November 4, 2009

We need creative ideas to pay for ageing population

Posted in Ireland · 251 comments ·

On Monday afternoon, I came across an old lady sobbing as she scribbled a few loving notes onto a small wooden cross. Seeing that I noticed her, she wiped the tears and tried to pull herself together in true Scottish fashion, quite prim, but stern. She brushed down her pleated tartan skirt and tucked her scarf in around her collar to keep out the vicious north wind, which howled through the Scott Monument at the Garden of Remembrance in the centre of Edinburgh.

Who was she crying for — a son, a husband, a brother or maybe her own father? Where was she when she got the dreaded letter, the phone call or the hand on her shoulder? As she scribbled away lovingly, she was joined by other elderly people who came to remember, to pay respects and to say goodbye again.

These stoic old soldiers with their poppies and their memories were oblivious to the giggling Chinese tourists who clicked their cameras at the old men in kilts.

While the old Scots laid their wreaths and remembered their loved ones, it struck me that the two phenomena on display that blustery Edinburgh afternoon — rich Chinese tourists and elderly western Europeans — will dominate politics in the decades ahead.

In fact, there is a certain historical symmetry between the two phenomena because nowadays the Chinese are doing to America and the West what America did to Britain and Europe after the Second World War: they are buying assets. China is using her economic might to take advantage of an enfeebled America, just as America used its economic might to take advantage of a devastated Europe in 1945.

In many ways, both the old Scots and the young Chinese tourists are testament to the changing world.

We in Ireland can’t escape these trends. A few weeks ago, this column addressed the idea of China buying assets with all the dollars she has accumulated. Now let’s look at the ageing population issue and consider both the problems and the opportunities it might present.

In Ireland, we are getting older and surviving longer. For example, in 1986 the average man lived for 12.6 years after his retirement. By 2006, the average man lived 16.6 years after retirement. This is a 32pc increase in just 20 years. The State’s liability on pensions has also gone the wrong way as the pension age was dropped from 70 to 66 in 1970, when the population dynamics were different.

The thing about paying for our state pension is that it creeps up on you. It is not a thing you have to pay in one lump, rather every year, it just gets that little bit more expensive. The Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report last week calculated that the state pension will cost us €101bn over the next 50 years.

That’s a big number. Just to put that in perspective, €101bn is €230,593 for every hour of every day for the next 50 years just to pay our public sector pensions. So the rest of the workforce has to generate a surplus of €230,593 every hour for the next 50 years just to pay the pension commitments we have already entered into.

But what are we to do? It’s all very well to talk about pension reform when you are my age because it seems far away. But when I (hopefully) get to 65, I would love to have my full pay and I will be as protective of it and vociferous as I am today about national school funding (because my children go to the local national school). It is only human to realise that your position on all these matters is somewhat jaundiced by whether you benefit from them.

It is clear that the State, particularly as we all get older, will not interfere with pensions. Therefore the shortfall will have to come from more taxation on the young to pay for the old. We did try to address this issue with the National Pension Reserve Fund but extraordinarily the temptation to raid that particular piggybank was succumbed to this year to recapitalise the likes of Anglo Irish Bank. That money is now gone, possibly forever.

While much detail is focused on the state pension and public sector pension, the private sector pension position isn’t much better. Take the privatised Aer Lingus, for example. Last year, the company had to top up its pension by €29.3m just to keep the thing afloat. This is a huge ongoing liability for the company and the same is true of many companies.

So it’s clear that the average worker from the Pope’s Children generation faces a higher tax bill to pay for those of us older than them, and will be the first generation of Irish people to be poorer on retirement than their parents.

But is there something we can do about it? If all of Europe is getting old, why don’t we invest in geriatric care and make this place the old folks’ home of western Europe? It might sound strange with our climate, but it must be remembered that more elderly people die in the heatwaves of Europe,than ever die of the cold.

By old folks’ home I mean specialising in medicine for elderly people and specialising in the care of the elderly. Ireland has lots of spare housing estates where no one wants to live. We could create retirement villages in many of these empty houses and do deals with the NHS, for example, to look after some of Britain’s burgeoning pensioners.

Big demographic changes always present opportunities as well as threats and the opportunity in geriatric care is enormous, as well as humane.

Strange as it may seem, the next generation of elderly Scots who place poppies in remembrance around this time of year, could present a medical and employment opportunity for thousands of young Irish people who find themselves on the wrong side of the Celtic Tiger binge.

  1. Riggs


    Now I am utterly convinced you have lost the plot! This edict coupled with your credibility eliminating snipes at Lenihan and O’Callaghan are causes for serious concern.

    Time to see your analyst perhaps?

    ps It is a statistical fact that the vast majority of elderly persons requiring 3rd party care remain within a 10 mile radius of their next of kin, sons or daughters. QED

    • Ruairí


      I would assert, contrary to your position, that because we are used to David climbing the heights with his articles, and because he is ‘almost’ alone as a quality commentator in a reportage sea of untreated sewage, when David takes a sideways step like this (away from the direct threat of Nama in its current guise, we all feel the chills of unfamiliarity.

      I disagree completely with this “It is a statistical fact that the vast majority of elderly persons requiring 3rd party care remain within a 10 mile radius of their next of kin, sons or daughters. QED”. Only key members of families have remained within that 10 mile radius, unless you are feeling confident in skewing generations of emigration data. In my own family’s sake, although 1/5 of my grandmother’s children remain local to her, were it not for state grants (helpers), this would be an impossible feat to achieve as the carer generation themselves are aging also. The old stay close to their family because usually they have no other choice. They often move (are moved) closer to their kin in order to be minded. If we want to respect those who actually worked HARD to build what we have today, not merely flipping properties and spreadbetting, then we have to see how can it be done more efficiently and profitably. In home care is one way, it seems the most cost-effective. But gated communities should not be ruled out. And many many Irish would return here to such ‘communities’ if they were available and top notch.

      While this article has not proved a panacea to all of Ireland’s ills, it can be used as a metaphor for other sectoral opportunities, it can be used as a starting point for other thoughts. Why? Because like all elementary strategising, it starts with what we have and how we can use it best to get somewhere else or else to defend a position.
      Do we want to become the Florida of Europe? Do we have what it takes to attract and be credible for that title? Irrelevant. And also the weather comparison is irrelevant (as most tourists who come to Ireland from hotter climes, love our mild (and wet) weather. For a short time ok!!
      What David is doing is thinking out loud. And he’s also thinking in terms of sustainable and value investment. Our aging population is real. So is that of Europe’s. We can’t compete like for like against China / India ect but we can, as Alan42 has continuously pointed out, including today, become an attractive educational destination.
      We can unleash the smarter elements of the Green party (enough sniggering, they have a few potentials) to do what they set out to do originally: – sustainable living based on sustainable planning. Gated communities for old folk, careful use of large estates that have now been built for nothing etc etc in daft places. Think of all of the empty holiday home schemes. What a perfect use of them. Revamp or build new villages and towns in South and Southeast Ireland if necessary as the sector grew. Make Ireland an attractive place to live out one’s older days. Make our geriatric medicine the top of Europe. Why not? We should not lack confidence (We have Europe’s greatest politician since Hitler or Churchill in our Health minister……..). Why had some of our swine flu victims to be flown to Sweden recently? Because we accept wastage and mediocrity constantly, that’s why.
      I know that’s all very pie in the sky but that’s all any idea is when it starts. David’s not offering this as a panacea for all our ills, and God knows if the Indo is paying he must play some class of a tune, but I think he’s still being creative here and starting with realities, unlike our politicos, with their LTEVs and imagined mandates.

      What David has stated today is just one element of where we need to go. We need to start THINKING. If we don’t, as almost all of us as a nation didn’t in the Celtic Tiger,well then we become part of someone else’s plan.

      We cannot buck a megatrend. We can ride the waves and piggyback on bigger players though. If we’re smart, not fugly greedy-hearted.

  2. David – I disagree with the suggestions in your article .The Cote d’Azur in France is full of old europeans ( incl. all of D4 ) where they while away their serenity as they look upon the azur of the mediterranean.The age norm here is 87 . They practice the tango classes with the young in an ageless experience..If you make past that time ( 87 ) you are in the Cheltenham Hurdles .Weather is the factor so is the exceptional infrastructure and health care available locally.Also locals are tempted to stay to age away under their unique napoleonic laws of ‘Viager’ where they obtain tax free lump sum cash in advance and a top up rental income tax free and without borrowing from any bank and free accomodation .Who would leave France to turn blue in windy wet cold Ireland .

