Let’s sue the Bastards!

Sun and summer have a fear engendered blog writing inertia in me recently but the codology about the setting up of a banking inquiry has re- energised me to angrily re-enter the blogosphere.

       It is now several years after the infamous banking guarantee, and improbably enough in the mouth of an election which means we are highly unlikely to see the fruits of its deliberations until well after said elections. This is as damnable as it is infuriating.

       Obviously the politicians and the elites believe another Irish saying, well-known to both Church and State: “The people are sheep to be driven”.      

       Several years ago as the scale of the banking disaster and with it the rottenness of the relationships between the various Irish financial institutions, Government, senior officials and in particular the accountancy and legal professions I had a sadly prophetic encounter with a senior counsel, a woman, at a Christmas party.

       Angered by the destruction of jobs, savings and hopes that were beginning to show up in the suicide statistic, I had commented to my friend to the effect that: “these bastards will have to be sued.” She replied evenly with a slight, attractive lisp, (she is of German origin): “there vill be no suing!”    

       Both angered and thunderstruck I asked how she could make such an extraordinary prophecy.  She replied squarely and correctly. “The gardaí dealing with fraud issues are quite good. There unit is efficient but they do not have the back-up they require, they need specialised forensic accountants to make successful court cases possible.”

       Like an ejit, I thought the woman had lost touch with political reality. After all the national debt involved here is of the order of 125 billion, try paying that off four and a half million population Mr. IMF. In the face of mounting public wrath, the idea that the hiring of a few accountants could hold up the bringing to justice of people who have landed Irish society with a debt burden which is unlikely to be met within the lifetime of my great – great grandchildren seem preposterous.

       But my legal friend was a hundred and one per cent correct. At the recent Bar Council Annual Conference, one of the country’s leading White Collar crime experts, Remy Farrell SC broke silence to tell the public about the national scandal involved in the failure of the government to hire vitally needed forensic accountants to combat White Collar crime. 

       Farrell was quoted as saying that The State’s regulatory agencies are so stretched by an “endemic” lack of resources that many reports of white-collar crime are not even being read by the authorities.

 

       He also revealed that it was a “scandal” that investigators were “at breaking point”, with lack of investment enabling large-scale fraud to go undetected and costing the State millions in lost revenue.

 

He made the startling revelation that “there is now one forensic accountant working in the principal law enforcement regulatory body in this country,” Mr Farrell said, adding: “It’s enough to make the tin-pot dictator of a banana republic blush.”

      

       It emerged that the state’s requirement to adequately deal with the situation caused by the crash would require the employment of five of these specialist accountants. It seems that the current resources available to the state have been absorbed largely by the Anglo inquiries alone. An official report cited at the conference revealed that there were two forensic accountants employed by the government but that one has now retired.

       This effectively leaves the citizenry with only one of these vital personnel left to secure justice on their behalf when five are needed.

       Political advisors have been hired and the income guidelines which the average citizen must follow have been breached for top executives of The Heath Service Executive (HSE) but yet a relatively insignificant amount of money cannot be found to turn over the stones and see what scuttles out into the light of day from the financial sector.

       Instead the public are being offered a send the fools further inquiry, which may not even sit for a year never mind extract anything worthwhile from the claws of the fat cats.

       The children of Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan are being not merely beggared but mocked.