Customer Reviews


15 Reviews
5 star:
 (12)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hugely Gripping Narrative of Ireland's Meltdown
A riveting account of the most stunning economic crises of our day and yet more reporting from the journalist and politician who was there first.
A rollicking good read, completely unputdownable.
As one of the most well respected and long-standing Independent politicians in Ireland, Shane Ross has the stories from behind the meeting room doors and he doesn't...
Published on 5 Nov. 2009 by KJ Miller

versus
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read but dry in areas.
I liked this book as it seems very real as to what really happend behind the scenes. Hats off to Ross as he is thorough and honest.
Published on 28 Mar. 2010 by A reader


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hugely Gripping Narrative of Ireland's Meltdown, 5 Nov. 2009
A riveting account of the most stunning economic crises of our day and yet more reporting from the journalist and politician who was there first.
A rollicking good read, completely unputdownable.
As one of the most well respected and long-standing Independent politicians in Ireland, Shane Ross has the stories from behind the meeting room doors and he doesn't shirk from telling them. The writing here is fast paced and hugely accessible, without any of the patronising tone that has crept into too many of the other books out there on Ireland's banking crisis.
'The Bankers' is the most truthful and frank account of the Irish economic meltdown I have read. It is also the most revealing and the one from which I actually learnt the most about the whole situation. Informative and illuminating, I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially when it's such a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining read as well!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a unique perspective on Ireland's financial crisis, 5 Nov. 2009
By 
Ross covers all the bases in this tome on the death knell of Ireland's finances. Written in an engaging and highly readable style that will be familiar to patrons of the Sunday Independent, where Ross is business editor, this book is carefully researched and yet packed with narrative detail. The author, as an Independent senator and financial journalist, seems uniquely placed to comment on the Irish banking crisis. The book particularly shines where Ross includes his own personal asides and recalls conversations (and run-ins) with some of the big names of the crisis.

Along with surveying the mis-deeds of bankers, stockbrokers, developers, politicians (and more), Ross does not omit to include the ever-important global context for the crisis. Whilst never expunging the bankers of their guilt, this does provide useful background and ensures interest can be kept for those more interested in how Ireland's crisis fits in with the rest of the world.

Undoubtedly, this work will chime in well with the sentiments of many who, warily eyeing the forthcoming NAMA legislation, feel cheated by the banks. And yet in his narrative Ross ensures we recognise the culture that fostered such recklessness.

I will be recommending this book to anyone who has any interest in the current state of Irish economics, and slotting it in on the Christmas list for all those 'hard to buy-for' friends.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study of how the capitalist class ruined Ireland, 9 May 2011
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees (Paperback)
Shane Ross, a Senator and also the business editor of Ireland's Sunday Independent, gives us the inside story of how Ireland's ruling class wrecked its economy. Property developers, regulators, auditors, Ireland's Central Bank, politicians, stockbrokers, banks' in-house economists, estate agents and auctioneers, really were `all in it together'.

British firms too exploited the Irish. Anglo's blind auditors Ernst & Young got 2.2 million euros in fees in 2008. PricewaterhouseCoopers audited the Bank of Ireland in 2001, for a fee of 15.4 million euros.

When Ireland adopted the euro, it created an inflationary bubble. The capitalist class put no limits on banks' lending to property, inflating this bubble, and put no limits on bankers' pay and bonuses. The Bank of Ireland and the Allied Irish Bank competed in a lending frenzy: "The two big banks ran their own rackets." As Ross writes, "The black economy was entrenched in the financial system and underpinned the mortgage market."

Before the 2002 election, Fianna Fáil claimed, "no cutbacks are being planned." After the election it at once imposed what the Economist called `the country's toughest Budget in years, raising taxes, cutting spending in real terms'. As a result the Green Party, Fianna Fáil's partners in government, was crushed in 2009's elections (LibDems, note well).

