February 17, 2010

A legacy of debt is not the best start for our children

Posted in Debt · 266 comments ·

Driving past Holles Street Hospital yesterday reminded me that, despite all the economic and political travails, life goes on.

We still fall in love, still have children, still protect them and try to give them the best start we can. Sometimes we overburden them with our expectations or maybe sometimes we don’t push them hard enough — but as I saw a new mother walk out the door with her swaddled infant, I thought to myself, this is what life is all about.

That warm feeling stayed with me until I started to do some calculations. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan was on the radio telling us how we were not Greece. Obviously the mutual backslapping of his European counterparts had gone to his head. The spin now coming out from Brussels is why can’t Greece be more like Ireland.

Our politicians and top civil servants love this position, Ireland as the teacher’s pet, the role model, the prodigal son. Why can’t the errant Greeks take a leaf out of our book? The reason is they are not half as delinquent.

Let us go back to Holles Street and look at the prospects of a child born in Dublin vis-a-vis a child born in Athens. The child born in Dublin today will come out of its mother’s womb owing €46,641. This is before the baby takes its first breath. There will be more than 66,000 children born in Ireland this year and each one will be weighed down by this enormous debt — the legacy of the Cowen/Ahern years.

Contrast this with the situation in Greece. The newborn Greek baby will owe about half as much as the newborn Irish baby. The figure is still huge at €26,300 but it is €20,300 less than the Irish child. So don’t tell me Ireland is better off than Greece. It isn’t.

Mr Lenihan was in Brussels yesterday telling the Europeans that we are not Greece. This is true, we are worse than Greece.

Ireland’s total debt per head is much worse than Greece’s. Its government, in collusion with its banks, lied to foreigners; in Ireland, our banks, in collusion with our Government, lied to us. And clearly there is no way in the world the next generation can or should be lumbered with paying back the debts of the previous generation.

Let’s look at the numbers. Our national debt is €17,042 per person; Greece’s is €26,300. However, the Greek bank lending to the Greek people is covered by deposits. The Greek banks were well-behaved in the boom. They didn’t borrow from every Tom, Dick and Gunter to enrich themselves and inflate a property bubble.

Our banks, on the other hand, have a funding shortfall of €120bn. This is what they borrowed abroad to lend to the developers and the property buyers. Now the balance sheet is in ruins, these so-called assets are worthless — but the debt remains. If you add this €120bn to the national debt of €208bn, you get the real level of debt in this country. This is our babies’ inheritance — €46,641 of debt before they learn to walk.

So we are a more delinquent version of Greece, the only difference is that the financial markets are looking at sovereign debt rather than total debt at the moment. In so doing they are missing the picture. But should that surprise you? As they were the people who cheer-led the Irish lending splurge, the same people who rated our banks as virtually risk-free and who in the end believed “this time it’s different”. They were the same people who brought you sub-prime debt, 30-year mortgages and financed great opportunities like the Glass Bottle Factory and the Jurys site.

Just because the financial markets don’t see what is going on in Ireland, it doesn’t mean we should stick our heads in the sand too. Remember, when the bill is presented it will be you and me who will cough up for this mess, so we need to look deeper than the headlines in the ‘Financial Times’.

There are a few essential differences between Ireland and Greece but one of the most significant is that Greece is having a government spending crisis which is undermining its banking system, while Ireland is having a banking system crisis that is undermining our Government. Clearly the Irish Government and, arguably more egregiously, top civil servants are culpable in all this as they are the people who caused the mess. They were elected or promoted under the assumption that they would make the right policy choices to run the place. They failed miserably.

Their failure has left Ireland in a more significant debt bind than Greece. In looking at a country’s ability to pay its debt, there is little point at looking at the government’s debt or looking at the government’s ability to service government debt. This is because the ‘government’ doesn’t pay government debt; the people pay government debt.

There is a myth sometimes swallowed by financial markets and most often believed by politicians and mandarins that the ‘government’ is some autonomous outfit that can raise revenue to pay the debts that it has incurred. This is a grave misunderstanding of how a country works. The sovereign or the government is only the amalgamation of each and every one of us — the people. So you need to look at the total debt of the people and add this to the government’s debt to get the full picture.

When you do this for Ireland, the numbers make Greece and the average Greek citizen look like a paragon of virtue.

Taking the total debt into account, we can see that Ireland is caught in a debt cul-de-sac. This means we have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. With these debts, the banks will not lend to us. So we don’t buy things that we used to because we can feel credit leaving the economy. This is why mortgages are down 50pc in the past year and will be down again next year. Houses prices are falling precipitously and everyone knows this. So we keep adjusting our price expectations downwards and keep postponing. So we don’t spend.

Meanwhile the banks, despite all the capital they have been and will be given, and despite NAMA, are not lending but are advertising in all the newspapers for deposits. This will cause the economy to contract.

Mr Lenihan can take all the plaudits from eurocrats, but the real story of this Government and the civil service elite’s mismanagement lies behind the proud smile of the new mothers at Holles Street. Each baby carries this Government’s €46,000 legacy.

What was that one about giving our children the best start we can?

  1. Alan42

    Its clear that Ireland is just now limping along . ‘ The only show in town ‘ is to impress the bond markets and the ECB by showing they are making cuts to government spending .

    When Lenihan says ‘ We have turned a corner ‘ or ‘ Ireland is out of danger ‘ he is only talking about Irelands ability to borrow and not about the economy .

    The Hanger 6 debacle just brings home just how clueless they are when it comes to creating jobs .

    Ireland will be the West Virginia of the EU for years to come .

    • Deco

      There is no alternative ….to maintaing the pretence.

      West Virginia is not bankrupt yet.

      I actually think that Ireland is going to be the New Jersey of the EU for years to come. The State that could not possibly fail except through an extraordinary level of ineptitude, cronyism, patronage and waste.

  2. Alan42

    Even in Oz I could detect the old Tiger smugness when it came to Greese .
    ‘ Oh we made the cuts ‘ ‘ Why can’t Greese be like us ? ‘

    Pathetic !

    • Robert

      And you have Lenihan going around Europe beaming with pride that he administered wage cuts to those on 15-25k a year working in the public service whilst giving a less pay cut (in percentage terms) to the magnificent 600 who happen to happen to have the Minister’s ear.