    Silicon Valley is in California so is Hollywood and Sophie Antipolis ( European silicon valley ) is on Cote d’Azur.We know why they wont leave the same applies to the old aged population.

    • gadfly55

      Tell us more of the benefits of retirement in the south of France from the state, and the means by which Irish citizens who own property there and are resident there can avail of these supports.

  3. Alan42

    The last thing people do when they reach old age is to emigrate to a strange country .

    David , sometimes you really do come out of left field with some mad ideas . Some of them are great but that is not one of them .

    How about a centre of private education ? Those rich Chinese just love education .

  4. Alan42

    Can somebody explain Anglo to me ? I am serious .
    As far as I can see it does no business yet it has 60 billion on deposit which is not in the safe . So we pay that 60 billion out . What are we hoping for with Anglo ?

    • Deco

      Good question. I detect that Anglo is a massive can of worms, and Irish Enron I think David called it. And if it went to the wall all sorts of details would become public knowledge.

      There is an investigation unerway to find out what is happening-the “official” investigation. And the purpose of the official investigation seems to be the keep all unofficial investigations from occurring.

      I don’t beleive the theory concernig Anglo’s economic future. The Anglo bailout came as a result of being “too well connected to fail” !!!

  5. Deco

    Interesting article. But concerning the healthcare sector and opportunities, it seems that the idiots in the government have missed the point. They have cut down on the quantity of trainee nurses. And then as a result instead we have people from other countries coming here to do our nursing, and young Irish kids going abroas to learn. And the blame lies squarely with the Harney agenda of cost cutting in the wrong areas.

    There is also the fact that many Eastern Europeans who are in our health services will at some stage return home to look after their own parents, leaving massive gaps in our system. The one thing I have noticed is the bad planning that occurs with regrd to labour market supply and demand. The tendency to push young men in particular into the construction trade so that they would go straight into consumption rather than into technical colleges over the last ten years has created a massive headache. We have essentially cut back on the productive part of the economy, to chase the speculative part. As a result we have a system of state policies with regard to employment that are disastrous. Is it any wonder that we have so many unemployable people, trained in the wrong area, and gaps that have to be filled, because of inadequacies.

    All of which goes back to FAS. Exactly what are FAS supposed to be doing these days apart from offering courses on welding and using spreadsheets ????

  6. Deco

    :) Maybe we should merge the HSE, NAMA, and FAS into a big massive public sector company for treating old people :)))
    Of course the likelihood of being able to sell the idea that any of these organizations have a competence in anything, let alone that they should be looking after the health of the elderly….would be stretching credibility.

    And yes, there is now that added headache… many houses…too many hotels…too many shops….to many banks….too many offices….etc….

  7. MK1

    Hi David,

    You are right that demographic changes are tending towards an older population, but you are wrong that Ireland could become some sort of cente for it. As pointed out old people mainly dont travel (due to family reasons) and those that do travel to warmer holiday-like destinations (eg: Florida in US, Spain, France in Europe …. etc).

    I expect countries to start increasing the age when pensions apply as people are fitter (or could be) at 65 to 75 and willing and able to work, etc. You and I may think that we could retire at 65 but I expect it will be 70 for us. And probably rightly so.

    > It is only human to realise that your position on all these matters is somewhat jaundiced by whether you benefit from them.

    Alas that is true. We have to set things up that play into the human pscyhe and self-interest and greed. But these is where we need people to start thinking outside of their own little boxes and their own self-interest and ty to promote a society that benefits all as equally as possible. No easy task!

    Aer Lingus is not a good example of a private pension hole, as it is shackled by its very recent public sector legacy. There are problems in some defined benefit schemes of course, but schemes based on contributions are by near definition in the black. Of course the pension funds management ‘gravy train’ is another area where money goes from individuals and is fraught with inefficiencies and funds many a Merc in south Co Dublin.

    David (plus others), did you see the BOI results? 787m operational profit in 6 months. This is continuing evidence that “our” banks are leaching money from business/consumers in Ireland due to their oligopolistic position of market dominance. We need banking reform, LANCE the effing BOIL!

    The EU is getting some idea that bank reform is necessary with their moves on RBS. The Irish Gov should be leading the way on making our banks more efficient here. Please raise this in one of your pieces.

    As for the black hole that is Anglo, we may never know what went on there and what is going on there now. I dont think any individual really knows ……..


  8. gadfly55

    These off the cuff hare brained shots in the dark on the back of a cigarette packet betray several screws loose and the horror of the empty screen requiring column cms to input into a collapsing print media. How you can put your name of this completely horrifies any reasonable person with the prospect of pure froth issuing from your fingertips at the keyboard, defying anyone to say you have no clothes. You really should try to portray the actual effects of the collapse of hyper-capitalism upon the lives of decent people, whatever their age, in this country.

  9. Deco

    Giving Europe’s youth unemployment problem – with 50% of young people in Spain looking for a first job for example – the young people of Ireland can expect tough competition. Actually David’s poposition sounds like a business plan for Spain, Italy and Portugal – rather than a business plan for wet and windy Ireland.
    Though bear in mind that in a hot summer, Ireland is ideally placed to look after the elderly.

    I am just concerned about the cultural problems – Irish young people tend to more brash, arrogant, overly talkiative, superficial, loud and poor at detial, compared to their peers in Asia and Eastern Europe. And then there are the Irish cultural norms which seem to indicate that everybody has a right to turn up for work drunk. All these factor undermine competitiveness in this area.

    You can change tax incentives – but the Irish concept of lifestyle is a sacred cow that must never be mentioned.

    David – great idea for the Spanish !!!

    • René

      Well, I think the Spanish have already implemented this idea. But Spain didn’t have to put in any effort at all to have this idea/service up and running. They have the weather and that is enough. Germany has many towns and cities specialized in care for the elderly. For example Trier near the Luxembourg border is known to be pensioners friendly. The beautiful Bavaria and its relatively mild winters are a major attraction for pensioners to settle there. Another example, an area north of Kumrovec in Croatia is well known as an area where they really look after the elderly. Simply because of the relax and friendly lifestyle/surrounding and its natural springs. Holland has a very advanced culture of looking after the elderly. Most “old folks homes” are located in woody areas and are often visited by the general public. These centers are often supplemented with attractions like a children’s farm. regular Art exhibitions, concerts, general open days, etc.

      In other words I think it is quite a naive concept David. However, I did think myself of this idea years ago when flooding, heat waves, etc are crippling Europe. Ireland is in fact a very mild climate that may suit when you compare to Europe and we are spared from natural disasters. So I am glad ti hear you have the same idea.
      But somehow I can’t see a culture as described above here arising in Ireland at all.

      • Colin_in_exile


        How right you are. I´m in Seville now, t-shirt weather here, friendly people, great food etc…. This is where I dream of retiring, maybe part time teaching (a few English classes) assuming I won´t need to wear a nappy.

        Retirement age in Ireland must be increased. Ireland can´t tax its overburdened young people to fund the non-sensical lifestyle of public servants entitlements on future pensions.

        My message to young people of Ireland: Leave, its far from a great little country, you do not owe it anything, travel will broaden your mind, you´ll realise how crooked everything in Ireland is, including the round system when buying drinks in a pub. Fcuk the publicans, the auctioneers, the doctors and the rest of them.

        • tony_murphy

          Colin, I agree with you.

          Many have left or will leave because of what the power hungry cancer that is Fianna Fail has done to the country.

          We must not forget what they have done – EVER.

          Family members will remain. Our parents will not get hospital treatment or care in old age, sick Irish kids will not get the best treatments.

          Consultants take up beds in public hospitals and get paid unreal salaries. Doctors charge 50 euro plus a visit. Elite groups with the ear of Fianna Fail and the PDs have it their way and will continue to do so.

          People worry about their standard of living – which currently for some means 6 holidays a year at their villa somewhere on the med. They are doing all they can to preserve that.

