Non-Golfing Bank Executives Fear System Handicaps Their Greed

Druid’s Glen – In a tree overlooking Druid’s Glen, the 5-star hotel and golf course so beloved of Ireland’s aristocracy, sits Jason Gilfoyle (33) with a pair of high-powered binoculars and a notepad.

But Mr. Gilfoyle is not engaged in ornithology, or any traditional leisure pursuit that involves a man climbing a tree and sitting in it with some binoculars. Instead, Mr. Gilfoyle is part of a growing number of bank executives who feel they are being left out of the loop by their inability to whack little white balls firmly with a variety of sticks.

Gilfoyle watches carefully as Brian Lenihan and David Drumm approach the 15th green.

Gilfoyle watches carefully as Brian Lenihan and David Drumm approach the 15th green.

“I used to have a reputation as a real ball-breaker,” said Gilfoyle as he scanned the 13th fairway. “I was someone everyone picked to go right to the top. But then they asked me to have a round of golf with them and it all started to go wrong.”

Gilfoyle spat bitterly at a startled pigeon in the branch below him. “By the time I made a 72 on the first hole, my career was already over.”

Gilfoyle is one of many executives who spend their weekends crouched among the branches of Druid’s Glen, spying voyeuristically on the naked dealings of power.

“We’re all here,” said Gilfoyle. “James Hogarth from AIB’s in that beech over there, and Harry Walsh from BoI is in the oak. Sheila Fennessy from Permanent TSB used to be in that pine tree, but the needles kept ripping her tights to shreds. But we’re all out here because everyone knows the real deals are done on the golf course.”

This feeling has been confirmed recently with news of how executives of Anglo Irish Bank avoided personal bankruptcy by sticking the Irish taxpayer with the bill for their failures after a golf match with Taoiseach Brian Cowen at Druid’s Glen.

Cowen prepares to whack the balls off Ireland during the now infamous golf game.

Cowen prepares to whack the balls off Ireland during the now infamous golf game.

“That’s the kind of deal that really makes a name for you as an executive,” said Gilfoyle despairingly. “I mean, Seanie Fitzgerald and Fintan Drury and Gary McGann and the lads, they pissed their money away like a bunch of drunks against a wall after a wedding.”

“And there’s no way they’d ever have gotten that back off the markets – Anglo’s share price had utterly collapsed by June 2008 because anyone with half a brain could see that it owed more than it could possibly pay back. That’s why they had to go to the politicians.”

It has recently emerged that Fitzgerald, Drury, and McGann played golf with Taoiseach Brian Cowen in June 2008, three months before Cowen issued the blanket bank guarantee which saddled the Irish taxpayer with the bank’s debts, thereby bankrupting the nation. All four men insist that they only talked about the new pin position on the 4th hole, Tiger Woods’ struggle for form, and how little reason their was to say anything at all about the impending collapse of Anglo Irish Bank.

“Yeah, well, it’s the classic Fianna Fáil pattern of denying it, then admitting it but denying it has any importance,” said Gilfoyle. “No one ever believes them, but no one ever gets arrested and no one ever has to pay the money back.”

“But we have the evidence in their own words. Seanie Fitzgerald himself said about investment advice that “for the Real McCoy you can’t beat the 19th hole on the golf course.’”

“I just have to find a way to break into that circle!” said Gilfoyle, punching his knee in frustration.

Fitzgerald and David Drumm share a laugh at their 'gimme' on the 19th hole in June 2008.

Fitzgerald and David Drumm share a laugh at their 'gimme' on the 19th hole in June 2008.

Cowen has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying, “I want to take this opportunity to utterly refute any suggestions of impropriety on my part. There’s nothing more natural than that the Taoiseach should take a full weekday day off to play golf with a few wealthy businessmen in need of a really big favour.”

According to Gilfoyle, this is how it goes when you get to the top.

“You have to slave away when you’re mid-level, but once you get to the top you can do whatever you feel like,” he said enviously. “I mean, you can lose billions on the stock market and still give yourself a million-euro bonus. You can take off any day you want to play golf or go to the Galway Races. You take all the cash, while someone else does all the work.”

“That’s where I want to be, but I can’t make it unless I learn how to hit the right balls in the right places.”

3 Responses to Non-Golfing Bank Executives Fear System Handicaps Their Greed

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