May 24, 2009

Lenihan’s life-support machine

Posted in Banks · 188 comments ·

There is a strange similarity between the predicament of our banks and that of our Church. When you think about it, both the banks and the Catholic Church dealt in that rarest of commodities, trust. When we trusted them, they could sell us practically any old stuff. Make it up on the hoof, in some cases.

As this column has pointed out before, the origins of the word credit come from the Latin ‘credo’, which means ‘I believe’. So in the old days, before anyone could deal in credit, he had to be credible or believable.

Now that our trust in both institutions has been smashed, why are we still protecting them from the full financial ramifications of their moral bankruptcy? Let’s leave the Catholic Church to others, and content ourselves with discussing the banks and what is happening to them.

Will they be forgiven and given a second chance in traditional Catholic fashion? And if they are absolved, what are the ramifications for the rest of us?

Ironically, it looks as if the Irish banks – and also, by virtue of these unusual circumstances, the Irish government – have just found an all-forgiving priest in the guise of the European Central Bank. The ECB is keeping us afloat.

Back in January, on the Marian Finucane programme, I suggested that maybe the only thing we could do while we remained in EMU, was to threaten a default if the ECB didn’t support us by injecting liquidity into our financial system. Maybe the threat would not have to be explicit; just by looking at the desperation of our plight, the ECB would figure out that we needed serious help or else the country would go under, and deliver a huge blow to the credibility of the euro in the process.

At the time, some people ringing into the programme thought it was a reasonably radical thing to say – but there didn’t – nor does there still – seem any alternative for now.

Today, this is precisely what is happening. We have managed to shift the burden for much of the funding of the day today needs of this economy onto the ECB and, for this, our finance minister, Brian Lenihan, should be applauded. It’s not a long-term fix, but it is does give us short-term respite. More significantly, by using the ECB, Lenihan has managed to get the European Central Bank to print money for the Irish government, which breaks the first rule in the central bankers’ rulebook.

Given some of the ideologues at the ECB, that’s no mean feat. Not only that, but it surely breaks the most important stipulation of the Maastricht Treaty, which is that governments will never be financed by central banks.

Let’s have a look at how we are still breathing, and examine the rudiments of the ‘Lenihan life support machine’.

Furthermore, let’s speculate on how long we can get away with this, because there is no doubt that if the average German were fully aware of what was going on, he would freak out. His central bank was, yet again, funding what he would see as endemic Irish delinquency.

Until the liquidity crisis last September, if the Irish banks wanted money, they just issued their own paper in the market and borrowed cash. This wholesale money market financing allowed them to lend out huge amounts of cash and, as long as this market remained open to them, the Irish banks could keep rolling over their debts. At some stage, this would implode, but the view in the boardrooms was very much one of ‘‘let’s ride this thing while we can, and let someone else worry about tomorrow’’.

But tomorrow came rather quickly and suddenly after the end of Lehman Brothers and the market shut down. The Irish banks were looking at a massive funding crisis and an acute liquidity collapse leading to insolvency. If a bank can’t get money, it’s not a bank.

Courtesy Prof. Patrick Honohan, TCD
As you can see from the chart on the left (taken from a paper given by Professor Patrick Honohan of Trinity College last week, which can be read at, the banks turned to the Central Bank for money. Before the crisis, the banks were depending on the ECB for about €30 billion in short-term finance. Today, that figure is a whopping €140 billion.

As the lender of last resort, the Central bank is obliged to give the banks money.

But the amount has increased so dramatically that now the Central Bank is no longer the lender of last resort; it is in many cases, the only lender of any resort. The Central Bank gets all its cash from the ECB, so the ECB has turned into the Irish bank’s lifeline.

But this is not where the story ends; here is where it gets interesting, because the ECB is accepting Irish government stock as collateral from the banks to release this cash. The Irish banks are buying Irish government bonds and then cashing them in for euro at the ECB’s discount window.

So, while ensuring that the banking system can continue to tick over, the Irish government is using the Irish banks as a proxy in order to get the ECB to fund our budget deficit.

Now, this is interesting and clever – in a smart-arsed kind of way. The Irish government issues bonds to pay for the dole here, and for public sector pay and services and all the other things it must pay for. The banks buy some of these bonds for cash – the rest are bought by other Irish and international investors. The state gets the cash and gives it to us. Then the Irish banks can go to the ECB and get cash, and this facilitates whatever credit they are extending. Probably more significantly, the banks are using this credit to keep builders from going bust by rolling up interest payments.

The government insists that it is not leaning on the banks to buy Irish government bonds. And it is true that, as market conditions have settled a little in recent weeks and the government has gone on the offensive internationally, a wider spread of investors has started to go back into the market for our bonds.

However, the reality is that the ECB carrot is there in front of the banks’ noses – and Dr Michael Somers, the NTMA chief, referred to this in his recent evidence to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee, when he said he suspected that banks were using bonds to access cash from the ECB.

What’s more, the bonds the banks will get from the state in return from assets transferred to the new National Asset Management Agency (Nama) will also be usable as collateral to access cash from the ECB. Senior officials, including Somers, held discussions with ECB president JeanClaude Trichet before the Nama announcement and this was, presumably, one of the key issues covered. This will provide further funding for the banks and means the ECB will effectively support the funding of the clean-up plan.

Is it sustainable? Can we just carry on like this? Perhaps not, if the average German gets wind of what’s happening.

Our Minister for Finance will know that his key job in the months ahead will be to develop a banking system which can stand on its own two feet and again start to access funding on a normal basis from the markets.

If confidence can be restored, the banks can start raising cash again from the markets, paying down the state redeemable preference shares, and returning to normal operations. But we are still a long, long way from there. In the meantime, we need our friends in Frankfurt.

  1. I believe the German Ambassador in Dublin has a duty to inform the Home Office in Berlin that the German Taxpayer is been Blackmailed by an Irish Joker who is a Pretender.

    • Deco

      John Allen – interesting that you should mention the German ambassador….a former Ambassador….Dr. Pauls….spoke the truth concerning the culture that prevailed in Ireland during the “peak speculation era”….and some fool of a politician asked him to withdraw his remarks…and then Irish people phoned in the Joe Duffy show to thank Dr. Pauls for speaking the truth….ditherer stayed silent….the media were looking for him to explain lodgements to Celia’s account at the time…The ordinary people are prepared to listen to honest criticism….it is just our rogue infected political class who demand apologies and seek to project arrogance on behalf of the rest of us…

  2. John Q. Public

    The ecb should say NO to this arrangement. Are they stupid? Paying these banks for their own stupidity is crazy. Does anybody remember the criteria we as an economy had to meet in order to be let in to the EU in the first place? It was quite strict. But this makes a farce and a fraud of the whole system.

  3. Tim

    David, so it’s “hand-in-the-cookie-jar” economic policy that we are running now………..

  4. It does explain one thing though.
    Irelands financial health is now critical to the survival of the Yo-Yo.

  5. I am going back to game of street bottle top throwing into the hole of a shoe box and maybe win a yo yo .It will be ecologically feasible .

    Money is a state of mind .It is the Mind of the /Joker Pretender that is playing Dangerously and will Lose Our Shirts.

  6. AndrewGMooney

    It’s not just the ‘average German’ who needs to be factored in. It’s the average Spaniard, Greek, Portuguese and Italian.

    Whilst it’s interesting to see how the ECB are ‘printing money’ without transgressing their ideological ideology, it’s hard to see how the situation can be resolved without a complete volte-face in the public position of Weber and Trichet and the rest of those clowns.

    What about the aspirant Euro members and the Austrian banks? What subterfuges are being enacted on the Eastern Front? I suppose when this becomes ‘common knowledge’ the Euro will join in the currency ‘race to the bottom’. Then what? The IMF and Obama crash Gold and institute the New IMF Drawing Rights Currency to stop the planet imploding/exploding. That’s what.

