Ireland: financially accident prone?

5 July, 2010

During my living memory, I have seen a succession of financial/commercial scandals or controversies played out in Ireland.  Some involved suspected corruption or illegality, some were the fruits of disastrous business decisions, and some were attributable to poor regulation.  I suspect that, per capita, we have far more such issues than other countries.  I also believe that the main reason for this is that the protagonists in Ireland seem to be able largely to escape the consequences of their actions, thus creating a climate where history repeats itself.

As an exercise, I sat down the other day and tried to recall all the main scandals or controversies which have blighted our commercial, financial or regulatory reputation.  I have limited this to the past 30 years or so, and thus excluded classics such as the mysterious origins of Charlie Haughey’s wealth, and the Shanahans Stamp Auctions scam. 

  • PMPA – a Ponzi type insurance bubble?
  • GPA – spectacular rise and spectacular fall
  • Goodman Group collapse (and dodgy export credit insurance claims)
  • Patrick Gallagher / Merchant Banking Limited
  • AIB/ICI and the State bailout
  • AIB/Rusnak
  • DIRT scandal
  • Bogus non-resident accounts scandal
  • Baltimore Technologies’ crash
  • Anglo-Irish Bank (and all its myriad subplots)
  • Quinn/Anglo debacle
  • DCC / Fyffes insider trading scandal
  • Bertie Ahern and his tribunal evidence
  • etc etc etc

I invite readers to add to the above depressing list, and comment upon whether it confirms that we are particularly accident-prone or corrupt.

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