The audio recordings are from the bank’s own internal telephone system and date from the heart of the financial crisis that brought the State to its knees in September 2008. Anglo itself was within days of complete meltdown – and in the years ahead would eat up €30bn of taxpayer money. Mr Bowe speaks about how the State had been asked for €7bn to bail out Anglo – but Anglo’s negotiators knew all along this was not enough to save the bank. The plan was that once the State began the flow of money, it would be unable to stop. Mr Bowe is asked by Mr Fitzgerald how they had come up with the figure of €7bn. He laughs as he is taped saying: “Just, as Drummer (then-CEO David Drumm) would say, ‘picked it out of my arse’.”
Mr Drumm and Mr Bowe discuss whether it would be possible to get Mr Hurley to make a public statement of confidence in the Irish banks. At one point, Mr Drumm snaps: “No, no, forget about reality because it’s not working. Is there anything they (Central Bank) could say?”
The senior bankers, politicians and public officials have not been asked to explain the roles that each of them played in the genesis of the crisis and in the inadequacies of the policy response. Such inquiries as have been conducted have eschewed the allocation of responsibility to individuals or even to organisations. This encourages the narrative that the Irish banking collapse was some kind of natural disaster, unleashed from afar without human agency, an asteroid strike which unfortunately chose landfall in Ireland. An alternative and equally convenient notion is that it was a sociological phenomenon, a collective failure of the entire population for which all bear responsibility, which has the added advantage of justifying the liberal dispersal of the cost. Collateral damage from the failure to inquire into these events has been inflicted on those, bankers in particular, who played no role in the collapse.
Read more: Ireland Bank Tapes Leaked – The Snowden Effect: Ireland Edition – Esquire
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