“If only,” Irish people wail, looking over the burnt out wreckage of the banking system, ” we had people involved in public life who just enforced the law, and weren’t twisting and turning according to who’s well-politically-connected millionaire mates. If only we had people who just did their job.” Yet as soon as one man steps up to the plate, and does so, we’re outraged. But what’s extraordinary is the Irish way that one well organised vested interest (Quinn workers) are permitted to completely override the interests of another group (Quinn customers). Of course Quinn workers have a right to defend their jobs. But the regulator has an obligation to protect customers. That’s the law, and if all those FF, FG and Sinn Fein politicians don’t want the regulator to protect the interests of insurance policy holders, then let them say so, rather than try to undermine the office that they voted to create.
I for one am glad that we have someone like Matthew Elderfield willing to do no more or no less then what the law requires him to do. If we had had more people like him in the past regulating the banking sector, we would not be in quite the mess we are now. The fact that a Bermudian banking official actually doing his job is now regarded as revolutionary just underlines how bizarre Irish morality has become.