    I’m don’t really understand why the U.S, U.K, China, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the Swiss can overtly parade their unconventional monetary policies so brazenly, yet the ECB sticks to it’s ‘biblical orthodoxies’ regarding Inflation Targeting – the very flawed thing which may have got us here, as it failed to include Asset Class Inflation, specifically housing and shares, in it’s criteria. Even the Aussies are muscling in on the act:

    Finally, the really interesting question arises: Exactly what ‘penance’ is this, supposedly, ‘all forgiving priest’ in Frankfurt handing out to Lenihan as he leaves the sanctuary of the Confessional?

    What will be the long-term cost of this covert absolution of sins? In other words, what’s the penance in terms of Ireland’s future Sovereignty?
    It goes without saying that included with the Hail Mary’s will be an ‘understanding’ with regard to The Lisbon Treaty. I await the FF/FG position statements with regard to this re-vote with interest.

    Personally I think offering either Monsignor Lenihan or the Cardinals of the ECB any further ‘credit’ is extremely dangerous. To put it mildly. Both have ignored all signals from the ‘wider community’ that their errant ways were causing serious dysfunction.

    I’m all for the ‘sanctity of the confessional’ and for the secret penance of Lenihan to be given time.
    But I also have a long history of observing drunks, perverts and psychopaths emerging from the Confessional (not all of them clergy) and seeing that their behaviour cannot be ‘forgiven’.

    Because they take the piss out of the Sacrament, have no intention of changing their behaviour- and fully intend to sin again, once the current crisis ends. Germany expects to sit on a cardinal’s throne of moral financial rectitude then gets all devious when the sh1t hits the fan? Quelle surprise!

    The G20 was a of ‘mass confession of nation states’ whereby a plan to retreat from Sin was supposedly agreed.
    Obama is The Pope of the International Financial System whether anyone likes it or not. He ain’t gonna put up with no heretic Cardinals in Frankfurt or renegade Monsignor in Dublin.
    I assume that the World Bank / IMF are The Magisterium aka: The Inquisition.

    The ‘average German’ might not have figured out this game of smoke and mirrors, but you can be absolutely sure the East End barrow boys in the City of London know EXACTLY what’s going on in Canary Dwarf. [Their appellation, not mine]

    You can also be sure they are, right now, concocting various hedges, positions, strategies by which they will exploit this ‘covert strategy’. Ditto their colleagues on Wall Street. And in Frankfurt.

    Once this ‘gaming of the system’ filters into the German tabloid consciousness, there may be calls for punitive measures against the Wild West. Once Herman realises the ECB are ‘risking Weimar’ to rescue Paddy Last, things could get nasty.
    I guess that eejit Peer Steinbrueck needs to take a good slap on the arse whilst I’m at it. If he hadn’t frothed and raved against ‘stimulus’ he wouldn’t hav e made ‘printing money’ such an unforgiveable sin for the ECB that is can never be spoken of in public.

    You can’t rebuild Credit (credo, trust) by acting in devious and underhand ways, because there’s always some fc-ukers out there who spot the ruse and set you up for a fall.
    This sounds like Lenihan is trying what the Yanks call a Hail Mary Pass.
    I hope it gives the breathing place for Plan B, C, or Z to take shape. Whatever that may be.

    “Celtic blood, Saxon heart: This I’m made of, there is no one on Earth I’m afraid of. And I will die with both of my hands untied.
    I’ve been dreaming of a time when
    The Irish are sick to death of
    Fianna Fail and Fine Gael
    and spit upon their names alongside Cromwell’s”

    20:12 20/12 2012

    • Lorcan

      @Andrew, there is a chance that rather than a Yankee ‘Hail Mary Pass’ it might be a more rugby orientated ‘hospital pass’.

      Ireland’s debt is the sub-prime of sovereign debt. We are the NINJA of international finance.

      But, that being said, there is a perverse logic to Mr. Trichet’s position.

      The logic works something like this (and this is logic that is being used across the banking world at the moment).

      A bank has a bad/toxic loan. The borrower is on the brink of default, but for the bank, a default by the borrower would lead to massive write-downs on the bank’s balance sheet, because they are already in so deep with the borrower.

      So, the bank continues to fund the on-the-point-of-default borrower enough that they continue not to default.

      The whole situation is completely unsustainable, but that is ok until someone decides not to sustain it any more.

      • Ah, you’re referring to financial institutions flexibly accomodating debt restructuring. As far as I can see many SME’s are being stiffed for credit for the SIN of not borrowing enough money on a flimsy enough basis to bring the bank to its knees.

        The ECB’s generosity isn’t necessarily based on Lisbon alone but you can be sure it has been mentioned. Ireland is the EMU’s “Bear Stearns”. The ECB are terrified about what will happen if we go bust. It’s bad for the Euro, bad for EMU ideologues, bad for the EU in general. Europe’s largest banks don’t want to have to write off their Irish loans or see Euro currency instability and so there’s significant pressure on Trichet et al. to bail us out. We don’t have ANYTHING to offer as collateral except penance, a promise (bonds) and the small matter of a supposedly democratic constitutional amendment vote. Yet, the ECB are still accepting these as collateral for billions of Euro of investment. Why? Because this plan has been endorsed by the major financial institutions in the EU as a workable solution for restoring some order.

        In the same way as our banks are helping developers refinance (which will prob lead to inflated NAMA prices for seriously distressed assets) the ECB is helping us out, in a fashion.

        There’s another side affect here. All the debt is neatly and legally consolidated with the tax payer. Everytime BoI and AIB cash in one of these bonds they’re telling the ECB “the Irish taxpayer is picking up my tab”. A double-edged sword if ever there was one.

        As the ECB is desperate to help us & this proves it I think we need to show more chutzpah. While they’re at it I’d like a low interest 10Bn Euro loan for “Knowledge Economy” project investment backed by Innovation bonds I’ve run off on my printer. The ECB needs to back these kind of projects as, if they don’t, there’s no chance of Ireland servicing our debt. Of course there may not be an Ireland, as we understand it, by that time.

        • Original-Ed

          Knowledge Economy my ar** – we’re not even involved in developing the next generation of peer to peer – Slovenia is.

          • Garry

            Were not really into that peer to peer stuff in Ireland……more like master/slave relationships here

          • What’s you real name “Original-Ed”? ;-)

            I know the P2P Next project consortium and it’s part of a network of projects engaged in P2P research across Europe, some of which have Irish partners which look at various issues of “decentralised content distribution”. I’d be happy to discuss this offline. P2PNext is led by a Finnish group and has UK, German, Swedish & Dutch partners also. I know this because a) I can read a web page and b) I manage a work package on a collaborating project. It feels a bit unlikely when a random comment about a relatively obscure P2P software project gets inserted into a blog discussion about the Irish Economy… Although, it’s a small world I suppose.

            As for what we’re (meaning Ireland) is into? Well, we’re engaged in some good future internet research, nano-tech work, autonomic networking and delay-tolerant networking. Apologies for the IT slant. We’re quite good in bio-sciences AFAIK with good work being done in TCD and UCD. Our economics researchers can’t be all bad seeing as they all claim to have predicted the recession even if everybody ignored them at the time. Seriously though, we arguably don’t spent anywhere near enough on research in Ireland. Just compare us with the % of GDP spent in Sweden or Finland. We also spend a lot of time whining about the cost of research and world class researchers, while the US and Asian economies in particular pay extravagant amounts to recruit the best talent.

            Anyway, this is all a bit off-topic

        • Original-Ed

          Garry, what are we into?

          • Garry


            Were more into landlord/tenant relationships as far as I can see, the knowledge economy seems to exist to get wealthy working tenants renting the offices and apartments of the insiders… Look at Form 11, (tax return)… Page after page of exemptions for Section 23 this, Section 50 that etc…..

            Now if they had pages on pages of breaks for people to dip their toes into stuff, learn something new, develop ourselves…. e.g. claiming the tax back on acedemic/technical books etc etc or whatever then they could say we were focussed on the knowledge economy…

            When Form 11 changes, then were into something other than property

    • Deco

      Andrew – Behaviour breeds results….and the behaviour of our bankers has to change. The fact that the managers of ANIB were partying in the Four Seasons in Ballsbridge, while unemployed construction workers were facing into their first Christmas on the dole, indicates that the mindset in these corrupt institutions feels isolated from the reality that the rest of us are facing.

