November 9, 2008

Banking 'Know Nothings' are keeping their heads in the sand

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Considering they had neither the financial nous to foresee the global downturn, nor the courage to release accurate figures on the state of their institutions, how can the inept leaders of our banks now expect our trust?

In 1853, an economic crisis in New York spawned a vehemently anti-Irish, anti-Catholic political group called the ‘Know Nothings’.

The Know Nothings emerged from a secret society called the Order of the Star Spangled Banner. It is thought that they took their name from the fact that, initially, whenever their candidates were asked whether they were a political party or a secret society, they answered: ‘‘We know nothing.”

The Know Nothings spread through lodges all over New York, because the local Protestant workers feared the deluge of Irish Catholic workers — who were arriving in New York at a rate of 1,000 a day.

The Know Nothings erupted on to the political scene. In 1854, only a year after the first Know Nothing candidate stood, the party garnered more than one-third of all the votes in the election for New York’s governor. The poor Irish immigrants lived in fear of the Know Nothings, whose central policy was a 21-year naturalisation period whereby Catholics could be ‘‘decontaminated’’ to become – to borrow a label used by Sarah Palin – ‘‘real Americans’’.

The sectarian Know Nothings faded as quickly as they emerged (possibly because Irish emigration to the US fell off in the recession of the mid-1850s), but their ideas remained in the Republican Party for many years.

All crises spawn new interest groups, and our present financial and economic crisis has created our own Know Nothings. These are financial Know Nothings. Every country has them after a crisis – they are the ones who never saw the crisis coming but yet are now dispensing wisdom and making pronouncements as if nothing had happened.

A decade ago, just after the Russian financial crisis, a savvy investor friend of mine was asked what lessons he drew from the event and the behaviour of the financial markets. He replied that the rule of thumb on the economy and the markets was that ‘‘you should not listen to anyone who did not foresee this crisis happening, because these people know nothing. They knew nothing then and they know nothing now’’.

The same logic applies to Ireland. If you want to preserve your capital and think your way out of this downturn, the last people you should listen to when it comes to objective advice are the people who did not foresee this crisis. This group includes every single board member and senior management figure in the Irish banking world. Let us remind ourselves that not one of these individuals predicted this calamity. Worse still, they profited by contributing to it. So why should we believe anything they say now about it?

Last Wednesday, AIB issued an update to the markets on the state of trading. Given that every statement from its management over the past year has underestimated the problems, a sceptical market dismissed the pronouncement and sold the shares down by about 15 per cent. The management of Irish banks is so far behind the markets that it is now becoming risible. How can you take a bank that was promising a chunky dividend in the summer seriously when its share price halved in four months and it couldn’t raise money?

Like Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and Merrill Lynch earlier this year, every time AIB’s management has said it has ‘‘come clean’’ to the market over the past 12 months, the reality has turned out to be much worse. Obviously, the stock market figured this out months ago and has dumped the stock.

The problem is simple: if the bank admitted that the problems were as bad as they were, the management and board would have to resign because they would need new capital. New investors would not trust the same people who got the banks into this mess in the first place. So we are experiencing a game of cat-and-mouse between the market and management and, all the while, share prices keep falling.

For the sake of clarity, let’s cut to the chase and do some little calculations. The reason Irish banks are in difficulty is because they are stuffed with Irish – and, to a lesser extent, British – property that nobody wants to buy. AIB has development loans in Ireland of just over €18 billion, as well as €5 billion of development loans in Britain.

In all property crashes, development land falls further in value than house prices. Let’s take a conservative view: that house prices will fall by just 25 per cent (it is likely to be far greater, but let’s be positive). This means that the development loan book of AIB will have bad debts of at least 30 per cent and, given a total development loan book of €23 billion, that means bad debts of about €7.5 billion. To date, AIB has provided for €1 billion of bad debts. So it is hardly surprising that the share price has fallen again.

Think about it another way. The bad debt cycle in property busts normally takes four years. If we look at the British property recession of the early 1990s, the average bad debt provision was 1.5 per cent of total loans in year one, followed by 2 per cent in years two and three as the recession really bit, and, finally, another 1 per cent in year four as the situation improved.

AIB’s management has already said that 2009 and 2010 will be horrendous, so it appears this analysis is at least shared by them, if not explicitly outlined.

AIB’s total loan book is €128 billion. Taking Britain in the early 1990s as a template, it is likely that a total of 6.5 per cent of AIB’s loan book will never be paid back. This means that lenders will default on approximately €8.3 billion of loans, which the banks will simply have to write off.

The figure isn’t far above the losses on the development loan book. The extra €1.3 billion is accounted for in general defaults, such as mortgage defaults and defaults on credit cards, home improvement loans and car finance.

These basic calculations give us a much more accurate picture of reality. And there is no sign that any of our other banks will take a more realistic approach. But why, after such a horrendous year, when investors’ expectations are at such a low ebb, is the management of our banks refusing to come clean?

Well, there’s one simple answer. As always, let’s apply the cui bono test. Who benefits from a lack of clarity? Think about it.

Our bankers are petrified of the following scenario. If they admit how bad things are and make proper provisions, their tier one capital ratio will fall. The reason for this is that the more bad loans there are on the books, the more these eat into capital adequacy ratios.

If their capital adequacy ratios fall to, say, 5 per cent, when similar British banks have a ratio of 9 per cent, the game is over for the management. This means the banks will be downgraded by the rating agencies.

Some of the banks will have to look for state help to recapitalise and the positions of the management, chairman and board will be called into question.

So it’s simple: all this prevarication is about self-preservation. The banks are hoping to spoof now and recover their tier one capital ratios by reducing lending.

This is what we do not need, because our economy will seize up without credit and we may face the Japanese long recession scenario, which is precisely what the guarantee was designed to avoid.

Ireland’s financial Know Nothings – the lads who blithely brought us to the abyss – are trying to save their own skins and, in the process, are risking the future of the economy. This is the worst of all worlds.


  1. Ste

    It is known, in the animal kingdom, that rats will sometimes eat their young if their nest is put under treat. The problem for the rats is that once they have done this they have nothing left to eat and also no family to seek help from. In the banking world the rats are starting to eat their young and it won’t be long before they start to nibble on their own tails.

  2. jk

    For a third time: It would be better for Ireland if these banks were to go under if the market would dictate that, and have the business taken over by stronger, better managed foreign banks.

    • Well, jk, the problem is that most of these foreign banks have plenty of problems as well. So they might be larger and stronger, but not necessarily better than the rotten lot we have here now.

      There is a whole sick subculture that has emerged in banks around the world since globalisation gave them the tools to gamble and speculate on a world-wide scale. That’s the real problem.

