February 13, 2009 / 2:19 PM / 10 years ago

Every day is Friday 13th for Dublin finance hub

DUBLIN (Reuters) - On the trading floors and in the back offices of Dublin’s financial center it feels like every day is Friday the 13th.

A business man avoids puddles at the International Financial Services Centre - the business district of Dublin May 27, 2007. Picture was rotated 180 degrees. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A series of scandals within the banking sector continue to rumble, creating an impression overseas that Ireland has a fast and loose corporate culture too risky to invest in.

“It’s just ridiculous,” said one dealer. “How do we get the trust back?”

Question marks over whether Anglo Irish Bank, a former poster boy for Ireland’s boom years, had used deposits from bancassurer Irish Life & Permanent to beef up its books had people shaking their heads across Dublin’s International Financial Services Center, an important hub for Europe’s fund industry.

The practice of placing short-term deposits is known in business as a “bed and breakfast” transaction.

“I’d be selling every Irish banking share if I owned them. These scandals make us all look like crooks,” said another Dublin dealer.

“Who knows what else is in store? “Basically, forget about financials. They are a basket case.”


Brian Goggin, the chief executive of Bank of Ireland, said Thursday that people had got “carried away” in the euphoria of the long-gone “Celtic Tiger” economy.

Goggin said his pay this year would be under 2 million euros after the government insisted all bank executives receiving a state injection of funds shave a third off their salaries and axe bonuses.

“When you hear a CEO of a bank saying he’d have to exist on less than 2 million this year, (for) most working class people in Ireland, 2 million would even exceed their life earnings,” said Tom Evans, a retired factory worker.

“The revelations coming out are sickening,” said the 70-year-old.

Jack Fennell graduated last year in commerce, “probably the worst degree to have at the moment,” he noted.

The 21-year-old was incredulous at the ease with which a bank had given him a 2,000 euro travel loan during his studies, only to panic when he later had trouble getting a job.

“I think they were very reckless and everyone is paying the price for that now,” he said.

But gloom is not a characteristic mood for Irish people and not even it being Friday the 13th dampened Fennell’s hopes as he headed for a job interview in the IFSC.

“I’d be superstitious but I consider myself a lucky person.”

Editing by Richard Balmforth.

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