November 13, 2006

In Search of the Pope’s Children: Episode 2

Posted in Media · 46 comments ·

Preview clip for the second episode of “In search of the Pope’s Children”.

Episode 2 of In Search of the Pope’s Children will be shown tonight at 9.30pm on RTE1.

Episode 2:
In this programme David examines our relationship, or national obsession, with property. New Ireland begins and ends with the property explosion. The boom has not just changed Ireland economically, it has changed us as a people and turned us into a nation of property speculators. Property is the new pornography.

David takes us through the cycle of our property experience – where prices soar dramatically, become vulnerable and too expensive before falling back to earth. He examines why regardless of age, social class, colour or creed the subject of property is one of our favourite topics of conversation.

Credit liberation has fuelled our property obsession. David argues that in the New Irish Dream your home is no longer merely the place you live – it is an expression of your lifestyle and defines the type of person you are, or indeed would like to be. The programme explores the spending habits of the Decklanders and the HiCo’s.

David travels to Navan to meet with the Decklanders and share their experiences; to Galway, the fastest growing city in Europe, to examine the boom in the sale of old abandoned cottages; and to Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon, formerly a village of about 16 houses now with a purpose built marina development – the Porto Banus of Ireland.

David also takes a trip to Bulgaria and introduces us to Robopaddy, who travels the world buying up houses.

Repeats/Online Availability
We hope to have some news about making the series available either online or on DVD quite soon. Stay tuned!

  1. Paddy

    Any chance of putting these programs on the net for people overseas to view?

  2. Jim

    Ditto, I’m in upstate New York, and it would be great to be able to have a look.

  3. Jason

    I’m with Paddy, it would be great to be able to watch these programs from overseas. I’m in California in the USA and the points raised seem to have a strong parallel with the overinflated property market here.


  4. Unfortunately I missed the last show.(Living in Spain) and will miss tonights also.Hopefully there will be a DVD.
    This government (Fianna Fail) have spent decades cheating their generous paymasters (Germany) in the EEU.
    Enormous development funds have been poured into Ireland in recent decades.How have we repaid them.?
    We are a small nation of some 5 million people and by undercutting the rest of Europe, have now drawn an inordinate amount of American Industry to the country.
    The spin off for our politicians is the taxation on the resulting wages bonanza and V.A.T. and a plethora of stealth taxes on all other expenditure by the work force.
    Public sector incomes have soared, many professions such as lawyers,doctors,and businessmen have profited enormously.The farming community have never had it so good.The spin off has trickled down the line to ordinary workers too.
    The downside is the dreadful commuting, the unprepared infrastructure, the property explosion, the obscene profiteering by landowners ,builders and developers.The young couples unable to consider conceiving children-both working and enslaved by the costly rat race.
    Also the fact that foreign voices and faces,and neighbours are more common on the streets,in the housing estates, in shops,restaurants, in our hospitals, nursing homes, etc. etc than irish ones.!
    When I return to Ireland I am amazed at how rarely I meet an irish supermarket cashier, an Irish waiter, or even an irish shopper on the streets of Dublin.!
    Many of these economic migrants (refugee seekers?) will return to their countries when it all ends-but many will not want to..
    Ireland is a pirate aircraft carrier lying off the coast of Europe. Irish workers have always paid a heavy price for the governments largesse to foreign employers.
    In thieving so much,and so successfully, it has laid the seed of a bitter harvest when corporate America eventually moves on..which will happen as night follows day, and as the huge inflationary pressures of an over bloated economy carry it into the negative cycle of uncompetitiveness-despite its unique derisory corporation tax rate.
    All in all the people of Ireland owe Fianna Fail no favours.Time will prove me right.

  5. Billy

    The Saab. Have you no taste. Its an Opel Vectra in a dress. A clumpy aul bird that can’t dance but tarts up well. Not fitting with the forward looking image. A Saab in the 80′s was something to have, now it is a bastardised copy of a bad rental car.

  6. J. Brendan O'Reilly

    How about a podcast for the guys overseas?

  7. Tara

    Go David- tell it like it is!!! Put the fear of God into these mad spenders!!! No longer need I be ashamed of being a “poor” renter, my total monthly rent being less than half of the average mortgage these poor b******* are forking out. Instead, I’ve taken my surplus monthly cash and invested in a downtown Toronto property, a city I know well- my family live there. Guaranteed rental income that more than covers the mortgage? A chance to buy a second or even third property? An amazing, cosmopolitan and safe city where there are written-in-stone property laws? If you’ll permit me a touch of smugness, I’ll be in the auction room to snap up a Dalkey bargain when the end comes… Hope to see lots of you there!

