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9 videos that sum-up Ireland's banking and economic collapse

“We are where we are” and “we all partied”. We look back at those turbulent two years that led us towards Ireland’s current economic state.

Image: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

THIS WEEK IRELAND had a few reminders of its banking and economic turmoil in the courts and on the markets.

On Monday and Tuesday, three former executives at the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank faced criminal charges over allegations of providing unlawful financial assistance to former clients of the bank.

While on Thursday, the National Treasury Management Agency held an auction of Irish government bonds, the first time this has been done since September 2010 a few weeks before the government of the day applied for an international bailout.

Also this week there were significant changes announced at Permanent TSB and Allied Irish Banks, both hit by the change in the way people do their banking and perhaps more so by the current economic climate.

The events that led to this are well known by this stage: an unsustainable blanket bank guarantee by the government in late September 2008 which had disastrous consequences for the economy and the national debt to the point where Ireland needed help paying its bills.

But given the week we have had we thought we’d trawl through YouTube to bring you a selection of videos which best sum-up how ‘we are where we are’ as Brian Cowen once said.

17 March – 30 September 2008: “The dogs on the street were barking about Anglo”

Between late 2007 and the beginning of 2008 the problems in the sub-prime mortgage market in the US began to have a knock-on effect on market conditions globally. On St Patrick’s Day 2008, shares in Anglo Irish Bank plummeted as investors got edgy.

Cue dramatic music, dramatic narrator and lots and lots and lots of commentators saying all manner of apocalyptic things:

YouTube:

2 October 2008: Pat Neary goes on Prime Time

The financial regulator went on RTÉ’s flagship current affairs programme two days after the government issued a blanket guarantee of Ireland’s banking sector and delivered a performance that is best summarised by the economist Colm McCarthy in an interview with Vanity Fair in March 2011:

What happened was that everyone in Ireland had the idea that somewhere in Ireland there was a little wise old man who was in charge of the money, and this was the first time they’d ever seen this little man. And then they saw him and said, Who the fuck was that??? Is that the fucking guy who is in charge of the money??? That’s when everyone panicked.”

YouTube:

31 March 2010: Charlie Bird knocks on David Drumm’s door

The former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank had been living in the US since the furore over the collapse of Anglo but he remained in the news primarily because of loans from the bank which the new management were chasing.

The bank’s new management team weren’t the only people chasing Drumm. So too was the intrepid Charlie Bird, RTÉ’s US correspondent, who wasn’t much liking his American adventure but seemed to enjoy haranguing Drumm on his doorstep.

Not that the former banker answered the door:

YouTube:

19 August 2010: David Murphy welcomes Michael Fingleton home

A day after it emerged that Irish Nationwide’s taxpayer-funded bailout would top €3 billion, RTÉ’s Business Editor David Murphy was waiting in the arrivals hall for the building society’s former chief executive Michael Fingleton when he arrived home from Spain.

They did what’s known in the business as a ‘walk-and-talk’:

YouTube:

14 September 2010: “A real new low in Irish politics”

At his party’s think-in in Galway, Taoiseach Brian Cowen was attempting to rally the Fianna Fáil troops as the government continued to take much of the heat for the continuing economic turmoil Ireland was experiencing.

As part of that he went on RTÉ’s flagship radio programme, Morning Ireland, to conduct an interview about the December budget. But when Fine Gael TD Simon Coveney tweeted: “God, what an uninspiring interview by Taoiseach this morning. He sounded half way between drunk and hungover and totally disinterested…” the blue touchpaper was lit for a political controversy that went global.

RTÉ’s David Davin-Power pulled it all together:

YouTube:

18 November 2010: “Coming on here with your oul’ palaver”

Three days before Ireland admits that it needs a full-blown bailout, there is talk of a contingency fund for the banks courtesy of the IMF. At this point the dogs on the street are increasingly aware of Ireland’s fate but Fianna Fáil ministers will not admit the full scale of the funding problem the State faces.

And Labour Party TD Pat Rabbitte is angry, real angry:

YouTube:

21 November 2010: “I don’t accept the premise of what you’re saying”

On the day that the government admitted it was going to seek international assistance from the grouping that would become known as the Troika, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan took a few questions from the media at government buildings.

It was all fairly routine stuff for such a significant moment. That was until the man himself, the one and only Vincent Browne decided to ask a few questions:

YouTube:

24 November 2010: “We all partied”

Days after Ireland confirmed what had been inevitable for weeks, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan was interviewed by Miriam O’Callaghan about the bank guarantee and straight out denied that it was his decision to guarantee the banks that led to Ireland needing a bailout.

What followed was a line that will forever be remembered in Ireland and associated with the boom time. Except for those of us who didn’t party:

YouTube:

1 April 2011: Constantin Gurdgiev sums up the crisis

We’re not sure when this was recorded but it’s a pretty short and succinct analysis of what’s wrong with Ireland’s banking sector from the TCD economist appearing on TV3′s Tonight with Vincent Browne:

YouTube:

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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