Shane Ross the professional politician from Wicklow is currently TD for Dublin South. Deputy Ross holds record as the Seanad’s longest-serving Senator from 1981 until he was elected to the Dáil in the 2011 general election. During his stint in the Seanad he was also known for his Business and Finance articles in the Sunday Independent. The former Business editor of the Sunday Independent knows what he is talking about right?
These turbulent days he is far more known for his political posturing within the Dáil Technical Group. The spinal tap of Dáil politics, the technical group is made up of such diverse characters, from far left communists to tax cheating property developers that owe millions to banks. He has used his position to take the populist position to castigate the Government on every policy decision. If Sinn Féin are the political small child whose only word is no, then Shane Ross is the small child who always thinks he is right.
Shane Ross’s finely honed oratory skills are impressive, well honed in a irrelevant undemocratic and toothless Seanad for over 25 years. Where The Senators talk themselves green, white and gold in the face for want of anything relevant to do. Ross was perceived to have done excellent work with the Eircom shareholders after they were burnt and was seen as defender of the little shareholder and ordinary man.
In September 2000, the now Commissioner for Environmental Information, then Sunday Business Post journalist, Emily O’Reilly, castigated Shane Ross for what she termed the ‘former stockbroker’s pitching of the shares in the public floatation of Eircom and later heading a public crusade against the company’.
Is there a pattern developing?
Shane Ross’s defence of the little man is certainly over stated, as can be seen by his lauding of Fingers Fingleton. Especially as what was known at the time and now what is known about Irish Nationwide’s and Fingers Fingleton’s activities.
The award-winning financial journalist Bill Tyson wrote in an article – which you can read here.
‘For years, every finance journalist in Dublin knew there was something fishy about the Irish Nationwide. So why, the public wants to know, didn’t they do something about it?’
Bill Tyson goes on to describe as far back as 2002 that Irish Nationwide’s serious flaws were clearly evident. Irish Nationwide were guilty of overcharging the little guy. Was Shane Ross the only finance journalist Dublin that could not see that there was something amiss at Irish Nationwide ? Not only amiss but Ross went on to laud Fingers.
There was also a campaign led by Brendan Burgess to oust Michael Fingleton because Irish Nationwide were over charging borrowers at the time. Brendan Burgess has continued to seek answers from Shane Ross up to recently about his lauding and defending of Fingers Fingleton but no avail.
In April 2003 Shane Ross wrote in defence of Fingers Fingleton.
‘Fingleton’s stewardship can be criticised’.
‘Sure, he needs more heavyweights on the board. Sure, he has been overzealous in his pursuit of defaulters’.
‘Sure, he earns an awful lot of money (€835,000). Sure he has been less than transparent’.
‘But Fingleton, for all his faults, has delivered the only thing that matters in business: profit’.
‘The rebels desperately needed losses as ammunition to fire at their target. At the same time they wanted profit to line their pockets’.
You can read Shane’s full defence of Fingleton in his article here.
In another article, you can read here. Shane Ross lauds Fingers again.
“Michael F’s cost-to-income ratio at 21.4 per cent must be the envy of Michael S. Fingleton’s return on total average assets at 2.03 per cent was far superior to Soden’s at 1.22 per cent. He even leaves superstar Sean Fitzpatrick’s Anglo Irish standing, with only 1.54 per cent.”
‘All Fingleton’s figures are spectacular. Pre-tax profits are up 20 per cent. Gross lending rose by 72 per cent.’
‘Superstar Sean Fitzpatrick’…… Sean Fitzpatrick’s story does not need to be told again. Far from super star he is or was. Remember David Drumm, former CEO of Anglo? Shane Ross almost made him young business man of the year in 2007 but disqualified Drumm because he was over forty. There was also that famous quip from Shane Ross that Sean Fitzpatrick should be made Governor of the central bank.
Shane Ross also again, “Sean Fitzpatrick was far too dynamic to be ‘Governor of Bank of Ireland’.
Lets not forget the largely toothless Nyberg report on banking. Ross was one of the Nyberg report harshest critics. Stephen Collins wrote in the Irish Times.
Nyberg was critical of the media for lauding Anglo Irish Bank. “Anglo in particular was widely admired domestically and abroad and lauded (by many investors, consultants, analysts, rating agencies and the media) as a role model for other Irish banks to emulate,” said the report.One of those in the media who lauded Anglo and Irish Nationwide was Shane Ross,who was also a senator during the boom and is now an Independent TD for Dublin South.
During the recent election campaign, his constituency rival Alan Shatter pointed out that from 2000 to 2007, Ross “criticised Bank of Ireland and AIB for their failure to adopt the catastrophic banking practices of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, and used his position as a journalist to put public pressure on those banks to follow the disastrous banking road map constructed by Seán Fitzpatrick and Michael Fingleton.”
Shane Ross didn’t like the Nyberg report much. So much so, that Shane Ross the scourge of bankers didn’t bother to show up to the Dáil the day the most important report into how things went so wrong was to be published.
He was on a holiday, just a two weeks before the Dáil was to break for an Easter holiday.
Shane Ross has been a Senator and TD uninterrupted since 1981. Like most other politicians he probably can’t walk by a mirror without wanting to lick it. I suggest next time someone hold it long enough for him to see the hypocrisy that stares back.