Ah banks. Where would we be without them? Bonnie and Clyde would have a very dull plot, heist movies wouldn’t exist, Patti Hearst might never have left her California mansion and tiger kidnappings would be spectacularly futile. Oh, and the south of Ireland wouldn’t be saddled with a debt containing so many zeroes, thinking about it makes you cross-eyed.

But the banks were victims too, right? I mean the economic storm that engulfed the globe just hit without warning; until the last minute it looked as though the boom would go on forever. The banks were as shocked as the rest of us when the roof fell in.

Not so, it seems. If Lisa O’Carroll in today’s Guardian is to be believed (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/ireland-business-blog-with-lisa-ocarroll/2011/feb/02/ireland-merrill-lynch-research-note-irish-banks), the Irish banks added cover-up to the bad management that is now crucifying the Irish economy. She reports a claim that in March 2008, US investment bank Merrill Lynch issued a highly critical report on Irish banks, but quickly withdrew it when those same Irish banks got in touch and threatened to take their business some other place. Instead Merrill Lynch is then alleged to have toned down its report, fired the guy who wrote it and six months later issued a report in which they said that Irish banks were profitable and well-capitalised.

So not only have the banks, with the aid of the Irish government, done their best to screw this generation of Irish people and several to come; it would appear they’ve used strong-arm tactics as well, to conceal the truth from us until it was too late.

Thanks, guys. Now it’s pay-back time.

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