December 16, 2009

Country on doomed course with 'insiders' at the helm

Posted in Banks · 201 comments ·

In recent weeks I’ve been travelling around the country, talking to people and listening to ideas about how best to get out of this mess. What is coming up in all conversation is the sense that the insiders in Ireland are getting away with it and the outsiders are being asked to take most of the pain.

To the people I’m chatting with, whether in Kilkenny, Limerick or Cork, there is a palpable sense that those on the inside are not paying for their mistakes — rather those on the outside are paying. People seem to be waiting for regime change but it’s not happening.

The bankers are the financial equivalent of the bishops. Like the Church hierarchy, the banking hierarchy is not resigning. In fact they are regrouping and getting stronger at the top, taking State money without any conditions.

Meanwhile, the politicians are spinning that the boom was a collective madness and we are all to blame, which of course absolves them of any culpability. The big estate agents who facilitated all the property nonsense by their ridiculous valuations are set to make millions from fees to NAMA and the little guy is being asked to bail out the big guy and take cuts in his wages to boot.

“Surely,” people are saying, “a crisis should lead to change, to reappraisal and should usher in a new generation who will sweep away the old and start again with new ideas and new ways of doing things?”

In terms of countries that learned from crises, time and again we come back to Scandinavia, not because they have invented some crisp, environmentally friendly Utopia up there, but because in the face of crises they appear serious about learning from their mistakes and changing the system.

In their banking crisis of 1992/3, the Scandinavians moved swiftly to get rid of the old guard by protecting the interests of their citizens at all costs. Take the example of Sweden. In five months, Sweden guaranteed its banking system, nationalised its banks, let some others go bust, set up two bad banks, didn’t use public money until shareholders’ money was used up and then it devalued its currency to give its exporters a chance.

The Swedes, Finns and Norwegians smashed the old guard that was responsible for the mess. They moved to oust the insiders, to the benefit of new management — the outsiders.

In Ireland, the opposite has been the case. The main players in politics are still here. The party that got us into this mess is still in power. The banks still have the main guys at the top and the union leaders, who were part of the “nod and wink” status quo of the past 10 years, are still at the helm. In other words, the insiders are still very much on the inside, while the outsiders are locked out.

This “insider/outsider” view of society is an interesting way of looking at the country. But because the outsiders are not a unified force and there is no unified representative of the outsiders, this world is rarely commented upon in the media.

In short, the insiders are those with a large and well-organised stake in our country. They are the political class, the media, the large protected industries and the civil service. They are the union leaders and the IBEC leaders. All these people have a stake in the society. They are by no means the root of our problems, but they are a power grouping with a voice and an influence.

In contrast, the “outsiders” include the young and particularly the young who are unemployed. Today 30pc of those under 25 are unemployed. This is a shocking figure. The outsiders also include small businesses, which are struggling badly, those on welfare who feel abandoned and those who are emigrating in large numbers again. Their stake in Ireland has always been tenuous. During the boom they were temporarily inside the big tent but once the bust came they were out in the cold again.

Given this power structure, it is interesting to see that, in a crisis, Sweden, Denmark and Norway are monarchies that actually behave like republics where the people are looked after, whereas Ireland is a republic that behaves like a monarchy where the elite cling on, looking down on the people.

However, this can’t last because without a change in Ireland, the economy will continue to contract. The world sees through us. The State and the bankers don’t seem to understand that we are now living in an instantaneous world, where information is free and available. You can’t pull the wool over everyone’s eyes indefinitely.

In recent days there has been much backslapping from the Government because of a vaguely positive editorial in the ‘Financial Times’. In fact, I was on the ‘Frontline’ programme on Monday night with a minister who claimed that the Government and, by extension, the banks were getting plaudits for the Budget and new management of the country’s finances.

But the real proof is not in words but in actions. Despite all the tough talk about cutting this and that, the financial markets have decided that the risk of default in Ireland is probably about the same today as it was last week. The reason for this is that the markets know that there is a nasty surprise coming in the guise of a broken bank system, which will suffer in the face of growing mortgage default, credit card default and the like next year.

As a result, yesterday the shares of Ireland’s banks fell dramatically because the financial markets realise that a country which doesn’t change in a crisis is a country that can’t be taken seriously.

If we are to come out of this catastrophe stronger, the outsiders must become insiders and the insiders become outsiders. That’s what local people and international investors are looking for. Never before have the issues been clearer.

  1. paddythepig

    Hi David, a lot of people are complaining now, but how many of them were actual participants in the bubble, participating in the one-upmanship?

    Loads of them.

    We had a ponzi scheme. Such a scheme needs participants at all layers. It is not accurate to lay the blame totally at the guys at the top. Those in the middle layers are often just as guilty, and to point the finger of blame at a figurehead at the top of the pile suits their agenda. They fail to point the finger at themselves.

    The ubiquitous availability of credit ensured that the middle-men of the ponzi scheme were not isolated within vested or insider interests. At the height of the madness, anyone with a bit of neck could get onto the ladder, and the earlier they got in the better for them.


    • Ruairí

      Hi Paddy,
      very true but that fails to address the fact that the rules of the game have been changed to disadvantage those who are (and were) at the bottom and also those who were contrarian and stayed out of the fray til there was a suitable incision point.

      That incision point has been taken away by socialisation of private debt. Inexcusable.
      Yes many mid-ladder folk should feel the burn (not morally should, just naturally should).

      • lff12

        Thats rubbish. Lots of people COULD have got a foot onto various ladders were they willing to collude, be dishonest, be unethical or blatantly cheat. We did have an incentive based system which encouraged and rewarded cheaters (I’m reminded of the first chapter of “Freakonomics” here) but as with all systems where cheated brings rewards it also brought risks.

        A good chunk of people DID decide not to play into that risk. There is a significant proportion of people living modest lives in small houses, or renting and waiting for something they like, people who didn’t take huge loans out on ridiculous 4x4s or silly wedding splurges. Lots of them. And a lot of them are not doing so badly now, but sitting bemusedly and wondering how the hell we will ever remove this totalitarian one-party system without an outright revolution.

    • wills

      POnzi moochers paddy found at the top / upper n lower middle / upper and lower working class.

  2. Ruairí


    that’s an astounding warning shot and very defining.

    I hope you’re sporting a repeater shotgun with loadsa backup cartridges :-D

    “Regime change” Yikes.

    But the Republic / monarchy dichotomy is astounding. We have no republic, we have no citizenship while the clientelists remain infesting us.

    We (our gatekeepers) have no honesty and therefore no real understanding of what tax is, how it is justified and what the spirit of legislation is.

    Well said and well written.

  3. wills


    I am 1000 % behind you.

    You write the truth head on and sometimes one has no choice but too do so, and if ever there is a time to call a spade a spade it is now while the criminality is red hot, visible and dangerous.

    Those who looted the country know who they are and know it was wrong and know their are those who did not loot the country and know outing the truth must be stopped as far as the scammers and gallery of rogues and schemers are concerned so as they can escape with the lolly and enjoy their swag bag ’till the next scam comes along.

  4. Tim

    Folks, two new Facebook groups have sprung-up, calling, not for “regime-change”, but for “Revolution”.


    I heard about the smaller group on the news today, but found the larger group first, when I went searching.

    Of course, the irony is that people must unite if they are going to bring change.

  5. “the outsiders must become insiders and the insiders become outsiders.”

    This is what needs to happen, however, that isn’t the way our economy or social system works, so this is dreaming.

    ” what … international investors are looking for.”

    What international investors want is to extract a profit – nothing else, same with bankers, foreign or domestic.

    The problem is the profit motive, our system is designed to serve this cause, it is not designed to satisify the needs of people living in Ireland.

    It isn’t our “insiders” who caused the crash, that would be to attribute them importance beyond their station; they have just leached off it, taken the big crumbs off the table.

    So, what we need is to change the basis for organising our economy/society; it needs to start with the perspective of satisffying the needs of our people, everything should come from that rule.

    We need new thinking, move outside the box in which we were all placed the day we were born.

    • bankstershill

      Exactly. And to elaborate on this theme, it seems to me the root cause of the problem is the basis of our constitution which is namely the priority given to the interests of an institution, that being the church, and through which a seedy little oligarchy operates to rest control of the state from the ‘outsider’ plebisite. What is needed is an overhaul of our constitution such that it be based on principles which reflect natural law and the rights of man.

  6. ps200306

    Pandering to the “profit motive” has most often turned out to satisfy the needs of the greatest number of people. That is the basis of the capitalist system. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most people believe that laissez-faire capitalism is a step too far and favour regulation. In this case, lack of regulation is squarely to blame. Let’s fix that problem first. Then we can let the banking insiders, wherever they come from or however appointed, get on with being capitalist pigs, just as we need.

  7. Alf

    Hi David,

    You nailed it. The Irish government is a big part of the problem here. What investor would invest in a country that rewards failure?

    What will happen the next time an Irish bank hits trouble? Regardless of the reasons, they will surely get a bailout because the same flawed thinking is in power. The flawed thinking that created NAMA. The same flawed thinking that insults investors intelligence with statements like ‘long term value’ ; Implying that it must be ‘greater’.

    Regulation is like moving deck chairs on the titanic. Ireland needs a 180 degree change in thinking at the top. Instead of fearing bankruptcy it should understand and welcome it.

    A controlled bankruptcy (or two) would send the right message, not only to international investors, but also to strike fear into those that could allow such disasters in the future.