          Fairness is what required. and that’s never going to come from the current crop of Irish politician

          They might think that immigration means that they get rid of the descenting voices, and the can do what they like unquestioned by the brainwashed. I used to pity Americans, I always heard that they are feed propaganda from one end of the day until the next. Living away from Ireland – I realise how really uninformed I was listening to RTE. I then think of the newspapers and they have commercial interests. Someone has to pay for advertisements. The same goes for radio stations. They keep discussion on NAMA to a minimum, flying fish like public v private sector fills the schedule.

          Fianna Fail are well coached in how to evade the real issues. They are told what to say and keep saying it.

          NAMA will be their biggest mistake

  10. Deco

    I think that we need to concentrate on holding on to what is left of our industrial base and expanding that. But deluded fools like Boil and Coughlan, plus the legacy of Ahernism on our cost infrastructure, has resulted in us being uncompetitive in this sector.

  11. tony_murphy

    It’s an good idea, but it would work in Ireland.

    I’m sure everyone knows at least one Irish person who took in an elderly relative or neighbour who was not well, hoping they’d get them to sign over all they had, and then, once they’d signed on the dotted line, hoped they’d die quickly.

    Country is full or rotten individuals, sorry for being so negative. So many have no morals. I wouldn’t ever want to go into a nursing home in Ireland. I’d fear the level of care I’d receive and I wouldn’t be holding out much hope for protection by health services / government

  12. Deco

    I think another way to get creative about the demographics issues, would be to concentrate on our strengths. [And less face it healthcare is not one of our strenghths!!!].
    i) Health products/Pharma.
    ii) IT products/services and diagnosis equipment
    iii) construction of health care facilities along the Med, using Irish construction expertise.

    There are a lot of nursing homes in Ireland, especially, it would seem in the Midlands. This is a result of favourable tax regimes. This has nothing to do with a core competency in this area-as shown by the Leas Cross incident. [there are rumours going around about other centres being as bad if not worse, by the way - that Leas Cross was only the tip of the iceberg]. Again at the confluence of the HSE, tax incentives, price setting, and construction, we find many project initiators who seem to have connections with what was once called the PDs. Another story worthy of investigation.

  13. I’m sure there would be opportunities to house the elderly to a certain extent but it only work in particular developments, like hotels built for golfing weekends like mount wolseley or Glasson, which we have in over abundance.
    I would think we could become a learning centre for the english language where students from all over ireland could come to learn and spend their parents hard earned savings(on our over inflated interest rates).
    Language schools are already popular hear, especially for kids from Italy and Spain, and Dublin is a fun place for young revellers who could welcomely replace our drunken Stag party goers in Temple Bar.
    These properties could also house students over for outdoor adventure weeks, which due to our temperate climate, could last most of the year round.

  14. oops…’from all over europe’…

  15. johnm

    read todays article with the usual interest.Another use for empty estates in ireland. We are supposedly one of the knowledge economies…instead of filling them with old people why not use all these empty houses as accomodation for foreign students. We should try and utilise our reputation…a common thing you hear is that there is great education in Ireland…why not become the front door for all the people that require education and hope to use this as an entry point into europe.You study in ireland for x amount of years, you pay our colleges and our regional technology colleges or gmits a fee to learn, you rent the empty houses from the government as they may by then have them in their nama books…so..we have work for teachers and lectures and why not all types of trades as well…some of our out of work builders can teach trades…all this done to an international standard….just a gist of an idea,

  16. johnm

    on the education theme, why not get out of work dell workers to tender for computer classes in our primary schools….they can tender to work for x euro an hour, it would have to be cheap as we cant afford to pay much….their hours of work in the primary or secondary schools in the teaching of computers will not affect their ability to get the dole, there will be some type of government incentive for them to do this type of work…..a bit like the tax incentives given for people to build houses….this needs work but may be a start ?? we are in danger of being left behind and education is possibly one of our ways forward.

  17. Tim

    To all our Australian friends:

    Aussie twitterers! “Addicted To Money” TV series on the GFC starts tomorrow night ABC 1 – 8.45pm. I hope your enjoy it.

    I got that on twitter this morning, from DMcW, in case you want to watch…….

    • Alan42

      Thanks for that . Will be interesting to see how it is recieved here as the GFC totally passed us by .
      Strong banking regulation here which nobody else in the world seems to be talking about .

  18. johnm – fantastic idea .well done

  19. [...] Good article from David McWilliams on the public sector pension liability.  Private sector pensions are also a serious issue with only 54% of people in the private sector providing for their pension (Source: Pensions Board Annual Report 2008). [...]

  20. Philip

    How coincidental to read this article…Was chatting to a friend of mine before I read this article. Said he was selling up his house and his “Apartment” in the midlands to buy a comfy more efficient and smaller place for himself and the missus now that the nest is empty. He’ll do it to have his mortgage and debts cleared and his running costs to an absolute minimum.

    OK, I am going to go against the general grain of all the comments and say this left fielder idea of DMcW’s is great…for a lot of reasons

    1) If we manage the EU to ship a large proportion of its aging population to Ireland, we would defacto get EC funding for healthcare and associated supports.

    2) Our weather here will probably result in fewer people hanging on for longer than they should. So savings to the pension funds ensue. Joking aside, good accommodation will become mandatory. Every house will be rated A++ before you get the any EC grants for aging communities. Which means the old pension cheque can handle operational costs more easily. Take your pick…build the pension fund or reduce the current expenditure by having better efficiencies. Expect construction to be more highly regulated by outsiders and very tight cost controls.

    3) Leverage educated elderly to educate the young. Many of us 40 and 50 year olds will have many skills and much knowledge to impart. The Grey Head fountain pen brigade are the guys/gals who have made the mistakes. Leverage them in their 60s and 70s…like they do in Europe.

    4) We have the best golf courses – nuff said. We should be the leaders in mowing equipment and electric buggies :)- nuff said.

    5) I find it amusing to listen to people rabbiting on about how they want to preserve their income of their working lives into their retirement. a) You have all your major debts paid off. b) You are an empty nester. c) You do not have the energy you once had – so stop eyeballing the talent for fear of an early grave. d) you cannot see or hear too well…so forget about buying HD or HiFi etc. and e) if life support is costing so much, then maybe you are just one of the few where money is important. My main point is that once the house is warm and you have some good company, there is little else you need. Ireland can do this well.

    The only defense against dwindling pensions is to stay healthy, stay alert in the head and keep your costs low. It’s not just our houses that have to be A++ rated. But our way of life and the way we run this nation has to be similarly rated. And this does not come from growing the economy as we did originally.

    • Philip

      Oh, And I forgot about robotics, mechantronics and all the other labour saving and bio mech aids we’ll all need.

      The Ould can be a wealthy and very fruitful synergistic market

  21. adamabyss


  22. Philip – we have the worst health care in europe… can you convince a foreigner to trust their lives with you?

    • Philip

      Actually, not true. We are 5th best in outcomes in Europe and getting better. I’d prefer a shed like hospital with good practicioners in bloody overall rather than a designer built squeaky clean hotel where all they do is smile at ya.

    • Philip

      Anyway, health care is not the sole issue.

      Look, we keep harping on about a lot of the same old issues with most of DMcW’s articles. It’s down to a willingness at a political and community level and as a nation we seem tp act like a bunch of feral youngsters who only have seen the 21st century, have raided the sweet shop and now are sick. Our drunkeness, our superficiality and as one of the comments said above, the fact that many of our youth got sucked into low skilled construction with big money and never properly developed themselves. And on and on…

      I regularly head to brittany – same climate more or less as here. That place is full of the elderly because the youth have fled to the cities for work. I can see Ireland becoming one big Brittany except without their fab infrastructure and good network of support facilities. It is a nice place to retire to. Cheap-ish and it works. Cannot think what the French are paying for it!!

      In the end, if you are healthy, I believe you should work and be happy to do so. Funny how one’s ambitions can change from…I want to work in the right job to…I hope I can just get out of bed and be little bother to anyone else.

      Let’s get real about pensions and old age and how priorities are really going to be aligned at a time when medical advances could have you working till you are 80 and beyond. We spend too much time planning using the rear view mirror as the basis.

  23. ps200306

    Given the care we’ve shown generally for our society to date, I expect the “Soylent Green” option for the aged to win out.