Professor Morgan Kelly warned in The Irish Times of 28 December 2006 that housing could go into freefall, "There is an iron law of house prices. The more house prices rise relative to income and rents, the more they subsequently fall."

The government fixed a 440 billion euro bailout, which gave the bankers all the taxpayers' money they wanted, with no obligation to lend. It underwrote all the bankers' past and future dealings, and again put no limits on their pay and bonuses. Taxes were raised, to pay the bankers; services were cut, to pay the bankers; more loans were raised, to pay the bankers.

The government also endorsed the bankers' lie that Ireland was the victim of the world's problems, which let the bankers off the hook. Ross sums up, "The mess had been created by builders and bankers. The people were paying the bill."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposed Corrupt Clowns, 13 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Shane Ross has done the citizens of Ireland a great service.He has exposed the real LITTLE PEOPLE of Ireland. What a gang of cunning cute little people! We have Fingers, Fat Fill, Gleeson, Sheehy, Goggin,Seanai Fitz who wined and dined and manipulated themselves into position of greed on the backs of others. What a dunghill. The smell.Unpatriotic also comes to mind. There was a time when these people would not be free to walk the land.Of course I am mad as hell.
This book is well written full of facts. I just could not put it down.There is nothing left to be said after reading this book. The two people who come well out of this national disaster is Brian Linehan and Shane Ross. Than you Shane Ross. Wasters is my next read. Keep up the good work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BIG ISSUE?, 17 Mar. 2011
By 
DOPPLEGANGER (TEDDY B) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees (Paperback)
At the nadir of the banking meltdown one of the Irish banking chiefs said in a television interview that from now on he was going to concentrate on only the big issues. A short time later he was selling copies outside of Boots! This 'smart-arsed' comment primarily whilst only the result of me trying to inject some humour into this sorrowful saga, turns out to be ironic as many bankers, their fellow 'dippers into the tax payers honey-pot' the Developers, and the 'see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, thanks-for-the-political-donation' Politicos, came to a personal financial meltdown of their own. Although the financial deprivation was no where as great as the benefits personally stacked up during the years of wild, unbridled, unregulated recklessness and dishonesty.

In his book "The Bankers" Shane Ross, once a stockbroker and now an independent Senator, examines the events that triggered the near collapse of Ireland's banking system and with it the economy of the nation itself. He reveals that a privileged 'golden clique', caught up in a frenzy of greed and naked opportunism, had gambled in the most harebrained way with the deposits and pensions of the Irish people and had to be bailed out with massive injections of taxpayers money.

Fuelled by bankers who threw the rule book and the most elementary of common-sense out of the window, aided and abetted by reckless tax breaks from the politicians, and egged on by avaricious Property Developers, resulted in a titanic over-inflated property bubble - and the same ending befell the property bubble as befell the Titanic....sunk with barely a trace! And while bank shares climbed to dizzying heights before the crash, banking executives earned enormous bonuses, and those that tried to warn of the dire consequences in store, were unceremoniously shouted down, moved on, totally ignored or sacked.

When the 'brown stuff hit the fan' the bankers and their coterie of 'snouts in the trough' side-kicks went from being pillars of society to pariahs and the word 'Ireland' became synonymous with corruption in the global lending markets. Brian Lenihan Jr, the Fianna Fail Finance Minister, made sure that most of the culprits were forced to loose their jobs running banks but his chosen replacements did not inspire much greater confidence in the international investment markets. Whilst his 'Banker Bashing' was in full flight there appeared in the media jibes examples of which are:-

"How do you define optimism? A banker who irons 5 shirts on a Sunday."

"What do you call 12 bankers strewn along the bottom of the ocean? A good start!"

Alas, this was not a laughing matter as a whole nation was brought to its knees, taxpayers took a beating, and investors lost their shirts, all because of the reckless, selfish, greedy, totally irresponsible and highly dubious behaviour of Bankers, Developers and Politicians, a scandal unmatched in recent times and one for which virtually none of the perpetrators have yet been arraigned in a law court.