      And what we see in the USA and the UK, that some banks are swallowed by their larger rivals, is in my opinion no solution. Quite the opposite. It creates ever larger banks, which are more difficult to control and which – due to their size – are even more likely to engage in large-scale global gambling and speculation.

      My suggestion would be to go in the opposite direction, to split up the large banks and create a number of local banks, limited to serve private and business customers, and prohibited from engaging in speculations. They would do what we need banks to do for the economy, but no longer gamble away their and our capital in a mad frenzy.

  3. sue

    When will we see a change of management in these banks ?
    Unless we put major pressure on them they will continue to get away with this behaviour !!… who is for starting the campaign….remember the 300 spartans…look what they achieved !

  4. Greetings!

    I am a historian by training, and not an economist. But I think that I have enough basic understanding of the economy. And what you describe, David – undoubtedly correct in all details – is in my vocabulary called FRAUD.
    So I am wondering where is the Garda Siochana in this? And where is the CAB? These brainless and ruthless bankers should be sitting in a prison on remand, pending the investigations of the Garda Fraud Squad, which should have teams in every bank HQ in the country.
    And their private assets should be frozen by the CAB, until it can be established what happened, why, and who enriched himself in an improper way.

    If the bankers are allowed to carry on, as you describe, their actions are even more an attack on the nation than they were before. Because now the nation has given them a special guarantee. So if I understand this right, they have not only created the enormous mess we find ourselves in, they are now even biting the hand that is feeding them and preventing them from going bust.

    It happens rarely that I am speechless, but looking at this, I find very few words that are fit to be put into the public domain. (And I am never rude in public, as a rule.)

    To me this comes close to high treason – a direct attack on the State, to undermine its stability and existence – and it should be treated as such.

    Since the present government – now, thank God, without the PDs – seems to be unable or unwilling to fulfil its oath of office and defend the country, it is even more important than ever to create a viable alternative, in form of a new political party or movement, which I have proposed earlier this week and which has been widely discussed here. The longer we wait idly in the wings, the worse things will become.

    You have my e-mail address, David, so I would suggest we start talking about a few concrete steps soon.

    P.S. I have never been an AIB customer, as I don’t trust them and never did. And one of my colleagues has his own definition what AIB stands for: An Idiot’s Bank.

  5. He who pays the piper calls the tune and as provider of the State guarantee, the Government is the paymaster.

    The troika responsible for the monumental mismanagement includes the Know Nothing political leadership and a docile central bank that only deployed finger-wagging impotence until the crash.

    Of the three, the Government has major responsibility for fuelling the boom with tax incentives, double-digit current annual spending increases as if the windfalls from property taxes were permanent and ignorant cheerleading of high house prices.

    Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan this week blamed membership of the euro for the bubble and Brian Cowen also passes the buck.

    They accept no responsibility for the mess and would look stupid heaping all the blame on the bankers.

    So Emperor Nero Cowen engages in calamity howling about a once in a 100-years’ misfortune with little prospect of providing credible public spending reform proposals.

    http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1015158.shtml

    Operation Clean House should apply to all components of the troika of irresponsibility.

    • I fully agree. We need a new government, and its first task has to be to sort out the banks. This should include a compulsory sacking of all board members and senior executives, and a full criminal investigation.

      If these criminals and saboteurs are allowed to get away with it, we will have anarchy sooner or later.

  6. I just noticed that I forgot to mention one other point I wanted to make. David writes that the ideas and ideology of the “Know nothings” has lived on for a long time in the US Republican Party.

    Well, looking at them, and at the people they select for leadership – e.g. G. W. Bush and Sarah Palin – they are still the “know nothing” party. Or, as Paul Krugman, winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Economics, has put it: “The Republicans have become the party for stupid people.”

  7. I have been interested in house price inflation ever since I lived through the UK property bubble of the early 90′s. I remember seeing an outspoken Robert (Bob) Beckman, an economist and investment analyst on morning TV discussing the house price bubble, which he equated with the Tulip bubble of 17th century Holland saying it was not a great idea to buy into the escalating housing price bubble.

    Property is not an investment vehicle, it is a living standards vehicle. It is a non productive expensive illiquid life experience. You can’t sell it forward at a guaranteed price and you can only sell it to someone who wants to buy it from you and wants to live in that house, that area and pay the price they can afford to, to live in it.

    The worst part to all of this is that everyone wants to find a solution for the current daily crisis without focusing on the problem.

    Depositors were taking their cash out so we granted state guarantee on deposits.
    Banks are not lending to each other so we state guarantee interbank lending.
    CGT, VAT and Stamp Duty are falling so we borrow to cover the shortfall at higher interest rates
    Unemployment is rising not only in the construction industry but FDI industrial partners are leaving using the guise of global crisis cost cutting to extricate them from state backed tax haven status and we fall in line to say a “Perfect Storm” once in a lifetime crisis.

    Ireland is still in denial of responsibility for the calamity of unwise growth reliance on selling property to one another to support equity release and consumer debt. The Government is in denial for spending all the proceeds of the excesses on what was obviously non-recurring revenues. The ultimate denial is the responsibility for leading the way out of the crisis.

    You don’t need consultants to help resolve this and you certainly don’t need those in charge of creating this mess to fix it. Why hire people who could not foresee this mess in the first place?

    This is not a time for thinking outside the box, it is a time for thinking about why we ever needed a box in the first place and now that we got one (or 100,000 boxes) what the hell we do with them?

  8. John ALLEN

    Ste – if you want to catch a Rat and you have cornered it ….it has no choice but to go for your throat ……..patients have been known to arrive at hospitals with a live body frozen rat ‘in fright’ hanging from the throat

  9. John ALLEN

    Emerald Islander – I totally agree with your prognosis of Fraud and High Treason ….and its rampant and stinks at the highest level ……I have a letter from senior management of Bank of Ireland …..’to sue’…. the Garda Fraud Squad ……( wait for it ) ….. for Fraud and High Treason that bank commited ……am I to assume from David …that FF …..is and was a …’know nothing ‘ party ….I hope not ….however time will tell …..

  10. Deco

    David – the term ‘know nothing’ would be accurate to describe many of those who have gone completely silent since the big bailout was announced. From reading the points in your article, I agree that it is the term to describe the leadership if Irish banking. But I going a bit cynical of the way the entire body of Irish society is ‘led’. The term ‘know nothing’ would probably be accurate to describe the leadership of this country in politics, in the public sector, in commerce, and in the media. When large swathes of the population were living beyond their means, the leadership encouraged the populace to ‘get on the ladder’ (in case they were left behind). These people knew nothing about real economics. They knew nothing about the declining aspect to Irish competitiveness.

