Marian Finucane (Saturday) began her interview with Pat Cox last Saturday in a very angry tone.
A lot of Irish people are feeling really, really angry with Europe at this stage, that Irish taxpayers have been forced by Europe not by the IMF to pay for loans that the Irish people didn’t take out, there seems a dreadful injustice at the heart of that.
Throughout the entire interview Finucane refused to accept that, as a nation, we were in any way to blame.
It’s the fault of the Europeans; they allowed the nasty European banks to take advantage of our gentle and innocent banks.
Cox tried his best to tell her the truth.
In fact, right throughout the interview he kept on saying – It’s our fault, we did it to ourselves but Finucane was having none of it.
We’re Irish she seemed to suggest, we can’t be expected to face reality, we don’t do reality.
Why, asked Cox, are other European countries both inside and outside the Euro much better off than Ireland, why did Ireland fail?
Yes, said Finucane we know all about bad regulation and the politics of it all but those nasty banks were taking a punt on our financial institutions and they’re getting away with it.
It’s our fault said Cox, we had no contingency plan, we made a mess of it.
But Finucane insisted the European banks were investing here because they figured that the Irish mug would have to pay for it through tax.
Cox was patient.
The unilateral decision made in 2008 to guarantee all the Irish banks was the single most reckless decision in the history of the Irish state.
The decision was made without telling our EU partners, it posed a serious danger to their interests. We put on the Green Jersey, the Germans didn’t make us do it, the French didn’t make us do it, we did it ourselves.
But Finucane was determined, at all costs, to avoid facing reality.
But we’ve made so many sacrifices, tax increases, pay cuts, there’s a lot of pain and the nasty investors who lent recklessly to our gentle innocent banks are getting away without any pain.
Cox is a saint.
We did it to ourselves he said. The EU and even the IMF stopped believing us; they don’t trust the Irish, that’s why they insisted on an external examiner to supervise the latest bank stress tests.
But, said the by now crazed Finucane, the people who put money into Anglo, for example, knew it was a basket case, it’s so unfair that we should have to take the pain.
I switched off, went for a walk.