  24. Malcolm McClure

    Life expectancy:
    Scotland: Males 75; Females 80
    Ireland: Males 75.6; Females 81.06
    Spain: Males 78; Females 84
    David, if you lived in Scotland, where would you retire to?

      • Malcolm McClure

        Furrylugs: I like Scotland, know it all intimately and covered a fair slice of it last week. (Stranraer-Berwick-on-Tweed – Gleneagles and back south on A68). Problem is that the ersatz “Scottish kilt and bagpipe culture” sticks in my throat. Aly Bain of course is from Shetland and his mate Phil Cunningham ain’t half bad either. There’s a good quality of life there for the wealthy whose extensive estates still survive, but more formal divisions between master and servant than in Ireland. In over 500 miles I didn’t see more than a handful of well insulated, modern homes. Maybe Salmond will fix the place if he achieves independence.

        • The Lowlands can indeed be like that Malcolm but there’s a world of a difference up in the Highlands and Islands with a much clearer definition of being Celtic, to the extent that they’d put us to the sword. It’s hugely cultural around Inverness and attracts a massive influx of positive thinking youth from the Islands. Incidentally, in keeping with Davids article, Inverness attracts a large amount of retirees from southern UK due to the better healthcare system. The SNP is very popular to the extent that no other party really gets much of a look in.
          I took many positives from the region earlier this year, not least their attitude towards micro hydro electric schemes.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Furrylugs: I’m not sure that I’d agree that the true sense of being Celtic can develop in a ‘massive influx’ situation. For me the essence of celtic culture takes place in an informal gathering of family, neighbours and friends, within the confines of a couple of rooms. It has nothing to do with pleasing incomers or tourists, who are present as voyeurs of quaint aboriginal rites, best enjoyed after several pints.
            When these elements become stage-managed and commercialized, culture quickly descends the slippery slope to Riverdance, Edinburgh tattoo, Highland games and the Guy Fawkes fireworks staged in Inverness.

            I looked into the feasibility of mini hydro electric but lost interest when I realized that many derelict mill races could potentially provide no more power than the average tractor. If you go beyond that scale it’s no longer mini.

          • Ruairí

            Furrylugs, I have to agree with you on the micro-hydro. And we have thousands of opportunities for them in Ireland. Community-owned, in rural areas, working with the major upland landowners such as Coillte.
            Malcolm, yes the power output of micro-hydro won’t rock the world but there are many uses for it and also very cheap technology at this stage to be aimed at those micro sites with civil works still in place. It all adds up to cumulative competitive advantage, if a government is willing to support its investment. The stream engine from energy systems and design Also pure water power (direct drive) from
            Again, fringe stuff. But if it makes use of an unutilised asset at an entry point that has a viable ROI, then this is yet another strand that we need to be adding. There are reports from UCC almost 6 years old now that detail the community benefits quite clearly: –

            Again, no leadership from government. And in particular the Greens. Micro and Mini Hydro are viable competitive weapons we irish have, yet we’re still obsessed with windpower, which is not all its BLOWN UP to be!

    • Malcolm, Ruairi,
      We’ve gone completely off message with the article so apologies to other posters.
      I’ve seen a small pelton generator , driven by a small burn, delivering enough kW to power 900 homes in the Highlands and that was just one of several I visited for feasibility. Similarly, a reverse Archimedes screw, fish friendly, works off a very low head of water and can easily generate 20kW, for the cost of a domestic solar system.
      I agree about the local cosy community based nature of being Celtic. I was reminded of this by my other halfs cousin one evening. When I suggested we develop the area for eco tourism, hill-walking and the like, he queried why I would want strangers taking up all the seats in the bar.
      Each to their own.
      Incidentally, while I had to read todays article a few times and still remained somewhat puzzled, I hesitate to question for the fear that some huge incentive relating to Senior Citizens is about to be announced in the Budget. Working in ever decreasing circles etc etc.

  25. Mowlam Health Care is the biggest and best in Ireland and can be found in major regions .They should be a catalyst to a major opportunity to make David’s idea a realistic opportunity .

  26. DarraghD

    But where will we now find the foreigners to change the nappies of the incontinent elderly and do the jobs that the Irish turned their noses up at over the last 15 odd years???

    They aren’t coming to Ireland anymore, so the plan looks like a fail to me…

  27. What an absolute load of tripe ,prehaps it is down to your ever increasing workload between the two papers , your TV series , after dinner speaking and now your hosting of The Panel on RTE, does your editor at the indo not check your articles any more or is he annoyed with you for taking on The Thomas Crosbie gig in Cork?.
    My family have two big nursing homes and the simple fact is ALL their residents are from a 100 km radius of the homes.
    Sure we have an abundance of vacant housing estates , but do you really think a retired German or a Scotish person is going to bring their parents to one of these schemes where the nearest shop will be a few kilometres away and they would have to walk to it as we would not have a bus service running!. There is also the cultural factor to take in , southern european nations don’t throw their parents into these homes, they bring them into their homes if they are not already living there.
    Between this and your Garlic Expose , I think you should at least read your work before you send it off to print, as we currently have one of the worse health services within Europe and your suggesting here we could turn the retirement home business into a revenue stream for us here.!
    Get Real David get back to what you know best . Economics

    • Ruairí

      But BrendanW, the title is still highly important: – “We need creative ideas to pay for aging population”.

      How about bilateral deals that allow tax breaks for Irish ancestral etc to live out their days in Ireland, either directly buying some of these NAMA houses at knockdown prices or indirectly through access to the new Mary Harney nursing home Fair Deal scheme?
      I understand what you’re saying about your current nursing homes vis a vis catchment, but there’s an awful lot of changes going to happen in Ireland. With largescale emigration likely again, the carer / next of kin layer may simply not be viable within the 100km radius any longer for our old folks.
      Its just food for thought I think. This article is meant to open up a discussion on that €101BN problemo as much as the geriatric care industry.

    • Good man Max. Unbelievable. Another 28bn to find from somewhere. There won’t be a Lepreachaun nor Rainbow safe in the country.
      Unless we open up Croagh Patrick and start mining our own gold.
      BTW…………..speaking of mining….where’s Lorcan?

      • Tim

        Furrylugs, Lorcan Is busy……

        ..Ooops… almost posted his “Facebook” link! Not gonna do that without his permission……..

        Will send a message.

  28. ThomasFergus

    Not one of your better articles David, but fair play for the idea nonetheless. Because of all the Garlic brouhaha last wkend, I’m not sure if anybody noticed the extract in the sunday business post in which David recalls a meeting last year with a “half cut” Seanie Fitzpatrick. Reveals the dangerous sectarian undercurrent of “nativist” FFers…..

    I was too busy listening. Seanie was on a roll Most interestingly, h e spoke about how he had built the bank from practically nothing, and how Anglo had changed the way the country did business. For him, the success of Anglo and the success of the country went hand in hand. Then he paused and said something more revealing than anything about tactics, relationship banking or the Anglo model.

    At the time, the word was that Bank of Ireland or AIB would take over the limping Anglo. This was anathema to him. Bank of Ireland was always seen as the Establishment bank, almost the Ascendancy bank. Many described it as a Church of Ireland bank, while AIB was seen as the ultimate bureaucratic bank. He railed against these big banks, claiming that Anglo did things differently.

    There were the layers of bureaucracy that the other outfits demanded. If you wanted a deal done, you went to him. These other guys weren’t bankers; they were time-servers who’d wrap you up in red tape and never take a decision.

    Then he came closer, right up to me, squeezed my arm and practically hissed between clenched teeth: ‘‘No fucking Protestant is going to take my bank. No fucking Protestant is coming near us. Those establishment fuckers and Bank of Ireland have been running our country before we came along, and those fuckers are not going to bring me down. None of them are ever going to look down on us again. We are the outsiders, and this is our moment, and those fuckers don’t own us any more.”

    This was a moment of truth, because this was what Sean FitzPatrick had been fighting all his life and I’d never seen it.

    He was the boss of a new power – the man they all wanted to be.

    He was the reckless genius who had built Anglo from nothing, and yet he hated them, the other banks.

    As far as he was concerned, they were untouchable, no matter what their religion; they were the rulers of a financial network, easily as closed-off and hierarchical as the drugs cartels that bring cocaine from Central America to central Ranelagh.