    The elite of this country ‘knows nothing’ about problem solving. The elite of this country seems to know even less about the consequences of their actions. This is because the elite of this country never have to prove that that they ever knew anything. The elite of this country got to be the elite of this county, on the basis of that as individuals that they ‘KNEW SOMEBODY’. The lack of meritocratic leanings in Irish society has created a situation whereby, short of a complete overhaul of the country, we are going down the collective swany. And when we are all in the ditch, then the leadership of the country will be in Portugual, playing golf, raising a glass of champers to the old country. They will the only ones left to in the capacity to – as that often repeated, nonsensical remark of Mary McAleese would declare – “celebrate great achievements”.

    Ireland did not fail because of capitalism, or socialism. Ireland failed because of lies, deception, incompetence, bad decision making, and most critically, NEPOTISM. We failed because of collective corruption amongst powerful individuals. Shane Ross declared that the directorships of the Irish companies on the ISEQ are an a collective “incestuous relationship”. This is true. They are a culture unto themselves and represent a tiny minority of Irish society. They all go to the same schools. They all went to Trinners or UCD. (Even if universities like Galway,DCU and Limerick routinely score better in OECD surveys-but do not matter in the Irish board room). They are involved in golf, rugger, etc.. together-in that order of priority. They are living a lifestyle first, and fulfilling their responsibilities rarely if ever.
    Our entire value system as it exists today has been built on stuff that does not work, or is inherently irresponsible and blind to the consequences of bad decision making and personal flaws. That value system is heavily centred in the ‘Dublin 4′ mentality of irresponsibility, social status, ‘charm’, nepotism, ‘networking’, going with the flow, laziness, and pointless talking. The D4 mentality is actually derived from the British civil service ethic from the late 1800s. It is collective, aristocratic, imperialistic, and lazy. In fact it was the antithesis of British industrial drive which became eclipsed in the decade before 1914. (That point needs to be made for the benefit of Kevin Myers). It is merged into Irish slyness, and duplicity to produce a cultural ogre that is killing this country.

    It seems as if while we have been laughing at Ross O’Carroll Kelly, we have been really laughing at the idiots in charge of Ireland. Because regardless of origins, everybody who becomes part of the establishment in Ireland gravitates to Dublin 4. Even opposing factions representing what is called ‘choice’ in Ireland have more in common with each other than with the rest of the country, and are rooted in D4. The directorships of the financial institutions are all socially in contact with each other for years. They represent competition, but are all frigtheningly similar. Looks at the Greens and PDs – who were fighting each other out in the last election – they all went to the same schools. Same with regard to FF/FG/LAB. It continues through much of Irish economic life. We are presented with bogus ‘choices’ on a regular basis. In the end ‘resistance is futile’ in the face of this cultural socio-economic feature.

    It seems that this board is a meeting ground for those who lay in the ditch waiting for the herd to stampeded by. For those who opted out, and never believed it. For those that were able to see outside the box of ‘choice’ presented to us. The whole pervasiveness of it all, might now disappear. The know nothings are being revealed for their real value to Irish society – NOTHING !!

  11. Deco

    Of course, we have a Taoiseach who knows nothing about economics or finance. We have a Minister for Finance who knows nothing about Economics or Finance. But Dublin 4 has already decided that he will be the next leader of Fianna Fail. We have a Minister for Industry and Commerce who knows nothing about Industry or Commerce (she trained to be a social worker). We have a Minister for Social Welfare who knows very little at all. We have a Minister for the Environment who knows all about the rainforest. (no idea about public utilities however). And then we have the most expensive department, Health. Our Minister for Health knows nothing about health and seems in complete denial about substance abuse. And when Jerry Cowley pointed this out in the Dail, the (D4) media savaged him.

    We are governed by know-nothings. They are opposed by know nothings (with the possible exception of Richard Bruton). And their are assessed for us by a media of know nothings. Because let’s face it – the Irish (D4) media talked about the Irish economy in glowing terms that would have but the news media of the old Soviet Union and East Germany into the shade.

  12. Deco

    It looks as if even “Ross O’Carroll Kelly” is leaving, with no intention of returning.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/emigrants-abandoning-luxury-cars-at-airport-1530012.html

    Amazing, considering this element has the country destroyed on the rest of us – again ! This country is turning rotten with selfishness.

  13. Malcolm McClure

    David: There was a breath-taking example of bankers’ ‘Know nothing’ thinking yesterday when Sir Peter Burt, formerly of the Bank of Scotland, and Sir George Mathewson, ex-head of the Royal Bank of Scotland said they should be appointed to lead an independent HBOS, rather than have it taken over by Lloyds TSB. Thus the same guys who shared responsibility for their own banks failures still have the sheer gall to think they are qualified to repair the damage caused when they took over the Halifax.
    Of course, these knavish knights are Scottish bankers from the Edinburgh elite. On the face of the globe it is impossible to find Hubris more perfectly personified than in the Edinburgh banking elite. Nemesis beckons, and not before time. Scotland, our beautiful Celtic neighbour, is mostly preserved in aspic for the benefit of the elite and its vested interests. It is deliberately kept that way by the same incestuous coterie of Scottish lawyers and bankers.
    We escaped Scotland’s fate when we gained independence. Although we paid a heavy price for it, we kept some vestiges of human dignity and avoided the tartan-kilted gallimaufry that was encouraged by Queen Victoria to become the cultural expression of her Scottish elite.
    Irish bankers and lawyers pretend that they have the same role in Irish society as the Edinburgh elite has in theirs, but Irish people will not stand for it. These pretenders can either shape up or ship out and we’ll soon find others who actually serve the needs of the people.

  14. Furrylugs

    Another laser guided article by the man himself.
    Damning.
    Brendan Keenan’s column on the Indo has effectively called the situation “Shit” this morning.
    Strong words from all the commentators. The McWilliams Movement is gathering pace at delightful speed.
    Theres a test today for the FF backbenchers before the Jabba The Hutt gets back to the HSE. Dump her now. There’ll never be a better chance, whatever trickery she’s up to.

  15. Gearoid O Dubhain

    Permanent tsb list Gillian Bowler as Chairman as its board of directors. She is the successful founder of Budget Travel but it is difficult to see what specialist financial expertise she has to offer this bank. This is of course a question that should be asked by our political representatives but in the ‘ you scratch my back and I will scratch my back that is Irish politics ‘ such questions are avoided as thet might lead to the questioning of the suitability of local and national politicans and their friends to sit on the boards of a variety of state and semi -state bodies. An example be the the appoinment of Mr Ahern’s ex girlfriend to a semi state board or one of his friends to the Board of Dublin Port.