Shane Ross gives a gripping 'fly-on-the-wall" account of all the shenanigans behind the closed doors of the main players in this disgraceful episode in the commercial history of Ireland. No knowledge whatsoever of financial matters is required to appreciate this book, as it is blindingly obvious that what these so-called professional and respectable pillars of society were doing were fundamentally wrong, foolish, dodgy and would lead to failure.

A really good read, even though it makes you keep scratching your head and wondering how the devil it was allowed to fester uncontrolled for so many years and why on earth prison cells have not been occupied by some of those involved?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If this book doesn't make you cross, nothing will., 10 Jan. 2010
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Christmas bought us a raft of books on the recent collapse of the Irish economy, one of which was "The Bankers: How the Banks Ruined the Irish Economy". The author, Shane Ross, is an independant senator for TCD, who has always questioned largesse in the Irish economy. As business editor of the Sunday Independent, he has seen it all and was the 2009 winner of the Journalist of the Year award for his investigations into the shennanigans at the state agency FAS.

In The Bankers, Shane Ross investigates the history and actions of all the various factions involved in the recent meltdown. He takes us through the story of key players such as Sean Fitzpatrick (Anglo Irish Bank) and Michael Fingleton (Irish Nationwide) who both acheived phenomenal growth at the helms of their respective institutes. The actions of the supposedly independent Financial Regulator, headed by Patrick Neary, did nothing to control the increasingly reckless lending promoted by the Irish banks.

The story gets more intriguing and gripping as Ross brings us towards the climate. The retelling of how the new Finance minister, Brian Lenihan, dealt with events is illuminating and surprisingly personal.

Ultimately, upon finishing the book, I was gripped with the dual emotions of both anger and helplessness. Anger at this shambolic mess the country was driven in, and helplessness, as a normal person, in the face of such collusion. It is all too evident from Ross' retelling that a cabal of bankers, developers, politicians and mandarins was always the most powerful force in the country, rather than the elected govenernnent, or the people.

Ross is clearly passionate about the events that have unfurled in the country, and while this is apparent in his writing, he also tells the facts as they are. Read The Bankers, and be prepared to get angry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The bankers, 10 Mar. 2015
By 
Clare O'Beara - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees (Paperback)
I have the greatest respect for Shane Ross, a colourful but upright character who has been a business editor of the Sunday Independent, a Senator and TD, but that doesn't affect my review of this book.

To a degree the reader needs to have lived in Ireland during some of these times, or paid close attention to newspapers, because so many well-known figures are introduced who do not make it to lifestyle pages. However there is a brief tag for each new player so even if you had never heard of the O'Reilly Hylands you understand that they ran an Irish oil firm, Burmah, for instance, and there is an index at the back of the book.

Now we see why Bob Geldof was calling Ireland a banana republic so many years before the Celtic Tiger arrived. One rich family was feeding off another and every crony inviting school mates to join him on a board. Politicians feted builders and builders paid politicians. Banks were run by people who used deposits as personal piggy banks for their millions and billions of pounds of speculations. In which developed country is it not considered a conflict of interest for directors to sit on multiple boards such as a cement firm and a bank which makes loans to builders, shopping centre developers and house mortgage buyers?

The real tragedy is that during the early part of this story, the people able to make money were those who already had it, such as hotelier PV Doyle, buying and building, while 99% of the people had to take out 20 year mortgages for a 7,000 pound house because they could not earn enough to pay it off faster and raise a family. As prices began to soar two working incomes were suddenly required. When the Gallagher Brothers (only one of whom is mentioned in the book) bank and building firm collapsed, so did Ireland's economy and we entered the 1980s in deep recession. Not like today, when everyone has a TV and computer. The kind of recession where you passed down clothes, books and prams to family and neighbours. You didn't go on holiday and farmers put secondhand tyres on vehicles.

