SiteServ sale: Dukes’ gentle anger may be deceptive

Johnny Rotten once hollered into a microphone that anger is an energy but the anger that Alan Dukes expressed at his press conference at first seemed akin to wind energy supplied by a five-year-old blowing the seeds off a dandelion clock.

SiteServ sale: Dukes’ gentle anger may be deceptive

For while the Siteserv affair also stinks of something rotten in the relations between the Department of Finance and the corpse of Anglo Irish Bank, there appeared to be more chance of the former Sex Pistol becoming a banker than of Mr Dukes unleashing any serious missiles.

“I feel extremely angry,” he said in the opening remarks of what was to become an hour and five minutes of apparent evidence to the contrary.

In fact, he was “extremely angry” three times in his address. He was also “scandalised”, “absolutely outraged” and a very unwilling cast member in what he called a “theatre of the absurd”.

So, seeing as he had crammed all his anger and a hoard of sweating media into a solicitor’s office, was he going to slap all and sundry in the Department of Anger Generation with an almighty wad of legal proceedings?

READ MORE: Calls issued to probe Siteserv sale; TD Murphy receives more documents .  

Nope. He was only using the solicitor’s office because the solicitor in question was a pal, a member of the IBRC board and Mr Dukes, perhaps pining for his own days as minister, did not have an office in Dublin in which to host the gathering.

Well, was he going to shun Finance Minister Noonan’s outrageous, scandalous review, telling the inquirers, the Public Accounts Committee and all others who wished to subject him to their theatre of the absurd to go cement themselves to a water meter?

Nope. He was happy the review was taking place, it was entirely the Government’s prerogative and “of course” he would be offering his full co-operation.

So where was the anger? Where was the energy? Well, it was a sneaky kind of wind that picked up slowly and becomes a steady current of well-targeted indignation.

First target was the intellect of those in in the Department of Anger Generation. “There was more banking experience and knowledge on the board of Anglo/IBRC than there is in the whole of the Department of Finance,” he said, almost politely.

And again: “I am not persuaded that there is the necessary level of expertise in the Department of Finance to make definitive judgements on those issues.”

Next target was the emotional immaturity of the department which seemed unable to get over the fact that the toxic bank that was Anglo was now gone and replaced by IBRC whose job it was to clean up the toxic spillage left behind.

“The anger they rightly felt about what went on before seemed to get fairly easily transferred onto the post-nationalisation bank and the new team we had put in place. Anger and suspicion seemed to be a feature for quite some time after that.”

Moving determinedly on, he addressed the cowardice of the department who, when asked for advice on a proposed action, wouldn’t tell him yes, only saying “whatever you think yourself”.

“I’m a long time around in administration and politics and I’m very well used to people who want to have an influence on things but who want to cover themselves in case they make a mistake,” he said.

The department was well populated with this particular species, he indicated.

He even managed to question the very sanity of the department. “There are people around who I think see conspiracies in their tea leaves.”

He saved a particularly chill breeze for former secretary general of the department, John Moran. After Moran’s appointment to the post: “Things took a turn for the complicated.”

So there was no tornado of fury and no explosion of indignation. But then the seeds of a dandelion clock don’t take much blowing to spread far and wide and take root in the most inconvenient of places.

READ MORE: Calls issued to probe Siteserv sale; TD Murphy receives more documents .  


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