    Seanie couldn’t join their club, so he had resolved to beat them. He had played a different game, one with higher risks and greater returns and, by the end, they would come knocking at his door.

    No, it wasn’t about money – as FitzPatrick had said many times over – it was about something much more, something much, much deeper.

    • Tim

      ThomasFergus, I did not see that extract (thanks), and cannot discern how much of that post is from you and how much is reproduction of the extract, but I will say that I find it fascinating.

      If it is all true, then, Seanie succeeded: he beat the “Big Two”.

      He caused them to break, by tempting them into the gambling that ANGLO was doing.

      They all lost their bets, once he drew them in, and they all went broke.

      He won.

      I lost; every taxpayer lost; my children have lost.

      Seanie is living as a fre and wealthy-man; I am living as a poor-man, again – despite what I had built and saved, for 20 years.

      DMcW produced an article about “Anger” recently……….

    • Malcolm McClure

      ThomasFergus: Before this extract draws us into sectarian or xenophobic rants, it s worth pointing out that many wealthy Catholics, in bygone days of yore, preferred to bank in ‘Protestant’ banks, in the belief that it lessened the chance of leakage of their affairs to the men in black. Thus opening the door to find a clerical collar demanding contributions to the cost of Connemara marble for the new cathedral etc. No harm in that of course, but context is important.

      • ThomasFergus

        It starts at “I was too busy listening.” Sorry I forgot to put in the inverted commas.

        I understand where you’re coming from and I don’t wish to bring sectarianism into this thread either. It just sounded chilling to me, that visceral, atavistic disdain for “fucking protestants”. I don’t much like the establishment either, but I don’t seem in that light at all at all.

        • ThomasFergus

          I meant to say: I don’t see them in that light at all at all.

        • wills

          thomas, another group who are continually muted at on controlling interests are Opus dei and the mason’s which i believe is run along christian neo pagan lines.
          The thing i find is the true owners of power, wealth and control will throw all sorts of ‘flying fish’ at us to keep us all busy ego stroking away from looking in the right direction.

  29. wills

    O.A.P’s and lateral thinking for the future, nice mix.

    For me the mix end’s up in…

    O.A.P’s retiring will in time become an idea that will dissolve away and in time people over 65 will continue to excel and live a full life and see old age in term’s of inner realities as opposed to entropy determined expiration.

    • Tim

      wills, I like that “entropy determined expiration”;

      Such ageism exists in our culture.

      If you are over 30, you’re “not with-it”; over 50, you are “washed-up”; over 65, you are “unproductive (ala Harney), a “burden”; over 80, either, “Ahhh, would ya look! How cute! Ah , God!”, or, “Jesus, will ya just DIE, already?!”.

      In Virginia, USA, in 1988, I worked in a Hardware store at 47 and Brand called “Fischers”, with men in their 70s and 80s; some had retired from the Pentagon at 65 and brought a wealth of managerial experience with them; they did not need to work – they wanted to.

      The most valuable thing (to me, anyway) that they brought with them was their people-skills/experience of people, that they had gained over what we would call “a life-time’s work”, but, to them, was only the experience of “a Chapter-of-life”.

      I do not, necessarily want to be working in my 70s and 80s……. but that’s because I have, now, spent more time in Ireland’s culture than I have spent in America – however, when my employer forces me to work in my incontinence-trousers (leaking, down the corridor, as I make my way on my Zimmer-frame to try and teach Hamlet to 5D), I will remember the still-viable old men who were my friends and co-workers, when I was 21 years old.

      I will remember that I liked them alot, that they were good at their jobs, and that I will always miss their great wisdom (which they willingly imparted!)

      Jim Bowe,
      (Thanks, guys; I remember).

  30. wills

    I can’t tell you how nauseous i find it, as a citizen of Ireland, to have a OECD agent over here, giving a press conference flanked by BL and lecturing us all on what we all must do too ‘fix the economy’ pronto and get our neo serfdom selves productive again in the our everlasting servitude too paying more rent to the rent seekers.

    Someone please pass me the sick bucket.

    Also, in relation to the cut’s cut’s cut’s down the line for all, it seems to me to be the case the following,,

    Irrespective of the wholesale scam job deployed on getting the outsiders to pay for the insiders gambling bill’s, overall, the middle and the top of the economic pyramid are grossly over paid considering their productivity levels.

    So this means, politicians are not earning their salary. They are overpaid.

    Bankers’ are not earning their salary they are over paid.

    GP’s and Nurses are over paid. They charge to much for services rendered.

    Dentists are over paid, a tooth extraction cost is price gouging.

    Taxi drivers are over paid. 5 euro’s to open a taxi door is a rip off.

    ESB is over charged to pay over paid staff.

    Bus Eireann drivers are over paid. To drive a bus 45 hours a week does not equate with a salary they receive.

    The only employment in Ireland where worker’s are not over paid seem’s to me to be manual work, factory work, shop work, etc. THe lowest step on the ladder.

    Once you go passed this level it appear’s to be the case, that, workers and non workers on Ireland are over paid. Outside of the gov hacking in to their over paid salaries.

    Interesting too, the higher up one goes up up the pyramid one finds over paying increasing exponentially to arrival at the top and there seem’s to be no limits on how much one can get paid.

    There is a ‘rot’ in our economy that is destroying like wood worm our economy and it is too many workers are over paid in relation to their productivity.

    Now, it will be argued that one has to pay high this and high the other. But, econ101 is, you are paid the value of your productivity, you are not paid based on how much a litre of petrol cost’s.

    We are all living in ‘upside down’ economics.

    If a person cannot afford you down size. YOU RATION. You work more to earn more.

    THis is key to nailing the gov coming after us all to fleece us of our wage.

    • Tim

      wills, I cannot believe that you listed Nurses as “overpaid”!

      But, you did.

      Since you did, I am tending towards the (unattested) assumption that you place Teachers in the same bracket and that you refrained from stating your view because of the reaction you, correctly may have expected from me.

      Please, don’t do that.


      I relish the opportunity to explain why “Education” is the most important “tool” that we have in the box.

      • Ruairí

        Yes Tim, agreed.

        But I would say its a triumvirate of education, intelligence and thinking.

        “Thinking skills” need to become a core part of our education system in primary and early secondary school.

        • Tim

          Ruairi, I can demonstrate improvement in my own students’ ability to “think” within three hours of working through “Lateral-thinking” exercises that I do with them – it is quite dramatic and facinating to witness.

          All we need to do is drop the “Victorian” approach to teaching in schools, and let kids be kids.

      • paddythepig

        Tim, ye are all overpaid. Overpaying teachers does not get you a good education system. Paying good teachers what can be afforded gets you a good education system. What is the point of overpaying teachers, when it’s the future productivity of the students who are paying for this indulgence.

        BTW the Fitzpatrick report is a load of irrelevant bolloxology. We don’t have the money. If teaching doesn’t pay you what you need, step aside and take on a different career, and there are thousands of people who will happily do a very good job in your place, for responsible and sustainable renumeration.


        • Tim

          Not so; I have invited many and none will do the job.

          I support my teaching habit with my private-sector work, which pays very-well, thank you.

          Please desist from personal vitriol.

          • paddythepig

            Tim, do you teach deluded thinking as well as lateral thinking? There are thousands of people who would happily do your job, for less money, just as well as you do. Many of them are stuck on the dole due to your FF buddies.

            You consistently whinge about not being paid enough for your teaching ‘habit’. And not just for yourself, but for all your fellow teachers. Grand. If you don’t like the money, quit, go do something else, stop living off the future productivity of our kids, and let someone else get on with the job.


          • Tim

            Paddy, only the 2000 that just got let go want the job.

            Will you do it?

          • Garry

            Tim, Are you charging VAT on your private sector work ad paying taxes on income and profits?

            No idea what your teaching salary is, but if its a habit, then the other work must be bringing in over 100k gross by the time you pay taxes etc…

            Fair play to you if you can run a business of that size (which I think from your previous comments is selling your expertise/labour) in your spare time from a full time job, even if teaching allows periods of free time that some other work doesn’t.

          • Tim

            Garry, yes… all above board, searchable in the Companies Office; not the level of earnings you assume, though, and not turning over enough to require VAT registration (I consider 100k to be a helluvalotta money and I agree with MK1 that no public servant should earn more than that!)

