The Irish Times should be ashamed of itself. Yesterday, on the eve of their 150th anniversary, the so-called paper of record had, as its lead story, the fact that last year Celia Larkin got a “fast-tracked” second mortgage from the Irish Nationwide Building Society without initially providing details of her income, identification (seriously), bank statements and other loans held by her.
Celia Larkin’s second mortgage — described in paragraph two of the story as a “payment” (see what I mean) was, they say, “connected to transactions investigated by the Mahon (the biggest loaded word of all) tribunal”.
Do they tell us how it was connected? Of course not, because how it was connected would probably change how many readers would view this particular story.
Fifteen years ago, Celia Larkin was lent €30,000 from the Building Trust Fund of her previous employers towards the price of a previously rent-controlled house from which her two elderly aunts were facing eviction. To get such a loan was very convenient but not a crime.
Clearly Ms Harris has vested interests herself. And I believe it is she who should be ashamed of herself. The “Building Trust Fund” nonsense has long since been discredited, thanks to evidence from the staff of the Drumcondra branch of Permanent TSB. They clearly recalled and understood that B/T stood for Bertie/Tim, and building trusts were never mentioned. Indeed one staff member swore that Tim Collins himself referred to it as the Bertie/Tim account. That would put something of a variation on what Harris is getting at, wouldn’t it?