  3. It is fine to wheel out the scary looking calculations to the last farthing about how much debt everyone and their granny in Ireland will owe for the next few decades but life goes on.

    Not everyone in Ireland took the bait and some of us are debt free as a result of old fashioned prudence or through simple living.

    The middle classes and those who had aspirations to join them will be treading though molases for the rest of their lives because of the choices they made. It appears that they have no choice but to accept the fact that they have been taken to the cleaners and face up to a life of slavery in what one would imagine to be a mind prison of repression and broken dreams..

    Those of us who who are not interested in money can find the time to stop, smell the flowers and smile at the daily kaleidoscope of life in modern Ireland while living in hope and without fear.

    Lets go back to the basics and as a start I would suggest that all Irish school kids be told the story of Mr McCawber.

    • tony_murphy

      Again a very clear concise article David. It exposes yet another lie from the rulers and elites


      Unfortunately you are not immune – unless you are part of the ruling class/elites

      I wonder what kind of flowers you are smelling :)

      Every aspect of life in Ireland is affected – Jobs, Hospitals, Education, Taxes, Crime, etc……. No matter if you took the bait or not or still live in the country or not

      • G

        Yes, but I think Pauldiv does highlight some important stuff, yes we are all affected (decline in public services, lower wages etc) but I like him, also exercised my judgement, resisted the peer pressure, saw through the propaganda and played no role in property porn, nor did I make any investments, buy any shares, despoited my little savings not in the banks but in the Credit Union.

        I would like a home not simply a house, I am tired of renting, but I didn’t want the albatross of an absurd mortgage, I waited for the boom to turn to bust, but now with 20% of my wages gone, my purchasing power has diminished, hence my thoughts about foreign shores – I and many others are being punished for the recklessness of others – ‘life’s a bitch’ as the old timer says.

        All ‘classes’ to the extent that term is useful were involved in the madness, however, there were many who did not engage and for good reasons, and there is no harm recognising their collective wisdom.

        If people many had held back, or some kind of movement had been formed to tackle the money merchants who were forcing the prices up on housing and related sectors (a kind of Rip Off Republic for House prices – exposing those hoarding land banks, real estate agents, solicitors – but look how fast that programme was neutralised and just as people were beginning to feel empowered).

        Pauldiv raises questions around individual responsibility, the motivations that coloured decision making (get rich quick normally), a system which allows individuals to have 25-40 houses and others living in dreadful accommodation (as I saw last night in a certain part of Cork City), the desire of many people to be landlords (essentially making money off other people’s backs, people who can’t afford to buy – a vicious circle if ever there were one).

        But there is a tendancy for this argument to divide people, or pit people against one another, no doubt a whole mass of people are experiencing the worst financial lesson in modern Irish history, I feel sorry for the majority who knew no better and were largely ‘conned’ with ‘easy’ credit to buy the shoebox and the cars as well (why not? You’re worth it), the celtic tiger period was marked by the price of everything but the value of nothing, it was kind of a period of ‘people knowing not what they were doing’, the €500 handbag in Brown Thomas, the sking holidays, keeping up with the Jones’, all the hallmarks of a consumerist culture, with the media playing a shocking role as ‘cheer leader’ – Fintan O’Toole’s work pales in comparison to the decisions made by the Board of the Irish Times as highlighted previously, €50 million for a myhome.ie – they said banks moved away from their traditional role, what about the newspapers and other media outlets, there was more property porn on RTE two nights ago………..maybe for those who still have aspirations and have not learned from others.

        • wills


          The crucial point here is i think the folllowing.

          Not everyone is in full command of rational judgement through no fault of their own, and it is the deliberate targeting of these chislers to pollaxe them into debt bondage by their own countrymen that cannot be tolerated.

          • G

            Wills – I would agree, I certainly am not the Oracle at Dephi nor in full command, just on this house of property I held back, but I can see how people arrive at choices, or do certain things, I am not for a minute adopting the higher ground and have critiqued the array of forces that confronted people, it all seemed groovy, alas, what has come to pass has happened, and the lessons may not in fact be learned or past on, people are too busy struggling, their is an aspect of personal and collective responsibility which is worth highlighting. But yes, the debt bondage salesman is worthy of those merchants who hoarded grain and other food stuffs during the Great Famine, those ways have certainly been passed down, and maybe worthy of a McWilliams article.

      • Beavis

        Tony – you have your finger in the heart of the whole discussion – every aspect of Irish life will be affected.

        Hospitals are good one to mention. My son was born last year and we have recently found out that he has cystic fibrosis. Thankfully I emigrated to Germany in 2002 – here he gets the best of treatment – the best specialists and it costs us nothing additional to what we already pay in health care.

        I don’t even want to consider what his fate would be in Ireland.

    • wills

      there are those who were duped into debt bondage and this is disgusting.

  4. I’m sure most of you have see the stories about Willie O’Dea over the last couple of days.
    What a shocking government we have in place.

    “Mr O’Dea insists he did not perjure himself, as he simply had a flawed recollection of the interview [CAN ANYONE USE THAT DEFENSE, OR JUST THE MINISTER FOR DEFENSE?]. He says he corrected his evidence as soon as he realised he had erred. [EASY AS THAT!]

    The Taoiseach said yesterday: “My understanding is that where there is no intention to mislead and the matter is corrected as soon as possible, there is no question of perjury.” [OH - SO THAT'S ALRIGHT THEN] ”

    I love my family and friends, but my disappointment with Ireland is fast becoming disgust.

    • G

      The powerful get to do what they want, its what makes them ‘powerful’, this is just more contempt for due process and the electorate.

      Clinton ‘misspoke’ about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia, O’Dea ‘recollected incorrectly’, try that with a barrister under cross examination or a Garda at a checkpoint and see how you get on…………………..

      People are just waiting for election day (which never seems to come), I hope their memories are not short ones…….Kenny is doing a disservice by hanging on because every time I raise the need to get rid of FF people say, “and replace with what, sure the opposition are no better!” – this kills me everytime, FF get to stay in government almost by default…………

    • Original-Ed

      This is a bridge too far – an oath is a fundamental standard in an advanced civilisation. These people are trampling on our sense of honour by the day. I’m beginning to think that they’ll have to be removed by whatever means possible before they destroy us completely.

