Thursday, February 18, 2016

You can't teach an old dog new tricks

For the imminent Irish general election, from the Fianna Fáil manifesto --

What is needed is a state backed bank along the lines of the Industrial Credit Corporation (ICC) which operated successfully in the economy for many years.

From just one of the fragments of past Fianna Fail scandals (Irish Echo, 1998) --

The passport files from the Department of Justice are with the Moriarty Tribunal investigating payments to former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and Transport Minister Michael Lowry, according to the taoiseach. Ahern said a “reputable American businessman and his wife” — later revealed to be Florida based Jerry and Elena Lindzon — opened two investment accounts in the government-owned Industrial Credit Corporation bank in 1991 with the intention of getting a passport. A third account with IR £10,000 was also opened as a joint deposit account with Irish businessman Brian O’Carroll. Ahern said that in July 1993 O’Carroll transferred IR £10,524.59 (the extra money was interested earned) from the joint account — after being approached by a Fianna Fail national executive finance committee member — to a current account in the name of Reynolds/Ahern in the Bank of Ireland in Baggot Street. This was a fundraising account in the name of the party leader/trustees and party treasurer. The cash transfer was an interest free loan, which Ahern said, was always repayable on request. It was part of a scheme that was intended to run for three years from 1993. The cash involved has not been repaid. No request has been made to repay it. The loan scheme was part of efforts to help bail out Fianna Fail’s severe financial difficulties at the time. The party is believed to have owed about IR £3 million and the scheme had raised about IR £300,000.

Consider just for a moment the logic by which a state development bank was handling personal accounts linked to a passports-for-sale scheme which in turn had crossover links to party political financing.

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