    You can’t really welcome free markets in banking without allowing the weak to fail. The Irish taxpayer, including corporations, is now paying for these weak banks and it is having a direct affect on those models for future investment.

    The Irish are not unique in overlooking this point.

  8. paulmcd

    “But the real proof is not in words but in actions. Despite all the tough talk about cutting this and that, the financial markets have decided that the risk of default in Ireland is probably about the same today as it was last week.”

    I think the risk of default is probably greater due to the growing sense of unease and alienation in our society arising from the recent budget. Cowen and Lenihan had the opportunity to show real leadership, taking TOUGH decisions which would have been considered daring and unprecedented on the world stage. Imagine what might have happened, in international markets, if our politicians had decided to adjust their salaries to the multiple of 1.5 times national average earnings which is applied in Norway, Europe’s most economically-disciplined and most prosperous state. Displaying such an extraordinary level of fiscal discipline in the political arena would have set a positive example for us all and created an overwhelmingly-positive reaction in financial markets.

    Our politicians’ continuing lack of resolve to take DIFFICULT decisions and self-inflict real substantial cuts in their own salaries and allowances is helping to inflate the cost of State borrowing.

    FAIR PLAY where are you? The Budget of the two Brians delivered the second hand of Thierry Henry to the nation.

    • Ruairí

      @ Paul McD “FAIR PLAY where are you? The Budget of the two Brians delivered the second hand of Thierry Henry to the nation.”

      Paul, with this statement, you have succinctly approximated the massive feelings of genuine unfairness about something that is open day light fraud. More than that, where those in charge discharge themselves of their leadership duty and say “What can ya do?”
      Your quote is the common man’s headline of 2009 for its sensing of the palpable anger and disbelief that is reaching boiling point.
      An excellent post.

  9. Malcolm McClure

    David: This is an excellent well-balanced article. You say:
    “The State and the bankers don’t seem to understand that we are now living in an instantaneous world, where information is free and available. You can’t pull the wool over everyone’s eyes indefinitely.
    I have a slight beef about that last sentence, because although its generality is indeed perfectly valid, it doesn’t point out that you can pull the wool over the majority of people’s eyes indefinitely. Otherwise FF would never have been re-elected.

    Most people don’t respond to information stimuli, they are simply led by the carrot and the stick.
    Even with their pay cut, made for external effect, those with decent jobs in the public service will have been given the nod and the wink, enough to keep them at FF’s beck and call until the election. They will be fed the occasional well-concealed carrot in the meantime to retain their votes.
    The stick affects everyone, but FF cunningly depends on the Stockholm Syndrome to retain the ‘outsider’ voter’s allegiance. Because those sheeple earlier formed a deep emotional attachment to their persecutors, they embrace the chance offered to share the blame for their predicament. They may actually welcome their penance as an opportunity to cleanse their souls, just as they were carefully trained to do at confession.

    Can we really convert a penitant into a priest (or vice versa)?

    • Ruairí

      Very pertinent Malcolm. Well said.

      As the spinmeisters spin the shells on the table and even as some on this forum have begun believing in the great white hope that is Barack Lenihan, we have the ignominious potential for Cowen to receive all of the blame while Lenihan takes us forward to a brave new Ireland.
      And there’s a massive percentage of Irish people who would swallow that hook, line and sinker and back him to the hilt in an election.
      I don’t know if anyone’s been watching the young guns in FG and Labour, e.g. Kieran O’Donnell and Lucinda Creighton and Sean Sherlock and others, but we would be in safe hands with at least THAT regime change, not withstanding the structural and legislative changes needed in Ireland.
      The fear people have of ABFF is unreal !! Nothing could be worse than more FF. And that’s from a born n bred FF boy who exorcised himself of such demons and infestations a long time ago :-D

  10. Tim

    Aha! The “daily divisor”! Just another method by which the Irish Banks are ripping-off joe-Public.

    Seemingly, the divisor changed to a standard Eurzone dne of 360, when we joined the euro. Our banks immediately applied the new divisor to “corporate” or “large business” deposits, but left all personal-retail deposits on the old divisor of 365.

    So, what does it mean? The example given was this:

    €8,000 on deposit for 30 days at 3% interest, will yield €20 for the corporate client, but only €19. 72 for the personal-retail depositor.

    Not much of a loss per month for the individual, but when extrapolated over the personal-retail deposits in Ireland of €80 billion, the banks are pocketing over €33 million.

    Anyone still believe we should tolerate these crooks?

    Ps. I bet it does not work in the opposite direction, when they calculate the personal-retail overdraft interest. What’s your bet?

  11. wills

    Fighting back against the forces of oppression.

    ‘Can people become so broken that truth’s of how they are being screwed do not ‘set them free’ but instead further demoralize them?’

    ‘Has such a demoralization happened in Ireland?’

    • Tim

      wills, is that what I posted yesterday?

      • Tim

        are you “reading-back”?

        Jeez…. and I was relying on you to be “on-top” of things!

        • Ruairí

          Hi Tim,

          seeing as you posted that yesterday :-)

          I do think that people can tire quite quickly and that’s why the resistance against this government and their socially unbalanced budget must be a blitzkrieg and must achieve almost immediate gains i.e. the downfall of this government.
          The question remains; – does the maistay structure of resistance, ICTU now have a proper sense of their place in this and how they must NOT drop the ball again. They have been passive participants in sealing this budget, by firing their limited shots too early.

          People do tire. People have so much on their plates. Real leadership (of resistance also, as with any group goal) requires great skill and great speed (once the trigger is pulled) in order to effect change.

          • Ruairí

            At the risk of stating the obvious, I believe it is INCUMBENT on anyone whose wider family is being screwed, by AIB or BOI etc, to withdraw any savings they have and move them to their credit unions.

            Suffocate your enemies. Spread the word. If you don’t suffocate them, they will limp on and then get increased state injections. Do any of us want that?

            WE NEED TO LOSE A BANK.

            I also think that there should be blockades and occupations / sit-ins. No marches. This needs to be short and swift.
            I think the Facebook links you posted are quite scary actually as I believe that every generation views the world differently and I believe that this generation of young people are VERY confident, very educated and will go mental (wild) (on the streets) if this government attempts to re-institute 1986 Ireland.
            I think this government does not just lack empathy. They are COMPLETELY unaware of what the public mood is.

            I would not underestimate the mental strength and propensity for action of our student aged citizens. I think this government will have a Greece scenario on their hands in quicktime. One reason is because of the halving of dole of some at that age. Its ageist, its a very stupid move by an unthinking unfeeling and ultimately politically tired cabinet.

          • Tim

            Ruairí , delighted that you are reading ;-)

            Lookit, I work with young people, every day.

            Trust me: they are not as forgiving as previous generations. They are not as reticent; they are not sheeple.

            The “Hang-over” of acquiescence from their parents, will be short-lived.

            Let’s keep at it!

      • wills

        tim, picking up on Malcolms Mcclures post 10, Stockholm syndrome malaise in the way of change, and i cannot agree more with this point.

        Ireland is in knots, one sector who bought into POnzi credit ready to do mob, the sheeple sector in the dark too much information want to be lead and section who just want characters like myself to shut and stop rocking the boat and a section thats apathetic and exiting via air, land or sea.

        • Tim

          Gotcha; dead-right too.

          I think it is a link that deserves re-reading, anyway.

          What is your take on the “daily divisor” at 11.?

          I think it reveals the true pettiness of the criminal activity of the bankers in this country, where from the top down, even the data-entry deposit-interest calculators and the IT programmers and spreadsheet makers are “in on it”.

          They all know that there is one daily divisor for the rich and another for the ordinary Joe; but since the ordinary Joes are more numerous, they “penny-pinch” a little and often from the many, leading to an annual windfall.

          • Ruairí

            “but since the ordinary Joes are more numerous, they “penny-pinch” a little and often from the many, leading to an annual windfall.”

            Micheál Martin economics. He defended this after Budget 09, explaining the depth of the tax base versus going the wealth tax route. Off topic, but what’s wrong with both Mickey?

          • wills

            tim, i think it’s what Vincent browne asserted to niight on tv 3.

            The people who hold the monies, the rich, take the wealth away from the group of lower downers any chance they get, in bad times, in good times and in between times.

            Ireland s economy is an economic rent seeking system so those who hold the power will do in the ‘outsiders’ when necessary.

            And this means above in your post, it means NAMA, it means paedo priests run amok, it means those who choose to earn an honest days work must get wise and clued in on the real threat they live under around every corner.

  12. Revolution
    Why the hell not? I have written to the minster stating that I do not recognize his or his government’s authority over me or my family
    I am willing to do anything to remove this corrupt government
    The Trade Unions are the only realistic way the workers in this country can gather enough muscle and topple this corrupt government.
    The FF &G, Government has pushed through legislation to bail out their buddies in the |Banks and Building industries
    To pay for it they have pushed through a budget that robs from the poor and gives to the rich,have bribed, and made sweetheart deals with unscrupulous gombieen men, that have sold their own country out to international bond investors.
    It could be possible; that some of these characters have being given brown paper bags with Swiss bank account numbers for their support, with such sums of money at stake?
    The point is we the people cannot expect any of the gutless characters to stand with the people now,
    So we must now rely on the Trade Unions, but it’s the ordinary members that will have to come out on to the streets, with or without the union leadership
    Kick this shower of traitors out and bring to justice, the corrupt politicians
    Responsible for the destruction of our country!

    • wills

      machholz -

      I reckon ‘revolution’ ends in the cycle of ‘power’ corrupting.