            Not hard to beat the teaching salary that starts at 34k Gross and takes 33 years experience to reach 65k.

          • paddythepig

            Tim, are you for real? You think only the 2000 contract teachers would take the job? That’s a good one.

            Instead of taking a day off to protest about having a job, take yourself down to the dole office, and chat with some of the people in the queue. Ask them … would they like to do your job?

            Then come back and tell us what they say to you.


          • Tim

            Paddy, I will ask you one last time:

            Will YOU take a teaching job?

            You keep bashing me over the head about it being such a great job, so why are you not a teacher?

            Clearly, you rate yourself highly on the intelligence scale, judging by your frequent critique of my thinking; clearly, from your posts here, you have a keen mind and a lesson to deliver.

            So, what’s stopping you from having this cushy-number of an over-paid job?

          • paddythepig

            Tim, you think I wouldn’t take a teaching job? Of course I would. And I am being serious when I say that. I consider teaching to be a good job ; it is paid ok, it is secure, you have a state pension, you get satisfaction at helping kids. What’s wrong with that?

            As for myself, life has led me in a different direction.

            You seem to have built up an idea that teaching is a job that nobody would want. That is totally wrong. I know some very well qualified people who, in times of unemployment, considered teaching to be a very good change of career.

            Tony_murphy, you are taking my point out of context. I never criticised Tim for having more than 1 job ; I’m happy for him to have 10 jobs if he wants ; rather, I was referring to his consistent moaning of not being paid enough as a teacher and public servant – when the money just isn’t there to keep current staffing levels and pay levels as they are.

            Rather than feeling sorry for yourself all the time Tim, why not think of people much worse off than you – people in and out of jobs, or people with no jobs at all.


          • paddythepig

            Ruairi, with respect your post attributes many statements to me that I did not make, so calm down a second. The quotation about friends of mine who considered teaching as a career change, referred to professional people who considered going back to do a H.Dip. Knowing these people, I am sure they would make excellent teachers, despite the fact their original career choice was not teaching. They were considering this because their own professional careers were affected by redundancy and unemployment, and they were right to do so. I actually agree with a lot of what you say about being suitably qualified ; I’m not sure why you jumped the gun and assumed I was saying otherwise.

            I will say though that some people are natural communicators, and some aren’t. No amount of ‘qualification’ will change that.

            The salient point I was trying to make to Tim is that existing teachers are not indispensable, and can be replaced. If you don’t like your conditions, walk, do something else.

            I never advocated cronyism. Where did you pull that out of?

            Also, I am not eyeing a teacher’s job Ruairi. Tim asked me would I consider being a teacher (implying for some bizarre reason I wouldn’t consider it). I am happily employed, but if I were to change career, teaching is one avenue I would consider, for the reasons I outlined earlier. If I were a teacher, I would be happy to be employed, and I would accept the economic realities the country is facing. We all face this reality, like it or not.

            I would suggest you re-read your post, have a think about some of the assumptions you have incorrectly made, and take the advice you administered in your last sentence.


        • tony_murphy


          Teachers add real value to the economy and should be well paid. There is nothing wrong with doing more than 1 job.

          You anger should be directed towards those who do not add value – but fill there pockets

          • wills

            good point tony.

          • Ruairí

            @ Paddy The Pig
            “You seem to have built up an idea that teaching is a job that nobody would want. That is totally wrong. I know some very well qualified people who, in times of unemployment, considered teaching to be a very good change of career.”

            Paddy, I think those who want to go into teaching in times of unemployment are often not those who want to TEACH. They want to EARN. You seem to omit some basic common sense in a number of your posts and retorts here; and that is that teachers SHOULD be qualified. There are upwards of 2000 qualified teachers, according to TIm’s figures, seeking teaching posts. And you think that you or anyone else should be allowed to go for a teaching role without having sweated for the qualification?
            While I do think that we are all overpaid Tim, I think that until NAMA takes on board a €10-20BN reduction in asset values (using realistic projections as they are unfolding), then there should not just be a 1 day strike, there should be a 1 week strike that brings this country to a STOP until confidence is restored in government. Confidence for the people and confidence for foreign investors. David correctly points to how naive our financial mandarins’ understanding of investor markets must be.
            But to get back to your slight on teachers, its this cowboy attitude that has Ireland in trouble Paddy the Pig. Accountants reckoning they’re entrepreneurs, builders reckoning they’re developers, and ‘Paddy the Pigs’ losing focus and reckoning they could be teachers, or solicitors or astronauts, just because they’re “Up for it” and game on to work. What about qualifications Paddy? (The argument of qualified useless teachers is separate and that’s for the stakeholders to sort out; peers, parents, government).
            I see many examples of daughters and sons of teachers who are working because of that family connection, who have beaten ‘qualified’ people to the mark. or rather been handed the job. I am sure that Deco will agree with me, as he also hates clientelism and pull, that your post here has, I am sure inadvertently, slipped down the slippery slope of ‘pull’ and cowboy living. If you are not a qualified teacher, you are in no position to be eyeing a teacher’s job Paddy. That should be very obvious to an intelligent poster like you.
            And while I’m at it, no matter what people think of teachers’ pay, there are NO hiding places in a classroom. Maybe in the Dept of Education (ask teachers who spend forever on phones trying to ring them), but not in classrooms.
            So I stronlgy suggest you get back to what you usually do best and play the ball.

        • Tim

          Paddy, though I find debate entertaining, this is an unfit medium for it, since type is poor expression unless it is terribly long and detailed. This has ended up as an unfortunate exchange of misunderstandings, I fear, that may annoy other posters. I have nothing personal against you, though you appear to have misinterpreted what I am doing every time I mention education and/or teaching here.

          Defending the teaching profession is not “moaning”; an elected Trade Union representative arguing to promote and protect teachers’ pay and conditions is not “moaning”, it is what I am elected to do; a father with children and a teacher with students defending education from cuts by the government is not “moaning”, it is what any caring parent/teacher would do (just as DMcW mentions in the article about those who benefit guarding their corner – but education is not just “my” corner, it is everyone’s); defending teachers’ pay is at the same time a defense of standards of education: imagine how effective an educator will be the teacher who is pre-occupied by the inability to pay their mortgage, their bills, of whose family loses their home?

          For the record, I really enjoy teaching and wavered almost not at all from my desire to do it, since I was thirteen years old and inspired by the teachers who taught me. I will always debate and get angry over the “politics” of the job (obviously, given who the employer is!), but you should not mistake this for dissatisfaction with the job itself. I am content in the classroom and lucky to have a job that I truly enjoy doing; but that does not mean that I should roll-over for my employer and allow him to destroy the job I love by constantly diminishing the resources required to educate the children of this country effectively.

          I believe passionately that education is necessarily and essentially an important component of the economy and that is why I raise the arguments that I do every chance I get.

          Before this recession started, our education system had not yet recovered from the cuts during the las one and we had the second-lowest investment level in the OECD; now we have slipped lower than that. Surely, no-one believes that is the best direction to be taking? Good ol’ “bottom-of-the-pile” Ireland. How far she has slipped from “The Island of Saints and Scholars”.

          “Ireland Inc.” is gone, and one of the first to lose, though it never really gained when “the country was awash-with-money”, is the children of the Nation: books, course-grants, teachers, classroom assistants; all the first to be taken away. That should sicken everyone in this country, not just parents and teachers!

          I didn’t “imply” that you would not consider becoming a teacher, Paddy, as you said to Ruairi: I straight-up asked you if you will become one; I infer from your post (since you did not answer “yes” or “no”), that you will not be a teacher any time soon. I also asked you what is stopping you from doing it, since you say it is “over-paid” and appear to think that it is a great job (it IS, as I sad above, though not overpaid).

          You did not answer that.

          Why will you not qualify for and apply for this “over-paid”, wonderful job? We really need more men in the profession, which has become some 78% feminised and boys need male academic role models. We need you, and many more.

      • wills

        hold on unattested assumption for the moment.

        Take a step outside ‘of the box’, and just examine the thrust of my point.

        Which is that, irish society, middle and upper and possibly lower – upper echelons in general is over paid.

