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Bertie blames banks for ALL our cash woes

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has pointed the finger of blame firmly at the bankers for the country's economic problems in a new RTE series.

The TD is interviewed alongside economic heavy hitters former UK chancellor Alistair Darling, Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan in the new series Freefall.

The programme investigates the banking system failures and the widespread collapse of the property bubble which fuelled the economic recession.


Coinciding with the second anniversary of the controversial Government bank guarantee, the two-part documentary series tells the story of how a huge property bubble, fuelled by the lending practices of the banking system, brought the economy precariously close to the edge.

Former Chancellor for the Exchequer in Britain Alistair Darling said Europe must learn from the mistakes and that every part of society should take a portion of the blame.

"If we walk away from it, it will happen again and the next time it could be worse, really much, much worse," he said.

However, Bertie Ahern paints a more black-and-white picture.

He said that the economic recession was due to failures in the financial institutions.

"They were bank mistakes, bank errors, bank regulations," he said.

Mr Ahern said bank chiefs failed to give the government at the time a clear overview of what was happening.

"When we asked about those we got the glossy answer they were running their businesses well," he said.

UCD's Professor of Economics Morgan Kelly, who is known as the doom merchant for his ominous warnings about the state of the economy, revealed that he noticed that the upper levels of banking and governance were complicit in the recession.

"There is an Omerta, a code of silence in the upper reaches of Irish society that I somehow had violated," he said.

Freefall airs on Monday, September 6 at 9.35pm on RTE 1.