    • Ruairí

      Twas all foretold, in the annals of our Oirish history, begob!

      Willie O’Dea as king of the Leprachauns is a tricky opponent. The thing to do is get him drunk and then he shoots his mouth off. His time of granting wishes in dear old Limerick may be coming to a close though me auld Irish compatriots! Oh Darby O’Gill, wherefore art thou? Lord Fitzpatrick (Jean Claude Trichet wants his mealymouthed ) sheaf of corn but you are lost on the mountain a chroí.

    • Deco

      The issue is not whether ot not Groucho Marx should resign….the issue is….how did such an idiot ever attain any position of responsibility at all ?

      By the way there are rumours going around about O’Dea and the Senior Army Officiers. But find out for yourselves..

  5. celenteg

    Ireland is now labelled as one of the PIIGS of Europe….

    “PIIGS are going to be Slaughtered”


  6. ….and still every single one of the 166 TD’s is granted euro 15,000 per annum on expenses, tax free, without any proof of what is was used for.

    We could burn the 2.5 millions and have more benefit from it, but I am afraid then Gormley would appear on his PR bike and lecture us about greenhouse gases.

    What is clear to me is this:

    The problems can not be fixed in Ireland alone. The system inherent design flaws are much wider than irish problems only.

    To balance a multi state currency like the euro will be impossible without what they probably call collateral damage at some stage. There are the new ex east-block members, there are the strong members, and then there is us. A literally impossible scenario. The forced upon us Euro was nothing but a fraud in the first place.

  7. drick

    Hi to all, I read this site regularly from here in sydney. i notice im not the only one here in oz watchiny what is going on back there with some dismay. I wonder why we care at all, were the lucky ones. My second time leaving eire, although i love life here so no complains other than wishing i couls somehow beam up all my close friends and family and bring them here. I dont normally post but today I met a couple in their mid 40′s who had just arrived here from ireland on holiday visas but looking to stay. An optimistic and well experinced bloke but i couldnt help feeling sorry for them (and their kids) trying to start all over and worse, no visa!! Hopefully they will get lucky and we will do our best for them with contacts etc (building ind. of course)Not sure what my point is other than i think we will be seeing alot more of this, this is whats happening at the coal face whilst politicians play their games. One disturbing thing was they thought NAMA was some sort of saviour for those left behind. I momentarily tried to paint the real picture for them but then thought better of it and decided its time for those of us who have left to move on and enjoy the present and enjoy this fine country we have been banished to.

    • G

      just curious drick, but how did you outline the NAMA deal to them because I get asked all the time to surmise?

      Interesting post………..

      • drick

        well i didnt as i said because i thought ,here we are in sydney talking about the crap going on over there. it wasnt what they wanted to hear on their first few days in oz, so we had a beer and we talked about life here and how i was looking forward to raising my new son here . Its easy to slip into that chat, they have made a big move and brave so something positive was required. If i had to surmise, well i suspect the developers will not pay back their debt, a bunch of incompetent civil servants wont persue them and the poor taxpayers of ireland will pick up the tab which i suspect will eventually end up in a soveriegn debt default (unless europe bails us out). I suspect some of the other guys on the site here are a bit more qualified to comment than i, finance was never my thing, although i was blessed with a small bit of common sense

        • G

          @ drick – Whatever about the intricacies of the deal, a beer on a warm evening in far away OZ certainly sounds far more appealing than NAMA! Best wishes with the little fella. You were right on the positivty approach, new chapter now so no need to stain it by looking back at failure. I admire that couple for travelling on a tourist visa, real cojones!

          • drick

            thank you, we’ll keep an eye on the site here and try not to stop caring cos if that happens, those thieves in the dail will have taken more than our cash!!!!

        • Ruairí

          @ drick “finance was never my thing, although i was blessed with a small bit of common sense”

          Now if only I could hear Brian Cowen and now Brian Lenihan say that !!

          • Deco

            They have insufficient common sense to say such a thing. They went from uni straight into politics more or less..

    • Alan42

      A couple in their mid 40′s with kids and with no visa have no chance of going undetected by immigration .

      There only hope is sponsership or if they can buy a business that will employ an Australian .

      You should point this out to them . if they are caught working ( and they will ) they will be deported in a flash .

      • Alan42

        I don’t know the details of this couple and they may have a million in their back pockets .

        However , I see this all the time here and it really goes to the heart of whats wrong with Ireland .

        Irish people live in Ireland which has rules but that bobody bothers to stick to . It goes right from the top with Bertie and his digouts to Willie ( a Barrister , by the way ) with his casual relationship with prejury laws . The guy hung on to the last second ” Sure it will be grand , I just kind of said the wrong thing , maybe ”

        I am not even part of the Irish community here and I still have Irish people directed to me so that I can find them jobs .
        They are utterly amazed that anybody would have a problem with the fact that they have no visa or tax file number .
        This is a big country , but it had a small population in relation to its size . The Aussies consider hunting down illegal immigrents a sport . They are utterly paranoid about boat people swamping our shores . Elections have been won and lost on this issue alone .

        Yet Irish people think that somehow they are special and the rules don’t apply to them .

        I have been watching this Greek thing and hearing about Goldman and hiding the debt . All ‘ tut tut ‘ .
        What do you think NAMA with its SPV is ?

        There has been problems with Irish banks for years . AIB is so used to overcharging that I am surprised that they don’t write it into their charter .
        And now they have just delayed repossessions for another year .

        Has their ever been a case of a nations banks going bust and the government and the banks just delaying and delaying the outcome ?