        If we are to be serious in framing the gov and the crony elites coming after the lower downer’s with an axe we have to analysis objectively the ‘rot’ they will hide behind, and i guarantee you, these boyo’s will use the excess and largess afoot as cover to implement cut’s cut’s cut’s on the one’s who are least over paid.

        Draw the line’s of truth on the burden of cost.

        The ‘powers at be’ are already very busy dropping the sign’s over the last few week’s that the lowest income earners have to pay tax.

        The lowest income earners are going to be thrust into the firestorm as a decoy.

  31. Tim

    Uh-oh, Lol…..

    mcwillams and lenihan ala giftgrub – wonderful

    (Apologies, David, but that Sh1t’s funny!)

    • Ruairí

      Can I here and now publicly recommend Kyolic garlic to Brian Lenihan.
      1. Its ODOURLESS !!
      2. Its aged for 20 months. giving it special qualities and its LTEV on de constitution (yer personal one, guvnor) should not be underestimated.
      3. It’s proven to have all of the qualities that Mr Lenihan will need to get us through this mess.

      In fact, can the WHOLE CABINET start eating Kyolic garlic!
      Helps with: -
      > lowering blood pressure (that Dáil is getting a bit raucous bise).
      >Defective memory and……
      ………..cloudy thinking ………….!!!

      All symptoms of candidiasis I am told (this is not being candid, as David may have been in these ‘revelations’). No folks, its a dirty dirty fungal growth. A bit like the PDs in their ascent. Shockin dose.

      Heaven preserve us!

      Put it into the water. Put it into all of the Supermacs, BurgerKing and McD food. Put it into the Dáil bar kegs s’il vous plait!

      • Ruairí

        Put it into the water. Put it into all of the Supermacs, BurgerKing and McD food. Put it into the Dáil bar kegs s’il vous plait!

        The Kyolic Garlic Brian, not the candidiasis! doh! Keep up Mr Wimpy!

  32. Tull McAdoo

    Well that bates all, and your to blame for it David Mc Williams, and all your talk about bubbles and the avoidance there of.
    Just to explain my upset, after that article of yours appeared in fine print and you with the ear of the Minister of Finance. Twelve copies of the “buy and sell” is what I counted on the top of my Pub counter this wet day. Joe Reilly was looking for battery propelled Hearses, as He reckoned he was going to have to upgrade to fleet status. The two Malones were stuck in My ear (as the Local County Councillor) about re-zoning land in parcels of one acre per Religion i.e. Catholic , Protestant, Quaker ….etc. etc. up to where they stopped counting at 27 for new graveyards. One of the Quinns was looking up poly tunnels for all year round flowers. One of the Dwyers was looking up Mass cards in all different languages…….I could go on but suffice to say, what We have the start of here in South Kerry is non other than a Funeral Bubble.
    It will be all very fine for you above in Dublin with your book sequels.. “ The Popes Children, the Final Chapter”…..” Generation Game for People with Walkers” and “ Follow the money , ye hav’nt long to wait” but for a poor Councillor like myself its going to be just one funeral after another and endless “tae and sanwidges and soup” here in the Pub . So thanks very much Mr. Mc Williams , me poor auld hands will be shook off me and I will be hoarse sympatising all around meself with fecking strangers and none of them with a vote between them.

  33. jasperpants

    Suddenly “Logan’s Run” doesn’t seem that far fetched after all.

    Time to get those crystals embedded in our hands. The only thing is do we let the same monkeys decide on the date the crystal turns black?

  34. Time Warp Credit :
    I think what David is meaning to say is that if we have borrowed so much money from Germany ………….and spent it ……then it should be easier to repay the full amount .’in kind’….by selling our Gruen Lands …and Irish Smiles …..and in a time fashion moment ‘ hey presto ‘…..we have lots of aging happy aging Germans in Ireland and….our youth in Germany with full employment to replace the dwingling active German workers .Where there is a ‘will ‘ there is a ‘way’. That is what politics is about.

  35. AJ

    I hope that this idea takes off, because at 23, I plan on leaving Ireland next year and I don’t intend to come back permanently for a long time.

    I’ve absolutely no confidence in the future of this country. We’ve been “independent” for the best part of a century and what have we achieved?

    We’ve still got a political system thats a relic of the civil war (and the incompetent parties and dynasties that came out of that). Our health service is a joke, our infrastructure is a joke, our education system is a joke. Even Northern Ireland has managed to get 100% broadband coverage and motorways between all the large cities……

    Look at the top ten companies on the ISEQ, its still dominated by banks and construction companies even though they’ve collapsed. Where is the Irish Nokia? The Irish Ikea, the Irish anything for that matter? The only truly innovative company there is Ryanair and everyone criticises them!! Tullow fair play to them have actually done something, but then they’re based in London. The country as a whole still has an agrarian mentality; farming, fishing, property, houses……

    That era is over, we’re supposed to be a developed or industrialised country….. but there’s nothing industrialsed or technological about our indigenous companies! If it wasn’t for the EU and the IDA Ireland would be sunk long ago.

    What this country needs is a paradigm shift in its thinking, policies and attitude. I’m not holding my breath!

    • wills

      Your post has invoked deja vu.
      Don’t despair. Go abroad, find experience of all types, keep your eye on Ireland.
      Learn and grow and don’t despair and build your intelligence and return to Ireland when the time is right FOR YOU.

  36. Tim

    Folks, Can you believe that our “betters” at NCB Stockbrokers are ACTUALLY quoting Charlie Haughey, to support their argument against taxing the wealthy and in favour of taxing the lowest-paid people?

    Here we go again, on the magic roundabout:

    Stockbroker-man says “We are all living away beyond our means……..”

  37. wills

    Just listened to David on Gerry Ryan.

    Interview / chat choc a bloc of interesting McWilliams ism’s.

    D focused in interview big time on binning the euro.

    Gerry gave the usual devil’s advocate on it and D kept the usual D sanguine stolid going forward P C plod pace.

    Gerry pushed a little for more and D kept his foot lightly on the accelerator.

    Gerry tried again, but D refused to put more horse power into his muscular apparatus.

    D if you are reading i reckon Gerry was trying to illuminate something to you, trying to transmit a message round your truthseekers blind spot albeit underway in it’s shrinkage.

    What’s gerry trying to communicate to you, if he is trying too, and i got the impression he was, so here’s what i think D.

    Gerry is like a 6th former head boy. D, you are like the teacher. Gerry is trying to highlight to you that the system you are teaching in is not like what your discerning, through no fault of your own, because you are juggling so many ball’s in the air its difficult to get the full picture.

    D, gerry is trying to inform you to the fact that your blind spot maybe hiding your judgement to intelligence that is crucial to the full picture.

    • wills


      What i reckon is instrumental in seeing the full picture is the following, a little.

      The overall society is structured by a hidden peking order. It’s design equates with a school system heirarchy.

      Primary School – the bash street kid’s
      Secondary school – the Lad’s

      The school system / society is not run by the teachers. THe 5 and 6th years have done a ‘lord of the flies’ number and taken over the system.

      THe teachers are trying to restore order.

      Unfortunately the teachers misthink that most others in their analytical skills and critical thinking skills are like them, but, they are not, ‘cos the teachers are in a lot less fewer numbers.

      So, D, beware of the 5th and 6th years punks.

      • wills


        Addendum notes:

        Through out the *secondary school down to first year, and *primary school the students may engage to different degree’s of complicity and reward with the ‘lord of the flies’ regime school takeover.

        One if one so wishes may categorize this into the following.

        The syndicate who run the regime.
        The ‘full time scammers’ who play along.
        The ‘con artists’ who play along less.
        The ‘chancers’ who play even less again.

    • Malcolm McClure

      Wills: I didn’t hear the Gerry Ryan interview but your review seems entirely plausible. David has too many balls in the air. His skills, perspective and knowledge are indispensable in helping us survive the present crisis.
      Like any economist, he needs to draw inferences from all kinds of sources, but he needs to be part of a think tank with weekly meetings that might provide focus and prevent him from going off on a tangent.

  38. wills

    Paddy and tim. Both of you are of on a tangent. Teacher’s pay is a ‘flying fish’.
    The debating point is ‘over pay’ and it’s truth and not it’s spin.
    Ireland’s concept of ‘reward’ on ‘labour’ is upside down. Let’s focus on that and get it onto the radar straightened out, for me anyways, i think it is central to the duping of the taxpayer into sectarianism and irrational tangents and wasted mental energies, exactly what the vested interests need to get away with their next stroke.