      We need new mores…which will determine new behaviours…
      And the first step is greater accountability….the ordinary people have enough common sense to know what to deal with the scoundrels. It is only delusional do gooders like Lenihan who think that these scoundrels are fit to continue in charge of the banks.

  7. Malcolm McClure

    David said “this is interesting and clever – in a smart-arsed kind of way.” Typical FF cute-hoorism? It might be a short term palliative but deepens the moral quagmire and makes me uneasy. I am disappointed that he elides so abruptly from the questions of belief and trust to bang on about saving the banks. Has he been got at?

    I suggested here a couple of weeks back that some support by ECB must already be happening under the table, otherwise we’d already be up the Swanee without a paddle. If this is confirmed it is part of an effort, apparently supported by David, to prevent the total capsize of our fragile financial canoe before the Lisbon treaty is approved in the referendum. S’funny, but that issue seems to have been obscured by other news recently.

    If Lisbon is not approved, expect ECB largesse to be greatly curtailed. I believe his is known in some circles as Realpolitik.

  8. wills

    Davis’s article is stunning. Ireland’s gov are embarked upon a secretive arrangement with the ECB to attain funds through the back door of corrupt banks to keep a POnzi economy afloat in order so as the status quo maintain such position until the trade off comes too pass and the Irish Gov deliver on the prerequisite date the signature signed on the dotted line too the Lisbon Treaty.

    Will the referendum for the Lisbon treaty be rigged….???

    We have been put on a trajectory by our Gov which can only but end in one outcome, YES to the Lisbon Treaty.

    What is it about the Lisbon treaty ..?

  9. Johnny Dunne

    From this analysis it looks like Banks owed the ECB circa €40 billion in September 2008. Since the ‘blanket’ guarantee on all liabilities of the banks (deposits and bank ‘bonds’/loans from other financial institutions), could these banks have redeemed bonds and replaced €100 million of their €400 million liabilities with funding from the ECB, a lender with a lot more leverage than some ‘high risk’ fund ?

    Assume this analysis is for the 6 covered banks then they could have switched already about ¼ of the ‘risky debt ‘(used to fund ‘boom’ valued properties) of the banks to now nearly 100% GDP outstanding to the ECB! All of this has to be paid back in future with interest. Unfortunately, I think the taxpayer is now been lumped with ECB loans refinancing other banks loans which were very exposed before the ‘short sighted’ and costly state guarantee?

    If this is the case, as time goes on more of this bank debt will be replaced by ECB funds. The NTMA never reduced the outstanding circa €30 billion national debt outstanding since the mid 1980’s — what hope is there in the future?

    • AndrewGMooney

      About as much hope as there is of America repaying it’s debt. None.

      ‘No nation ever repaid it’s debt’
      Adam Smith. ‘The Wealth Of Nations’

      @Lorcan: I assume this Adam Smith aphorism is this the basis on which Trichet is refereeing this rugby match?

      So, where are we now? Is this a scrum, ruck or a free for all fist fight? Does Obama ‘do rugby’? Or ‘soccer’?

      ‘one is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans; the other a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen.’

      Up Leinster!

  10. jim

    Well now!! I flagged this for ye on 23/4/09 @9.54 under the “two fingers ” article and expanded the plan on the 19/5/09 @2.43 am under the “why bail out …” article…Remember the game of cat and mouse with the couple of catch 22′s thrown in….So now that were all getting to the same page on the hymn sheet as to where things are at,lets move onn ahead of the curve here and see what lies in store for all the various stakeholders in Ireland.Lets start with the unemployed mortgage holders,well the Gubberment has made it clear to the social partners that a 2 yr moratorium on repayments is out because it will undermine the Banks balance sheets and scare off would be International Investors who might be availeable to take up some of the slack in buying bonds when their issued.It also sends a clear message to “Weimar huggers”(Germans who fear inflation,my description) that harsh punishment is being dished out in Ireland to Paddy,who will have no choice but to become gainfully employed or lose the roof over His head.Of course it sends the same message to the rest of the PIGIS ala no extended siesta’s on the Med or ye will also be losing yere Casa’s.SO that big stick or bata as Gaelige should drive down wage demands amongst the Paddies given that the great PD policy of importing Poles et al during the boom failed in its objectives as these European Cousins became “more Irish than the Irish themselves”in terms of pay and expatriated large sums via the Irish Credit Union’s back for a little bit of property speculation on the old newly liberated sod.s around Warsaw etc. etc.We also have whether we care to admit it or not a certain amound of what Economists call pent up demand for bargain basement property,and little care will be given for unemployed Padddy on grounds of “moral what’s it called” or any more of these exotic terms which will be wheeled out to justify purchases at “dinner parties” as “great bargains on the downside replaces Capital growth during the boom” This will be the new Property Porn splashed accross the glossy mag’s , while Unemployed Paddy will be consigned to page 187 on the CSO quarterly report.Suffice to say ye can fill in the rest of the blanks regarding Unemployed Paddy yuorselves as Im sure some of the Trolls et al will want to enlighten us when they drop in during the debate,telling us that we have “no choice but toe the line” as thats what Paddy Gombeen reckoned at the Cumann meeting above the Undertakers lasht tooosday.So My fellow Patrons ,what to do about Unemployed Paddy,living in His Negative Equity ridden humble abode,with its newly issued BER Cert.and ready to be launched onto at a 50% discount from peak,or better still lets quote “the Shawshank Redemption” and “what say you fuzzy breeches ala Raquel Welch”….Whats the escape plan for Unemployed Paddy ????.

  11. Maybe we should discern the cause in the results and discern the results in the cause.

  12. Summer Guests : Have you ever seen the bluebottle fly in the kitchen and distract your attention with it’s humming noise right in front of your nose and you feeling helpless as it swings to and fro and rarely steady?Have you noticed when you try to lift your hand to catch it the fly moves away from you only to return again to tease you?This fly wants to be a challenge to your ability to win in a provoked war of steely nerves.This brave act by the fly makes you ‘think’and your eyes cannot touch it other than adding to the frustration of feeling the emptyness around you.You have only one choice to catch the tormenting fly and that is’ faster than the speed of sound ‘.You can only do that through discipline and practice and to swipe at with your hand alone at the right moment and at great speed and then clutch it without releasing it again or killing it and then successfully put it in a bottle where itt belongs.
    At this juncture this where you are and the masterly Lenihan ‘The Lord of The Flies’ stands in our midst not with a clever tactic but a cunning move of a ‘steely broker’ who will remain unchanged before and after the internment of the fly.

    • Garry

      grasshopper….. you must grab where the fly will go to as it takes off, not where the fly is…

      so wheres all this shit going?

  13. VincentH

    The builders were the most blatantly speculative. But what about all the Firms that leveraged against income and growth. And now have neither.
    That woopsy is about to hit the fans very soon.

  14. strathspey

    Why do I detect a certain hostility towards Germans and the German nation, by what I perceive to be well informed Irish people on this forum?

    “Once Herman realises the ECB are ‘risking Weimar’ to rescue Paddy Last, things could get nasty.” and “Weimar huggers”(Germans who fear inflation…..”

    With respect, these opinions sit more comfortably with a working class British tabloid reader. Never forget how good Germany has been to Ireland since 1973, when Ireland was lifted off it’s knees of poverty.

    • AndrewGMooney


      ‘a certain hostility’ could also be described as baffled incomprehension.

      Germany has been wilfully ‘behind the curve’ on this developing crisis situation, whilst dogmatically asserting nostrums from a previous far less entangled era.

      When they’ve been shown to have been in la-la land they do 180 degree turns, but don’t apologise: They sulk like 5 year olds. Yet still expect to lecture the supposed spendthrifts of Atlanticist consumerist excess to satisfy their domestic version of Sun tabloid readers.

      As Pual Krugman says: Unless another planet of consumers is discovered on Mars, who are the Germans and Chinese going to sell to? Each other? LOL! Most Chinese save over half their income cause the 1 child baby policy means they know they’re on their own.