  8. What is normal in one place is abnormal in another so are contradictions .
    Greek Banks seem to have behaved prudently so they seem normal .However the Greek Gov did not and incurred the wrath of the national economic fiasco in Greece.In Greek parlance that is normal and the EU should have known that before they allowed the mismanagement happen.So does the blame lie within EU and where ?Allow me let you in on a little fat secret .The EIB ( European Inv Bank ) has always been controlled within by high level appointed Greek natonals.A blood hound would trace the smell anywhere .
    The green isle of Ireland has its own ‘normality’.Somewhat different of course .The Irish like to do it in a true national conspiracy and paint the whole country very green.The spirit of the Amigos is a collective noun that is apt to this purpose.I can think of three in a whiff
    .Irish banks were given enough spunk to splurge anywhere they scented a pisshole .Unlike in Paris the Irish Gov did not employ ‘crap litfers ‘ to remove their faeces .Rather instead the Gov decided that the faces of every new born child should inherit its costs .In time those children will decimate every grave in the country for this injustice given to them.
    The second Amigo is The RC Church a deeper more dangerous thought process that serves its own propaganda to the detriment of the citizens .The Icelandic beheaded its RC BIshop in 1500s and his three registered children and distributed all the church wealth among its people.They did not want any nonsense from a remote control wifii in Rome .Local governance was their preferred choice.That makes a lot of sense.The Irish should follow with a Celtic Catholic Church as did St Patrick in his time before it was franchised out later.Spirituality is an economic hope for the future of any country.
    And , you guess , the biggest and most damaging is the third Amigo the Irish Government .We all know nothing could have happened anywhere without the Gov nod and wink .Mafiosis consciousness is an in bred cultural societal virus that simply decapitates the life soul of the country for the benefit of the few.
    A Law for one and another law for the other is the norm .Anyone who has followed Sharia Law in middle east willl know that this is how it is proscribed and enforced .So we seem to have departed in Ireland a lot sooner from the Common Laws than we think .
    So , this brings me back to the beginning of why we as Irish and Greek are in the same mediterranean toilet bowl.The Phoenicians were the first recorded arrivals in Ireland and built Newsgrange ,Dun Aengus etc and they travelled through the lands of Greece by boat before arriving on the Green Isle.Their thought process and mindset was always one that questioned ‘the authority’ and did what they wanted to do instead.How can you change the spots on a Dog.

    • wills

      John ALLEN.

      ‘changing spots on the dog’.

      Understand its trickery and bring it to the people, may do this.

      Its trickery = debt creation

      Blow the whistle on its mechanics in a way children understand.

      The emperor has no clothes comes to mind.

  9. stiofanc02

    God,… who is this pauldiv with his superior,look down his nose attitude? Please. Anyway on to the once again super charged article and writing of a Irish Maverick and patriot. I am american and live in Ireland and have Irish born children who I am worried about. I am crippled with debt from a business that went to the wall and have zero faith in the shower in Leinster house. I do however believe in the ability of people who have hope to rise up and get on with it. No hope, no future. Right now it is looking pretty damn hopeless. I want the Punt. I want a future. I want a different government. I want the sharp rock of pain and then a healing prrocess. I want hope. David gives me some, but it doesnt look like it will be enough.

    • Ruairí

      +1. Well expressed and the reality of our mass Irish consciousness. It seems there’s only 180 odd (metaphorically and literally) chaps and chapettes that don’t see it our way.

  10. The Pimpernell

    We need a new political party – the politicians that we have clearly are self serving and have little interest in resolving the issues that we have in the country.
    A new party with a clear set of principals and some direction would be a breath of fresh air. If started intelligently that new party could hold 2 – 3 seats after the next general election – the balance of power. Following that every intention should be made to develop and grow the party into a centre right force that will drag this country out of this quagmire…

    The Pimpernell

  11. Deco

    Cowen was on RTE last night “defending” his inability to get the Ryanair contract.

    Firstly, Cowen was defensive. This is an indicator that he is somewhat out of his depth, outmaneovred and possibly covering up the incompetence of his own self, and others.

    Second, his statements indicate that he does not get it. “We have facilities on offer, which are as good as the facilities in Prestwick”. This tells us a ton about Cowen, and his knowledge of how to win competitive business. Basically Cowen has the option of providing a better facility. And instead he just sets out to match the other offer. Cowen simply does not get business.

    Or put it another way. Cowen does not mean business. Dublin Airport does not mean business. Ireland does not mean business. Cowen is behaving exactly like another in a line of family members who have managed to get a handy living off the state, and who don’t live in the real world.

    Third, Coughlan is bullheaded, and is doing nothing to fix the situation.

    There are rumours going around that the Dublin Airport Authority is full of North Dublin FF wasters at the top. Not too sure how true these are.

    But Cowen, please note we can see through all your bluster and empty talk….

    • Original-Ed

      This not the first time that Ryanair was shown the door when trying to establish aircraft maintenance facilities here. Back in 1988, I went bust (not bankrupt) and was lumbered with a long lease on an industrial unit, not far from Dublin Airport. I had no option but to sublet and guess what, Ryanair’s Aircraft Tyre and Brake maintenance specialist leased it. The operation was headed by two guys, one was Irish who had risen through the aviation industry in Britain , starting with the Dunlop Aviation Tyre Division and ending up as an accident investigator specialising in Aircraft Tyres and Brakes. The other was northern Irish and an ex RAF pilot. Before they moved in, Airlingus employees in vans started snooping around asking questions – I thought that this was peculiar, but ignored it.
      The operators moved into the premises, brought the standard up to clinical level and then awaited the licence to operate from the Department but nothing happened – almost a year later they were refused on the grounds that they weren’t sufficiently qualified, so they abandoned the project here and returned to England where they had no problem setting it up – déjà vu

      • Garry

        Sadly, I’m not suprised by this.

      • Dilly

        That is a disgrace, and the sad thing is, there are thousands of stories like these going back years. It is nothings new, I have family memebers who refused to bring their businesses back here (even during the boom), due to similar experiences in the 80′s.

      • Deco

        Ed – thank you for that story. We have all had encounters like this.

        We need to all stand up and share these stories. And we will give them a lot of sunlight. A lot of coverage. Instead of the ‘bread and circuses’ pacification method.

        This shows us that the inept detest competition. So we will kill this culture of corruption by transparency, by opening up all these stories, by enabling competition to occur, and by undermining all the market rigging rackets in this country.

        • @Deco
          Re stories “And we will give them a lot of sunlight. A lot of coverage.”
          How will we do this? Commenting here like impotents?

          Aside: the sister is retiring soon to raise her two kids as a housewife; first item on her to-do list: Go up north to stock up on nappies etc.

      • Yep, me and wifey, many happy trips to Holles:) Not fair €50 grand taking away teachers, public infrastructure because of these morons!

        Oligarchy FF controlled in cahoots with Aer Lingus, DAA, developers, bankers, seeing anyone outside the fold as threat. Its time to move FF outside the fold.