      I think D’s article is more slanted towards a narrative than an actual overthrow of government through revolt.

      Changing the political will take a spirit of learning moving through the population and awakening a yearning for a return of values that hold true.

      Now lets go that route and we will be guaranteed success and a bright future and break from the past.

    • G

      surround the Dail and bring this thing to a head!

    • bankstershill

      Applause. I’m with you patriot.

  13. scrawb

    All the ‘Seanie Fitzpatricks’ must be pissing on themselves laughing at the way they ‘got away with it’. Now they are consolidating their positions instead of doing a stint in Mountjoy. They’ll all be out slapping each others backs on the golf course this Xmas while a huge section of our population will spend the ‘Festive Season’ wondering if they will a place to live in the new year.
    Ah sure, when you have a population who kept their mouths shut while the disciples of the Vatican were screwing their kids….
    What can you expect?

  14. I am willing
    To meet anyone of you with the view to taking real and sustained action to help get these corrupt b******s out of Government and bring about a complete change in the political system that has sold us out to foreign bond holders
    how many of you are willing to help?

    • Tim

      I am.

      Have met some, already.

    • Jucer

      Hi Machholz
      I think that we have to be realistic as regards regime change. History keeps repeating itself here in Ireland. It’s the 1950s and 1980s all over again. The system is broken. We live in a democracy, and it will be at the ballot box that we will have to affect change. The next general election will be in 2012. I think that the Gov will limp to it. To me it looks like it will be a FG/Lab Gov the next time around. I came across this potential political party on the web What do people think? I am not a member and I do not have anything to do with them. I had a quick read of there site, they do not seem to differ that much from FG/FF, they are sitting on the fence on big issues like energy and Same sex couples. Does a new party have to be radical or redundant?

  15. Ruairí

    This article and commentary is missing one thing; no direspect to the author or fellow commentators.

    It is missing the raining-blow analysis of clientelism by our own Deco.

    I am sure Deco is busy gathering thoughts and choosing incursion points and beach-heads into this fascinating and well-timed article.

    Apologies to G for my continuous use of military talk. I’ve studied strategy, both academically and personally and have read all of the masters. The conflict metaphor is not without merit in such social interactions. I am not a bertie-concensus man meself……..

    • Tim

      Ruairí, I am sure that Deco will “drop-in” when he has time.

      Although, it is possible that Deco considers that this article is expressing what he has said, all along; ergo, no need to comment.

  16. Ah David ,..Nice to see you getting the mood spot on here .
    Good prose . spot on, Missed Kilkenny thanks to my dentist , but my mates went

  17. tony_murphy

    Thanks for this Article David and for exposing the truth over the years.

    I look forward to the day the insiders will have to account for their actions. I’m sure that will eventually happen.

    The insiders may have a stranglehold on the country now, but honesty and fairness will eventually win out.

  18. The truth of how we got into this mess and what may now happen to us is now quite well documented in articles and blogs.
    What can the public do about it? We are such an accepting bunch. At least the Icelanders caused such a stir that the Government was shamed into resigning.
    They suddenly saw how angry the public were.
    We have done nothing as a joint force, public and private, to demonstrate our anger, but for a few blogs and petitions.
    Even the crippled working class and unemployed sit quiet. I’ve done nothing myself.
    Has anyone an answer as to our lack of ability to demonstrate as a nation?
    We’ve really been sucker punched here.

    • bankstershill

      I have been wondering as to the source of the national apathy that seems to have gripped many of us in such a spellbound state of inertia. I know on the face of it this may sound a bit ridiculous, but I think it does merit a little investigation in view of its documented and proven side effects. Could there be to much flouride in our water supply?. The Nazis put it in the drinking water in the concentration camps as it made the prisoners docile and even affable. In lab tests, rats have been shown to exhibit lathargic, couch potatoe like behaviour when fed high doses of fluoride. I’d be curious to know how our fluoride levels compare to those of other nations. Another explanation is simply that a person’s or a nation’s spirit and will to fight back, can be eventually broken in the face of compounded abuse and injustice. The victim simply gives up and takes whatever is dished out. This has also also been demonstated clinically in the Lab. in one experiment a dog is confined to a metal cage. On either side of the cage are placed electrodes which dispenses a painful electric shock should the dog fail to stand exactly in the middle and not touch the side electrodes. The panick striken dog puts up a fight and frantically tries to claw his way through the front of the cage, but of course to know avail. The experimenter then modifies the experiment by placing an electrode on the floor of the cage and begins shocking the dog through his feet. At this point the dog becomes aware there is no escaping the torture and simply slumps down and gives up the fight in what would appear to be a vegetative depression, willingly enduring the pain.

  19. G

    Greatest financial fraud in the history of the world and the Irish State.

    Democratic despots.

    A business run society.

    People marginalised, not involved in decision making process.

    ‘Functional’ democracy with ‘election events’ every 3-4 years, with a narrow range of candidates with an even narrower political agenda.

    ‘Mindless consumers’ making irrational choices bombared by PR and advertising propaganda which fuel unrealistic and destructive ambitions.

    A massive government-business appartus which makes debt slaves of the many, others with job insecurity (called ‘market flexibility’ in neoliberal parlance) and unemployment (30% of those under 25 unemployed), real State wide unemployment at 20%.

    The French had 4-5 Republics, we definitely need a social revolt to uproot the old order which, backed by a Church which has historically backed the rich and the status quo, has repressed those stayed at home and forced the rest to take the plane or boat (this budget is designed to do exactly the same, forcing the youth out thus releasing the social pressures which may have lead to an all-out-revolt ala Greece style).

    Cowen wouldn’t give green light for inquiry into the economic debacle, because he knows well the finger will come back to him and his cohort.

    We live in a dictatorship, scratch the surface of this so called democracy and feel the policeman’s baton!

  20. Late in the day reading this – and I hope David these types of articles are not there to incite reactions for whatever reasons. Paddy on Post1 summed it up – most of us were at it. Most of us are still at – look at the shedloads heading North; the wealthier heading to NewYork; the consultants earning in and around the 1m mark.

    This country set up a welfare system it could not afford; it had weak government (and believe me the only worse thing that could have happened in the last 10 years was that a FG / Labor govhad been in power instead); it had weak regulation; it had weak management; its people were cocky (Lisbon1?); we are lazy and we are begrudgers – we want it all for nothing; and we dont get enough sun….

    Forget about Scandanavian bubbles etc. The world is going through what will become known as “The Great Correction” – that is the working through the fallout of the oversupply of cheap and easy credit – it had got so bad that it nearly bought the world to collapse (and we are not out of it yet – but we are getting there). Ireland is caught in it big time – and its own excesses havnt helped.

    Solutions: We stick in the Euro currency and wait until normality returns. Normality defines the Euro as a basket case currency made up of basket case countries – in other words ” a weak currency”. Despite the best efforts of the US and UK to devalue their currencies – the Euro will fall back to its weak levels. That restores our competiveness on a currency level.

    We have to restore our fiscal position – and rather than all the bemoaning and imotive shite I have read in most posts on this subject – I would thank our lucky stars that at last a person has risen to the occasion – that man is Brian Lenihan.

    Hopefully one fallout from this crisis is that the FG FF historical baggage will be put to bed and we get straight forward left and right politics.

    We get the banking system restored to working order a la Lloyds Banking Group (Bank of Irl) and RBS (AIB). We fix the regulation system (and Patrick Honrohan appears to be another leader who has risen at time of crisis) so that no one person can bring down a banking system – in our case it was Sean FitzPatrick who pushed the boundaries where the other bankers had to follow. Blame him rather than all the bankers.

    I know David has talked of leaving the Euro. If thats the case then Ireland would have to go to the UK and say sorry we made a mistake last century in breaking away from Great Brittain – can we come back in; and can you set the exchange at parity from 1979. In practical terms that would mean multiplying all values in Ireland by approx 0.7 – and our competiveness is restored in one shot.

    Phil R

    • Alf

      Phil, This is typical of the ‘ostrich’ head in the flawed thinking that permeates the establishment. The banks were responsible for the lending choices they took. The banks were responsible for flooding the economy with cheap credit. The government was responsible for building an economy of ‘growth’ based on house prices. There were many that had opposing views but they were easily sidelined as they are today.

      ‘We were all in on it’ is the mantra of the insider.

      We were NOT all in on it – Just as we are not in on the horrible decisions that are taking place at the moment.

      • paulmcd

        Alf, You are of course totally correct that we were NOT all “in on it”. Deceptions are continuing and we are not meant to know.

        Example: When the Report of the Higher Remuneration Review Body was released in mid-October last, Brian Lenihan had it locked away immediately, placed a gagging order on those who had compiled it, and refused representatives of the media the opportunity to examine its findings prior to the Budget.

        The Report in its “revised” version contains items of misinformation, some of which I have already highlighted. More “information” has come to my attention as indicated below.

        The INDEPENDENT carries a report on the findings of the REVIEW BODY on Higher Remuneration in the Public Service at the following link:

        Quote from Independent: “Mr Cowen’s official pre-Budget salary of €285,583 was found to be “significantly ahead” of the pay of Mr Brown, Ms Merkel and the prime ministers of Belgium, Finland and the Netherlands. The only leader in the study to have a higher salary was the Austrian chancellor.”

        The Report’s finding in relation to the Austrian Chancellor is incorrect. I have obtained all the relevant facts and figures from the Austrian Embassy. (Again, as in the case of Finland, the information is not readily available on the internet. Go, figure.)