  8. tony mc evoy

    in an imaginative way you describe investors in irish property as users of ectasy !! thye are all on this “E” like experience !!! They are all coming up at the same time, the buzz is great !!

    Im not into drugs myself but I have heard that the come down from an “E” is an awful experience (many say it is the reason why people may turn to heroine, to change the mood of the “come-down”) … so what is going to help with the “come down” for the irish investor, is it investment’s in Bulgaria, Tooorkey and the likes that will ease the pain of the dreaded come down ???

  9. Alex


    Just tell us WHEN it’s going to happen. When Bertie and the Gang are going to face the music, so for once, the REAL people, who never got the chance to meet the Celtic Pussycat, can sit back and enjoy the view.

    This is not jealousy — this is justice.

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel, although it will hurt “some”. What can you say; you liked the pleasure — get ready to take the pain.

    Thank you for the programme.

  10. Brian Graham

    Another great episode. But as Simon Cowel might say, “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” – might I ask if David owns or does he rent his home in Dublin? Does he really think Ireland will prove to be the next Japan to crash and burn property wise, or deep down is he really like the rest of us, afraid to sell the same way as we’re afraid not to enter the lotto syndicate in the office, in case we end up the only one not to be in the money?

  11. Gabriel

    A bit of a re-hash of the book, and a very good book at that! Its wake up Ireland. Given the vested interests, nobody wants to call it, glad you conveyed this part in eposide II.

    Expect bust in 2008 – there is lots of available cash (okay credit !) out there so it will be a while before people are unable to fund the cash burn. Irish people tend to find ways to find money and defer the problem.

    Also the banks will extend, yet again the terms to avoid the run on the property sell off, it does not help their loan book either !

    Look forward to Eposide III – perhaps you could have started with Episode IV like Star Wars, showing the end first and then how is all started !!!

  12. bruce hewson

    Are these programmes available via web streaming? perhaps post them on youtube and leave a link on your site?

  13. Trent O'connell


    You’ll never pick up a bargain in dalkey or similar areas ‘unique’ as they will hold their relative value if there is a re-adjustment in pricing. There has been similar trends in NY and London over the past few years as re-adjustments in the marketplace really only effect lower priced non-unique property such as small apartments and townhouses in average areas.

    Trent O’Connell Snr.

  14. II found myself cringing while watching this programme. It was really hard to take….David is perhaps one of the finest independent economic commentators of our time. He is uncompromising in his approach to to some of the most important topics facing our country. My cringing concerns the message and how incredibly uncomfortable is is to hear. I found the programme to be very well produced and presented. The sad fact it is all true. The tsunami of debt that has befallen this country over the last ten to fifteen years has had a dramatic impact on our society. Irish people are obsessed with property, we always have been since the days when we relied on it for survival and sustenance to the days when we fought the English to claim it back. With the wall of essentially free money that was thrown at us by the EMU …where do we put it… not in developing industry or R&D, not in education… no sir, we ploughed it into non performing assets that do nothing for economy except employ few builders for a few weeks. And sure what will we do with this years 100,000 housing units… we will rent them to the builders while they are building the next 100,000. What a party!

    With hyper house inflation we are funding the excesses of today with debt repayments of tomorrow. We are taking borrowed money and blowing it, pity our children. We have no one to blame but ourselves. This is a cocktail of greed, ignorance and corruption. We have redefined Nuevo Riche. In London the only bidders for large properties deals these days are syndicates of Flash Irish Paddy’s and oil rich Arabs from Dubai, no one else bids…..please put you heads in your laps and assume the crash position.

    The banks lend circa 80 cent out of every Euro to property. The idea of giving a loan to start a business is foreign concept to most bank managers. We are insanely over exposed to property. The government has enormous reliance on property values and transactions in terms of its source of revenue, the professional classes of lawyers, accountants, surveyors etc are heavily reliant on property generated activity. The consumer is funding their insatiable spending by accessing equity from their homes. The banks are heavily reliant on property transactions for profit. As reported by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph last September the international credit rating agencies are growing increasingly alarmed at our vast debt burden.