      Not even a basic state pension. China will become far more like the Decadent West that its’ apologists :The self-hating non-pro-creating denizens of Europa realise. And very quickly.

      The Germans simply don’t do ‘consumer society’. Like some sprawling industrial incubus/succubus, they expect the Atlanticists to fund their balanced budget fanaticism via Visa. Fc-uk that 4 a game of soldiers, etc. Yeah, Peer, that’s ‘long-term’ *rollseyes*

      Not everyone in Germany reads highbrow broadsheets. is the German Daily Mail.

      With respect: Ireland lifted itself off it’s own knees to escape poverty. Whilst I accept the German contribution to structural funds, the British one was equally important. And the American acumen of spotting the East Coast overnight ‘back-office’ function and maufacturing potential was the game changer.

      Some Germans in 70s Ireland weren’t that keen on industrial and commercial development. They just fetishied the ‘authentic’ folkloric Oirish craic pub village where everyone was part of some pre-modren bucolic idyll nonsense. Except me.

      At least that’s what I remember from Attanagh!

      I studied ‘German Thought, Poetry and Philosophy’ whilst a young Uni swot. I remember walking the country lanes of Ireland reading Thus Spake Zarathustra! Oh, to be young and carefree again….

      Germany is cool. But it’s so scared by fear of hyperinfaltion that it may trigger hyperdeflation. Ireland is -10% and counting. Officially declared to be in an Economic Depression. Hopefully, Berlin has noticed. And the member for Laois/Offaly.


  15. strathspey – you are not reading the article and the notes as they are intended and what you claim is not what was written .Try again .

  16. Dear David,

    Why should six property developers not have all their assets taken when they have large debt? Whats wrong with them renting a 3 bed semi-d like some of us do?

    I say that they are protected by the large policitial donations they made in the past…not just the official ones but the brown envelope ones. So here we all are, just waiting…waiting for injustice to happen.

    In order for our country to survive we need to be honest, with ourselves, with the abuse victims of the church and state, and with our banks.

    How much money can the ECB give us and what are the banks doing with what they have been getting? Are they still gambling with it?

  17. Philip

    If banks are maintaining their creditworthiness by borrowing to ensure their large “near to default” borrowers do not default (ref:Lorcan) and if NAMA is the vehicle to maintain this sleight of hand, then the game is up and someone as AndrewG points out (City of London or whatever) is going to call it by shorting it at the right time. The question is when?

    Is Ireland the only subprime sovereign debt (lovely analogy Lorcan)? What about Spain, Austria etc. And if we look at Germany? where does the best factory in the world sell its goods if there no buyers?

    Trichet and the lads should have had the liaroidí to let the Euro wobble a bit while Ireland and a few PIGIS burned for their sins. Now, they have become infected and risk bringing an end to the EU.

    • Philip

      On the other hand, there is a possible positive outcome to all of this. The existing financial world order (so to speak) is now feeding on itself. It, in collaboration with the governments of the world is trying to keep the show going by playing the same intro chorus over and over again until the entertainer comes out on stage. The thing is that this entertainer (our way of generating wealth i.e. via large corporations etc.) is terminally ill. The audience are starting to walk out.

    • Garry

      I wonder if this is an “Only in Ireland”… …. or would it happen elsewhere

      Ireland had a construction boom which was let out of control for over 12 years, we have absolutely nobody to blame but ourselves, plenty of warnings but we ignored them all….
      ECB raises rates boom peters out in Summer 2006.. All those on the inside continue to lie that prices are rising.
      General election in 2007, economy proclaimed healthy when it obviously was in recession.
      Worldwide financhial crisis hits, all denial swept away
      We go thru a phase blaming everyone and everything from the world financhial crisis to the Euro… All bit players parts in our boom&bust.. We screwed up… Others did also in different ways but hey good to see were not the only gobshites.. But we screwed our country up.
      Some half arsed plan is put in place on the banks …. all talk no action … guaranteeing up to 450B of debt
      FF introduce yet another cronys budget, no attempt to address the core problems…
      Lenihan tries borrowing money to pay for dole and public servants wages, the spread widens and its clear nobody will lend to us…
      ECB step in as lender of last resort, suspicion is that Trichet has a quiet word with Lenihan and tells him to cop himself on….
      FF follow up, a followed a few months later with a slightly less dreadfull budget, still not addressing the core problems.
      Another half arsed plan is put in place on the banks all talk no action.
      We are now borrowing a billion every few weeks to pay for dole and public servants pay.
      ECB continue to act as lender of last resort….

      Yeah, sounds like a Lisbon/German/ECB conspiracy to me

  18. Original-Ed

    The ECB must value our position as a conduit to the English speaking world for the Euro – we’re the only English speaking member and the smallest. Britain’s rabid opposition to the currency and the union is very much in our favour and is possibly the trump card in our pack that is enabling us extract these peculiar concessions in this crisis. We’re young, small and stupid, but they must believe that we’re capable of normal behaviour at some stage. David’s gamble has turned up trumps for now – what happens next will be interesting – will we be put in a straight jacket??

  19. Deco

    David – I would never have imagined that they would (the authorities) would try this. I have been alerted to the fact that Spanish government did something similar last year – with the ECB buying billions of debt that was issued by Madrid against the “assets” held by the Spanish financial sector. It was a trick to fool everybody into thinking that things were not that bad, really. It pushed the weakness from the Spanish banks to the Euro. The Daily Telegraph made a big issue of it – as you could imagine. Our media never even noticed. Now we know why. Because if the population here knew about it, the people would instantly be suspicious that our politicians and our bankers would be involved in the same scam. And hey, guess what….our politicians and bankers are at it also. And we get told “the Irish banking system is sound”. Most Irish people don’t even know that this is possible. In fact forget the average Gunther – even the average Padraig is in a state of shock that this type of financial deception is in progress.

    I presume that the MEPs who are seeking re-election know about this. I mean – how could they not know – and especially the government party MEPs. In fact given that Spain is governed by socialists I expect them all to know about this. But anyway, we can expect them to “clarify” that they “were not aware of that particular matter” and wish to “deny all knowledge” or have “no comment to make on the matter”.

    This is the biggest scandal of all. We cannot trust these hierarchies in the D4 banking establishments. Promoted by their cronies. Backslapped on every peice of hardneck bravado that they ever do. The are the elite of crooks in Ireland. Completely unaccountable. Sitting on millions. Sipping Champagne. Time for another round on the links.

    As Shane Ross has pointed out on numerous occasions the bankers number 1 lobby group in this state is IBEC. Our insolvent banks manage to throw half a million a year into IBEC – in return for ‘influence’. Apart from what they stick into the political system. IBEC have been having undue influence in the running of this country. And it is IBEC that has screwed everything up, because your average FF front bench minister is too busy sticking his mates and relatives into quangos, to be even bothered with the running of the state departments.

    Lastly – where does this put us in the context of Article 45 ? Or the laws concerning the ECB and political interference ? What about the Common Law ? And the fact that government is a contract between the taxed subjects and the administration, and that for this reason we should be informed what we are getting for our money ? Will the IBEC endorsed Corporatist Lisbon Treaty make Article 45 irrelevant ?

    • Garry

      I think its worth focussing on who gets what and who ends up owing who at the end of the card tricks…

      I knew something happened in Spaind but I do not know if the ECB bought debt from spanish banks that is secured by Spanish property…. If thats the case, they dealt directly….. it is different to our situation and if so, the question is why are the ECB acting differently?

      With us, the givernment are borrowing from the ECB, whenever they can’t sell bonds on the open market. Our banks buy them, we get cash off our banks, we owe our banks, they get cash off the ECB, they owe the ECB but our bonds are security….But we have guaranteed their debts (new debts?) anyways, and seem intent on extending the guarantee

      It might sound like a small detail but whether the distinction is meaningless or not depends on what happens down the line….

    • Tim

      Deco, “Will the IBEC endorsed Corporatist Lisbon Treaty make Article 45 irrelevant?”

