Which Was It Then, Brian. Attention-to-the-Deficit Disorder. or a Little Fib?

Daily Mail (London), May 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Which Was It Then, Brian. Attention-to-the-Deficit Disorder. or a Little Fib?


Byline: SHAY HEALY SETS THE CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS shay.healy@dailymail.ie

IF we measured the Pinocchio noses that grew and grew in the witness boxes during the Mahon Tribunal, the Moriarty Tribunal, the Morris Tribunal, the Beef Tribunal and then added in the collection of statements of dubious provenance that have tumbled from the mouths of The Duke of Drumcondra, The Caliph of Clara and their lackeys, I'd wager the noses' collective length would stretch from Dublin to Malin Head.

When I was young and idealistic, I used to think that the two gravest crimes a man could commit against his country, were treason and perjury. When Eamon Gilmore recently accused the Taoiseach of 'economic treason', The Caliph trembled with rage at the charge and for once, I felt a pang of compassion for him.

But he lost my sympathy again during his famous 7,000-word speech to the North County Dublin Chamber of Commerce, when he said that no one had seen the economic crisis coming until Bear Stearns collapsed in 2008.

Last week, economist Marc Coleman wrote that on June 22, 2006, Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, warned that in relation to damping down our mortgage activity, 'there is a need to issue prudential warnings and messages'. A couple of weeks later, on July 13, 2006, in response to an article by Marc Coleman, which in essence said that exchequer revenue strength was even more illusory than before, The Caliph responded dismissively. 'We are managing the economy prudently and we are not depending on a surge in property-related revenue.' Four days after The Caliph's rebuttal, at an Fianna Fail meeting in Galway, Marc Coleman was sitting close enough to The Caliph to tell him that the ESRI had just warned about a possible recession heading the way of the U.S. and suggested that our Government might be prudent to conceive a contingency plan.

In the following day's newspaper, The Caliph said 'Harrumph' to Coleman's warning, yet when it came to his speech ten days ago, he had blanked the correspondence and conversation of 2006 from his mind and blithely asserted that he didn't know anything about the global crisis until 2008.

What do we call The Caliph's offence? It stops short of being perjury, because he wasn't under oath. But was he being deliberately disingenuous? Was it a deliberate untruth? Was it a fib? Or was it just a 'little white' lie? The Caliph laid the blame squarely on 'fundamental errors made within the management of individual banks'. …

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