  16. Furrylugs

    The greatest snub for DMcW, Prof Kelly and doubtless many others I’m not aware of, is the Sekretariats use of Merrill Lynch for strategy advice. Do they not realise these “advisors” report not only to their boards but also to foreign security services. Whats wrong with using our own people?

    • by the way, this is the same Merril Lynch that lost 53 billion ( yes, billion) dollars on the sub prime debalce. And somehow, they are advising the Irish goverment. It truly beggars belief…..

  17. colinkbutler@yahoo.ie

    I watched a programme about the sinking of the unsinkable Titanic last week. The telegram clerk, who managed to get a place on a lifeboat and survive, claimed in the tribunal afterwards that he received and wrote down a telegram message warning of large icebergs 5kms ahead. The Captain had left the deck so the clerk gave the message to another officer. In court he claimed that he could not remember which officer and as he was not amongst the survivors, no one knew what happened. The ship sank and the passengers drowned. In the long-term the passengers vote with their feet and decide who to travel with and who they can trust again. Once bitten twice shy as the saying goes. Since the advent of “Yellow-Packers” and acceptance of lower ethics the general perception is that this was a 112 billion hit waiting to happen. Who guards the guards ?

  18. Deco

    Furrylugs is right. Vodka-woman does not have a party anymore to bring into the government. FF should move here out, and bring a different independent TD in her place. Make Finian McGrath Minister for health !! – for one this is seems to know more about it. Only problem is that when all the unnecessary managers are kicked out of the HSE – they will all go back to doing what they were doing before they got cushy numbers in the HSE-trying to become PD councillors.

    The only hope, short of a general election, is a FF back bench revolt. Public pressure and the Joe Duffy factor might make it happen. Dublin 4, the banks, the media, the professions, the unions would be thrown into shock as their collective party would end. The multinationals might be relieved. The Greens are just the tree hugging wing of D4, in fact thet are the most establishment party of the lot-as shown by Gormless crying on Ahern’s resignation speech, and the way they continue to allow the ESB charge the competitive sector outlandish prices for electricity.

    Malcolm McClure – you entry concerning Scotland resonates very heavily with us here in Ireland. We have a very similar situation here. We also have an elite – which I call the economic rent infrastructure – an set of market manipulations for sucking money out of the rest of the population – based on economic rent mechansims. The most obvious is the M50 toll road. But the entire legal and health systems are even more effective in achieving the same objective. The ordinary people must educate each other to examine society critically – instead of following the flag and all that jingoistic nonsense.

  19. John ALLEN

    Deco- well written …Nepotism…incestuous relationships …..and power at the top……grassroot politics voted against Lisbon Treaty to give power to the people …not to the unqualified elite …….our tradition dictates that by natural law we elect to be governed ….not caste into a greyzone and be muzzled and criminalised

  20. Furrylugs

    Hmm. Now on the subject of Law,
    Article 45 (2)(iii) of the Constitution lays down,”The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing;”
    “That, especially, the operation of free competition shall not be allowed so to develop as to result in the concentration of the ownership or control of essential commodities in a few individuals to the common detriment”
    Nepotism is illegal. Housing is essential. BRM is outlawed.
    And 45(2)(iv) “That in what pertains to the control of credit the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole”
    Cutting esential services such as cancer jabs, is illegal.

    Bearing in mind, and I’m certainly no lawyer, the fiasco unfolding, the Constitution lays down, by inference of action and / or inaction that the Government has elementary duties towards the public good in which they have admitted failure to engage policies in keeping with their obligations.
    Is that not enough for a vote of no confidence?
    And where is the Attorney General in all this?

    • Furrylugs: That’s a reasonable interpretation. Unfortunately a constitutional challenge like this would have to arise from a high court case. i.e. someone would have to take the dept of health to the high court for the failure to take reasonable preventative medical steps such as the aforementioned “cancer jabs”. It could then be argued in the high court that the government has acted in an unconstitutional way. If no clear precedent exists in interpretation of the articles quoted which could be directly applied to this case it would have to be referred to the supreme court. They can just interpret the constitution based on a formulated question such as “does article X imply that the dept of health has to take all reasonable steps to do Y” It may be interpreted with other articles of the constitution to give a holistic and logically consistent response. Well, as consistent as it’s possible with our constitution :)

      Not sure there’s a latin term for an unenforceable law. There are unenforceable contracts of course.

      In the meantime all this is costing the challenging party a shed-load of money. You see we have these things called politicians that are supposed to be representing our best interests so we’re not actually supposed to have to rush off to the high court to bring them back in line. Unfortunately due to the general apathy and small-mindedness of much of the electorate this whole democracy thing just isn’t cutting it. I’m kidding of course.. just not quite sure about what!

      Anyway, back in reality Gene Kerrigan has a good article in the Indo about the relatively low cost of the HPV vaccine. He also highlights the inflated price the vaccine costs from Irish GP’s. His solution to raising the money is very entertaining.
      http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/harneys-death-sentence-on-12yearolds-1529954.html

      • Furrylugs

        Read Genes article this morning Shane. One more nail on Jabbas coffin hopefully. The cynicism seemed to be that the clowns of voters will pay for it privately anyway.
        On constitutional challenges, you’re quite correct in that the legal/political (distinguish apart if you can) sect have engineered it so. Challenge us and risk penury.
        But there are many examples of successful class action in the States (tobacco, hexavalent chromium etc).
        There must be some Celtic Ghandi out there happily cutting turf with an honours law degree waiting for the call??

  21. John ALLEN

    reading some newspapers today this sunday i have noticed a rare concentration of articles on the subject of imprisonment for non payment of debts due to banks……………………..if we have time to enjoy what we remember to be christmas …..new year seem to promise …..hell on high waters

  22. John ALLEN

    furrylugs – thats a fantastic contribution…..could any legal expert clarify what really Article 45 really really means ……..does it provide hope for those unfortunates so unlucky in their lifes credit path

  23. Furrylugs

    Dunno John,
    But there’s probably some latin legal term relating to the unenforcability of breaking a law where the State has failed to ensure the adequate implimentation of that law.
    Like I say, no lawyer, but I can’t nick a lad for failing to adhere to a safety statement when the safety management system was mismanaged from on high in the first place.

  24. Furrylugs

    On a lighter note, the left side of my brain is telling the right side that a Sunday afternoon bevvy is in order so I’m off to save Diageo. Any further commentary from this author today should be discounted. E&OE.
    Bye now.

  25. John ALLEN

    Furrylugs ……nevertheless……..there are many unfortunates in the country that need this article clarified at least by government …otherwise it becomes classified akin to the Lisbon Treaty ……..away above their heads and in Latin …we should demand an explanation ….and ….Now

  26. Deco

    Furrylugs – you have found something powerful. Basically government policy is completely unconstitutional. In fact it has been unconstitutional for a generation.