        Re bank borrowing, when does global regulation move to outlaw the type of borrowing exercised typically by Irish bankers, ? Here’s a petition asking for such regulation


        Surely the logic of David’s article is we need to renegotiate with bondholders on the basis of leaving the euro in order to really deal with our economic meltdown.

        We devalue or default? Otherwise We’re Toast !


    Brilliant picture of Biffo and Mr Tayto on http://www.independent.ie.

    • G

      Ha ha, excellent, very well spotted, made my morning, ‘art’ imitating life or the other way around?

      Very karma-esque!!

      What a balls-up on the Ryanair deal, hundreds left hanging because of some ‘contractual obligations’ – now that is leadership, they can negotiate a peace process but they can’t get a company they own a 25% stake in (and formerly bailout out by Irish taxpayer) nor an aviation authority which probably has more than its share of appointees to agree something that could enhance the lives of hundreds, is that the innovative, creative, knowledge economy which they keep talking about but never deliver?

      O’Leary no doubt has his agenda and I’m not a fan, but he did manage to expose them once again, poor show all round, a deal should have been done.

  13. Incident

    Hangar 6 is a smoke screen for another 2 figure job by O’Leary to Cowan / Coughlan / DAA. He has no intention to set up a new maintenance base in Dublin Airport. His strategy is to have his own private low cost terminal adjacent to his aircraft parking positions. Furthermore the new terminal T2 is a white elephant and should not open as the existing facility is a ghost town.

    As for O’Dea and the Greens, still trying to decipher which is worse. One thing is for sure we are being screwed from the top down and in every orifice!

    As D says we are economically worse off than the Greeks, yet there isnt a murmur except for blogs like this.

    Something has got to give but it wont happen without the mobilisation of the people.

    We have got to get away from our PCs and onto the streets.

  14. Malcolm McClure

    Thomas Sowell, the black American philosopher, discussing the racial aspects of heredity (blacks good at sport and music, Germans at industry and science, etc) wrote :

    “For historical reasons the Irish have tended to channel much of their talent and ambition into politics rather than into scientific or entrepreneurial ventures. In politics the Irish have likewise not merely held their own but have had spectacular success. In the heyday of the American big city political machines, the Irish dominated these machines, as they also dominated the leadership of American labour unions…”

    It seems that our Tammany Hall chickens came home to roost in and around Dail Eireann after they were expelled from New York by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1960s.

    It is worth examining the cartoons on Wilipedia’s Tammany Hall page, trying to recognize our leaders in the “Who stole the people’s money?” picture and Tammany as a vicious Tiger killing democracy.
    Has our Celtic Tiger transformed into a Tammany Tiger?

    • wills

      How about the ‘tamamammy tiger’..!!

    • Ruairí

      Fascinating Malcom, as always. Yes, we’re the skullduggerers to beat all……

      Interestingly, re Tigers this is the year of the Tiger. Apparently not a good time for making babies. I must amend my Casanova ways methinks. http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=29&art_id=iol1266395003362T532&set_id=1
      But in our case, we need to double the making of babies if we are to get below the debt targets and keep the Greeks in the limelight! Time is of the essence brothers. Get thee to a nunnery, sorry a nightclub …….or a supermarket!
      Make love, not war, cranky friends of mine……

      Also a bad time for marriages to come together. Has anyone told this to

      Famous births in the Year of the Tiger were: – Hugh Hefner, William Hurt, Dylan Thomas, Karl Marx, Marilyn Monroe…..

      You see? Its all fun and games til someone loses an eye……
      Tiger characteristics: “As a result, they may sometimes be perceived as irresponsible. This is because few other signs can keep up with the Tiger’s ability to think on their feet, or their primal desire for adventure and first-hand experience of life……”However, their regal attitude may sometimes turn into a firm belief that they know what’s best for everyone, and they may sometimes descend into stormy moods of retribution if they fail to get their way.” Good God, that sounds just like Fianna Fáil……..and it was founded in 1926 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fianna_F%C3%A1il , another Year of the Tiger………Isn’t hindsight great?

  15. Tadhgd

    Out of interest – what is the forum’s prediction for house prices firstly over the next 1-2 years and then 10-20 years in % terms. Is it possible to add a poll to the site ? My sister is trying to buy a house at the moment and I have my doubts that we have hit the bottom and am concerned for her. Unfortunately auctioneers etc are saying green shoots, puchasing power never higher etc etc…

    • Dilly

      I am renting, I got shot of my property (after a long fight with scumbag management company). I would not be in any rush to get back into the market. There are so many empty buildings, and rent is falling. If something breaks you get the landlord to fix it, no management fees, no watching interest rates. I just wouldnt bother buying, but thats just my opinion. We have defo not hit the bottom yet. And you have to take a look at the likes of Japan where property has not recovered 20 years after their crash.

      • wills

        Dilly, common sense wisdom dilly.

      • Ruairí

        +1. Yes TadhgD, I am most interested in this also. As are a number of DmcW readers. His call in the wilderness back in the early noughties is what brought a lot of readers to his door……..

        There’s always the arguments of catching the funding while you can but there’s also other caveats to take into account such as tax reliefs going forward, property taxes being a reality (so maximising one’s buying power may not be a good idea even if one eventually plans to trade down) etc etc. Who knows where this will end, will we be in the Euro and will our government be taxing bodily movement in a desperate effort for cash. All bets are off until the market begins to speak…….. either through NAMA or after NAMA dies.

    • Bamboo

      Hi Tadhgd,

      Your post is particularly what is on may young people’s mind and I feel compelled to reply on your post in particular. I hope I can be of any help.

      From what hear It will take at least 2 to 3 years for the dust to settle down. This dust or fall-out consist of other economic crises that we hear about and that may or may not come upon Ireland, Europe and the world. I suggest to wait at least three years.

      For your dear sister I suggest she should to think carefully of her personal future and definitely not the economic or financial future. Look at her personal present situation, marital status, financial situation, future job security (no job is secure anymore), etc.