    Any takers?

    • Philip

      On the ball and pretty well on beam for this topic. Pay & Rewards is what the battle is all about and the fairness of it’s distribution and how it’ll support us into the future.

      Had a quick overview of the OECD reportage. Angel Gurria (marvellous name) and the lads seem just barely diplomatic on the crisis we have here. They seem not to be pulling punches on the mess we have in terms of our management, pooer politcal process, our interest groups. Pretty well all we have been discussing here on the blog.

      For me, DMcW’s article merely highlights yet another dream we can only let go simply becasue we just cannot hack it. The OECD are now in agreement and are tell lenihan like it is. Mind you, he’ll just use it for ammo. But will he implement the complete recipe or pick what suits him…

      • wills

        The ‘real value of labour’ in ratio too ‘reward’, in Ireland, is broke.

        It’s disappeared into the milky way and what we are all left with is the crony elites seizing on the fiction’s the ‘labour for reward’ de – coupling has produced and running the different tribes against each other on the de – coupling fantasy economic’s instead of the real economics non fiction at stake.

        Any worker or, non worker who has ‘bought’ into the ‘labour / reward’ de – coupling and taking it’s over pay are ensnared in the web of deceit and fiction posing as real economic fact’s.

        Comfort zones have gone up all across the POnzi isle and heel’s dug in on one’s excessive pay reward.

        Talk about the irish going into a scrap with themselves!!

        ALso, if NAMA is stopped and the gov wake up to moral code and constitutional duty and implement a sensible solution this labour / reward de coupling still will have to be addressed before Ireland recovers from the uncompetitive, easy money, lethargic. laizy nation it is now.

        • wills

          Ireland in 2009 is a heavy footed, greedy, selfish, slovenly, thuggish, spoilt, truculent know it all society and is in need of an overhaul and serious serious de toxing and lessons in self discipline and humbleness.

          And NAMA or NO NAMA this disintegrated state of affairs is at the heart of Ireland fixing the labour / reward de – coupling and heading for the light and enlightened self interest.

          Ireland is henry the VIII at the latter end of his dying day’s and grasping out at any easy quick fix to the putrifying mess a section of smash and grabbers have landed the country in and using the labour / reward de – coupling to rope accomplices in in their hundreds of thousand’s.

          Will the overpaid agree to the restoring of the labour / reward truism.

  39. Tim

    Folks, a different angle to the one being adopted by the NCB boyos, cronies and govt:

  40. Marches in Limerick – today many marchers from all the local communities paraded blocking traffic and to morrow more tomorrow in UL Campus planned .The beginning has dawned and the engine rolls on.

  41. Revenue Spot Checks – increases in numbers have occured this week on lawful registered businesses to make payments and declarations that are in arrears .Its real business and tactical on the Revenue’s part.

    CRO _ companies registered office – this outfit has no conscience for those exempt companies that are in arrears by a few days when they mean 28 days and not a calandar month .Many who have ceased trading but are holding their corporate indentity to take up an opportunity when/ if it arises have been shot down and denied acceptance of their returns because of the misunderstanding .Their enforced policy to self employed directors seems ‘bugger off’ ‘….’not interested’.

    • Tim

      JohnALLEN, that treatment of directors is a disgrace at any time, let alone at a time like this.

      That has to be stopped, and immediately; people should contact their TDs and PLAGUE them with calls, letters, emails and queues at their clinics until these business people are given a break.

      Is there anyone here in George Lee’s constituency? He could frame an excellent economically-based Dail Question about it.

      When will the people start standing-up for themselves?

  42. I’m looking forward to the Panel to see what grievious utterance DMcW could have made to offend the Delicate Blonde One. Or is that sexist too?

    • Tim

      Furrylugs, yeah, it is, I’m afraid (but only to the Politically Correct-heads) -Ooops, I just offended them now too……

      I heard he said something about her being “seductive”……

      I like Miriam.

      (Uh-oh! …. is that wrong, too?)

  43. Tim

    paddythepig, if you get the chance, please have a look at my attempt (above) at conciliation/clarification/explanation.

    Best to “bury-the-hatchet” (and not between one-another’s shoulder-blades! The crony boyos have spent alot of effort and media-time trying to make us do that – we should refuse to oppose eachother at their behest; they are the ones we should be arguing against).

    • paddythepig

      Tim, I read your post, and you won’t be surprised to hear I disagree with most of it. However, the olive branch is accepted, and the spirit of the offer is reciprocated ; I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the sensibilities of the other posters. If I don’t like a post or a thread, I just ignore it.

      Did you read the very good post of ps200306 in the previous article? I thought he hit the nail on the head.


      • Tim

        Will look; thanks. ( I tend to abandon articles/threads when the new one arrives).

        Will revert.

        Sorry that you disagreed with most of what I said; I tried really hard to get a convincing message across.

        Guess, I’ll just have to try harder, because “giving-up” is not an option for me; can’t seem to find it in my DNA (David Neligan: “The Spy in the Castle”!)

      • Tim

        paddythepig, Yes, I re-read that post. He hit the nail on the head regarding alot of people, alright; but not all. Not for me, nor for most people I know.

        Sure, I saw the crazies too: people on very low incomes, buying holiday homes and brand new SUVs!

        My friends and I used to shake our heads in bewilderment at the stupidity of people borrowing such vast amounts of money, especially the lunacy of paying-off the depreciating asset that is the SUV over the forty years of a mortgage!!!

        But, Paddy, those of us who did not engage in the madness should not be forced to pay for it.

  44. Hey wills,
    Happy Days are here again.
    This looks like the stunting of the Godless Greedy Ones.

  45. Philip

    “The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    • Philip

      Guys, desperation is building. I can feel it – dont ask be how. Maybe it’s down to seeing it in people’s eyes, that resigned look of nothing to loose, the flu virus management, you name it. How we treat our kids and how we treat out elderly says it all about our society. We need to decouple economics from our moral obligations. Lets not be dictated to by an amoral agenda which preaches compliance and resignation in the same way as the Catholic Church once wnet on here.

      • wills

        ‘we need to de – couple economics from our moral obligations’. Is this a contention that irish society sold out to money? and is rightfully thrashed?

        • wills

          Can i add the debate on teacher’s the following.

          -Teaching as an occupation in terms of value of labour rank’s very high on the value of labour spectrum. So, someone who provides labour to drive a bus the value of this labour is a lot less than the value of labour used to teach.

          Now, if one compare’s pay scale’s between bus drivers and teachers in Ireland one see’s something gone awry.

          Bus drivers now can earn up to 75,000 euro doing overtime.

          Teacher’s cannot do overtime cos’ the occupation is so emotionally exhausting most teachers need to go home to be for a two hour sleep every day.

          In fact the teaching profession in Ireland is suspiciously thrown out as a particular type of stalking horse by the vested interests on a regular basis.

        • Philip

          I did not word that correctly. What I am trying to say is that we as a country have been so amoral in our use of economics. So much so that our use of economics has become the driver of our current immoral treatment of people. Nuff said…

  46. wills

    Cowen interview on Primetime dreadful dreadful.

    Ireland is on the ‘brink’ and this is what we are getting tonight on RTE been told,

    - don’t contemplate catastrophe
    -we’re going to get the 400,000 back to work.
    - growth will return this year to our economy.
    -we’ve been building for the last 20 years a fairer economy.
    - this year will see a return to a more prosperous society.
    -doing nothing is not an option

    Why are we all been spoken too like a gang of simpleton’s?

    This is utterly bizarre.

  47. wills

    Paddy have a look at 46 for my POV on teachers pay scale.

  48. wills

    One could put forward the case that teacher’s ratio reward on their labour is the least rewarding all thing’s considered.

    And it’s the diminishment of teaching as a vocation by virtue of this injustice that maintains a pervasive culture of gombeenism in power.

    • wills

      Also, teacher’s are made feel by society as unappreciated and this rejection on the huge importance of teaching as a service to our society becomes toxic and slowly releases a noxious gas into the school’s spreading its poison into the kid’s switching them off from entering into the learning process in full flight.

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