    Article 45 (2)(iii) That entire market rigging scheme of a few developers cornering the residential land banks on the outskirts is completely unconstitutional. In fact the M50 deal was signed into law and it is unconstitutional !! The taxpayer would be able to claim a massive amount of money back from NTR. Pee Flynn might even be liable for signing a law that was unconstitutional. Did the President even refer the law to the Supreme Court ? No – another waster on the public payroll.

    Article 45 (2)(iv) – where do we stand in relation to the builder bailout which establishes a price floor by supplying cheap ‘subprime’ loans via the local authorities. It is a form of control of the credit market, at the expense of public funds which is detrimental to the public at large. But as a market mechanism it is devised so as to establish a price floor for developers selling housing. It is clearly unconstitutional. Money diverted from essential staffing in hospitals in order to pay for the builders bailout is unconstitutional. It is also in breach of EU competition law.

    I am going to search for my copy of Bunreacht na hEireann to see what else is contained. At this rate of going half the government’s policies are illegal. But the Constitution states it clearly – it is right there in very clear terminology. It is crystal clear. You would think that the lawyers running the country would at least know this, even if they remain clueless on most matters relating to economics and finance.

    Furrylugs – great work !!!

  27. Furrylugs

    Deco, Keep a weather eye on Art. 40(6)(i)

  28. Emerald Islander said;
    “I am a historian by training, and not an economist. But I think that I have enough basic understanding of the economy. And what you describe, David – undoubtedly correct in all details – is in my vocabulary called FRAUD.
    So I am wondering where is the Garda Siochana in this? And where is the CAB? These brainless and ruthless bankers should be sitting in a prison on remand, pending the investigations of the Garda Fraud Squad, which should have teams in every bank HQ in the country.
    And their private assets should be frozen by the CAB, until it can be established what happened, why, and who enriched himself in an improper way.”
    How naive you are. The government in power IS the political arm of the property speculators & farmers.Every bit of land within 50 miles of Dublin has now been rezoned for building, as planning restrictions resulted in high prices and drove young couples away from the “city dog-box for 400,00 Euros” bubble created by the bribery and corruption based “cat and mouse” game Fianna Fail councilors and TDs played with wanna be property developers such as Tom Gilmartin for years.
    Meanwhile their own cronies were waiting in the wings to shaft the new boys on the block outside their own golden circle.
    A perfect situation for every developer and farmer in the country.
    High prices in Dublin then enabled every landowner within 100 miles of the city to get in on the action.
    The beneficiaries have now moved on to foreign fields with their vast tax free profits and- like new (Irish style) Viking marauders- are buying chunks of London, Prague, and even Moscow.!
    Perhaps some day somebody will write a book about how so much money was borrowed from so many foreign banks to create so much wealth for so few well connected property developers-at the expense of a whole generation now in the process of paying for it all.
    By the way I understand mr Lenehan is having trouble getting “acceptable”new appointees which are acceptable to the board of the banks,and has said he will ” ïmpose” his own choice of stodgy ex civil servants on them if the don’t play ball soon. I propose David Mc Williams and Shane Ross as the two best qualified candidates in Ireland to “impose” on the banks.Fat chance.!

    • As DMcW was already on the board of at least one bank surely he’s a natural choice.

    • Furrylugs

      Soldier,
      The office of State empowered and obligated by our Constitution to protect the legalities of the State is the office of the Attorney General.
      Who he? Where he?
      The last time I met him was on a jolly in Buenos Aires. I was really galvanised…not.

  29. John ALLEN

    Ferrylugs- on that constitutional matter …..before you found it…..’we know nothing ‘…..and since ….still…’we know nothing’ …..are we culpable as bankers now ?…please furrylugs……..you have the key to make a change happen …to morrow you might tell us that …i await in anticipation ….yours etc

    • Furrylugs

      John, thanks for the vote but I’m not a constitutional lawyer. Our creed was set out and laid down by well meaning and earnest men on the back of the blood spilt by their friends.It was immediately hi-jacked by the Yank to impose his Nua-Eabhrac vision of what Ireland should be, thereby reversing decades of intellectual struggle to form a (I like this word) meritocratic society.

      The innocence and simplicity of our Constitution has been cynically abused since the foundation of the State. And ignored except for intellectuals like Cearbhall O’Dalaigh who was hounded out. Our rulers don’t do intellect.Nor will they.

      Lets take our neutrality. Rendition, arms technology, simulation equipment. FDI which would be subject to rigorous control in the home state. All semi-state. All blind eye. For semi-state read non-accountable.Nudge and wink.Take the money.

      We have a Constitution which, when linked back to the authors, can galvanise the people. Look at the abortion(substantive) issue. The whole country debating instead of debunking.

      I’m certainly not the Obama, no-one here is, with the fullest respect, but maybe some-one is monitoring this that will use their knowledge of Eire and its foibles to strike when the moment is right. Then we can help.

      All I’m trying to do is improve the place, even though I get a little ratty sometimes.

  30. Eric Dig

    296………. broken but not beaten! cmon

  31. AndrewGMooney

    A friend of mine asked me for my take on the ‘economic crisis’. I told him, over a few beers:

    “It’s really quite simple. When I was a teenager in Birmingham my hard-working Irish bus-driving Dad told me that the Trade Unions were ruining the country (Britain). He told me they were a powerful clique who had abused the trust of ordinary people, whilst claiming to ‘represent’ ordinary working families, but really, they were only interested in their own power and self-preservation.

    That was 1978. In 2008, all you need to know about the ‘economic crisis’ is to substitute the Banks for the Trade Unions. They are doing exactly the same thing. They have been trusted by ordinary people with guarantees and re-capitalisation, depending on which country you look at, but not only are they ungrateful, they are contemptuous.

    They sit back and think of their future schemes and bonuses, mergers acquisitions, bonuses and share options, whilst the country involved (Eire, UK, USA) goes to hell in a hand basket.

    They think their position of power is unquestionable. Even worse, they believe they can crash and burn the economy if they are challenged.

    What needs to happen is for politicians to find some backbone and face them down. They are the new threat. They are ‘the enemy within’. If governments don’t face down these economic traitors and shame them into some sort of climbdown: Then there is every possibility that the ‘downturn’ will spiral out of control towards an unmanageable Depression, with small businesses collapsing and with them, the main engine of job creation. “

    “Is it really that bad?” he said. “Your round”, I said.

    “Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves.” – Andrew Jackson

    • Fergus

      ‘I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”
      Mr. Jefferson again. If David’s article last Wednesday is on the mark, then this banking crisis will spawn militias up and down the country….