      Let me just give you an example of a house in my little town at the sea.
      There is a 4 bedroom house for sale in the middle of the town for what looks like an OK price. There is hardly any back garden to that property and the bit of back garden there is doesn’t catch any sunshine and you can barely put a little patio in there with a few chairs and a table. But the house itself is fine.
      So any young person or family would be interested and if your planning a family, you can be assured that there is no room for the children to play outside. Or when the summer comes and you want to sit out in your garden, what do you do then? Plenty of room in the house but nothing outside.
      So what do you do with a house like that? You may have ideas to sell it on and move up somewhere else. This is exactly where you fall back in the fact that purchasing a house is an investment for the future. “One can always sell it on” is what you hear from the media and what estate agents will tell you. This idea is now an old and redundant concept (dream) as we all know.

      Another example is the scam of the so called “affordable housing scheme” on offer. In my circular I know three people who are really really sorry to have fallen for an affordable housing scheme. In all instances the complains tare that there is no room to have a family, storage space and for now no direct sunshine. These houses were offered to maybe a single person or a couple thinking that it will be OK for the moment and they can always sell it on in the near future. You can imagine selling an affordable housing scheme is the current climate is somewhat challenging to say the least.

      Or for example the housing estates that are located in the middle of nowhere. You may like the look of the house and the estate. It is likely that these estates are quite far away from work, shops and other amenities with the result you spend most of your days commuting long hours. Is this the lifestyle that you are looking for? Or you may be lucky and work from home which is probably going to be a growing trend. Working from home often means a good broadband connection is required. What is the likelihood that broadband is improving to be more workable speed for these estates? I personally don’t think this is going to happened in the near future.

      How many have fallen for the phrase “you’re buying a lifestyle”? A lifestyle with sunshine like Spain and Portugal, or ski holidays lifestyle in Bulgaria perhaps? This same concept is applied here in Ireland without the sunshine or ski holidays. Instead the lifestyle of an island in your modern and ultra shiny American kitchen with an ice maker, en-suites in every room, sunroom, wooden floor, etc. Is this what we really want.
      FYI: I bought a little property in Spain many years ago and was totally lost in a dream of a lifestyle. The first three to four years I thought it was like a dream come through but as the years go by, boredom kicked. We discovered that if we sold the property and instead of paying a mortgage, myself and my wife (and kids) can have holidays all over the world for the next 15 years. Back in 2005 we saw the property crises coming and so we decided to sell up, made a small bit of profit and enjoyed a new lifestyle. Even without making any profit we would have enjoyed the new lifestyle anyway.

      In other words your sister should think about what type of lifestyle she is wants (and what is realistic) and look at family circumstances rather than property prices.

      1. For the moment wait till the dust has settled for the next two to three years. I think three years myself.
      2. Do not listen to the popular media or auctioneers (as in “now is the best time to buy”).
      3. DO NOT listen to what so called independent parties like the ESRI, DAFT.ie or myHome.ie has to say with their statistics as these parties/institute are always trying to steer the economy in certain directions. In general Do not take heed of any statistics for the moment.
      4. Do not listen to “buying a lifestyle” sales tricks,
      5. Do not look at friends and family who have “made” it.
      6. Take a deep breath and listen to yourself and maybe other (older) people who love and care for you and wants the best for you.

      in the last 4 years , I’ve tried to convince many young people (mainly colleagues) not to buy any property. All of them didn’t take up my advice and thanked me anyway for my concerns.
      Good luck,


      • wills

        Bamboo, what an excellent comment you’ve provided there for tagdhgd, very informative.

        • Tadhgd

          Thanks for taking the time and effort to reply. Just in after a busy evening and appreciate all the feedback especially Bamboo. Of course there is still a property fixation in Ireland which we need to ween ourself off but there has to be room in there somewhere for the person/couple/family who want to own their own home at a/an affordable price and b/value for money. In addition as Bamboo says a good home should be fit for purpose plenty natural light etc. Unfortunately there are too many vested interests controlling the media which means that easily lead people still feel that the next bubble is only around the corner. For the interim I agree that a watching brief is best but in Ireland I have my doubts that people have learned their lesson from the last bubble. A lot of my friends are also waiting to get in. The property bug has not gone away I feel just cooled a little. In many ways it is just another addiction that we think we have under control but in reality it is controlling us !

    • David_Back_From_US

      I’m in the same boat with my house sold and really wanting to buy a place. That said, I think the next year will be really telling as Ireland’s banks/govt is forced to face up to their debts by the markets/ECB, and as the rest of the Eurozone economies pick up – do our exports pick up too? I predict that we’ll continue to fall in a downward spiral due to too much govt spending/too little capitlisation in banks/too little ability for mortgage holders to pay more to banks/inability to compete with exports due to our higher overheads. If the ECB rates rise, I can see it depressing demand further.

      All that said, there will be huge latent demand in the market due to families outgrowing their house or needing to relocate for work. It’s hard to wait 3 years (or 5 or 7 years) without moving. That demand may push up prices in the short term.

      All this said, if I were buying here I’d get a 1000 sq ft house with a poxy garden in a nice area. If I were still in the US in the centre of a desirable town, I’d get a 3000-5000 sq ft house for the same equivalent salary. Things are still stupidly priced here.

  16. Philip

    I am a grat supporter of the conspiracy of muddlers. There is no head nor tail to all of this. Just random actions which seemed politically convenient at the time followed by logical and possibly tragic consequences. http://www.tribune.ie/article/2010/feb/14/socgen-ireland-could-see-civil-unrest/

    We are in the middle of a global debt washout which will be followed by decades of modest growth and increasing structural unemployment (where skilled poeple can no longer readapt or find jobs for their class of hard won skills). 45K per head??? How about 45K per head and a 20% chance of you never ever working and a 50% chnace or you never ever working when over 50.

    Employability is key to being able to pay the bills. But maybe we need to re-define work and employment (cos there is lots to do). But it looks as though we cannot do it in the context of commercial viability.

    As for Greece’s lower debt per head, what is their employability…I suggest they are in deeper trouble in this regard. Can anyone here help me complete the picture in terms of revenue per head vs debt per head? Fundamentally this is where the issue lies for us all.

    • Dilly

      Gerald Celente warned in an interview that many people will “never” work again. He was not talking about your usual spongers when he said this. Scary stuff, but, I would rather know about this pending problem, than be kept in the dark and be told “we have turned a corner”.

