Journalist Michael Clifford: Getting it wrong on the bank inquiry

According to journalist Michael Clifford the lack of a paper trail concerning the major decisions taken during the 2008 financial crisis is of minor importance (Irish Examiner).

If that were all that was wrong in the department, we’d all be in clover.

In his article Clifford leads the raging elephant of political/administrative corruption into the room, sticks a long, well sharpened spear up the creatures rear end to ensure maximum pain and then proceeds to completely ignore the ensuing rampage.

Instead he focuses on what he obviously believes are more important aspects of the first days of the latest banking inquiry.

Like, for example, how finance officials had to go home to find out details of that year’s budget or how Fianna Fail is reacting to the inquiry.

This journalist could not be more wrong.

The lack of a paper trail is the single most important aspect of the entire disgraceful episode because it tells us just how corrupt our political/administrative system has become.

Allow me to analyse Clifford’s raging elephant in the room.

Rob Wright, the Canadian public servant who compiled a report on how the Department of Finance was asleep at the wheel during the boom, gave evidence.

Rob Wright is wrong in his conclusion that the Department was asleep at the wheel.

The Department of Finance was not asleep at the wheel. The Department was fully aware of what was happening throughout the boom years, the Central Bank, Revenue and all other relevant state agencies also knew exactly what was happening.

No action was taken because our corrupt political system was, and still is, more concerned with protecting the interests of those who benefitted hugely from the boom than they were/are in the interests of the Irish people.

All our state agencies, including the police, operate under the direct control of our corrupt political system.

Wright was ‘flummoxed’ by the lack of a paper trail surrounding the major decisions made during the crisis.

He was told by many public servants that it was the Freedom of Information Act that was to blame. Nobody wanted to commit to paper anything that might come back to haunt them.

There could be serious ‘hassle’, he was told, if an FOI request revealed a difference of opinion between a minister and a civil servant.

One minister, we’re told, ‘had a lot of concern’ about the Freedom of Information Act after one such revelation.

It is deeply disturbing that civil servants can casually dismiss their disgraceful actions/inactions because of a fear of ‘hassle’ from a minister.

It is deeply disturbing that a minister (and, of course, he/she is not alone in this) expresses concern at the prospect of citizens becoming properly informed by way of an FOI.

It is deeply disturbing that any meeting of ministers and their senior public servants could be conducted without any notes/record being taken never mind the major, life impacting decisions taken during the financial crisis.

To put it bluntly, only those in charge of the most perverse, corrupt, diseased banana republic would think it acceptable to make such decisions while consciously deciding to keep no record in case they were made to account for their betrayal.

As far as I am aware, and I hope to check on this further in the coming year, there is a legal requirement for civil servants to record all minutes of all government/ministerial meetings.

Journalist Clifford ends his article:

The jury is still out on whether this whole thing will amount to a hill of beans.

Wrong again:

The jury is in, every informed person knows what happened, knows that the current inquiry is a disgraceful farce, knows that it won’t even amount to a hill of beans.

The people, in recent elections, polls and protests, have given their verdict – Guilty.

They have delivered their sentence – The abolition of our corrupt political/administrative system.

All that remains is for the sentence to be carried out and, hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.

Copy to:
Michael Clifford
Department of Finance
All political parties

1 thought on “Journalist Michael Clifford: Getting it wrong on the bank inquiry”

  1. What exactly did I get wrong? Nowhere did I state that the lack of a paper trail was a minor matter. Neither did I even infer that it was. Why use a headline like that unless you’re engaged in something other than constructive commentary or criticism?

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