      This is a distinct possibility, since the Lisbon Treaty continues to include most of the defeated “Constitution of Europe”. Many argue that this supercedes existing member states’ constitutions based on what the Treaty calls “The Principle of Subsidiarity”. Proponents of the Treaty say that this is a misunderstanding of the principle and is merely scaremongering.

      The European Union, however, has as part of its phraseology a call for “an ever-closer union.” What restraints upon the progress of centralised decision making would be brought about by strict reference to the principle of subsidiarity have yet to be proven by major constitutional clashes.

  20. wills

    Ireland is been integrated into an ‘alien body-politic’. Irelands penchant for instant gratification and accompanying use of easy peasy credit to consume now what one has not earned is the hook on which Irelands political sovereignty is now dangling.

    LIsbon Treaty is the net in which we dare not end up in.

    Nation – state sovereignty is the cost at stake.

    Are irish people so given over to ‘instant gratification’ and their cravings so uncontrollable they are ready and willing to sign on the Lisbon treaty dotted line.

    It’s down too a taking the ECB money and a faustian pact with this ‘alien body – politic’ or going our own way and spending what we earn and building a future on savings and hard graft.

    For if we do not vote in LISbon we will be cut adrift by the ECB and will be forced to go the prudent route to save our selves .

    • Garry

      I have no idea what exactly in the Lisbon treaty is so offensive to you….

      • wills

        ‘offensive’ to me, is an inaccurate describing.

        WHy my reluctance,.

        Quite simply, i choose to maintain nation – state sovereignty in perpetuity.

    • Philip

      Wills (& Deco), does it really matter in the micro global context of Ireland. This thing is going to go unstable. And when that happens, we are looking at a rougher version of what the world bank is now worrying about…

      I’d say it’ll blow before we even get to vote about Lisbon.

      My 2 questions about what I believe are inevitabilities
      1) When with it blow up?
      2) What really happens afterwards – becasue by then, all credibility of current authority is gone, so who steps in?

      Maybe this is one of these plain old recessions. But this is global and the policies enacted in response to this crisis by all governments worldwide is roughly similar. Financial institutions are being bailed out with printed money. It seems highly synchronised ,not by plan, but common greed. Many refer to the Irish penchant for goodies and load of other negatives. But are we really that different from anyone else?

      Which leads me to the last question.
      3) What can Ireland really do about it? I suspect – nothing except wait.

      • wills

        Agreed on all points philip. I particularly favoured the idea that people will just drift away from the corporatism over time and it will die a slow death. In relation to EU i reckon it needs a good ‘ol shove into the garbage truck.

  21. Deco

    some humour…..even the biggest fool in the room has sussed this shifty character out……

  22. wills

    A federal takeover is now gearing up and headed our way.

    A security grid system will be put in place.

    Everybody’s movement will be tracked.

    We are being silently walked into this. Slowly acclimatized into it as if it’s a natural part of societal evolution to hand over ones nation – state political sovereignty.

    Everyone is been dumbed down into this.

    • Dilly

      Yes, things are coming along nicely, my father warned me about this over 20 years ago. I am only taking notice now. My uncle told years ago, that we are controlled financially by the City of London. The media keep us scared with “swine flu”, and docile with POP Idols. My brother is off to Mexico for two weeks lounging on the beach, he got the holiday for a third of the normal price, a bargain !. People were shocked when they heard where he was going. He told them, “sure I would rather catch swine flu on the beach, than on some northern line train”.

      • wills

        Credit based money dilly is their dirty rotten stinking tick, credit based money and child sexual abuse. The two together and feudalism all the way.

    • Philip

      Actually, all cars can be trivially tracked by camera – doing this in the UK already. Electric face spotting in large crowds – around for 5 years – capture people even with disguises. Mobile phones are a complete doddle for tracking and your texts are stored away as well. As for permanent tracking say by chip implant, I would say this will happen for proof of quarintine (Cue Swine Flu). It works well with pets. Health, safety etc. all combine for a requirement to protect the citizen. It is for everyone’s good we’ll be told. Biomonitoring is now becoming big business and with it, electronic non-repudiation and your new built-in credit rating. So, as you catch the flu, expect your credit rating to dynamically fall – real time :)

  23. gadfly55

    So the banks get money from the ECB to buy Irish Government Bonds, which the Irish Government will pay with money from the ECB, but eventually from the Irish Taxpayer, who will pay with money borrowed from the banks, which they got from the ECB. So, more money is being borrowed that has to be paid back with interest. And this solves the problem? Smoke on.

  24. wills

    Ireland s Nation – State sovereignty is under ATTACk.

    It is being siphoned away into a non democratic federal monolithic system and the LISbon Treaty is the gravest threat to Ireland s political sovereignty holding it’s strength against the Crony politico economic infection.

  25. wills

    It’s all about who controls the future with these EU nut jobs.
    Ireland s elite interests are joining forces with this anti democratic system in their hour of need, which is in step with been a greedy leprechaun.
    The EU nut jobs want to control control control.
    A reinvention of the credit out of thin air system going forward into a new future market paradigm.

    • Philip

      Actually, it’s the gravy train Version 2. Version 1 was when the Irish contingent went to Brussels for grants and nice civil service jobs. That’s dried up. Now, it’s the Dail and our elite looking to cash in on having their place at the table in Strasbourg, Brussels or Luxembourg. This is the new centre for the EU and the bogmen back on the ould sod will content themselves with ineffective representatives/ administrators back in Merrion St. Each of the Depts will be adjuncts of those in the EU.

      Having said this, Ireland currently has a very poor level of local/ town level governance. Maybe a much weakened Dail may not be that bad an idea and it may given better scope for town/ regional mayors which are locally elected. Maybe a federal EU can do more for us by facilitating local democracy as in the French model.

      In the end, one is trying to find a way of running a continent of 0.5Bn people the cheapest way possible whil keep stability. Too much control and the centre becomes too big. Not enough control and the whole lot falls to bits.

      Veritas in media stat…truth is somewhere in the middle (muddle) methinks.

  26. Center of Gravity – The Lisbon Treaty is the last gold nuggat we have to play with on the Ouija bord and if we affirm the declaration we no longer are a nation we once professed to be and instead become induced into a new Roman Empire that started a long time ago.
    Is our Sovereignty that good that we ignore the economic consequences and learn to think like Norweigens and fish out our wealth as a New Nation of age .
    I am unsure the mood of the room now in relation to the Lisbon Question and are we advocating membership ? Wills , Malcolm , Andrew , Deco , et al can you explain please?
    Time is close now for the elections and we are living in very interesting and very changing times and soon all of it will come to pass and be no more once we decide to integrate .As the saying goes ‘opportunities come to pass not to pause’.

    • Philip

      For what it’s worth, my position is that we voted. If the twats did not do the risk analysis and contingency planning for the NO vote, they should reconsider if they are in the right career.

    • Malcolm McClure

      JohnAllen: I think Ireland should vote yes to Lisbon, if only to continue to be protected by European Law. Our own law is totally inadequate for the task of protecting citizen’s rights and is totally retrospective in action, rather than being pre-emptive when the government tries to pull another ‘fast one’ or seems ready to neglect its basic responsibilities.

      The law is supposed to be one of the three pillars of statehood but here it is totally subservient to the government of the day. The situation would get even worse if we opted out of Europe.

    • Deco

      Well. Actually the Lisbon vote is supposed to be completely removed from the Euro Central Bank and the Euro. The ECB was instituted before Lisbon.

      I am reluctant to sign up to anything that bails out the incompetent and corrupt authority we have here. But I do not think that Lisbon is necessary for this in any case.

      Maybe BIFFO might clarify what he means when he says “Lisbon is essential for the Irish economy”. I doubt he will answer that question in a factual way. But it is a bit of a loaded statement – part carrot/part stick.

      I am going to wait and see what Jens Peter Bonde says about all of this. He advocates total transparency, and his opinion would be welcome.

    • AndrewGMooney

      I think Ireland may as well Vote Yes. Begrudgingly. For the following reasons:

      Ireland has been, unfairly, the focus of Europe’s toxic attention on this Treaty for far too long.