      • tony_murphy

        Dilly, I agree with Gerald Celente, many people will never work again. The world has changed significantly with the emergence of Eastern Europe, China, India, Brazil etc..

        I work in high tech, and the ruling classes and elites outsource work to cheaper countries. They are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

        another example is that supermarkets are hell bent on destroying small farmers, forcing them off the land and letting the corporate industrialized food take over etc..

        a screwed up world

        • wills


          The dis mantling of industry an organized and well planned out exercise.

          The flamboyant baker James Goldsmith in a legendary appearance before congress in the mid 90′s blew the whistle so god damned loud on this stuff in a galaxy far far away.

          • wills

            OOps, banker, jimmy goldsmith may’ve been a baker but in life he made his billions in banking and business.

          • Philip

            I have to fundamentally disagree withy the notion of a grand plan. This is muddling in action reacting to opportunity with the naive belief that all will be OK for themselves at the other end. You cannot plan much beyond a few quarters for this stuff and no one ever anticipated the manner in which technologies and new processes could have altered the commercial landscape of the world. I have seen companies (Irish ones – leave out MNC etc.) forced to use race to the bottom economics to survive competitive onslaught. This onslaught is a consequence of 19th Century Institutions not being able to keep up with late 20th century tools.

            It is important we avoid personalising what in effect is a consequence of inappropriate institutional support whose managers are scrambling for survival due to their impending structural unemployment in the not too distant future.

          • wills


            I have never adhered to an idea of a grand plan.
            People operate the levers of power or the machinery either to enlightened self interest or, selfishness.

            That s the world we are in and my take on it is i do not agree with operating machinery in a way which ends in death decay destruction and pain.

    • Ruairí

      @ Phiip “Employability is key to being able to pay the bills.”
      Hear hear. Common sense. But uncommon in our government cabinet. Keeping people in jobs is key. Little use in setting up schemes such as we have http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/1113/1224258715727.html if they are not wel received and the uptake is not strong (it has imrpoved but NOT ENOUGH, NOT ENOUGH!).
      Keeping people in jobs is key to managing a deflation. Keeping tenants in your property at lower rents beats gaps in your rental income, as David repeatedly banged on about when smartarse little feckers used to come on to “The Business” and other tragi-comedic farces and talk about property plays as against rental plays. Musical chairs for people without a note in their head or an a*se on their trousers……

  17. wills


    In fascinating article you write the following,

    ‘Our banks, on the other hand, have a funding shortfall of €120bn. This is what they borrowed abroad to lend to the developers and the property buyers. Now the balance sheet is in ruins, these so-called assets are worthless – but the debt remains. If you add this €120bn to the national debt of €208bn, you get the real level of debt in this country. This is our babies’ inheritance – €46,641 of debt before they learn to walk.’

    i think it is essential the mystery surrounding ‘debt creation’ is put out into the public realm for everyone including children to be able to understand it.

    That said can i ask you D this, the monies borrowed by the irish banks, the 120 billion, are these monies in real cash or accrues in ledgers through the fractional reserve system of banking in operation.

    Can it be the case David, the 120 billion irish banks borrowed from europe is not what it appears to be.

    The ‘borrowings’ loaned to irish banks are mostly made up of accrues into banks accounts re accrued into property speculators accounts.

    The ‘debt creation’ process i think if properly explained to the irish people, explained in tis nuts and bolts exactly the way it works behind the scenes for the banks would certainly move the NAMA debate along and generate real public debate on what is actually really going on behind the scenes with the banks and taxpayers monies (which is real cash) and debts made out of thin air on the back of fractional reserve banking.

    David in your most eloquent gift break it down and give the irish people the real info on these debt creation tricks the banks use to keep so many of us in the dark and as your article brilliantly explains in debt bondage.

    Lets give a simple but clear and easily understood way children can understand how the debt creation scamaram works to the dis advantage of the working man.

    • Philip

      I suggest a different tack with a view to move temporarily away from the banker/ government as the driver of all this mess. This reminds me of the late eighties when they started using automated buy sell systems for stocks and shares and we had that Black Monday back in Oct 88 was it?:

      For me the guys today got caught up in a system that reacted very quickly to demand stimuli. Money became available far faster than it could ever be repaid – this was not by design, but because no one was keeping a watch on our ability to backfill with domestically generated wealth. The place was awash with money so the idea was to spend it before someone else did. Has our wealth creation systems been as fast, we would never have been in this mess.

      All we see happening now is a damage limitation exercise to try and stop a Euro breakup and to keep economies afloat. The trouble is that the wealth generation problem has yet to be addressed. No one yet knows what to do. Governments and institutions “hope” innovation will save us. A Green Bubble, A BioTech Bubble perhaps?

      Hard questions we need to ask ourselves is how are our children and many of us going to have any form of fulfilling work to do and how will it fit in?

  18. wills

    Twitter is bringing down the government.

  19. wills

    The o dea tape is out in the public forum.

    • G

      If so, this could yet turn out to be the equivalent of the Brian Lenihan snr interview all those years ago……..initial denial, followed by aggressive defence (‘I did nothing wrong’), followed by evaporation of support from ‘colleagues’ & eventual resignation………….it would seem the kinves are out, if the government won’t call an election they might be pushed by an unimpressed ‘business community’, O’Leary’s frontal assault could be part of a bigger picture, a new government would change the game play for all concerned, Coughlan et al are costing FF and if those in the know read the play they may yet turn on each other………..once FF lose the support/confidence of the business community the government should fall pretty soon afterwards, the electorate is merely numbers turning up on a day once every blue moon to vote for a business orientated political party.

      Interesting times ahead.

      • Deco

        O’Leary is behaving like as if he knows well Dublin Airport is run by a collection of gangsters.

        O’Leary’s frontal assault on Cowen and Coughlan could completely undermine FF’s attempt at winning the Donegal SW by-election. This actually strikes right to the heart of the “green jersey” superficial nonsense that senior FF politicians engage in. What use is a local politician like Coughlan and all her parish pump manouevres when she is exposed as the problem. It is almost tempting people in Donegal to view Coughlan as dangerous to the country.

        And when FF lose the Donegal by-election, and come third in Dublin South again, well that will be change the numbers in the Dail. Which might bring about a change in government.