    “The rating agency Fitch said it now has five countries on watch for “macro-prudential stress”, up from two last year, using a set of indicators. A mixed bag, they comprise Iceland, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Russia and, surprisingly, Ireland, where the ratio of private credit to GDP has reached 190pc, the world’s highest. The denouement for Ireland may not be pretty, since it gave up control of monetary policy when it joined the euro.”

    Banks are only required to have somewhere between €2 to €8 on their books to lend a €100… the mortgage applicant does not need any money at all! The madness of it all is surreal. Can someone please tell me who is driving this big green bling bling bus?

  15. stuart

    from John McDermotts post above:

    this sounds great coming from an Irishman living in Spain

    “The downside is the dreadful commuting, the unprepared infrastructure, the property explosion, the obscene profiteering by landowners ,builders and developers.The young couples unable to consider conceiving children-both working and enslaved by the costly rat race.
    Also the fact that foreign voices and faces,and neighbours are more common on the streets,in the housing estates, in shops,restaurants, in our hospitals, nursing homes, etc. etc than irish ones.!
    When I return to Ireland I am amazed at how rarely I meet an irish supermarket cashier, an Irish waiter, or even an irish shopper on the streets of Dublin.!
    Many of these economic migrants (refugee seekers?) will return to their countries when it all ends-but many will not want to..”

  16. James

    I emigrated from Dublin in 2001 because I firmly believed that residential property was becoming over-priced (in relation to income), poor value for money and would not be a good long term investment. Ha!

    I have been following David for years, and he appears to have been bearish on Irish residential property for a long time, like myself. People talk about a property crash taking 20% off it’s value. People forget that a 20% drop represents just one years growth out of 11 years of rampant property price increases. The joy of property equity is that it is leveraged to the hilt. Invest about 10% of the asking price or in today’s market nothing upfront and reap 100% of the capital gains. Money for jam, what?

    Anyway, the standard variable mortgage rate in Australia now stands at 8.07%. The median house price in Melbourne (pop ~4.5 million) is about $350,000. The average wage in Australia is about $50,000. The average repayment on a $330,000 mortgage (30 yr) is about $2,500 monthly which represents a sigificant chunk of the after-tax incomes of two average wage earners. The Reserve Bank of Australia is concerned about inflation (which is about 3%) and a tight labour market (unemployment around 4%), and warns that rates are likely to rise further, rather than decline. Australia is experiencing a “soft landing” after a few years of torrid property price growth which officially peaked in 2003, although Perth is still growing like gangbusters due to an ongoing export driven mining/resources boom in WA.

    According to NCB the average price of a house in Dublin (pop ~1.5 million) is now around E420,000. The average wage in Ireland is about E30,000. The current standard variable rate (AIB) is 4.43%. So average repayment on a E400,000 mortgage (30 years) = ~E2,000 a month.

    The average house price in Melbourne is 7 x Average Wage. In Dublin that figure is 14 x Average Wage. Mortgage Interest Rates in Ireland are about half what they are in Australia. If Ireland gets Australian 8% mortgage interest rates (which is not impossible, if the German economy starts firing), then that Dublin E2,000 a month monthly repayment will become E3,000. A 4% increase in interest rates will require a 50% increase in income to continue servicing the debt and maintain a similar lifestyle.

    Ireland’s expensive house prices are a function of cheap & abundant credit in a booming economy. Low interest rates are usually a temporary stimulus used to kickstart a stagnant or shrinking ecomony. They are not normally a feature of a thriving booming economy like Ireland over the last decade. But Ireland does not control it’s own interest rates. This had led to the development of an asset bubble that will only be pricked by an external shock (ie rising interest rates, US recession).

    My advice is to hold onto ye’re hats lads, because the chickens are going to come home to roost. And it’s not going to be pretty.

  17. webmaster


    Just to update you on making the shows available on-line: Each programme has quite a bit of music in it and license or permission needs to be sought for use of the music tracks for download or for DVD release (RTE have an existing agreement for TV broadcast). This is currently being worked on, so we should have some good news on this soon.



  18. Deeper

    Cringe worthy TV. And there are Irish people outside the Greater Dublin Area or Dublin commuter belt or whatever you are calling it these days. Pity you coudn’t have featured it more but I suppose the ugly Dublin sprawl suits your views better.