      The euro-sceptic British Conservative Party will win the next General Election.

      But they face a nightmare scenario of rising UKIP/BNP anti-Eu protest votes. David Cameron promised a referendum’ on Lisbon, foolishly assuming that an ‘Irish No’ meant ‘No’, rather than just ‘technical problems’ requiring a re-run of the vote.

      Sir Kenneth Clark is an arch Euro-phile in the new Tory Cabinet who will, single-handedly, tear the party apart over Europe. He’s that kind of guy! Bless him.

      The British Tories, I assure you, can be safely relied upon to tear themselves to pieces over the E world, and, having given a firm undertaking on a Lisbon Treaty Referendum to every Wayne and Wynetta Chav Slob via The Sun: They have given themselves enough rope.

      Trying to wriggle out by saying ‘it’s already been passed by the Irish’ just won’t pass muster. There’s no much ‘stiff upper lip’ over here, but there’s a lot of febrile pitchforks and bonfire sentiments in the local Waitrose.

      So Ireland can vote Yes/No/Over To You lot! My advice is: Think Strategically. Whether you support or decry it: Just make sure you kick that unemploxed bomb back over the Irish Sea. Don’t let it explode in Dublin.

      Pretend there’s a swine flu outbreak so no-one can vote till Brown hands on his poisoned chalice to the risibily inept David Cameron. He’ll last,mmmmm: 9 months? Before the internal contraditicons of Tory England and Brussells re-ignites into the ususal Bonfire of the Vanities.

      Why shouldn’t Ireland just sit back and enjoy the bun-fight?

      Trust this is helpful.

      So, Ireland will do Britian a huge favour whichever way it votes. Vote No for a 2nd time and

    • liam

      I have no idea what to make of Lisbon as I have no proper understanding of the details to be honest. I am however instinctively distrustful of a top-down one size fits all approach to economic and social policy.

      I’m also with Philip: Ireland voted already! Further discourse is pretty pointless in the face of this fact. If the “Government” and the EU couldn’t be bothered to properly explain the advantages of the treaty properly to the likes of me, then its done.

  27. “Our Minister for Finance will know that his key job in the months ahead will be to develop a banking system which can stand on its own two feet and again start to access funding on a normal basis from the markets.”

    ML has just announced that he will “”provide any working capital that is required” to recapitalise Anglo who are expected to announce another shortfall of 3,500,000,000 Euro. Presumably borrowed?
    Why set up NAMA at all? Just rename Anglo, legalise it as the military wing of the NTMA and insert some people that know what they’re doing, if such people exist.
    Mad idea but it’s Monday.

    • Deco

      Actually, interesting point. How come ANIB – completely owned by the state can lose 3 Billion,and have 6 Billion of bad debts, but Bank of Ireland only lose 19 Billion, and they have the same business model ? Something doesn’t add up about that.

      And then we have AIB – who really don’t know where they stand…..a bit like the Department of Finance….it gets worse every few weeks.

      It seems that ANIB can now afford to be much more honest now, than they were last September, seeing as the state is there to pick up the bill.

      • Tim

        Deco, ANIB “led the charge”, as it were; it grew so big, so fast by riding on the bubble and loaning vast money that AIB and BoI soon felt they had to ease their loan criteria in order to compete with this up-start ANIB.

        Now we have all lost money, just because ANIB led the charge and lost on the bet.

        It was all GAMBLING!

        It still is.

      • Tim

        Deco, keep digging! ANIB lead the charge and BoI and AIB only followed in order to compete. ANIB debts are HUGE and way more than the othet two who only started about three years ago – until then, they acted fairly responsibly.

  28. Garry

    “Our Minister for Finance will know that his key job in the months ahead will be to develop a country which can stand on its own two feet…”

    Fixed that for ya

  29. MK1

    Hi David,

    But getting mney from the ECB is nothing new, this is what being part of the euro was all about and we can go to the window. Ireland’s government (ie: us) is the asset that the Irish banks are using. Us (Irish overnment) started with 25% or so debt/GDP ratio and we have signed up to have 60%.

    > the most important stipulation of the Maastricht Treaty, which is that governments will never be financed by central banks.

    Thats not true as far as I am aware, Governments have and always will be supported by central banks, its just a case of how much. The EMU rules were that Governments should aim to be 60% in debt maximum or heading towards that (Belgium was 120% or 110% or something) and that in any fiscal year borrowings were to be maxed at 3%.

    Well, we all know what happened to those rules, they are guidelines more than anything for this euro club. And given the current financial morass across the globe, the ECB would be foolish to shoot its members in the foot and force them to stick to the rules. ireland has room to borrow.

    But what is clear is that Ireland cant keep borrowing forever. We cant keep borrowing to pay for our current costs. Its foolhardy and just as the credit bubble-bazsed property “frenzy” was a mirage as you correctly pointed out, the public sector jobs supported by borrowing is also a mirage which is only recently being supported, they are NOT real jobs.

    As Stan might say to Laurel, thats another fine mess you’ve got me into ……..


    • Philip

      With production down and govenment services costs not responding, all we are doing now is borrowing to borrow – which explains the explosive rate of debt taken-on. This means we are approaching some kind of inflexion point where the system will simply stop or we go the hyper-inflation route.

  30. wills

    JohnAllen: Opening up the future to be able to continue running with the Gov bond issuance fraud on and on into the future, time keeps
    on ticking ticking, gov’s keep on clocking up sovereign debt, bonds continue to be means to prop up a credit based money monolith and
    the EU is merely further step down the line on this financial dictatorship,
    begun in 1694 with the inception of the bank of england and a central bank structure unleashing a credit based money system.
    The bond issuance is a calamitous financial wheeze and the only way
    gov’s get away with it is on the basis of ever expanding bureaucracy which maintains the climate of fear and culture of cronyism.
    Constantly returning to bond issuances and racking up sovereign debt is a con and a fraud and a cancer on a community.
    It is a means of maintaining the political economy it gives rise to, in a stasis and embeds and garrisons ruling and vested powers into its positions of kingship and oligarchy.
    The Lisbon Treaty is another set – up for another morph much needed by the old industrial banking poliico aristocracy behind the monolithic EU supranational agency.
    This morph or political re-structuring merely tightens up a few things to keep the bond issuance gravy train never going to be paid sovereign debt fraud system in locomotion.
    Nation – State sovereignty is tied up into debt purgation and digging ourselves into a larger debt hole may in the short term provide the funds
    to pay salaries but at what long term cost.
    Bond issuance and EU and ECB and City of LOndon and fiat money and private banking are all working for the big t1ted moma and it’s one gi normous over weening oedipal slush puppy cult.

  31. wills – thanks . So, do I understand that you are advocating a yes for Lisbon?

  32. gadfly55

    Somers has a letter in the Irish Times today explaining Irish Government bonds can be used to borrow money from the ECB, and listing DAVY as a bidder. Nothing more can be said, but banks buy government bonds, really. Bottom line, who pays the interest? Joe and Josephine Taxpayer. More indentured servitude for the unborn generations of wage slaves.

  33. wills

    JohnAllen: If voting yes for Lisbon meant all citizens of all european nation – states were going to get a fair crack of the whip at prosperity you bet your bottom euro i’d vote for lisbon.

    But, some how it’s looking like the same old political square dance, moving a few chairs around, change the scenery a bit, freshen thing s up a little and hide in the corner the ugly truth which is wealth is not been created out of a central banking system , child sexual abuse and slavery and war is what we get, so , i’m voting no moreso on the ‘credit based money’ system the sly english gave us 300 years ago.

    I’m voting NO on that until every child on planet earth has 3 square meals a day, a roof over everyones head and a bed to sleep in for every one and access to the internet for all along with access to a good doctor.

  34. wills – thanks for your honesty .I am agreeing with you too .

    • wills

      thing is JohnAllen whats so awful about all of this is we live in a universe of abundance and untold wealth. If we lived in a universe of scarcity it would be reasonable to a degree all this hoarding of wealth etc.