  32. colinkbutler@yahoo.ie

    5th Column or Trojan Horse ? – beware of Greeks bearing gifts. The interpretation of secure has been contravened since 1997. Is The Mob ruling the mob ?

  33. colinkbutler@yahoo.ie

    A harsh mini-budget on health and education causes a swing to the Left. Former PDs and disgruntled FF will swing to SF not FG or Labour. Greens are Republican Left at soul attempting to woo the middle class using a couple of lower the carbon emissions posters. Cowen and Coughlan are Republican Left. FF, Greens and SF will be in discussions. SF in Dublin, Belfast and London would be a major coup. The financial crisis put billions in FF coffers for future aims.

    • Furrylugs

      Might be a coup for some Colin but how do I explain that to everyone in my family that had to run from a provo bomb at one point or another? They haven’t gone away you know.

  34. colinkbutler@yahoo.ie

    30 Years is enough. FF are borne from the SF family.
    The Greens TDs are border counties by birth living in Dublin. It has become very transparent. There were 15,000 British soldiers in NI. Time for democratic right.

  35. colinkbutler@yahoo.ie

    ok except for the Left, old FF, SF, Greens, if they ever get in, in Ireland, sing a fundamentally Marxist/Leninist doctrine. Change the tune or leave the country. We are now EU with France, Germany and UK as leaders.

  36. John ALLEN

    A Moment of Silence

    Lets think about honours duties and responsibilities to our country……..the leaders of industry…….professions……politics……trade unions….and….BANKERS

    Now think about our irish Soldiers in Dafur ….who in the coming months will face …Real Combat

  37. Furrylegs/Deco:re
    “Article 45 (2)(iv) – where do we stand in relation to the builder bailout which establishes a price floor by supplying cheap ’subprime’ loans via the local authorities. It is a form of control of the credit market, at the expense of public funds which is detrimental to the public at large. But as a market mechanism it is devised so as to establish a price floor for developers selling housing. It is clearly unconstitutional. Money diverted from essential staffing in hospitals in order to pay for the builders bailout is unconstitutional. It is also in breach of EU competition law.”
    I believe ye are on to something real here.
    The government is using taxpayers money to enter the free market and cajole desperate young people (who lack sufficient financial resources) to purchase a share in a property- in partnership with the state itself.!
    (i.e. the local authority).
    This cannot be disguised as an alternative to providing “social” housing for the poorer classes.
    The people who benefited from the “Affordable homes scheme” when it eventually got off the ground (as the bubble began to peak) were not the “poor”, unless- that is- Nurses, Gardai, and well paid civil servants with good incomes are now, thus categorized.!
    My own daughter who is academically highly qualified and has a very good job with a prestigious employer, was among many thousands of similar applicants who now own one bedroom “dogboxes” in Dublin thanks to cash she received from her parents AND the local authority part ownership scheme which gives them a third ownership of the apartment.She must live there for the next 20 years or they will re-coup their interest/ money, if she is ever obliged to emigrate or made unemployed and forced to sell the property.
    This type of scheme is reprehensible, and has now been extended in the Boomerang Budget, and turned into a more blatant prop to get hard strapped young buyers back into the extremely shaky “New dogbox for sale” market.
    Now let us look at an analogy.
    If say, Ryanair, Aer Arann, and Aer Lingus were going through hard times (they are.) and instead of advertising 1 Euro fares etc and competing viciously with each other-let us imagine,they decided to form a cartel.
    Let us imagine they conspired in some back room in Dublin and decided to maintain a floor on their high prices, despite falling demand and increasing empty seats on their aircraft.
    Let us then imagine a scenario in which the government decided that rather than allow a free competition, survival-of-the-fittest style ” blood bath” (from which would emerge some bankruptcies and unemployment etc) they decided to pay 33% of the cost of every ticket bought by up t0 75% of the citizens who earned less than 60,000 Euros per annum and who wished to travel by plane, for the foreseeable future.Would it be tolerated in Brussels.?
    Of course it would.For purely electoral advantage puropses,the Irish government has already moved mountains to ensure that an unhealthy, partly state owned, airline will continue to survive and hemorrhage money until it eventually collapses (unless the unions relent in their act of collective suicide)
    Let us similarly take a commodity rather than a service.
    Imagine the farmers in Europe got together and decided to put a floor on what they were prepared to sell milk and meat. Let us imagine that the government permitted this dreadful cartel to do business and not only that-they guaranteed to purchase any left over unsold produce (with taxpayers money) and then ship it off to Russia or Egypt etc and sell it for a song.!
    Would this be permitted? it has been happening since the inception of the European Union.
    The irish builders-in conjunction with wealthy farmers- who were both supported by massive tax breaks/subsidies etc- have gone off with their loot to buy bits and bobs of every major city in Europe,and elsewhere.
    They can do this because they have bigger pockets than competing European property investors who enjoyed no such taxpayer funded incentives when they built housing estates and shopping centers in London or Berlin.
    We can see from the above that the so called “free market” concept is in reality an “a la carte” menu which the Irish government in particular, treats with utter contempt.
    Fianna Fail´s latest ploy to underpin their coterie of property speculators and landowners proves this.It should not be up to Irish citizens to have to bankroll a challenge to this new government bill to divert taxpayers money from hospitals to hight rise apartment block subsidization.
    Brussels, champion of free competition- where are you?
    If we could begin to believe that the EU was something other than a club for big business and farmers/landowners ,some of us might even vote positively for the next round in the Great Irish Lisbon Treaty Referendum charade.!!

    If any sage council, reading or contributing to this blog is prepared to take up the baton on Fianna Fail´s latest interference with the free market, and can persuade me that a legal challenge to their latest prop to underpin the free fall in housing prices in Ireland is unconstitutional-in Irish or European law;and can be successfully challenged in an Irish or European Court of Law; I will personally pledge one thousand Euros to get this campaign off the ground.

