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Anglo: the biggest con-job since state was founded

EVER heard of the three-card trick?

Well, to sum it up quickly... it’s a classic con trick where, by obfuscation and concealment of reality, a mark, or victim, is tricked into taking a punt on the “money” card among three playing cards, but thereafter, with the aid of a foil, the con artist shuffles the cards with a sleight of hand in order to ensure the victim loses out.

I believe since the Government provided a blanket assurance to the Irish banks in September 2008 and the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance admitted they’d provide an “open cheque” for same, the Irish people have been the victims of the biggest three-card trick ever perpetrated in this state. And this is courtesy of a collection of con artists with years of experience of this kind of thing. Take the 22 billion the Government last month admitted it would never recoup from propping up Anglo Irish Bank. It’s a colossal sum — 22,000 Twenty-two thousand million — flushed down the pan and no one works up a head of steam about it. Now this has been expanded to include an 11.5bn loan from the Central Bank to Anglo, secured on Anglo’s loans to developers. Naturally, these were of shaky foundation, so most likely the 11.5bn accompanies the 22bn down the drain.

That’s a grand total of 33,000 million, plus a further 500m, straight down the pan. Not sums to rescue the entire Irish banking system. Bad enough if they were but, no, stupendous sums to facilitate the rescue of a bank that is such a monumental mess the global financial journal The Banker recently judged it to be the most toxic financial institution on the planet. The nationalised bank that lost the grand total of 15bn last year.

This whole NAMA nonsense is based on inconclusive figures and, hey, its fine, nobody works up a head of stream either when Cowen, Lenihan and Co brazenly, unashamedly admit that the profit they predicated NAMA on last year will never materialise. Along with the Anglo 22bn we’ve flushed away. And maybe the other 11.5bn. Who cares? Billions that could be used truly to give us the “world-class” health system they keep trying to convince us we have. Billions that could help educate our young people. Billions that could be used towards an effective economic stimulus package.

Then, to add insult to already considerable injury we’re sold this Anglo pup with the codswallop that there’s no other way. ‘Anglo Irish Gamblers Bank’ must be saved because it would cost more to shut this toxic, dead institution. This is nonsense. A nonsense predicated on a myth.

Not one of the geniuses who perpetuate this myth has ever provided the figures to back it up. In fact, we’ve yet to hear a single convincing reason why such colossal sums of public money should be used to resurrect this corrupt, lumbering Frankenstein. It comes down to this: who honestly believes Anglo Irish was a bank of any crucial strategic importance to this country’s economy? I would guess — despite the jargon used to try and muddy the waters when selling the whole wretched NAMA business — the answer is, very few of us.

If we swallow this massive swindle, then we’ll swallow anything. Nothing will be too audacious to be inflicted on us and, worse still, we’ll deserve it. This whole Anglo Irish monkey business is one of the biggest three-card tricks ever pulled on the Irish people. Shame on them for doing so. Even greater shame on us for allowing it.

JD Mangan

The Haven

Stillorgan Road


Co Dublin


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