RTE Television

Inside Irish Nationwide

In August 2010, Irish Nationwide Building Society required a €5.4 billion Government bailout to stay afloat, leaving it effectively in State ownership. It was a colossal sum of money for a small building society to require.

The Society had been run by Michael Fingleton until 2009 and for a long time he appeared to be very successful. Profits peaked at €391 million in 2007.

But in March 2009 when the country learned that Michael Fingleton had received a 1 million euro bonus the previous November just after the state guarantee, the public were furious. He promised to return the money but never did.

For the last two years Richard Curran has been working with journalist Tom Lyons to try and understand what happened inside Irish Nationwide. In that time they have unearthed new information that gives an insight into what really went on inside the building society.

Featuring new interviews with key people working at all levels of the society, new information on the lending practices of the building society we reveal how a small Irish building society went far beyond its competencies and ultimately resulted in enormous losses. Relative to its size, Irish Nationwide is proportionately the biggest banking collapse in the history of Irish State. The greatest tragedy was perhaps that no one ever said stop.

Inside Irish Nationwide
  • RT One, Monday, 9.35pm