        The annual salary for the Austrian Chancellor from 1 July 2009 is 237,144 euros; so Brian Cowen’s official pre-Budget salary is 20.4% greater than his Austrian counterpart’s. This is all the more extraordinary when you reflect on the fact that Austria with a population of over 8 million has more than twice as many taxpayers as the Irish Republic.


      • AndrewGMooney

        ‘we are where we are’
        ‘we were all in on it’
        ‘we all in this together’

        who defines ‘we’? whose ‘ireland’? that defined in the foundational texts of the Republic? or those alien import foundational texts from far off places……

        ‘we are where we are’ but if ‘we’ don’t know how we got here, how can ‘we’ ever get anywhere different in the future?

        the map is not the compass
        driving to a cliff edge clearly visible but the ‘Sat-Nav’ says ‘continue forward’ ‘continue on current route’ ‘turn left’ ‘turn right’ till it’s round and round in ever decreasing circles.

        the ‘sat-nav’ of original and overlaid ‘foundational texts’ is malfunctioning, non-compliant. banjaxed. and a very deep fog has descended……running out of energy fuel….who’s got a torch?….would it be better to get out of this vehicle and walk? that cliff is still out there, somewhere in this fog…..

  21. brenr6

    civil servants are insiders are they? as someone who has just had his pay savaged for the second year in succession, im clearly not aware of the benefits (and Im not looking for sympathy and I voted against industrial action before anyone starts)

    • Sucks doesn’t it? :-( Our company is instigating 20% cut across the board next year.

      • Tim

        Thriftcriminal, my wife’s employer did the same.
        Q. When your pay is cut by 20%, will you continue working 5 days a week, or will you be on a 4 day week?

          • Tim

            It is a very dishonest employer that expects 5 days work for 4 days’ pay. My wife is on a 4 day week; my child’s friend’s father is an accountant in an architecture firm and he is now on a 3 day week.

            Your answer suggests that private sector employers may now begin to follow the government’s “lead” as an employer that expects full 5-day productivity for only 4 days’ pay.

            Workers in this country should wake-up to what is being done to them and stand together against a dishonest and corrupt employer-class.

            When I was raised, the maxim was “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay”.

            Because I still believe in that, am I to be considered some kind of “relic” of a by-gone era? Is that era gone?

            I baulk at the very notion of it!

            Are we to allow our children to grow up and work in a world where their employers are free to exploit them in this manner without opposition?

            Moral rectitude is every bit as urgent as fiscal rectitude in Ireland; indeed, the former would possibly bring-about the latter in a more sustainable way.

          • G

            People have to fight for change, power doesn’t give it up willingly, people have given their lives for better pay and conditions, time we woke up to this historical truism, we are talking about fighting an entire system, possibility of defeat and betrayal high, positive outcome uncertain, therein lies the risk for people, if you are prepared to face trouble, injury etc then so be it, but I think it does put the decision of those in 1916 like Connolly in a greater reality.

            ‘Workers/Employees democratic control of the workplace where profits are distributed in an equal and fair manner is the way to go, anything else is a form of fascism, decisions top-down from ‘management’ or ‘ceo’, firing people willy nilly, cutting peoples pay, let workers committees be setup and let the workers run the businesses, they will be run more efficiently because people will have an actual stake in the work they do as oppose to turning up like drones for a wage packet.

            People should have a greater say in the decisions that will dramatically alter their lives, get rid of the boss structure, end the vertical role, make it horizontal….

    • Jucer

      I have just taken a 100% pay cut, i was made redundant. the company i work for lost business and was forced to make about 25% of the workforce redundant.. The other alternative would have been to reduce everyones pay by 25%. But the unions would not have allowed that. The vast amount of employers are good. I know of a few that have been doing well but have used the recession to reduce workers pay. From a personal point of view a 20% pay cut is bettwe than a 100% cut.

      • I’d agree with you there. There are cases where this can be framed as a marxist struggle and there are others where that is not appropriate. I know another company that instigated a 10% cut 12 months ago rather than let people go, that was just the financial reality of it.

      • donkeykong

        Exactly right Jucer, better to have a reduced income that none at all.

        People need to wake up and realise that deflation is absolutely required and they are going to have to expect their wages to fall in line with house prices as both had risen far too high.

        It’s well and good to be high and mighty about not taking part in the housing bubble, but we can’t all at the same time deny the wages bubble.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Hi brenr6,

      Wanna swap places? I’m enjoying a 100% fall in income, moved back in with mum and dad, no dole payment until after Christmas. Do you fancy some of that?

      • donkeykong

        HI Colin,

        My condolences on losing your job, and I hope that you can find your way into something soon. From reading your posts in the past, you are obviously intelligent and with determination will find something.

        Please take some comfort in the fact that there are many of us thinking about people like yourself who could just as easily by our brother, sister or ourselves.

        It does truly sicken me to see people who think they it is logical for them to go on strike for pay increases when the rests of us know the world as it really is.

        To the public sector workers – having had your pay vastly increased over time compared to equivalent workers in the euro zone, it should be no surprise to see it reduce – and it’s far from savagery if you still have a job.

    • AndrewGMooney

      reply to G further down this #22:

      ‘Workers/Employees democratic control of the workplace where profits are distributed in an equal and fair manner is the way to go’

      Ireland got Tesco. Is Wal-Mart good for America? etc. But maybe Ireland will get Waitrose and John Lewis when the shakedown works its’ way through….are Irish Big Box grocers ‘insiders’ or ‘outsiders’ fighting alien invader Tesco? Cui bono?

      JLP is no worker utopia. no profit shareholder nirvana. it’s grappling with change, but there are some foundational principles in the business plan/profitability models that may interest you if you don’t know of their set-up.

      UK/GB but no presence in The North….must find out why that is, historically….

  22. [...] McWilliams’ latest article is his most potent piece in quite a [...]

  23. Anyone wanting to get more information on Government Debt & Default
    Should follow this link
    As to starting to do something about our own situation here in Ireland, I am willing to do my part in what I call mobile demonstrations against the corrupt ruling elite
    It is proposed to plan a number of sustained demonstrations outside the relevant Government buildings plus other “Actions”
    I can be contacted at a self help group highlighting the plight of the jobseekers in Wicklow town
    I am done writing and talking about the corruption and the self interest that govern this Country
    This will be a new grouping of people with no affiliations to any other political parties

  24. Original-Ed

    Our neutrality stance has removed the Irish backbone and our ability to fight – we simply leave it to someone else to do it for us. Some of Greece’s deficit problems are to do with the purchase of expensive arms and not with over paid public servants. Our public service is now famous throughout Europe for its ability to extract so much for so little in return. It’s no wonder that everybody in Ireland with two brain cells wanted a public service job. Even our PhD’s were rushing into it, instead of taking the riskier option of creating something in the private sector. We’ve become weak people with no sense of belonging to something great and our decline is inevitable.

    • G

      The State sector is quite dynamic, not the feckless, lazy caricature that the government and business lobby have so disgracefully bandied about, it is to the State that the banking sector (private) is turning to for a bailout (and who will eventually be nationalised).

      What we are using now, the internet and computers were created in the State sector and were farmed out to the private sector once it was realised that profits could be made.

      If anything the private/corporate sector is more socially destructive, less socially conscience, threatens the environment and displays fascist/socio-pathic tendencies – see the documentary ‘The Corporation’ (youtube).

      A fair, functioning society is what we seek, with better distribution of resources, where the vulnerable are protected (the sick, the blind, the disabled, the carers, the socially disadvantaged) where people are entitled to a home and a job without have to prositiute themselves or ‘serve’ as wage slaves – to have people on anti-depressants or worse committing suicide because of debt or business failure disgusts all thinking people – we can do better than this.

      Yes there are honourable examples in business, and I praise those who have tried to do their best for their employees, but the system overall is inherently destructive and should be dismantled immediately.

      It is the crisis that runs at the heart of the capitalism system which IS the problem, cycles of booms and bust (which run in 20 year cycles) which has led us to this dark place, we must develop another way or face economic or environmental destruction.

      • StephenKenny

        I know it’s something that Noam Chomsky likes to say (and, yes, I’ve read all his books), but it’s not really usefully true.
        TCP/IP was created to provide a fault tolerant comms systems for a huge number of disaggregated nodes (US strategic nuclear forces), but it was a development of an earlier group of comms protocols. The World Wide Web (the http:// and URL stuff) was developed at CERN (Tim Berners Lee etc) using ideas and components from other systems and companies.
        The great thing about something developed by a state organisation isn’t necessarily that it’s much good (the WWW protocols aren’t, actually, much good) but that it’s a standard that comes from a non-competitor, so everyone feels safe to adopt it. They are also generally free, and there’re none of those appalling patent gridlock problems.
        The relationship between the state and private sectors is always changing, and a matter of degree, and balance.

  25. Tim

    Folks, an interesting notion here, discussing our socio-economic position in terms of hunting versus gardening:


    Sat urday’s Irish mail contained a picture of Sean F leaving the Trocadero restaurant.Same old cheesy grin.What odds Mr F doing some time?.Nil.

  27. steph

    The antics of Charles Haughey, Bertie Ahern and other scandals (Floods tribunal, Ansbacher, FAS,…) have been going on for over 20 years. Those who called for change then were often called reds and commies for spoiling the success of the Celtic tiger.
    Sure everybody had something to gain and the moral corruption that was exposed on a daily basis (and payed for by the taxpayer) seems to have become the model by which success is achieved. It has pervaded through society and why not. Our leaders are getting away with it (Remember the minister for finance with no bank account who won big at the races?)

