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Don't let the Bouchers drag you down & under.

Byline: Pat Flanagan

AFTER this week we can now know for sure that the "B" in the title of most Irish financial institutions stands for bastards.

Granted some are bigger bastards than others but they all fit that bill.

Besides they can't call themselves banks as that would imply they know how to save and not lose money.

The Dail committee hearings into how the country's main institutions are dealing with the mortgage crisis produced little we didn't already know.

Anyone with a so-called "distressed" home loan would be more distressed as the week went on.

If it served no other useful purpose, it left the public in no doubt about who is actually running the country and it's not the politicians.

It showed that the crisis is no closer to being solved now than it was when it started in 2008.

The arrogance and greed that led to the virtual destruction of the economy was there in bagfuls although some masked it better than others.

Bastards of Ireland boss Richie Boucher stole the show when he let it be known his bank was only interested in profit and not people.

Brazen Boucher said debt forgiveness was "not a policy". This more or less means that his zombie institution will try to get blood from a stone.

And there's a lot of stones to be bled as he revealed 19,083 BOI mortgage accounts were at least three months' in arrears.

What was even more shocking was Richie's lack of a social conscience - especially as his company wouldn't be in existence if not for a [euro]2.4billion social welfare cheque from the Irish people.

BOI has a "hell or Connaught" approach when it comes to mortgages. You can either pay up or you can go to hell.

Even if those in debt sell their negative equity homes, Richie's henchmen will hound them to the grave to get the outstanding cash.

Another disclosure that was overlooked was his admission that BOI has hired private detectives to spy on mortgageholders. I don't know if Richie has ever thought of going on the stage because he was born to play Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

He even boasted that his [euro]843,000 salary was accepted by the Government despite them imposing a [euro]500,000 on bankers' pay.

Indeed, listening to him was like being transported back to the age of Charles Dickens when people who couldn't pay their bills were incarcerated in debtors' prisons.

Even in Dickens' time allowing a bank to determine how much a family can spend on food for their children would have been outrageous.

Yet that is happening and it's the prospect facing tens of thousands of homeowners unable to meet mortgage payments.

Think about it, an organisation run by a guy on seventy grand a month telling parents that [euro]20 is enough to blow on food for their kids.

What Boucher is saying is his bank is bust and the only way it can get back into profit is to screw those unlucky enough to have loans with them.

The other financial institutions have the same attitude but just haven't Richie's balls or brazenness to admit it.

This week former FG minister Ivan Yates described how he was hounded by AIB to the point where he almost took his own life.

He said AIB stands for "Arrogant, Inhuman Bastards" and few would disagree with that.

While many will have little sympathy for a bankrupt bookie, his case is not unique as banks are driving many people to suicide.

AIB wanted to screw him even though he was offering to pay them back 80c in the euro.

Because of its vindictiveness, the State lost well over [euro]1million and the staff who made this decision should be given the boot.

But they won't. It will be those who can't afford to keep a roof over their heads who will be booted out of their homes.

The politicians are afraid to act while the Central Bank is again ignoring a crisis that could result in another economic catastrophe.

What emerged from the Dail Committee hearings is that the only solutions on offer to homeowners are those approved by the bastards.

YOU CAN PAY UP OR GO TO HELL

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 6, 2013
Words:723
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