A recent article in the Financial Times analysing Ireland’s economic woes quoted Green Party chairman Dan Boyle on the question of making bankers accountable.
I have strong hopes that the ongoing investigations of the director of corporate enforcement and others will lead to the prosecution of those in the banking system who broke the law. But as yet, there is no opportunity for the senior bankers – some of the best-paid people in our society – to account for the catastrophic failures in their organisations, for which we will all have to pay.
It’s difficult to tell whether Boyle’s integrity has been seriously damaged by his association with Fianna Fail politicians or if he’s genuinely naïve in thinking that bankers will actually be brought to account.
I know I’ve said it before but it really does need to be repeated – No banker will be brought to account unless there’s a virtual revolution in the way the corrupt Irish state deals with white collar crime.
Boyle is a fool if he genuinely believes that the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) has the power or resources to make bankers accountable – it does not.
The ODCE deals with small time infringements by small time business people but, in effect, it also acts as a safe house for those who have committed or are under suspicion of major white collar crime.
The idea is simple but very effective – when suspicions of or actual white collar crime is uncovered the cases are transferred to ODCE where they stagnate for years until they are forgotten.
The guilty have nothing to fear from ODCE as its powers are pathetic, usually involving nothing more than a ban of a couple of years from acting as a company director.
The following is a list of those currently enjoying the safe haven that is the ODCE.
The Bailey brothers – Engaged in long-term tax evasion (made a €22 million settlement with Revenue), bribed public officials, gave false evidence under oath and obstructed a public inquiry.
National Irish Bank officials – In charge when millions were robbed from customers and the State.
Jim Flavin of DCC – Found by the Supreme Court to have defrauded the Irish Stock Market of €83 million.
None of these people will suffer any loss whatsoever as a result of their activities. They, and the bankers who have recently joined them in the ODCE safe house, will continue to enjoy the effective protection of the ODCE for so long as politicians like Dan Boyle remain ignorant of what’s really going on in this country.