    So back to change.

    I’d be curious to know who could drive the change? I mean a revolution is a good idea (Being French I would) but what next? Enda Kenny? Michael O’Leary? Declan Ganley? Geldof & Bono?

    The system is so well oiled that any change would mean a massive and nationwide effort by everyone to adjust their moral compass to commit to realistic objectives (tall order). It would also take a significant group of people to define a program (raising the bar) and campaign on the ground to explain it to the voters (higher still), who, in turn would miss the days when campaigns were just about shaking a hand and getting the road fixed in exchange for a vote. Even at that, chances are the old boys would be voted in (as per family tradition).

    Facebook groups for a revolution are a bit like farmeville, fun and non committing. I mean who would really want to get up at 3 in the morning to make sure the calving cows is cared for?

    • G

      As a French person, you will be aware of the levels of corruption prior to 1798, the well oiled court, the business interests backed up the Royal Army, but still people stormed the Bastille and risked it all.

      Today’s certainty can be washed away by the people, ancien regimes thought impregnable are now footnotes of history.

      I suspect the current system would crumble faster than most as it is rotten to the core and has little to no mass support, plus the French Revolution evolved over many years, eventually exploding, it subsequently turned into an absolute bloodbath but other more peaceful, socially democratic revolutions have occurred and not in the distant past.

      If people in even key industries withdrew their labour, as threatened by the Unions and the Guards, the government would be faced with a no confidence vote, Cowen would be sacrificed from within, and an election would have to be called, he is only hanging on out of self-interest and the desire not to see a full investigation into his role as Minister for Finance.

      Do all revolutions end in failure? I am not so sure, people primarily want a change of government because of its overly close business interests and central role in our economic debacle, the Icelandic example is an interesting one (and not because of its extensive waters full of fish) the
      government was forced out, the banks are being investigated – Ireland could begin there.

      • Sounds like our Atlantic cousins are going about revolution in the right way. I can see a forced general election happening in 2010. FF have been in power too long and like you said they are too close to developers and banksters. Too much corruption going on, it’ll all come out in a few decades but that’s too late for us.

        What are the alternative governments? FG are weak with Enda Kenny as leader, he’s not intelligent enough. They need a new leader to guarantee winning the next election.

        • G

          FG – Labour coalition, Kenny does not inspire confidence but he has successfully brought FG back from the political abyss, Richard Bruton is effective and is G. Lee, despite my major concerns about their overall policies, but I take your point on the narrowness of political options, one business party masquerading as 3, you might have more socially orientated policies from Labour, FG said they would not have cut the wages of those making less than 30,000 ( a net negative economic move, which will suck consumption out of the economy and add to unemployment).

          To be honest, there is little depth in either party, the Left in Ireland has not made its case successfully and is much divided against itself (same old story) but I, like 85% of my compatriots want to see change and a cut in the’ cosy capitalism at its worst’ relationship (Financial Times), that nexus of politician, developer, bankster that FF is so familiar with.

          Get FF and Harney out, the Greens will vanish from the landscape and put new faces in and see what happens, as I said, a first step, if that doesn’t work then people will need to consider options, leave or make a stand (create a new political party etc)…….

    • Dilly

      I got an e-mail from Brittany yesterday, asking me why people in Ireland are not out on the streets. The friend offered to come over with some students, and give some free training on how to stick it to those in power.

    • coldblow

      Eugenie Grandet”s miserly father in Balzac’s novel acquired a great deal of land at rock bottom prices as a result of your own ‘levelling’!

      Whatever about calls for having all Irish govt. business online with 100% transparency, I think the only way to approach fairness in this country (if that is what we want of course) would be for all citizens’ income, wealth and expenditure to be available for public inspection. Any takers?

  28. Tim

    Bias in the Irish media re the budget and our economic situation?

    Surely not!!!???

  29. paulmcd

    “The banks still have the main guys at the top and the union leaders, who were part of the “nod and wink” status quo of the past 10 years, are still at the helm.”

    Public servants have their union leaders to blame. I believe that unions, from the outset should have accepted the inevitability of cutbacks. The unions would then have been freer to exact a fair price from politicians. The unions could have explored other avenues. The one-day strike was a waste of time. Consider the following:

    I am not aware of any union’s general secretary calling for pay caps to be implemented as a part-solution to the crisis. I would suggest a pay cap of €150,000 for the most highly-paid public servants and employees of semi-state organisations, including banks, to be implemented immediately and to have a retrospective effect if there is any delay.

    The arbiters, in the discussions between union leaders and senior civil servants, were people earning six-figure salaries – union members, have been failing to question the wisdom of this in the context of our economic emergency.

    No union leader, to my knowledge, has called for the immediate reversal of ALL measures which facilitate Irish millionaires and billionaires to live as tax exiles, especially legislation pushed through by Bertie, as Minister for Finance, in the 90s. (They need to use some imagination and novel forms of action: How about a “Come back to Erin – Billionaire Wall of Shame” with mug shots of O’Brien, O’Reilly, et al, at ALL “Ports of Entry” for these most brazen of our tax exiles?) DAVID: This latter suggestion would never appear in the IRISH INDEPENDENT, unless perhaps you report that some LUNATIC came up with the idea in your FORUM.

    No union, to my knowledge, has called for a referendum to remove the constitutional discrimination in favour of the judiciary where matters of remuneration are concerned.

    Congress has failed to indicate any possibility of entering into negotiations with an international body, eg, IMF representatives or ECB, to seek justice in resolving the worsening plight of trade unionists and explore the possibility of a government of national unity. Do they really have so much confidence in our political leadership?

    No representative of a trade union has, to my knowledge, highlighted the continuing vast discrepancy between pay levels for Irish politicians – too high – and their peers in even Europe’s richest economy, Norway. With regard to the latter point, public service unions are failing many of their own lower-paid members. (If Scandinavian standards were adopted throughout the public service, many lower-paid trade union members would be offered a better deal than they already had before the Budget.)

    For every future 1% cut in pay average earners in the public service there should be an immediate 10% pay cut for TDs, senators, and other public representatives. I believe that they bear ultimate responsibility for the economic catastrophe.

    The unions should insist, on behalf of their members, that public representatives who are already highly remunerated by virtue of conducting another profession or business will no longer be able to claim expenses and will ultimately — within 3 years – receive no remuneration whatsoever from the State. Only full-time public representatives will be entitled to a State salary. This situation will continue until NAMA, or its replacement, expires.

    Long-service increments, dual pensions and benefits-in-kind will cease PERMANENTLY AND WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT for all public representatives, former ministers, and former taoisigh. This measure will be made retrospective to Budget 2010. All monies outstanding under this measure must be recovered before any further pay cuts, tax increases (direct or indirect), or increases in duties or other levies are imposed on the general public or any section thereof.

    Pay cuts for general workers in the public service will be implemented only after a 6-month time interval has elapsed from the full implementation of proposed cuts for the judiciary and public representatives as listed above. The principle of the time lapse will apply for all future pay cuts and will operate in reverse when there are increases in pay.

    The banking executives who led our country to the verge of economic oblivion should be forced to repay all bonuses earned from the year 2000 onwards. They were essentially less than second-rate performers and I realise that the repayment of bonus money may not be sufficient recompense, but it would at least indicate – along with new limits on politicians – to the rest of the world that in Ireland you cannot expect reward for failure.


  30. coldblow

    I agree with you David. Taken straight out of your book (but I think you referred to “senior” civil servants there if memory serves?). What matter, I referred before to circles within circles and that, as the numbers were plainly too high for all to be looked after, the outer circles would break and drop off. (Someone then made the reasonable that if your back is against the wall you have to form a circle.) This whole set up is bred in the bone (just see how fast people from all classes jumped on the property bandwagon for an easy buck) and although the insiders can be easily identified (if a light is shone on them) the divide crosses through the whole of Irish society right down to individual families, as you and others have already pointed out.

    Crotty could have written this. The ex-IMF official who wrote that excellent analysis we got links for some time back, he could have written it too.

    Of course how to deal with it is the big problem. One thing for sure is that change will come whether we do something or not as the numbers don’t add up – how can we possible fund our commitments (including the Nama mega-billions) without something giving? The budget was largely (apparently) a sacrifice to appease the market gods. Many of us predicted it wouldn’t work and, although it’s a bit early to call it yet, that’s the way it seems to be going.

    Devaluation is probably a necessary first step (though I note M; Hennigan’s warnings herer) as there is absolutely no way the cost base can be reduced fairly all round. Or rather, as fair as is practicable. (Deposit holders will be hit while the innermost Insiders will no doubt have their bit stashed away offshore long ago. Still better to take a moderate hit than live in anaarchy.)

    I have become quite ‘economic determinist’ over the past couple of years, but all the evidence points that way. The vested interests have this country in a stranglehold.

    Insiders and Outsiders – that should have been our national anthem from the start. Tomás Taobh Istigh mar a déarfadh Máirtín Ó Cadhain!

    Anyway, that’s enough out of me. I’m not an economist anyway!

  31. malone

    A quote
    ” ah sure what can we do , ye cant change anything”

  32. mcsean2163


    with regard to banks tanking, there may be a push to sell off the stocks so that it can be offset against yearly gains.

    And there’s been quite a lot of gains this year.

    Remember it’s not a loss until you sell it!

  33. G

    AMY GOODMAN: President Morales, welcome to Democracy Now!

    PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Thank you very much for the invitation.

    AMY GOODMAN: You spoke yesterday here at the Bella Center and said we cannot end global warming without ending capitalism. What did you mean?

    PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Capitalism is the worst enemy of humanity. Capitalism–and I’m speaking about irrational development–policies of unlimited industrialization are what destroys the environment. And that irrational industrialization is capitalism. So as long as we don’t review or revise those policies, it’s impossible to attend to humanity and life.

    AMY GOODMAN: How would you do that? How would you end capitalism?

    PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] It’s changing economic policies, ending luxury, consumerism. It’s ending the struggle to–or this searching for living better. Living better is to exploit human beings. It’s plundering natural resources. It’s egoism and individualism. Therefore, in those promises of capitalism, there is no solidarity or complementarity. There’s no reciprocity. So that’s why we’re trying to think about other ways of living lives and living well, not living better. Not living better. Living better is always at someone else’s expense. Living better is at the expense of destroying the environment.

    PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] The best thing would be that all war spending be directed towards climate change, instead of spending it on troops in Iraq, in Afghanistan or the military bases in Latin America. This money would be better directed to attending to the damages that were created by the United States. And, of course, this isn’t just $100 billion; this is probably trillions and trillions of dollars. How are we going to spend money to kill and not save lives? We have to spend money to save lives, not to kill. These are our differences with capitalism.

    AMY GOODMAN: What is your message to President Obama at these climate talks?

    PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] After listening to his speech at the heads of state Summit of the Americas, we were very hopeful that he would be an ally in addressing poverty. Now I’m not so hopeful. Rather, we’re disappointed. If something has changed in the United States, it’s the color of the president.

    So I’ve been called upon, through administrative resolutions, to close unions, or to eliminate unions, when I’m doing exactly the opposite. [translator: “I apologize.”] In the report that was done regarding access to trade preferences under the ATPDEA program, it was charged that the Bolivian government has been involved in suppressing unions, when, in fact, quite the contrary, the government’s been very active in providing infrastructure and support to unions through improving the centers where unions meet, etc.

    Even President Bush did not make any observations about the new clauses in the constitution of Bolivia, whereas under the new administration there have been observations and comments made about the new constitution that’s been drafted, in particular in relation to the management of the gas and oil sectors. This is a clear involvement in Bolivian internal affairs by the Obama administration. At the end of the day, it seems that they’re asking us to change the constitution. This is something that not even Bush did. If we just look at this, this makes Obama seem–look worse than Bush. And the documents are there.

    Full interview here:

  34. lff12

    The only reason we have an insider/outsider system is because half the workforce is denied their right to collective bargaining, a system which is colluded with by the pampered elite of the trade union movement, who are happy to leave out half the workforce in order to get a bigger piece of pie for their greedy obese bellies, while those on the outside have endured job cuts and pay freezes back as far as the late 1990s. Engageed on its first round of redundancies as far back as 2000 – it was inevitable that this small start would escalate to a cacophony of closures (by the way, EMF3 was not the first Dell factory to close in Limerick – EMF2 quietly shut its doors long ago, to little media attention and office shuffling in their Cherrywood/Bray facilities managed to conceal many rounds of job cuts there).

    The collective bargaining denial issue wouldn’t be such a problem if it were not for the so-called “partnership” process. In the absence of compsulsory union recognition mechanisms it effectively means that a large body of workers will be denied representation at both local, macro AND national level whilst creating the illusion that “partnership” is both meaningful and inclusive, which we now realise, it is neither.

    The Scandinavians, by the way, have a particularly interesting way of doing business with unions. For a start, shop stewards are not paid more than those they represent and their conditions are adjusted to be the same. That is certainly the case for Norway anyway. They are also heavility accountable to their members, and the unions in turn have collective societal responsibility, which in this country they cannot, since they can pick and choose whom they wish to represent, just as employers can pick and choose who they want to consult with. Such a system inevitably going to crerate an insider/outsider system.

  35. Aspirations – There is a collective emotional bag in the room that wants to sweep away the decay in our society. The intended change is unlikely to happen because there in NO Manifesto .It would be better if we could nail a new Proclamation to The GPO and The Dail .Unfortunately that wont happen either because FL ( in the room ) says everyone that did so in 1916 were killed .So what binds us that is sterling to our dreams to be free again?How do you print it ?
    Whatever happens it needs to be like The Orange Revolution in Ukraine and not what happened in Iran.That means trusted leaders must be chosen that will commit to change .So who are they?
    And thats just the beginning.

    • Tim

      John ALLEN, May I start the list of trusted leaders with this man:

      David McWilliams.

      …. then, may I add this man:

      Mr. Joe Behan


      55 Richmond Park
      Co. Wicklow

      Ph: 01 2760804


      If I could get these two men (for starters) into the same room, we would have something interesting going on.

      David knows how to contact Joe; so do all who read here.

      I also have Joe’s mobile number and David can have that in private if he wants it – he already has all my contact details.

      • Ruairí

        Some have said here before that David may have made a mistake taking the Panel gig but I”ll give you my tuppence worth, based on Tim’s post.

        It is clear actually, from watching it through to the end of the series, that David ran the gauntlet of his fellow panelist’s jibes and has emerged at the end of it as ‘cool’. Not just cool to my generation of mid-thirties bu tnow cooler to a generation a whole 10-15 years younger.
        That spells smart in my book. And that extended popularity and visibility, the ability to mix with the high and mighty and the good people of Ireland, spells serious leverage in the event of a campaign for regime change.
        “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
        ‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch” etc

      • Jucer

        Hi Tim
        Is Joe Behan still a member of FF, did he vote for NAMA and the budget?

        • Tim

          Well said, Ruaraí.

          Jucer, Joe Behan resigned from Fianna Fail (much to my chagrin – read back to see my posts on why) and he voted against NAMA and he voted against the budget (and the April one; and last October’s one ( that was the one he resigned on – the education cuts and the “over-70s-medical-card” were too much for him).

    • Hi John ALLEN.
      We could start with this foundation and move from there??
      * Justice and charity must inform national institutions.
      * The free market and private property must be regulated in the interests of the common good.
      * The state must prevent a destructive concentration of essential commodities in the hands of a few.
      * The state should ensure efficiency in private industry and protect the public against economic exploitation.
      * Everyone has the right to an adequate occupation.
      * The state must supplement private industry where necessary.
      * The state must protect the vulnerable, such as orphans and the aged.
      * No one may be forced into an occupation unsuited to their age, sex or strength.

      Otherwise known as Article 45 of the Irish Constitution.

      • Tim

        Furrylugs, That’s a good start for the manifesto, alright.

        Perhaps people could start adding to it, here, as well as adding to the lis of trusted leaders?

        • Sean Kelly.
          What he achieved with the GAA was massive.
          Where’s your “5″ thing from last year Tim. Couldn’t you boil that down a bit?

          • Tim

            “Our” thing, Furry. I will reproduce the “5″s as soon as I can locate the flippin’ back-up! (Ooops!)

            I asked, a couple of articles back, if people would like to look at them, one year-on.

            I got no response, so I dropped my search.

            Now that you bring it up, I will have another go at locating the file. (unless, of course, anyone else can lay their keyboard on it quicker???)

          • I wouldn’t support him, he was pro Lisbon

          • G

            The GAA – Politics Nexus is almost as bad as the Bankster-Politics nexus, time for a clean break from the ‘who you know gang’ – people based on merit and ability, New Republic imbued not with the old nepotistic ways but with scope and freshness.

            Point taken on Lisbon as well.

      • G

        Posted it before but worth a shot given your statement Furrylugs

        * Elect a new Government
        * Create a new political party that actually represents the people – move away from centrist politics
        * An Independent Media (not subject to government licence fee and approval)
        * Investigate all those in the business and political elite who had any involvement in bringing the State to the abyss, end to tribunals as a means of investigating alleged corruption (should be carried out by Dail committees, with set deadlines, like successful DIRT enquiry).
        * Abolish the Senate
        * Abolish RTE (end of ‘star salaries’)
        * Cut the salaries of all public servants i.e. President’s salary to be cut by 70%, Taoiseach 60%, TDs 30%, Senior academics 50% etc
        medical consultant pay by 50%, senior RTE presenters by 90%
        * Develop a greener economy
        * Develop Irish owned, worked controlled industries
        * Nationalise the banks
        * Greater distribution of State’s wealth targeting the disadvantaged
        * Universal education and health care
        * Affordable housing for all
        * End to profiteering off housing
        * Better infrastructure – every city should have an integrated bus and tram system, and massive use of cycle lanes based on continental model, affordable trains to all major cities (train from Cork to Dublin is ridiculously priced – I can fly to Berlin cheaper!!)
        * Creation of a TGV train to run between the four major cities Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway
        * Stronger relationships with Scandinavian countries, utilising their engineering and social expertise
        * Stronger relationships with developing countries
        * Creation of Irish peace corps (volunteers assisted by the government with expenses who would go out and work in developing countries – builders, teachers etc)
        * Worker democracy in the workplace – end of vertical management systems
        * End of use of Shannon airport by foreign military forces
        * End to Ireland’s involvement in the arms industry.
        * More educational and cultural programmes on the national broadcaster and a winding down with a view to removing all foreign soap operas and other low grade programming
        * Better treatment and resources for asylum seekers and immigrants
        * Greater accountability and transparency in Irish universities to do with tax payers money, time spent by lecturer’ researching and teaching, monitoring students progress both in and out of university
        * Creation of an Irish Open university, move away from bricks and mortar to online university!
        * Removing Irish as compulsory subject in primary and secondary school and offering Chinese, Portugese or Spanish (major languages of the future)
        * Greater financial regulation of all privately owned businesses
        * Creation of an innovation/entrepreneurial fund for those seeking to create new businesses and jobs especially in IT and construction sector – tangible products as opposed to the concentration on the ‘financial services sector’Creation of an innovation committee that analyses best practice in all industries abroad with a view to implementing in Ireland
        * Finanical education, communication and presentations skills classes and music and art classes to begin in primary school
        * Strict division of church and state, end of church involvement in education
        * Take full State control of all natural resources (Corrib gas and oil field)

        • You’ve been boning up on Evo Morales G??