  35. wills

    What’s so unbelievably screwed up about this EU business is it breaks in half the fundamental golden rule of economic no brainer common sense. lets hand it over to Adam Smith……

    Good ol’ smithy said that all trades, when freely conducted, are mutually beneficial by definition. A person with this got that, which he wanted more, from a person who wanted this more than that.

    Not anymore does he. Nothing like gov bond issuance with no intention to ever re-pay sovereign debt to smash this simple paradigm into dust.

  36. Malcolm _ I always value your opinion .My issue is we as a nation are on the eve of the greatest election we may ever face and the Lisbon Treaty may be carried through , but on this site we never had a real debate about it .I think we have hacked out the money flows matter etc .When I vote on Election date I want to vote with a sense of believing in what I am doing irrespective of how I actually vote .Our opposition party is inert because it been told to by europe so to deceive the voters .Some day soon the change will be forever and we will become Romans and our history books re written .The identity of what we are and who we become is interesting and for the reasons we did it .We are an island in the Ocean and that will never change.

    • Malcolm McClure

      JohnAllen: With some projections of global warming, perhaps we will become the European Hawaii. (:-)) Think of Nato fleets in Cork Harbour (instead of Pearl Harbour); surfers on Bundoran Beach instead of Wakiki Beach; Astronomers sitting on top of Croagh Patrick instead of Mona Loa). – The mind boggles.

  37. Tim

    John ALLEN,

    “When I vote on Election date I want to vote with a sense of believing in what I am doing irrespective of how I actually vote .”

    That is one of the most important statements that I have ever seen.

    One should always believe in what one votes for: the franchise implies a duty to be informed about what one votes for, I firmly believe.

    The practice of political activists,acting on behalf of certain candidates, driving people to the poll-booths to vote for “their man” should be outlawed.

  38. paddythepig

    Quote from David McWilliams : “Now, this is interesting and clever – in a smart-arsed kind of way. ”

    No it isn’t. The bonds being issued have to be paid back, with interest, by the taxpayer. We are failing to deal with our over-spending today, and we are passing the problem onto our children for them to deal with.

    That’s unless we default on all our debt obligations in the future.

    As for Lisbon and national sovereignty, well I’d have Barney the Dinasaur run the country ahead of any of our home-grown gombeens, so I’ll be voting yes.


    • Tim

      Paddy, though your disgust with the incumbents is justified, your reason for voting ” Yes” is not.

      You should be able to use your vote for a better purpose. The fact that you feel you cannot, is not, necessarily, your fault; however, you should find a better way other than bitterness and accepting the “anyone-else” route.

      • You should all realize that voting itself is just another scam. Another part of the great PONZI system (as wills would call it). They make you get all worked up about who is good to vote for and who is not so you direct your energies into the pointless exercise of campaigning and debating the (non)difference between all the ‘candidates’. I have never voted in my life in any country, never will. I wouldn’t give them the respect to vote for any of them especially the shower of idiots and liars, without exception that you have in Ireland now. Utter waste of time. Either live an unconventional life outside the system or smash it down if the opportunity arises (very rare).

        • Tim

          Adamabyss, fair play and good on ya! However, most people do not have that option. We have to work with what we’ve got.

          • That’s not true Tim, everyone’s life in is their own hands. There can be no excuse if you don’t seize your opportunities. I’m not suggesting to ‘storm the ramparts’ – as wills remarked – it probably won’t work – nor do I advise anyone to go and live on the streets with a dog on a piece of string, or hook up with any gang of bandits. There are ways to live outside the system (not necessarily in terms of location) to maximize benefits for yourself, your family and as many neighbours/friends as possible. Isn’t that what life should be about? Living in harmony with one’s fellow man? Mostly it just comes down to personal integrity. Not having anything to do with scumbag politicians is a start. No offence, but you’d be taken a lot more seriously and with less derision if you got yourself out of that local Fianna Fail branch; those guys are never going to change. They are screwing you just as much as they are screwing the country and that goes for all the parties. What would happen if not one person from 3 million voters (is that a good guess as to how many voters are in Ireland) turned up to vote (I know it’s just a thought experiment but bear with me for a second)? In that case, if there were no votes (bearing in mind voting is not compulsory as in Switzerland (I think), you have the CHOICE whether you vote or not – that is democracy, the choice and freedom, not the actual vote) then what would they do? Who would be the MP’s and who would form the government. The only political party I would support (as long as they had a good manifesto as well) AT PRESENT in Ireland would be the ‘Don’t Vote, It’s A Scam’ party. Seriously, what would be the provisions if no one voted because there must be some clause in the constitution or law to cover this very-unlikely possibility. Don’t take my advice to get out of the local branch to heart Tim, at the end of the day you can do what you want, I’m just saying that I wouldn’t darken their doorway. To re-iterate my main point, everyone’s destiny is in their own hands, don’t wait around for governments and politicians to do anything for you – they don’t care about you and are too busy lining their own pockets and dumping on good people.

          • Tim

            Adamabyss, you are so right in everything that you say. But it does not work like that, though I wish it did – well, not for me, anyway.

            I like the “cut of your jib”, though; and thanks for addressing my FF membership without being derogatory – that’s refreshing!

            My point is that we cannot ever have change unless someone steps up to effect it. Ergo, someone MUST work from within FF in order to effect chance, because no-one from outside ever can.

            I am Trying.

          • Tim, I would never resort to personal insults here, that would just be pathetic.
            In my book not voting can be seen as ‘stepping up’; to me it’s a positive and proactive decision, especially if declared publicly. It’s not just a negative opt-out, but rather the ultimate way of telling the system that has failed us all to get lost, don’t dare try to steal from my children and go and tell your lies to someone else who is gullible enough to believe them. I never tire of telling people of my views on voting (at least in it’s present form and in the current climate) – again, I’m proactive on that. I might not be right but at least I’m different, unlike 99% of the ignorant heaving consumerist masses.

          • Tim

            adamabyss, I “hear ya”; but let’s look at what would happen if no-one voted in a General Election in Ireland ( this will never happen, but jus to illustrate a point):

            The existing government remains as an interim government until a new government is elected: if no-one votes, then you get more of the same.

            Not voting is an unreasonable protest: either vote for someone in opposition, or put yourself forward for election. These are the only pro-active options available to those who oppose the incumbent.

          • Tim, yes I agree on the putting one’s self forward for election. I forgot to mention it earlier but always do when I go on a rant with my ever patient friends. It’s a vital part of my argument. I would be interested to see if the power would corrupt me as it does so many others.
            However, I don’t think I will be running for election in this lifetime. Life has led me in a different direction. Meanwhile I’ll stay away from those rancid polling booths thank you very much.

  39. Tim

    Atonement is a very special thing. It disregards hurt and trusts in the future: it is At-One-ment: the making of “at ONE”.

    How can this happen without trust? It cannot.

    How can the Church atone?

    How can the banks atone?

    Well, someone has to come clean, first, and NAME the transgression.

    No-one has done that yet, that I have heard. So, the question remains:

    “Ok, What did you do that was wrong, that hurt people?”

    Answer the question, bankers and religious………..

  40. Tim

    …… and parents!

  41. Tim

    Interesting show tonight, on quangos and chancers:

    For once, a real person, with a REAL grievance was allowed to speak; of course, once he told John Bowman that he was “buggered”, it was not possible for the limited Bowman to stop him, TG.

    I applaud that man.

    He subdued them all, even the arrogant Minister Dempsey.

  42. wills

    A truth bomb went off on Q n A to-night,……………………………………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Tim

    Michael O’Brien of the “Right to Peace Group”.

    Fair play to him.

  44. MK1

    Its not an economic discussion, but there is money involved, and David is right, there are some parallels between the state guarantee (cap) bailot of the religious ‘reparations’ and the state guarantee/bailout of the banks.

    I was against the state cap on the religious at the time and was against the guarantee of the banks and this NAMA ‘lark’.

    In terms of the former, there are consitutional issues:

    Article 44
    2° The State guarantees not to endow any religion.

    4° Legislation providing State aid for schools shall not discriminate between schools under the management of different religious denominations, nor be such as to affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a school receiving public money without attending religious instruction at that school.

