Prof Ray Kinsella is on the faculty of the Smurfit Graduate School of Business and is author of the forthcoming study “Regulation, Corporate Governance and Ethics” – He is also a man who has no idea what he’s talking about.
Writing in the Irish Times on 1st March last in response to the controversy concerning staff numbers at the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Prof. Kinsella made the following assertions.
“The ODCE was established in 2001 against the backdrop of a perceived culture of “non-compliance” within parts of Ireland Inc.”
What the Prof calls a ‘perceived culture of non compliance” was and is a culture of widespread fraud and criminality that Irish authorities have steadfastly refused to challenge. The New York Times was not exaggerating when it recently described Dublin as the ‘Wild West’ of European finance.
“The ODCE is a crucial component in an entirely transformed regulatory landscape in Ireland.”
Clearly, the Prof. operates in a mental twilight zone. The regulatory landscape has indeed been transformed but to the advantage of white collar criminals. We learned recently, for example, that the Competition Authority (3rd item) consumed all its resources over a three year period investigating just one case in one industry. Not much to fear from this toothless tiger.
Recently, the ODCE itself, which operates on a laughable budget of €5 million, very politely asked 900 (yes, 900) company directors if they wouldn’t mind paying pack loans that they had illegally obtained from their firms. In a real democracy these law breakers would be taking instructions from a prison guard.
“The Financial Regulator, whose principles-based model is in sharp contrast to the over-prescriptive and fragmented US system.”
Fintan O’Toole, writing in 2004, analyses this principles based model in which Roger Acton, national director of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants claimed that a system based on “broad principles backed up by strong codes of ethics” is superior to the American system that puts white collar criminals behind bars. As O’Toole puts it
“The Irish system works, apparently, because, since there are no rules, breaches of the rules are extremely rare.”
A clue to the professor’s somewhat bizarre and naïve understanding of the Irish business sector can, perhaps, be more sympathically understood by his closing remarks where he invokes the ethical business values of Islam and the Jews as a basis for corporate compliance.
These cultures/religions may indeed live by such standards but there is no doubt that, for the most part, the Irish business sector worships and obeys only one deity – The god of ruthless greed.