Taxpayer pays again

A FEW years ago Sean Quinn was Ireland’s richest man and Anglo Irish Bank its most envied financial institution. Today, Quinn is bankrupt and Anglo is a ghost bank awaiting burial.

The two played key roles in each other’s downfall and the mutual blame game is being fought in the courts where many costly rounds of battle lie ahead.

Ideally, the Irish public could watch from the sidelines, viewing the spectacle as a morality tale of greed and recklessness, but unfortunately we are centrally involved.

We own Anglo, so Quinn owes us — between €200 million as he contends and €2.8 billion as Anglo insists. Either way, his application for bankruptcy in Northern Ireland is a slap in the face to Anglo and the taxpayer.

Anglo will have to challenge the validity of the move, thus opening a new legal battle front for a bank which, in the first six months of this year alone, incurred €60m in professional fees, much of that for lawyers.

We couldn’t afford the catastrophe that was Anglo and we can’t afford protracted court cases. Quinn, as evidenced by his lengthy statement yesterday, feels very hard done by. He should try being an ordinary taxpayer.

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