    5° Every religious denomination shall have the right to manage its own affairs, own, acquire and administer property, movable and immovable, and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes.

    6° The property of any religious denomination or any educational institution shall not be diverted save for necessary works of public utility and on payment of compensation.

    Under section 6 above, it would seem to me that the state agreement to cap the payment of compensation breaks the constitution. If further compensation is required, then the property of the religious denomination should be diverted for payment of compensation.

    The government cap agreement could according to an as-yet-to-be-made Supreme Court decision be deeme to be unconstitutional. It wont be the first time our government breaks the law nor will it be the last time.


    • Tim

      MK1, agreed.

      The only problem that we have now, is how much weight our Constitution actually carries……….

      With recent financial moves, over and against A45, I would have questions about that……

    • Malcolm McClure

      MK1: You get to the heart of the matter as usual. It should have been obvious to the Attorney General when the deal with the wholly inappropriate Orders was made that it was unconstitutional. This now provides a solid pretext to revisit the agreement and reach a more equitable settlement. Well done.

    • Philip

      Good one MK1

      Art 44 – For the situation where some of the religious orders were responsible for buggering some of population

      Art 45 – For the situation where all the financial institutions were responsible for buggering all of the population

      Morality simply does not get a look in anywhere. Someone is laughing and it ain’t me.

    • Deco

      Unbelievable. Another piece of government decision making that was in complete contravention of the Irish Constitution. It started from the government. The Attorney General and Senior Civil Service devised the terms. It got approved by the Dail. And the Seanad. And then that two-faced pretenscious liar in the Aras signed it into law. And now- guess what – it was entirely unconstitutional. It was clearly in breach of the constitution.

      It is also in breach of the Common Law. Principle of compensation or whatever it is called.

      But in any case it was all about covering the whole thing up. The episode was to be closed. The people were to be provided with reassurances – “don’t you worry yourself….everything is fine…we have the whole situation under control”.

      Let’s hope there is a constitutional challenge to the inherently flawed 2001 legislation. Dempsey’s response last night was typically ‘our hands are tied…unfortunate situation….beyond our control…I sympathise with you entirely…”

      As your man from Clonmel said – “you are our government, we put you in charge of running the state-what are you doing ? “. He also ridiculed the so-called opposition – who only bring up the issue out of political opportunism.

      And then the big one – Article 45 and the bankers bailout, the nationalization of ANIB, the non-prosecution of Permo for helping inflate Anglo’s deposit base, the builders bailout, the recapitalization of AIB/BoI, the verbal gaurantees given to INBS-EBS, etc…

      • Original-Ed

        Where is the analysis explaining the root cause here? – we prefer to wallow in emotion and stay on the surface of things – so much for the knowledge economy. It’s no wonder that our politicians can get away with their twin track approach of emotion in one hand and bullshit in the other.
        If any of you had bothered to read Joe Lee’s (UCC) Ireland 1912 – 1985, you’d see that the root cause was Dev’s ambition to gain power – the church condemned him after 1922 and so to appease them he turned the irish press into a type of catholic news letter and when ever the angelus bell tolled at a political rally, he would turn it into a congregation. He then went on to give the catholic church a special standing in the constitution – a catholic nation for a catholic people. That of course gave a green flag to our unionist brethren up north to do the opposite and we all know where that led to. He effectively subverted our rights as citizens and handed unquestioned power to the church on a plate. It’s only now that we’re seeing the outcome of his ambitions and it’s very obvious that Fianna Fail just wants this to go away without questions. Poor old Ireland – we fall for it time and time again – what a disaster he was!

        • coldblow

          As the well-known quote says: “We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality”. (Taken from the following link:)

          Whatever about the Brits in Ireland this is a way of life. Dev’s congregation doubtless contained its share of charlatans, gurriers, conmen and abusers (though probably no more than in a similar gathering today) but they all paid lip service to the pieties of the day. John Waters has remarked on this. The same piety is still there, now in secular garb, an article of faith to some, a useful camouflage for others.

  45. jim

    OK… I’ll row in with the forum for now and take a kinda HSE approach to solving the current morass.We can slide Unemployed Paddy onto a trolly in the corridor and He can keep the Jugglers on their trollies amused with His tales of woe,while they wait for the Consultants to solve the bigger issues.SOOO LETS START WITH DAVIDS GRAPH ABOVE , Who wants to step forward and explain to the forum what “all the credit institutions” did with the 90BILLION (over the usual 40 billion) that they borrowed from the Central Bank in the last six months.Everybody in Ireland claims they cannot get loans or Credit from the Lenders in the last six months,SOOOOO should we ring FR. TED and see if its “resting in His account”.The Mortgage Lenders seem to have grabbed about halve of it at 45 billion…..AHHH sure Ted maybe Honohan was on the drink when He drew the Graph and the pen slipped up like ,when He got to September.Sure did’nt the same thing happen to Fr.Woods when He thought He was getting 128 million and the Trusts told Him He’d be lucky to get 20 million.The demon drink Ted .Graphs are for sober men Ted,Sober I tells ya.::::-)

  46. Relegated – I believe the room has conspired the art of voting in the Lisbon Treaty to the rear of the sports hall and created an agenda of non consequential damage .All the political parties are laughing .

  47. paddythepig

    Worth a look.

    And here’s the idiot who led us to the top of the charts.

    Then again, he was the poster boy. At least 50% of the country think the same way as the gobshite, and would steal the dinner from their neighbour’s table.

    Our forefathers fought the enemy, at that time the British. This time, the enemy sponsors the Heineken Cup Champions, and the GAA club championship. Their footservants could be your next door neighbour, or sitting beside you on the bus.

    This ‘protect our national sovereignty’ malarky is a load of cobblers in my view.


    • Well said Paddy. It’s yet another ruse to distract those idiots in the Celtic shirts and tattoos from the real issues: namely the fact that they are being robbed blind yet again by the gangsters they keep on electing.

    • wills

      Paddy that would be me. Very thorough analysis there paddy (joke).
      try this paddy; NAtional sovereignty = reflection of an inward reality.
      Compromise A and B is compromised.

      • paddythepig

        Keep flying the flag wills. Your country needs you.

      • coldblow

        wills, Crotty would agree with you:

        “Everyone on the establishment bandwagon was not, of course, blind to the major weaknesses of the Irish economy. For many, joining the EEC was the only way of escaping the problems confronting the country. Having experienced fifty years of independence and having found that painting the red letter-boxes green had achieved nothing, these were prepared for Ireland to abdicate from the responsibilities of sovereignty and to throw in its lot once more, as with the Act of Union in 1800, with a metropolitan power.

        “But this advocacy of a return by the errant capitalist colonial child to the metropolitan mama’s fold was based on an inadequate and incorrect understanding of capitalist colonial undevelopment That undevelopment stemmed initially from a wrong ordering superimposed for metropolitan profit on Irish society. It has, subsequent t independence, been maintained in Ireland and in every former capitalist colony, for the benefit of the indigenous interests created by capitalist colonialism. Surrendering a sovereignty that has not been used in Ireland, or in any other former capitalist colony, for the purpose of transforming a bad social order into a good one, may be akin to removing pearls from swine; but what was to replace the pearls of sovereignty was the already tried swill of dependence. Yet while there was life there was hope that a swinish nature might yet give way to a rational humanity, capable of appreciating the virtually limitless potential of the sovereign capacity to order the affairs of a nation. On the record of Ireland or any other former capitalist colony, there was nothing to lose by surrendering a sovereignty that had achieved nothing. There was loss only if sovereignty was valued for its potential rather than its actuality.”

        • mediator

          Where can I get an electronic copy of Crottys writings?

          • coldblow

            ‘Fraid I wouldn’t know that vur maybe someone else does. I used the library service – if you want a book and it’s not in your county/ city libraries and you have a library card you can reserve it via

        • wills

          thks coldblow for added input. I do intend to read his book.

  48. Philip

    We are borrowing to borrow and we are being forced to participate in this nonsense.

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