Arising from this were the phoenix-like bankers, the wealthy with land banks, hotels and not forgetting all those well-remunerated bank board positions. They had little or no regulation because they were the ones who controlled the country's money.
"The politicians looked after the mandarins. The mandarins looked after the central bankers and the regulators. (The governor of the Central Bank was paid more in 2008 than the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, as was the chief executive of the Financial Regulator.) The Central Bankers looked after the bankers. The bankers looked after IBEC. And IBEC looked after the government. The circle of oligarchs was watertight."

The lesser known banks to the public only dealt with developers and refused to hear that Ireland's property boom was clearly unsustainable. These banks such as Anglo Irish are now notorious as personally enriching the few at the helm while ruining the nation which tried to rescue them. But what of the two major banks? Bank of Ireland, with its leader Brian Goggin, for example. This lent to homeowners and small business as well as major industries.
"Eric Daniels, the boss at Lloyds TSB for example, was paid less than Goggin in 2007 despite delivering three and a half times B of I's profits that year. Goggins' total package was 50 percent more than that of Andy Hornby of HBOS, who collected €2.6 million in 2007. The Scottish giant made €6.988 billion that year compared to B of I's €1.584 billion."
Bank of Ireland was another bank which had to be rescued by the taxpayer, while pensioners who had invested in bank shares were left with almost worthless certificates.

The only female involved apart from bankers' glamorous ex-model wives, is Gillian Bowler who sold her Budget Travel firm and since she'd agreed not to re-enter the travel field for three years, not explained in the book, took a bank directorship. She managed to survive the board upheaval of that firm although all the men were tossed. Her personal role in supervising the bank loans is not described. We could however say that women might have taken fewer risks and fewer glad-handers. But during the early part of this story, women generally were educated in French and music and sewing. Economics was not on the curriculum at convent schools, which means most girls' schools. At the time of crisis we meet Labour politician Joan Burton as a voice of sanity speaking far too late.

People did shout stop. George Lee, referenced here, even stood for election leaving his broadcaster's job, but found it impossible to achieve anything against the crony machine of party politics. The author Shane Ross stood asking awkward questions at bank AGMs accompanied by Eamon Dunphy, another individualist broadcaster. This leads one to believe that the only people in Ireland to be trusted by the ordinary folks, are our journalists.

I could see that the boom was stupid and wrong and bound to bust. September twelfth 2001 was considered a good day to bury bad news by many major American firms. I noticed, although economics was not my job. These firms were already in serious trouble. I knew nothing of the sub-prime mortgages packaged as gold bars and sold to the gullible and greedy bankers, but I could see that house prices here were stupid and unsustainable and I knew booms always bust. I understood that this was a bad time to take on debt, so I worked at shrinking my mortgage and I changed my mortgage to track the European Central Bank interest rate. That rate briefly rose, then collapsed and has never done anything but sink since. Banks have been losing money on every tracker mortgage they hold.

How did professional bankers not know a bust was coming and that it would hit hard and fast? This book by Shane Ross suggests that they did not want to know because they were having so much fun giving away tickets to big matches to politicians and buying dinners for the regulators. Read it and, yes, weep. "Cry, get mad and get even," to quote Joan Burton.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book by shane ross, 10 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees (Paperback)
shane ross gives a brilliant insight to the carry on in the banks a brilliant man and a pity there's not more like him
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BANKERS, 14 Mar. 2013
By 
Jet Lagged - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Jaw dropping revelations.

Shane Ross worked as a Stockbroker and knows where the bodies are buried.

After reading this excellent book I felt I needed a course in anger management.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Irish Banks did it., 7 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees (Paperback)
Here are the details and the proof about how big bankers and their banks fleeced everyone else. I gave this book to the Copenhagen Business School library, to be read by their MBA students.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees
The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees by Shane Ross (Paperback - 3 Jun. 2010)
£9.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews