(photo credit: REUTERS)
The use of a German phrase “synonymous with Nazi inhumanity” has landed an Irish business developer in hot water after submitting for publication documents concerning a banking inquiry from Ireland's National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Irish news publication The Independent reported Thursday.
Johnny Ronan, who made his fortune during the "Celtic Tiger" period in Ireland when the country was experiencing rapid growth between 1995-2000, wrote at the end of a 20-page document submitted as evidence the phrase: "Arbeit Macht Frei," which, when translated to English means "work will set you free," that hung over the entrance of numerous concentration camps including Auschwitz.
In response to the controversy, former justice minister of Ireland Alan Shatter, who is Jewish, said it was "beyond my personal comprehension that the notorious and diabolically misleading” phrase would be used by an “internationally known Irish businessman,” according to The Independent.
Shatter insisted that Ronan withdraw his statement from the document, and urged the NAMA to remove the phrase from his statement.
“It is totally bizarre that he felt the need to have the statement translated into Irish,” Shatter added.
Yet, sources close to Ronan say the business developer has no intention on altering the document, according to The Independent
Ronan made the comments as a parting insult towards the financial body after NAMA moved in to collect on debts from one the tycoon's business ventures, costing Ronan just under $335 million in liabilities.
“I am very glad to have exited NAMA and do not intend to look back,” he told the banking inquiry.
Ronan added “The decision to enforce by NAMA was one of the costliest decisions in the history of the Irish state.”