          • G

            I find Morales’ position very convincing. He is clearly using his country’s natural resources for the benefit of the poor indigenous community (for the first time in 500 of colonial/Euro-centric domestic elite), how could you have a problem with that? I have seen first hand the incredible poverty levels in Central America and the Caribbean, and have written of such. This appalling vista lives side by side with extreme wealth (excellently documented in John Pilger’s ‘War on Democracy’ – available on Youtube).

            Latin America is showing the way, (at the same time it freed itself from the iron economic grip of the colossus to the North)

            Oliver Stone’s ‘South of the Border’ would be worth watching, but such films don’t seem to ever arrive on these ‘bubble’ shores, certainly RTE has been disgraceful in its non-coverage of events in Honduras and elsewhere, as Vincent Browne said ‘a right wing, public disservice broadcaster’, Charlie Bird could hop on a plane and be in Guatemala in under 3 hours, but no, he prefers pieces to camera outside the Casa Blanca, lazy, lazy, lazy……………

          • Big Willie

            The problem with socialism, democracy, dictatorships and everyother form of social control; the human factor, our frailties, weakness,opinion,bigotry,sexism and all points in between.
            I would agree with the premis of Bank nationalisation, but also the nationalisation of of all the states resources and taking back semi-state status from others ie; bord gais esb cie the list goes on. These can be used as developemental tools to accelerate economic growth, by forward loading infrastructure, creating growth hubs linked with a road, rail, telecom/broadband, making this country attractive to knoledge based industry. Its all well and good having brilliant graduates but if theres no tools for them to work with whats the point.
            The Nationalised State Utilities will be headed by people of the calibre of Patrick Honahan at the Central Bank who are thinkers and not afraid to speak up. The National good should be at the forefront of everybodies mind we are a small state, a young state, we inheritated a system and a civil service that was oblivios to the needs of the people and subserviant to its self and still is, there are good people within the system but are held back by the system its self.
            A new political force is needed to balance the books and to give the people, the majority of people in the country who have no political leaning one way or another to have a real franchise, at the moment you can go down the independant route and risk being a voice in the wind depending on electoral results or you can join a mainstream party and be held back and unheard because of policy and dogma.
            There is the bones of a new party coming togther AMHRAN NUA.IE it looks good, it has an emerging web site, which gives some food for thought.
            Lets fight the good fight and press together for a better IRELAND and figure out how we will pay for it.

        • Ruairí

          Have to say G that I admire most of that. Excellent stuff.
          However, the Irish language is not up for discussion. Take away a nation’s language and music, and they’re not a nation any more.
          Hey Furry, Evo’s not that bad. At least he’s an indigenous man. About time some native American got their hands on the levers of power.

          • G

            Just a start…………….the Irish language, well…….I wasn’t suggesting it be banned or dropped, I advocate ‘choice’……..

            I have to admit that I get a reaction to the Irish language. Our ‘teachers’ (doubling as would be SS candidates) tried to physically beat it into us, I just reacted and refused to learn it and a huge dislike grew as a consequence, for authority as well naturally, especially misplaced, violent authority from the inept.

            I accept the point on culture/identity , I am led to believe it is a beautiful and poetic language, however, I believe in school it should be optional.

            I believe in the so called ‘globalised village’ other languages such as Spanish etc would serve us well in terms of reaching out to other people, economic development etc

            If I had had the choice on Irish in ‘school’, I would have opted not to have taken it, as I felt its utility was questionable but I would support the right of any person to take it, just not as compulsory subject.

          • About time some native Irish got the same methinks.
            Any leader(democratically elected) who provides an alternative to the anarcho-capitalists and neo-conservative clones can’t be all bad.
            Unfortunately, libertarian socialists leaders tend to get destabilised by the others eventually.

        • Jucer

          Is socialism really the cure to our problems. What have the socialists ever done for us. Lets see. Partnership, the unions had there ever wish granted over the last 10 years by the partnership process, and look where that brought us.
          As for financial regulation D Begg sat on the board of the central bank and did not see anything wrong.
          Capitalism is not perfect and has many flaws, but socialism had just as many flaws and is not the solution to our problems. Despite every thing that has happened there is still a lot going for this country. What we really need is strong leadership. A leader that will take on the vested interests, and change Ireland into a proper functioning republic where ever citizen is valued. We need an end to the clientist model we have at the moment. As I look around I see Ireland reverting to type again, we are accepting meekly what is going on. I watched Prime time a few weeks ago, there was a story about nurses emigrating to the UK to find work. So we in Ireland Spend €90K on training each nurse, and they have to move to the NHS in order to have a career, nothing new there we have done it before. Now imagine the same scenario in the US, UK, France , Germany, Scandinavia. What would happen, there would be protests and riots, and rightfully so. We stand at a crossroads, Do nothing and we revert to type, we have to prove to ourselves that the Irish are a proper grown up Nation. Not a clientist Banana Republic. We need strong pragmatic leadership not flawed Ideologies.

          • G

            “Capitalism is not perfect and has many flaws”

            Possibly the second greatest understatement of this new century after ‘there were a few bankers who lost the run of themselves’

            A social democratic system is possible, we just need the will. I believe the people should be involved in the decision making process, control the State’s resources and use the ‘profits’ derived from industry etc for the benefit of society and not for the benefit of a few multinational corporations.

            Lumping my thoughts into the old canard that ‘socialism has failed’ does a disservice to the ideas and the spirit behind them.

          • Colin_in_exile

            So where has socialism succeeded G?

          • Jucer

            Hi G
            What i am trying to say is that i would like to see government via “Best Practice” not Big government. I will give you an example. take for instance Eircom, it was a strategic national asset, it was privatised to the detriment of our telecommunication infrastructure. I believe that if best practice had prevailed in the privatization of eircom, there would have been a very different outcome. The company should have been split up into a carrier (physical infrastructure) and service provider. This would have allowed more competition for other companies to provide services. And the state could have owned the physical infrastructure. There by ensuring that we could have a high speed telecommunication network, with competition that would keep prices low. What we need is smart Government not Big government.

          • G

            That’s normally the sequence, its a complete failure, followed by ‘point to successful examples’

            As we know, it is a bit more complex than that, given world systems, power imbalance, control of propagandist media.

            Its appropriate because I was leafing through J. J. Lee’s slightly self-conscious Ireland 1912-1985, he points out that in the aftermath the media (primarily the Irish Independent) called for the executions of the leaders of the 1916 rising, most notably the red threat as embodied in the person of James Connolly. The socialist/German plot of which he and others were supposed to be a part of was also bitterly condemned by the Catholic Hierarchy and papers in the provinces (see also treatment of Larkin and strikers during the Great Lockout of 1913).

            But I digress.

            I think we are seeing some interesting movements in Latin America, some ‘socialist’ others ‘socially democratic’ operating to the best of their abilities within a world system which was established over many centuries, enforced by the exploitation of developing countries vis a vis Imperial-Colonial-Post-Colonial practices. And still it goes on, $25,000 per minute comes out of Sub-Saharan Africa, billions of dollars which subsidises the ‘rich’ Northern economies.

            Let us be clear, (I am pre-empting the next comment in the sequence) what occurred in the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe was neither socialist nor Marxist but a brutal one party dictatorships, with Lenin/Stalin/Mao hijacking a process, indeed Lenin fought the idea of ‘All Power to the Soviets’, where democratic control of State economic processes was beginning to bring results for the ‘people’.

            It was felt that socialism would emerge out of an industrialised and educated country i.e. Germany but again as we know, huge efforts were put into crushing such a democratic move in the post-world war 1 period in Germany – see killing of Rosa Luxemburg and putting down of the Spartacus uprising.

            Throughout history we have seen the efforts of those in power to crush moves towards social democracy/socialism.

            Red Scare in Ireland during the 30s, the crushing of the Spanish Civil War which is one of the best examples of a society which was displaying a form of libertarian socialism, which had it been allowed to flourish could arguably have led to it influencing developments in other countries.

            And this is the fundamental point, Western countries in particular have done everything in their power to crush similar developments because they recognise the threat from a system which directly challenges capitalism or State Capitalism and all that such a system entails.

            We saw that in Italy and Greece where massive efforts were made (largely successful) by the ‘allies’ to crush socialist and communist movements leading to the deaths of many hundreds of thousands of people, and a return to the fascist style, authoritarian states.

            We saw similar efforts to crush independent development in Latin America – Jacobo Arbenz was making major inroads in Guatemala with the re-distribution of land and resources, only to be overthrown in a CIA back coup in 1954, we saw something similar with Salvador Allende, who again had nationalised his countries industries, was implementing socially democratic programmes only to be overthrown in a violent coup, resulting in the bombing of the presidential palace and his death. The story is the same across Latin America and Africa, where popular leaders like Patrice Lumumba were assassinated along with countless other labour leaders, organisers and activists. Operation Condor is worth checking out.

            Indeed the principal reason for the longest economic embargo in history is precisely because Cuba (after successfully deposing the brutal Batista) chose to development independently (outside the US sphere of influence) and has suffered ever since – the loss of earnings over the 48 year embargo, consistently condemned by the UN General Assembly, is in the tens of billions of dollars, the loss of Cuban life has been considerable. This excludes the ruthless covert war launched by JFK on Cuba and which continued for several decades, with hundreds of assassination attempts on the life of Fidel Castro.

            Similar story in Nicaragua, a country bombed back to the stone-age, actions which the World Court condemned and requested the US pay war reparations — in response the US intensified its illegal operations.

            So instead of asking where has socialism succeeded, I think we should ask why hasn’t socialism/social democracy succeeded? Indeed, people talk of the failure of socialism, I wonder about the ‘great capitalist successes’, the current period certainly doesn’t feel too wonderful.

            The reasons, outlined in brief above, go some way to explaining why, and still people are still prepared to risk life and limb.

            Look at Bolivia, far worse situation than Ireland. Poorest country in Latin America, violent elite backed by well equipped military, and still people were able to overcome the privatisation of their resources (water) and eventually elect an indigenous President, an event unparalleled in their history.

            I could go on but think I will stop there.

            As one socialist leader said as he faced execution: “You can’t kill an idea” – people will always seek liberty and freedom and eventually capitalism will crumble and people will look back in horror at such a cruel, feudal system with debt slavery, economic exploitation, environmental degradation and violence on an unprecedented global level.

            The current world system – neoliberalism – is built on the exploitation of billions and the deaths of millions of unknown, the ‘wretched of the earth’ as Franz Fanon memorably stated in his book of the same name.

          • Jucer

            Hi G
            I guess we shall agree to disagree then. Hope you have a Nice Christmas

  36. Tim

    Folks, It’s worth seeing this again, now.

    “Network – I’m Mad as Hell”

    It pretty-much sums up the mood of ordinary decent people.

  37. wills

    The ‘owners of the means of production’ are closing down internet freedoms.

  38. wills

    I agree with John ALLEN on the need for a clear pretext before making a move.

    If one is too make a move and challenge the prevailing orthodoxies ruling society one must be damn sure what it is one is attempting too replace and with what.

    I suggest the following.

    Money issuance and credit issuance under the control of private interests in central too fixing the insider / outsider system perpetuating debt slavery.

    Return credit issuance into the hands of the people.

    This in my POV is the bulls eye demanding gouging.

    • wills

      and i will gladly do the gouging if called upon to do so. On the ready SIR!!!!!!!!!

      • G

        don’t let the apparent absence of a manifesto prevent you from acting, its the spirit that counts, not whether the i had been dotted and T crossed, enough intelligent, common sense people on this site alone to come up with something effective, do not be distracted or disheartened, forward!

  39. Congratulations to David; Shane; George and Eddie – self publicists one and all. Hope your rewards are plentiful – you seem to have a lot of backers on this website.

    Phil R

    • It’s always lively here Phil though if you return to the previous article which may be more to your POV, DMcW was roasted for suggesting we entice London Bankers into the IFSC.
      Emotive yes but Shite….No.
      Just people exercising a democratic right to exchange opinions.

      • Last comment before hols – David McW is spot on to suggest that we attract the bonus hunters to our shores – higher Dublin property prices spilling out to the rest of the country; jobs for the decorators; carpet layers and anything else the blessed bonus seekers want. Sorry to have not read his article – but the thought had crossed my mind too. Bankers back to heroes – Sean FitzPatrick restored as No1 pin-up boy.
        BTW – it the revolution and witchhunting that seems to eminate from much of this web, ever came to pass then our democratic rights would disappear along with our right to write on this subject – its happening in Iran at the moment – the banning of the internet – the last outlet for the voice of the people….. But then nothing like a little bit of extremism to really build a really elite class

    • Tim

      PhilRuss1, not Eddie. Eddie has “turned”. He is now auguring for the elite, not the people, as he did in “Ripp-off Republic”.

    • wills

      the only backing i’m doing is backing on credit utility making a come back after a long sojourn.

    • Ruairí

      Why don’t you stay and lock horns Phil? Or are things too cushy where you’re at to get too ‘imotive’ (sic)?
      I’m dying to play the ball. Let’s be having you. contribute early and often Philly-boy.

      • Sorry past my bed time Ruairi.

        But want do you want – the facts?
        Such as the only people more incapable of running Ireland than the British was the Irish as witnessed by the last 100 years.
        That the Irish gene pool of talent is severely diminished as the “get up and goers” – “got up and went” – leaving behind a ruling class of anglofiles in nature but not by name looking after a flock of sheep
        That eventually through great sacrifices made by those in the 1980s and 1990s Ireland began to catch up towards a point where we should have been had we kept with our European peers over the last 200 years.
        Somehow in the early 2000s our catching up went askew and at some minute or hour or day we changed from having the economy driving the building boom to a position of having the building boom driving the economy.
        Get back to that benchmark and we have something to work from (at a guess 2002 levels).
        Unfortunately this solution is severely compromises by the amount of debt the country and its individuals took on.
        Insideres and outsiders – doesnt make any difference at this stage because the country is in no position to dictate such luxuries.
        So lets be getting real


  40. wills

    Furry -

    A pretext as fine as one can be realistic on.

    Count me in.

  41. Tim

    Folks, The Kenny Report has finally arrived online in searchable format via OCR (courtesy of Gavin Sheridan – Thanks!)

  42. Evening All’

    Thanks for all the comments. The insider/outsider issue will not go away and I fear it will drag us down during the next few years as the insiders will stop at nothing in the battle for both personal and institutional survival.


    • Evening David,
      This sentiment would come as no surprise to my Grandfather nor Mother who both accepted that “The Pull” ruled Ireland. We’ve now reached a point where the sons of sons of Pull rule by a quasi divine right and that is monumentally difficult to shift.
      People who busied themselves during the Tiger lost sight of healthy democratic process and recurringly reelected the same genre.
      Like a tick in a boars skin, they are now virtually impossible to lance.
      The unbelievable issue for me is that some of the more fanciful notions on here from last year are now edging closer to being realised. Unions speaking of regime change, your own comments hardening and the debased logic behind an immoral budget defending the right of the insiders to their status quo at all costs.

      Fun and games ahead methinks.

      • Ruairí

        “both accepted that “The Pull” ruled Ireland”

        Its stomach-sickening. Especially at County Council and VEC levels. Why so many of our people have to emigrate. But not the insiders.
        I just found out that the new Chief Fire Officer for Offaly is the son of the Chief Fire Officer in the mid-90s. Could be a great guy but…………on any level of weirdness, I find that weird; when there are so many talented people. Needless to say, the path upwards is managed so that the person selected DOES have all of the credentials etc and ARE a good choice. Its how they get looked after along the way that rattles me. Its why so many gardai, TDs, priests etc always had easy journeys and others got the ‘beat’ or the tough gigs or, worse still, the BOAT.
        The enemy is always within and, uncomfortably, you ALWAYS know them.

  43. wills


    On the insider / outsider struggle do you feel helpless or powerless or do you think there maybe a calling of some type for some type of a ‘coming together’ of similar minds too test the waters on some type of countering voice on the insiders monopoly over the truth and prevalence against any outsiders elbowing in….?

  44. A Prophesy before bed

    I’ll speak a prophecy ere I go:
    When priests are more in word than matter;
    When brewers mar their malt with water;
    When nobles are their tailors’ tutors;
    No heretics burn’d, but wenches’ suitors;
    When every case in law is right;
    No squire in debt, nor no poor knight;
    When slanders do not live in tongues;
    Nor cutpurses come not to throngs;
    When usurers tell their gold i’ the field;
    And bawds and whores do churches build;
    Then shall the land of Eireann
    Come to great confusion:
    Then comes the time, who lives to see’t,
    That going shall be used with feet.
    This prophecy Furrylugs shall make; for I live before his time.

    With copyright acknowledgement to the Bard.
    Nite all.

  45. Tim

    Ok, Furrylugs, I’ll check myself….. (but I’m sure I’m right).

  46. [...] this is only a blog – in addition to the fact that individuals such as  Eddie Hobbs and David McWilliams have exhausted this type of avenue – l will try to keep this one brief, (as difficult as [...]

  47. Looks like everyone with a brain is getting out of AIB this morning.
    The one reason the insiders are cooked is the financial markets. They don’t have babies to kiss or potholes to tarmac. Fooling the people most of the time just nurtures the international belief that our leadership is out of its depth.
    I know we’re told that the NTMA have borrowed enough to tide us over for this coming year- I think, but wherefore then?
    If the healthy pharma / FDI industries are an economy within an economy with all profits being exported, what else have we got to generate the money to pay back the loans and provide for the social fabric of the State?
    It looks like GNP means Generate No Performance.

    Must take a happy pill.

  48. AndrewGMooney

    an interesting article probing towards The Big Issues: How to dismantle an atomic bomb-Doomsday Device which is the unrestrained Entitlement Agenda Of Elites of any and all persuasion….

    Peak Government
    Peak Democracy
    Peak Corporation
    Peak Credit Welfare Capitalism
    Peak Tax -Backstopped Capitalism

    Ireland is a microcosm apocalype of the global one.

    I’ll ruminate and comment on Ireland specifically once I’ve finished the Xmas shopping!

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