  19. Ed

    Cringe worthy comment.
    What do you classify as being outside the Dublin commuter belt? Anything west of Connemara, which was part of last night’s episode?

    I don’t think you need to be a genius to apply the situations shown to your own particular area. Massive increases in property prices have been country wide.

  20. roro

    I was referred to as ‘Low GI Jane’ in work today and have no idea what that means… Please explain.

    I watched episde 2 after hearing great things about episode 1 and yes, it was good. A little too close to the bone for comfort maybe…

  21. Alan

    Somebody needs to show the graphs – i.e. how much euro would it return/cost you if you invest today and 5,10 or 20% reduction happens in 2, 5 or 10 years. I’m sure it’s a radically different answer depending on the timelines.
    I am completely undecided now on investing. I live in an area with 1200 non-construction jobs coming online in next 2 years and town forecasted to double in population in 6 years. How can that not yield increasing property prices?

  22. AGB

    Was there any coincidence in Brent POPE featuring on ‘In Search of (the) POPE’s Children’ last night?

  23. Jose Antonio

    I live in Spain, I regard myself as one of many “wrong way emigrants”. It not a very catchy term I admit, but it will have to do until David comes up with a better one in his next book?

    I left because I choose not face a three bedroom semi in Lucan and a two hour commute.

    Now Spain has a speculative property bubble tambien but does much better than Ireland on public services.

    At least in the capital anyway, there is some effort at grown up planning.

    Those of you like me who currently live abroad but think a lot about coming home might find this program, along a similar theme, interesting


    You can view it on line, but you will need a Broadband connection.
    Then again if you live abroad you probably have cheap reliable, broadband.

    In Celtic Tiger Ireland, it seems you may not.

    But sure who needs bloody planning anyway. Just holds up development I say.

  24. Billy

    Broadband is not allowed. If Ireland had its way we would plug it out.

  25. I would very much like to see this series on dvd or available for download, having watched the first episode with great interest, and subsequently missing the second part. I shudder to think what words of wisdom I have missed out on.

  26. Thomas

    A great episode. Highlights for me were the 7-stage cycle description, and the notion of the building of great national edifices in each country just prior to property meltdown !! And of course another highlight was hearing the word I coined some years back (Dulchie !) being quoted again :-) … actually on that score, the related terms I since created are : Ulchie (Urban culchies i.e. culchies resident in Dublin), and Molchies (Partly derived from Molly Molone) which refers to True Blue Dubs resident in Dublin !
    Looking forward to the next episode !!


  27. Simon

    Another wrong way Emmigrant here, left in 2001 to escape the madness.
    Looks like it has gotten worse.
    How many lifestyle emmigrants are there???

  28. Stephen

    Ireland has always been a country that screws over its young people. Back in the 1980s and early 90s, you couldn’t find a job. Now that job’s are more plentiful, you can’t afford to buy a house or even rent an apartment. I am simply amazed by the high prices for everything in Ireland when I go back to visit. Dublin prices are higher than those of New York City in many areas, but Dublin is no world class city like New York.

  29. joe connell

    Hi, not too stressed out by the programme or the messages; a few years ago Paddy wouldn’t take his hat off meeting the pope, then he told the Catholic church to clear off (having educated him) and now he’s got a few bob in his pocket he thinks he owns the world (beaming having bought some crap apt. in Bulgaria !! while his kidz have no manners and zero sophistication). It’s all frightfully adolescent, growth of a nation, blah, blah. No, the thing that interests me is your episode 2 background music – any chance of the playlist ? In fact, why don’t you DJ ? Great stuff. Byeeeee.

  30. Socket Twomey

    The book on which this documentary alleged to be plagiarised. Here’s the review from Amazon:

    Remarkably similar to David Brooks’s 2000 study, Bobos in Paradise — The New Upper Class And How They Got There. In fact, a recent article in Ireland on Sunday went so far as to quesion whether McWilliams is the new copycat of the Celtic Tiger!

    For example:

    McWilliams writes of a new social class he calls HiCos, Hibernian Cosmopolitans disappointed that the social revolutions they supported in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s led to mass consumerism rather than radical political change.

    The Bobos — Bourgeois Bohemians — (from Brooks’s book) fret about the same things as the HiCos. Both are seeking new spiritual paths, rejecting Judaeo-Christian worship and looking instead for New Age solutions to fill the aching void that rampant materialism has corroded into their souls, and each is appalled by the vulgarity of the class below. For the Bobo, that is Patio Man; for the HiCo, it is DIY Declan, a citizen of Deckland, McWilliams’s catch-all name for anonymous satellite towns where garden decking is the ultimate sign you have arrived.

    DIY Declan sees Woodie’s as his temple — which makes him a very close cousin of Patio Man, who feels the same about Home Depot.

    And they are aspirational in very similar ways. For Brooks, that means they crave monstrous refrigerators and ‘slate shower stalls’; for McWilliams, it means they crave monstrous refrigerators and ‘slate wet-rooms’

    In leafy US suburbs, Brooks found that so many blue delivery bags containing the New York Times lay on suburban lawns that the bags were visible from outer space. McWilliams decides that, along with the Great Wall of China, Christmas decorations in Celbridge gardens are the only things that can be seen with the naked eye from space.

    It goes on. For Brooks, lifestyle magazines like Conde Nast Traveler are the new pornography. For McWilliams, The Irish Times Thursday supplement is ‘property porn’.

    Both are amused by the language of recruitment advertising; by the way that we have all embraced artisan breads; by how we drink machiatos and lattes instead of just ‘coffee’.

    They offer new names for the bars we have raised on our own expectations — Brooks has an Achieveatron, while McWilliams invents an Attainometer.

    And both love the wedding announcement pages. Brooks talks of The New York Times, where ‘a Duke MBA who works at NationsBank marries a Michigan law grad who works at Winston and Strawn’. McWilliams, in the Irish Times, finds that ‘lawyer beds down with doctor, AIB marries Anglo-Irish’ etc — and both guffaw at the fact that the engagement announcements are known among the monied classes as the Mergers and Acquisitions Page.

    The similarities in the two books are astounding. The only significant difference is that Brooks’s book was published in 2000 while McWilliams published his book in 2005.

    Hope the true author’s lawyers don’t get word of this blatant plagiarism.

  31. ado

    Another Lifestyle emigrant here. We left in 2004 and relocated to London. In 2005 we managed to buy a lovely character full place on a 25yr mortgage,8 miles from the City Centre on the Tube line. It costs the same to service the mortgage as it was to rent it. Bought a good car cheaply, leave for work at 8:30am arrive home at 6:30. £2.50 for a pint in the local, £25 for a good 2 course Thai meal plus 4 beers. I’ve feel I have a better std of living now than if I stayed. And the mad thing is I’m on a similar wage (albeit a good one) now as I was at home (£50k now compared to €47K in Dublin). My mate who is still is in the same company now earns €52k for the same job I did.
    Only thing wrong with the move is that if we want to see our mates/family we are always the ones who have to travel home to Ireland as they generally can’t afford to travel over due to servicing large mortgages, subsidizing their investment properties whose rent is less that the mortgage repayments or just plan knackered at the weekend after commuting form Kildare or Wexford to Dublin every day!
    I am regularly keeping an eye on how things shape out at home as we do want to return home some day, but not till house prices become more realistic. Hopefully sooner rather than later as lately every time we return home we find more and more things we dislike about it and while London has load of problems its currently more appealing than home for the moment. I never thought I would say that.

  32. David Mc Williams

    Thanks very much for all your comments. The feedback and the ratings for the programmes have been outstanding. I’m greatly honoured that so many are taking time to give their reactions. Indeed the genesis of the next book is springing from many of your observations.

    Regarding Mr Twomey’s comments. I make no secret of the influence of writers like David Brookes (and other American commentators) on my work. You will see – if you care to look- that the first book in the bibliography of The Pope’s Children is in fact, Bobos in Paradise. It is directly referenced no less that seven times in the text.

    I attribute the idea of the HiCos to the original BoBos and have recommended directly in the notes, that any reader interested in this tribe should read the original. Brooke’s work is fabulous. (Equally, I cite Brooke’s influencing me to look at home improvement, competition amongst parents and other suburban trends which are very evident).

    Trends in the US are more germaine to Ireland now than trends in any other country, so its probably no surprise that writers like myself. immerse ourselves in American writing as opposed to Irish/British or European works.

    Its not unusual for an author of this type of book to cite thoroughly his sources. For that matter many other American sociology/economics books were used in my research. They are again in the bibliography – as is normal practice.