  38. John ALLEN

    Ferrylugs – what a week ahead you have ……how can you work….the nations watches……………will a double expresso from George Clooney make it easier …..hark hark…………………………and …thursday is a full moon

  39. Deco

    Soldiersofdestiny – making the farmers culpable for the current mess is intellectually dishonest. We have to be clear about who is responsible and who is not responsible. There Irish farmers are 0% responsible for this shambles. There have been no farmers before the Tribunals. And even if a farmer was involved in crooked dealing, then we cannot jump to implicating farmers in Waterford or Kerry in the process, when they personally gained nothing. However it fair to say Mr. Slithery (honest Tom), seems to have given up on a life of cow manure, and joined the CIF and switched to BS instead. The crooked processes being practiced by the local authorities, whereby land goes from being deignated as ‘agricultural’ to ‘residential’ as a result of a brown envelope, are the real problem. We have a cosy arrangement between developers and politicians. It is corrupt. On the basis of the tribunals I am concluding that the farmers have gained nothing from our crooked planning laws. But it seems that the lads in the tent in Ballybrit have the entire market and the political process of land rezoning entirely rigged for their own benefit.
    Concerning the EU Agricultural budet-I thought the best solution as one that is working in Denmark-a country that looks after it’s farmers. Denmark has a rule that no single individual, corporation or group of corporate entities is permitted to own a bank of agricultural land that is above a certain size. The size of farm is determined as being as much land as could be farmed by one farmer and his family. Anything larger, and the land is not being farmed efficiently, with respect to labour input. Note, the Danes are in favour of agricultural production, and against having the land idle. Land banks held by developers on the outskirts of Dublin, pending a decision by Fingal County Council(brown envelop assisted) would not be possible under the Danish mechanism. That will not happen here – laws here are never straightforward. Our rules are always as complex as bedammed so as to ensure that civil servants, lawyers, accountants are winning (at the expense of others). That way loopholes abound. And loopholes are an economic lifeline to the professional classes. And besides the Developers would not want it to happen.
    As an economic entity the developer class are competition for agricultural land, against real farmers who actually want to produce food and sustain the Irish food sector. And in the current climate, we must protect the Irish food sector – it is the only sector which is trying to increase it’s production. Every other sector is trying to cut back. We need to have a bias in favour of economic sectors that are generating exports. Instead we have a state directed bias in favour of every other sector, except the export driven competitive sector. Attacking farmers is akin to attacking the multinationals. If the multinationals seen this, then we would get into more trouble. I do not remember any farmers going on television telling the young people that property prices would go up for every around 2004. If anythign it seemd that the more into the rural community you went the stronger the scepticism grew concerning the Irish property boom was completely unsustainable. That was where Bertie Ahern’s ‘lulas in the bushes’ who were making him feel suicidal in their economic projections were located. Scepticism in this matter was dismissed by official Ireland, and the government.

    Regarding people who have bought houses – we can now presume they will never take a word issued by ‘official Ireland’ ever seriously again. The frenzy and nonsense induced people to pay prices for residential property well in excess of their long term value. The auctioneers, the newspapers, the banks and the developers have all made ‘loadsamoney’, and are doing nicely. They anticipate getting away with it. Ireland was predominated by a silly mindest/public culture that was i) part Thatcherite, ii) part Robinsonian and iii) part Ahernian. A mixture of lying i)greed/financial voodoo engineering, ii) modernist celebrationist nonsensical unfounded optimism, and iii)brown envelope economics/market rigging.

    It would seem on the basis of your argument that the current government program known as the ‘Builders bailout’ has the expressed aim of ensuring that the same developers do not have to dip into their substantial accumulated profits at the end of the building boom. I agree. The people getting the loans are gaining nothing from it. They are being fooled again. In fact it would be better for them that the prices dropped to the market value, so as to ensure that the capital sum required for purchase would drop drastically. But instead they need to be ‘helped’ by a mechanism that distorts the market, and prevents this from occurring. This is clearly in breach of the Constitution and EU Competition Law.

    Also I think we must be responsible for the widspread culture of greed. A bit like the Dutch after the Tulip bust. Every tom dick and paddy was trying to buy an apartment in Bulgaria, Spain, Budapest or some other location that has since crashed. Everybody thought they could get rich without working. There were programs on TV with sunny skies and beach views telling us it could be done. It was cool, hip, trendy etc… That nonsensical dreaming has to be cast aside, and we have to go back to the McSharry years and chase ‘sustainable growth’.

  40. Philip

    Guys, you are forgetting that Ireland like many other countries in the so-called developed world are comprised of shackled people. Shackled by debt.

    If you want a compliant nation, the best way to go about it is to ensure that all students have big loans when they leave college, meaning they become a compliant lot when they go to work. You then get your mortgage, your wife/husband and kids and you become the most flexible citizen one can get. Want (driven by consumerism) followed by consequential Debt keeps you on side.

    FF understand this better than anyone else and so do the D4 set. People here are terrified of the establishment, lick up to it, and want things to go on as they are. And you trouble makers in this blog are saying very disturbing things which the average job/jane soaper has no intention on following as long as they can hang on to their jobs and way of life. The changes will only come about as more jobs come under pressure.

    I think the best way people could fight this is a coordinated non-payment of their debts until changes are effected. The builder/developers do this every day with impunity. You cannot lock everyone up. It’s about time this government became frightened of the people rather than the other way round.

  41. John ALLEN

    we have just invented a new word in English ….. ‘to Philip’……….. is to withold repayments to banks ……as in Boycott …..in the Land League

    Lets use it

  42. Philip

    Well, if developers can tell the banks and the taxpayer to buzz off…why can’t the taxpayers do it? In any event, we are facing uncontrollable rise of arrears of of people’s choice – which will probably force the issue anyway.

    In the end, interest accrues. Debts have to be paid. But this also applies to the country as a whole.

    This whole banking situation is such a mess that the sovereignty of the country is under threat by virtue of its credit-worthyness. Our borrowings are coming at a higher price. We are both cost cutting and borrowing more expensively. The danger behind this is very real particularly in the context of many more people loosing their jobs. There is a feedback inherent in this that is inherently explosive in terms of the rapidly of followup events. Back benchers are now under pressure. The safety net of new public service jobs or new infra projects is gone.

    Firings and Management clearout has to commence

  43. Deco

    There is a danger that the people might wake up and realise what happening. I am expecting some ‘bread and circuses’ type strategy to prevent it from happening.

  44. “I think the best way people could fight this is a coordinated non-payment of their debts until changes are effected. The builder/developers do this every day with impunity. You cannot lock everyone up. It’s about time this government became frightened of the people rather than the other way round.”
    You are absolutely right, nevertheless when the bin taxes were first brought in and fought by a small group of citizen activists only a modest number of people living in the most deprived estates in Dublin boycotted payments.
    Courage is only born of want & deprivation.
    Perhaps the coming years will see more people having the courage to refuse to pay unjust taxation.First a champion has to emerge to organize and co-ordinate and persuade.
    The repressive taxation which falls on the average family could be fought and defeated, but only the farmers have the effrontery to defeat taxes and impositions which do not suit them because only the farmers (and the public sector unions) are well organized and act as one man when Merrion Square needs to be blockaded by tractors.!
    Example.There are in excess of 20,000 taxi drivers in Ireland at present, and their numbers are increasing by thousands every year. Their livelihoods(the full time drivers) are being destroyed before their very eyes, as week after week they see more and more licences issued and more and more cars fighting for space on overcrowded taxi ranks.
    Do they organize.? Do they protest? Have you heard a murmur from anybody purpoting to represent such a huge number of workers and their extended families.?
    I believe ONE of their number held a lone protest outside the Taxi Regulators office some weeks ago. The
    Regulator phoned the police who arrived post haste but on seeing the puny nature of the protest, declined to give him any publicity by forcibly removing him from the street. Laugh.
    The majority of the common herd are sheep to the slaughter.They could not fail, If they only realized that the forces pitted against them by the politicians-as witnessed in the recent Boomerang Budget- would ,like the banks-,collapse if enough citizens (such as the old age pensioners..) would only:
    “screw their courage to the sticking place”.

