Banking inquiry report: Joe Higgins: ‘Cabal’ deserved jail, even if 99.9% of actions legal

The ‘cabal’ of senior politicians, bankers, bondholders, and developers in place during the economic crash should have been jailed, despite the fact “99.9%” of what they did was legal, an ousted bank inquiry member has claimed.

Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins drew the damning conclusion in an alternative minority report of the bank inquiry, published before the official document was released.

The Dublin West TD said senior politicians, bankers, bondholders, and developers in charge at the time “should have been facing jail instead of golden pensions”.

In a 146-page broadside at the capitalist economic system and its impact on Ireland’s social fibre, Mr Higgins said the “bubble government” of then taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, alongside then tánaiste Mary Harney, and finance minister Charlie McCreevy, served “the interests of bankers and developers, not ordinary people”.

He was equally critical of then opposition leader and now taoiseach Enda Kenny, accusing him of leading a “silent non-opposition”.

In a clear warning, he said the true horror of what happened was that 99.9% of what caused the crash was “perfectly legal”, meaning the 2008 financial disaster is destined to happen again. Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said the report — which he also refused to endorse — simply “rationalised the key players and their positions” without any analysis, while the relationship between politicians, banks, and developers was not examined.

Meanwhile, Social Democrats TD Stephen Donnelly will today ask the Dáil to allow an “independent legal review” of the inquiry’s findings and to examine whether a legal case can be taken over the ECB’s refusal to burn senior bondholders.

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