    Very few observers work on their own. I work with the help of economic and demographic research, common sense, other writers’ works, magazines and face to face interviews – Mr Brookes is a fantastic observer, but he is only the last of a great line of social commentators going back through the masters like Veblin and de Tocqville.

    Please check out other stuff in bibliography like Krugman, Franks and Hutton – if you are interested in more of this type of work.

    Kind Regards, David

  33. Kevin

    Isn’t there an old saying along the lines of “economists have predicted 6 of the last 3 recessions”, or something like that. David you having be banging this particular drum relating to the property market for a very long time. Some may say you indentified the potential problems early on, while others might say, if you say something for long enough it will eventually come through.

  34. Hello David,

    Enjoyed last programme (II) of the Pope’s Children. also, enjoyed your interview with Ryan Turbidy.
    However, for me there was a little too much of picture and not enough of facts in the TV programme.
    I appreciate that you are trying to get to as manny viewers as possible. But for me I would have liked to have seen perhaps a three minute wrap up in studio (power Point) highlighting the key comments etc. made in the programme. ie house prices have gone up 6 times faster than wages and filled by borrowing,
    private sector debt is 205 % of GNP.
    I have been reading your column in the Business Post for some time now and really enjoy it, at least you are saying and using historical facts to boost your claims, that this could all end in tears for so many, especially, for all those who have had to borrow 100 % to get a roof over their heads. Also, the fact, that Ireland Inc. has such an open economy and totally depending on the Multi Nationals for well paying jobs,Now, there’s the catch, we are so exposed, because not like most other of the main european countries, we have really no native industrial history, wealth or nowhow, with the exception of a few such as Roadstone, the Kerry Group, etc. As you know, 87% of our exports
    are from Multi Nationals which is great in terms of high skills, services etc. spending power and corp. tax but the real added value does not acrue to the state, but is fact used as the corp. sees fit, located in the best tax haven or in part distributed to shareholders or back to HQ treasury for future investment in Asia.
    Now, thats a weakness in any economy, but we are lucky to have them. They also would not have been here only for the foresight of Sean Lemas in setting up the IDA. ( I am not a FF punter) Also. Donagh O Malley for his foresight in launching a wonderful educational programme that is standing to us to day. We are lucky also that successive Governments did not mess about with these two critical building blocks in the Irish economy.
    Note: I was one of those who benifited back in 1960 of being taken out to Germany by a Multi National to commence a career in engineering and in later years moved into management.

    Getting back to the current subject, I thought it might be helpful to make some suggestions as to what is the punter to do if he or she is to start a family ????. Needless to say we are not worried about the 1/3 of investors who are looking for a capital return.
    David, I dont have the answer, but as you rightly point out the Banks wont loose out if they have to reposess, as in most cases they will sell the property for 80% of the value to cover their own exposure.I also have family on the thread mill and all that implies, not just in money terms, but also on the quality of their life.
    Yes, of course we are following the USA ( who have done it many times before) with our SUV’s and all of the other mods. must haves like the outdoor heater for the BBQ.
    As you know you have the knockers, who say you are a preacher of doom and gloom, we will always have them, but, most people do not listen to economists, they find it boring and dont want to be told thay cant have it all right now, that is why I sugest you could better appeal to them by maping out an alternative route with less risks and perhaps a better quality of life.
    Because for sure the politicians will not, they want to claim most of the the great turnaround in the economy.
    As you have often heard the present Government claim how many houses ”They” have built this year, when in fact they have built none, it was the construction industry, the Banks who lend us cheap EU money and the punter who borrowed a fortune to be repayed over his/her lifetime of 30/40 years.

    David, sorry for going on, keep up the good work.


    Gerry O Connor,
    Coast Road

  35. John

    Another fine piece of work David, It certainly feels as if the economy has reached a turning point and your last programme caught the mood very accurately. Looking forward to episode 3 where you will no doubt tell us how to avoid the impending crash by investing in Cape Verde (it’s very nice at this time of the year I believe – if you can get clean drinking water).

    Your commentators may also be interested in following related discussions at: & used to include some excellent debate on the subject but has inexplicably stamped out any further discussion of property prices, nonetheless it is worth checking out the earlier threads on the subject.

  36. Socket Twomey

    David’s citing the source of his book in the bibliography is a well known trick of plagiarists who paraphrase vast tracts of an original author’s work, but can then hold up their hands and say “But I quoted him!”.

