Bank fraud v Welfare fraud

Still no accountability on the massive and well planned theft by National Irish Bank during the 1990s. The State’s corporate enforcer, Paul Appleby is still trying to get a number of NIB executives disqualified from working as senior company managers. The judge hearing the case adjourned until Thursday to consider issues raised by NIB executives.

It is interesting to observe the language used in reports about white collar crime and that used when reporting on social welfare fraud. The NIB executives who organised the theft of millions from their own customers and the State are merely referred to as being ‘involved in a number of improper practicesâ€?. When it comes to reporting on social welfare, however, there is no hesitation in using words like, “prison’ “fraud’ “criminal’ and “prosecution’.

For the record, 259 criminal prosecutions were taken against social welfare recipients last year with 36 of them going to prison. The total amount involved was just over €1 million. Hundreds of millions have been stolen by the banks in recent years but not a single bank official has even been charged never mind serve time.