  45. John ALLEN

    Muintir na Tire ………are by tradition ‘ a voice for the ordinary people ‘ …and have the best structures in place to be seen to give that valid representation ….we have borrowed an old custom from our Brehon Law period known as….’meitheal ‘…..where everyone stands together to help one another ……their time has come again to be seen to act once more …hark hark…we call you

  46. Deco

    From an assessment of the Irish economy, available from Davy Stockbrokers, 10 Nov 2008. [ Bear in mind that Robbie Kelleher in Davy has been probably the only financial sector economist who predicted a housing bust – so they are as honest as you get in the finance industry – I would listen to them before I would listen to BOI, PTSB, Friends First, or other ‘Know-nothings’ – based on listening to Kelleher, I think it safe to say that the Davy assessment is usually more rigourouss, more critical, and less plucked out optimistic self-congratulationary nonsense. In other words Davy will get nearer the reality than any other Irish finance company.
    <>
    That 5% plus decline is purely based on the domestic situation. It does not take account of the unknown surprises that pop up in situations like that which we are now in. Bad news in the high tech or IFSC for example. It is not that completely off the radar screen. Prolonged bank problems. Local authorities running out of money like has occurred in the US provoking all sorts of mayhem. In the current environment all sorts of things could go wrong, and these could not be factored in, because they could not be measured. Except now the ‘unknown unknowns’ will be negative.
    Unfortunately, there is no clear effort from the state or the banking sector to reform themselves from within. The public sector is still bloated, inefficient, incompetent, delusional, and totally disorganized. The banking sector is in a state of self-denial. And the government are pushing the banks to throw credit at the housing market, when it would make more sense to throw credit at the competitive economy – only the politicians still don’t seem to understand the needs of the competitive economy. There has been no attempt to reduce the costs associated with doing business in Ireland. The preservation of ‘official Ireland’ seems to be an overriding objective, hiding a wide range of serious problems behind any amount of empty talk and optimistic bluster.
    This condemns the entire Irish economy, and our society, to upcoming disaster.

  47. Deco

    Sorry – the commentary of Davy was as follows:
    {
    Unrealistic forecasts are no basis for policy decisions
    - Current official forecasts are too optimistic. The
    Department of Finance expects the economy to
    shrink by only 1.6% next year due partly to growth of
    0.7% in consumer spending.
    - In contrast, our recent forecasts suggested that the
    economy may contract by 3.5% in volume next year
    following a 2% decline in 2008.
    }

  48. Philip

    Even Davy could be optimistic…

    ## Almost half of multinationals based here have told the IDA they would not choose to locate again to Ireland because of high business costs and poor infrastructure. A survey from the state agency found that 45pc of companies would choose to locate in another country, with most choosing Eastern Europe (61pc), followed by India (23pc), the UK (16pc) or other locations in Europe (11pc). The results of the survey come as the downturn in business at computer manufacturing giant, Dell, continues to have a devastating effect on its suppliers. – Irish Independent

    This came from: http://www.businessworld.ie/livenews.htm?a=2345190;s=rollingnews.htm

    Need serious thinking here. I see that Siptu have served strike notice on Aerlingus. This could seriously screw up some business I wanted to transact and could damage local reputation. No doubt, we will see similar activity from other unions. They are beating up the wrong people this time. The unions need to understand that their base will be further eroded by pursuing current action. This is not a simple matter of private business versus the worker…this is the economy versus Government incompetence.

    We need a critical mass of people who feel unsafe now – so we do not have a situatuon where they are ACTUALLY unsafe in in near future.

  49. I purchased a new notebook a few weeks ago.It is made by a very aggressive and successful company based in the Far East, who have won many design awards for their computers: The technical data:
    Celeron T1400 / 2Gb / 160Gb / 15W – Intel T1400 Dual Core processor – Memoria: 2 GB DDR2 – Hard Drive: 160GB
    - screen: 15,4 pulg. WXGA LCD.DVD-super Multi DL
    It cost me just 395 Euros here in Spain. Dell is a great company and has carved out a huge slice of this market in recent years.However in the world of new technology nothing remains constant.I believe they are losing ground at present in the cut throat laptop market.
    It is frightening to realize that the whole economy of one of our cities, almost depends on the continued success of one multinational company located there.Be afraid-be very afraid. This is only beginning. Ireland is the most exposed country in Europe-not just to a burst property bubble.!

  50. Malcolm McClure

    People are quick to condemn bankers as a tribe but seem reluctant to name the names of culpable “Know Nothings” who, as Economic Advisors or Directors of Irish Banks, shared responsibility for the present debacle.

    In obeisance to libel laws I would like to heap praise on Doctor Dan McLaughlin, MA, PhD, Chief Economist at BOI, whose perspicacity in predicting the present crisis was second to nun. –Stand up, Mother Immaculata, who taught us to say ‘Christ have mercy on us’.

    Also deserving a gong is Michael Buckley, MA. LPh, MSI, who as Director of AIB presided with great panache over the Rusnak trading fiasco at AIB subsidiary Allfirst,– now All-First’s remnant, 24.2% of M&T bank is also up-for-sale by AIB in distressed circumstances. Having been replaced at AIB by Sheehy, Buckley was welcomed on board Bradford & Bingley as Director, where he presided over yet another decimation and take-over by Santander. Now he is Director of DCC with ex-AIB crony director Bernard Somers. We wish them well.
    I searched about the significance of Buckley’s LPh degree but without success. Apparently it could stand for:
    LPH Liters Per Hour
    LPH Ley de Propiedad Horizontal
    LPH Left Posterior Hemiblock
    LPH Love, Peace, and Happiness
    LPH Limited Path Heuristic
    LPH Lymphocytic Portal Hepatitis
    LPH Loyalty Pride Honour
    LPH Lost Pet Hotline
    LPH Loans Per Hour
    I’m inclined to think it means litres per hour (of Chablis) rather than loans per hour, but I think we should be told.

    • Malcolm McClure

      I’ve discovered that LPh stands for Licentiate in Philosophy, as awarded at St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, and of course their bankers are AIB, so the wheel turns full circle.

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