    He may or may not have referred to Brooks (not Brookes, by the way, David) in the small print of the bibliography, but he failed to cite him in the parts of the book where vast tracts are “borrowed” from the original author’s work. Truth told, Brooks wrote the book, Mr Mc Williams adapted it for the Irish market.

    Mr. Twomey

  37. ian

    Mr. Twomey,
    I suggest that if you disagree with mr. mcwilliams you stay away from this website. He answered your point, now go away. David you are doing a good job, I am an economics lecturer in a university in the United states, your work is spot on and pleasure to use in class.

  38. Brian

    Ian, like you I am also an academic, except I teach in an Irish university.

    Having read both books, I would agree with many of the points made by Mr. Twomey. If “The Pope’s Children” was submitted to me a a piece of coursework, and I was aware of the previous book, I would reject “The Pope’s Children” on the grounds of plagiaraism.

    As an academic, you should be well aware that citation of another author’s work does not give you a licence to paraphrase vast tracts of that work and claim it as your own. The purpose of a citation is to refer to, and add to the work in question, not to lift it, paraphrase it and pass it off as your own.

    Mr Twomey is, in my opinion, entirely correct in asserting that this book is guilty of plagiarism, and Mr McWilliams’ blustering response would find short shrift with me if he were a student of mine.

    Ian, I have great sympathy for your students if you would include a book such as this in your readling list for students. Is Freakonomics on the list, also?

  39. laura

    Whats quite scary is the number of people over on and looking looking for advice on IMHO quite frightening debts. And these are not badly paid low income workers but people with good jobs (even one mortgage agent!) and money well above publicised average wages. And almost every single one of them finishes their tale of woe with their intention of buying a house in the next year or so – incredible as it may seem, but the only thing that people already heavily in debt seem to want to do is to borrow even more!

    2 months ago a solicitors letter came to our house. It was for a former tenant of the previous owner who (we gather) absconded before the house was sold (and who appears to have been just one more tenant from hell this guy had, from the bail receipts etc we discovered!) She was a lone parent, on welfare, yet she owed a local credit union 12k! Thats basically 1.25 times her income – or the equivalent of a worker on 38k a year (earning about 30k net) owing 40k! If financial institutions are that careless, then there is surely a big financial storm brewing for the future!

  40. Peter

    Finance/ economics student who just ain’t home from the library in time to view the show… sad but true….
    any chance of this show goin to be available online…

  41. rob

    I missed the shows, i seen part of number 3. I found it informative and very interesting especially how mr McWilliams hints at such a socio-economic change in Germany and its multiplied effects in Ireland. Since the show last night, im reconsidering property here and taking German lessons. Danke

  42. Des

    I feel that David’s work is commendable – but it must be seen as being merely an opinion. You need to read it, understand it, and in the context of all other “expert” opinion on the economy that’s out there, make up your own mind.
    I too am a “wrong way emigrant” or whatever the phrase du jour is, having moved here to Spain to start a business that proved to be impossible to fund with banks at home. They simply want the ‘easy money’ option of property secured loans. And looking at BOI results, it’s obviously a winning formula. But hardly a foundation for sustainable economic growth.
    Whatever your view of the future is, one thing is certain. It cannot continue. And the property pornographers know this too: in the Irish Times last week, an estate agent was asked if rising interest rates were slowing the demand. “Oh, no! Quite the contrary, young people now realise that rising rates are eroding their borrowing power so are eager to purchase…” With that quality of expert opinion out there, its time to be very worried.

  43. Mark Murray

    @ John McDermott – John, it’s a bit much for a foreigner like yourself living in Spain to be complaining about immigration to Ireland. You’re an immigrant yourself John, in case you hadn’t noticed – Spain isn’t an Irish province (yet)!

  44. Catherine

    We left too before insanity kicked in properly.
    “Well, the higher the flight the greater the fall.”
    Ooooooochhhhhhh,I can hear it already.

  45. Steve

    I missed this show and am not interested in buying DVD. I’m not paying twice to see a series produced by RTE with my license fee money. So do RTE have any plans to repeat the series in the Spring/Summer?

  46. Astrid Salmon

    Hi David,

    I absolutely loved “In search of the Popes children” Would watch it over and over again. I thought it was very tastefully done. Is there anywhere I can get a list of the music/songs used in the series as all the music was fab? Keep up the good work and hope to see you on tv very soon.

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