celtic tiger bubble inflated with hot air.

  18. David Drumm has the mother and father of all stories to tell alright….. I just hope he gets his chance to tell it because after hearing the Anglo tapes, he strikes me as the man who might be left carrying the can for all that went on over the years in Anglo and as you said Bock, he’ll bring a shit load of them down with him. In the meantime, watch the wagons circle around..

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