Fingleton: The most important question was not asked

The RTE documentary on Michael Fingleton should not have been about Fingleton. Nor should it have been about what was, effectively, his private bank, Irish Nationwide.

It should have been about those responsible for permitting ruthless and greedy individuals like Fingleton to do pretty much as they pleased.

It should have been about the abject failure of the Central Bank and the now defunct Ifrsa to rein in this rogue banker.

Fingleton was just a greedy banker. He was good at manipulating people and the political/business environment in which he operated.

In that respect he was no different from all the other greedy bankers who were allowed to suck the lifeblood out of the country for generations to come.

Instead of broadcasting sensationalised documentaries that seem to be designed solely to trigger the anger of viewers the media should be ruthlessly focusing on those responsible for creating an environment where people like Fingleton can thrive.

That secretive, sleazy financial environment was created and is still strongly maintained by our corrupt political system.

So-called regulatory authorities like the Central Bank do not act independently of the political system.

There may be no direct instructions (although I suspect that there are) from politicians to regulators but over many decades a culture has evolved whereby regulators ‘know’ what is expected of them.

This is not just my opinion. The actions and non actions of regulators over many decades points clearly to a policy of looking the other way when it comes to white collar crime.

In Ireland it is not a case of soft-touch regulation, it is a case of no regulation whatsoever.

Here’s one of the very few references to the Regulator from the documentary.

So here we are nine years before Irish Nationwide goes bust, the Regulator has a report highlighting deficiences in its systems and practices and at the same time the Society is plunging headlong into ever larger developer deals, growing at a worrying pace.

This was just a building society but it wasn’t stopped.

So Irish Nationwide was going rotten, the Regulator knew it was going rotten. The failure to act ultimately cost Irish citizens €5.4 billion.

Why was it allowed to happen?

This is the question every journalist and media outlet in the country should be relentlessly demanding an answer to from those in power.

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