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Don't bank on brainless Brians to sort things out.

Byline: Pat Flanagan

THERE'S this compulsive gambler who wants me to go guarantor for a huge loan. Trouble is, he's dodgy as hell and has a criminal record to boot.

He actually stole money from people and even helped fraudsters set up bogus bank accounts so they could dodge paying tax. Now, he says, he has changed and will go straight if he can just get this big loan guaranteed.

Of course you or I wouldn't go near someone like that...but our Government would. Don't mind the spin coming from Ministers, what the brainless Brians have done is allowed the greedy shower of wasters who run the banks to continue screwing the public.

Apparently it's all about financial stability and, by Jaysus, do these these banker guys know about financial stability. Why wouldn't they, when some of them take home up to 50 grand a week?

So here's the deal. The banks carry on as if nothing happened even though a couple of them came within a few hours of going bankrupt and the taxpayer foots the bill if they do go under in the future.

But look on the bright side as you try to pay your ESB bill or get a fill of oil for the winter, console yourself with the fact that Brian Goggin will be sleeping easy in his bed tonight.

Brian and his pals were worried on Monday that the whole financial system in the country might collapse and they'd be out of a job.

Oh, I forgot to mention, Brian is the chief executive officer of Bank of Ireland and, if he was paid in cash would need a wheelbarrow to carry his "wages" home.

Now get this, Brian got about EUR6.9million in salary and bonuses in the last couple of years. Of course he doesn't call it wages, that would be remuneration.

I'm no banker, so I have probably have a better head for figures than the imbeciles who brought the country's financial system to its knees, but that's just over EUR66,000 a week or EUR286,000 a month. And we give out about spoilt Premiership soccer stars being overpaid!

So what does it mean for the Irish taxpayer and what happens if the deal goes wrong?

On Monday the US Congress threw out a similar scheme because the American public wasn't prepared to bail out billionaires with taxpayers' money.

Ireland is a tiny economy compared to the US so if they are worried about giving the banks the equivalent of EUR450million, shouldn't we be terrified of giving our loan sharks EUR400million?

So why are we helping people who screwed us at every turn? Why is the future of the country being put at risk to help out people without a social conscience? Why are we aiding ruthless corporate gangsters who don't care about the devastation and hardship caused when they shut branches in small towns?

They are nothing but greedy, contemptuous b*****ds who would, and do, take the homes out from under people when they fall on hard times.

That is why it is nothing short of sickening to have to come to the rescue of these financial fiends.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore hit the nail on the head when he said the Government has handed over the deeds of the country to six men who between them earn EUR13million a year. But it is the sheer scale of the guarantee - up to EUR500billion - which works out at over EUR250,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.

If it did come to the worst and the entire system collapsed, it would take the total income tax take for the next 37 years to pay off the debt.

It would mean there wouldn't be a cent in the country to pay for health, social services or education. All this sacrificed to cover the bad behaviour of the banks. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest gamble ever taken by any Irish government.

Now we hear that foreign banks, as well as the six Irish institutions, could be covered by the guarantee.

But what is most unsettling is that no one is being held responsible or accountable for the mess and there is no guarantee they will not resort to their dodgy old ways. Don't mind this crap about the subprime crisis in the United States. The Irish banks are exposed because they loaned billions to developers during the boom and now they can't pay it back.

The Government's claim that the guarantee given will be charged at a commercial rate is dubious and, if true, the cost will be passed on by the banks to account holders. So the public loses anyway.

Perhaps this desperate measure was needed in the national interest but if that is the case, why couldn't Aer Lingus have been saved for the nation?

If the banks can be bailed out with State money, why not the national airline of an island nation?

Also, the public can have little faith or trust in those who brought it about.

A week ago yesterday Brian Lenihan declared that the banks were all in a healthy state yet he needed to rush through emergency laws to save them a few days later.

Either he lied to the people or the banks lied to him.

You take your choice.

Personally, I would not trust either of the brainless Brians or the banks to put a tenner on a nag in the 2.15 at Fairyhouse, never mind let them gamble with the wealth of the nation.

Why is our future being put at risk to help people without a social conscience?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 3, 2008
Words:948
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