        Authority now might look as impregnable as ever. But in the information war, authority is losing. Lee told us that the Dail was overrun with a culture of amatuerism and cliqueishness. de Burca showed us that nepotism is so rampant that it is now seen as an entitlement and the driving force of politics. And now O’Leary has shown that the government are the problem.

        And it is all so glaringly obvious, that it will undermine an awful lot of authority once the next bout of chaos hits the system.

    • tony_murphy

      They don’t like putting anything down on paper or in emails. How will they deal with voice recorders? ban them or something?

  20. Irish Children in Slavery :
    We are all here because we care about who we are and our families well being.David has explained that every new born child has €50,000 approx bank loan debt immediately they pop into the diaspora of Irish Life .This is a treacherous inheritance to any future generation.Its a sinful shame.Our Bankers have been the main instigators of this criminal act of treason to the Nation and what is left of it.
    There are many Irish Children sufferening and more to suffer as a result .Below in this url you will find a young lady aged 17 who was forced to wait two years after she was born for the completion of her adoption by the criminal acts of senior bank managers when she had the full support of all government agencies and the police.She is singing Solo for The President Mary Mc Aleese.
    Perhaps this might capture some of the reality that is ahead and maybe her song/hymm can be remembered with a new hope in another time to come.She is my daughter.


    • Bamboo

      John Allen,

      Glad to hear “TREASON” coming up again.
      wikipedia: In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more serious acts of betrayal of one’s sovereign or nation.

      Thanks for the link John. Great to see such young people full of hope.

    • wills

      John ALLEN.

      Your daughter sings with a beautiful voice.

    • Ruairí

      Well done John and daughter.

      It’s very simple, isn’t it? Where were these minors when the bankers met Brian Lenihan one dark night in September 2008? Where were they when Brian Cowen ignored the advice to temper or ban CFDs? Nowhere!! Not at the scene of the crime. And yes, those are moral crimes against the people, by elected politicians. No libel law in the country can say that those actions are not morally criminal under section 45 of OUR constitution. Treason is unfortunately a tighter concept therein. For now.

  21. G

    Given the shift towards solutions (after the various phases of denial, anger, blame etc)…………….

    I would welcome the views of people on the ‘co-operative’ model of doing business, I came across a print works in England which is run along co-operative lines, it seems like a very fair way of operating a going concern. Horizontal management and wage structure, with all staff sharing in the profits and all work viewed equally.

    To me it sounds like a very positive and mature workplace and something I would like to learn more about with the possibility of moving in this direction.

  22. malone

    The goverment is bad, they are inept
    they could not oganise a piss up in a brewery
    They are completely at fault for the mess we are in etc.etc.etc

    why the hell did you all vote for them over
    and the other show and over and over again.
    As was done before some time ago as a protest against the elite
    DONT VOTE in the next election , and that will cause a few ructions !

    • Ruairí

      Malone, pardon me but as a citizen I have to say that what you have called for is perhaps well-intentioned but misdirected, useless and an insult to other citizens. Those who do not vote should be penalised in my opinion. It is part of your duty and should be enforced as such. We all have rights, but equaly we all have RESPONSIBILITIES. Not voting is pure cop-out. Fear, deriving from apathy, disguised as disgust.

  23. ThomasFergus

    Hi David,
    Here’s an article from Paul Krugman in last Monday’s Guardian on Spain that is similar to your own on Greece. I have to say I was always in favour of the euro, and I shudder to think of the consequences of getting out, but the deflationary policies being pursued here and in Greece at the behest of the monetarist elite are going to lead to serious social unrest.


  24. G

    The insider, outsider analogy continues apace…………

    “THERE WAS talk last week of insiders and outsiders. Here’s a little comparison of how the system treats insiders and outsiders. Michael Woods is currently a lowly Fianna Fáil TD, but for most of his career he served in high-profile ministries. As an insider, you’d think he’d know his way around the system. Unfortunately, he didn’t know it well enough. When he left cabinet, he forgot to apply for his ministerial pension. By the time he discovered the error he’d missed out on €75,000. Ouch. Not to worry.

    In October 2007, then minister for finance Brian Cowen inserted a clause into a Bill that allowed ministerial pensions to be backdated. The affable Woods was the only beneficiary of the legislative change. Fair enough. He was entitled to the €75,000; he’d just made an administrative mistake from which the system rescued him. No harm done.”

    • Ruairí

      The same ‘affable’ Woods whose last task in office as a Minister (literally on his last day) was to hand the Catholic Church (an organisation as extreme and anti-state as any Muslim fundamentalists) the gift of a property / child abuse deal that hardly penalised the criminal organisation while hardly compensating for the State’s enormous abuse payout bill. Affable is one word.

  25. Bamboo

    How should we imagine this debt of €46,641 and how do we pay this?

    In a salary slip, Will it be that beside the PRSI contributions it will have an entry like?
    GST = 35% *
    DBT = 30%*
    PRSI =

    In Every receipt from every shop, will there be an extra entry like?
    GSUT = 35% *
    BBT = 12%*
    DBT = 30%*

    Or will it be like a Television License? as in “we’ve heard all the excuses”.

    * GST = Government Screwup Tax
    * DBT = Developers Bailout TAX
    * BBT = Bankers Bailout TAX

    • Ruairí

      I can see modern-day versions of Punch magazine in a few years’ time with advertisements of Lenihan, Ahern and Cowen poring over their ‘bukes’ like good little Paddies and the catch-phrase underneath “Shoulda gone to Specsavers lads”.

  26. Ruairí

    Powerful article David, and full of punch. The central focus on empowerment of government at least points to one of the tripartite tenets of a democratic government: – the unbreakable fact that it is BY the people. And that also stands to mean FUNDED by the people. Our sovereign debt means nothing when squared beside our ability as a people to service outgoings, those being our taxes and our other personal outgoings.
    We all know this. Why does our government that is supposedly OF the people and FOR the people not know? Ah……but they do……..And we know they know……………. “I’m watchin you Focker!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Fpz26aSyUk&NR=1 Just like Dan Boil is. Watching and watching ………..and yawn. …………watching……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Do something Danny Boy !!!!!!!

  27. wills

    The article D is about educating each consumer one by one to go a back to basics and,

    spend as one earns and,

    consume according to the principle of ‘delayed gratification’.

    The ‘insiders’ who run the ‘system’ to the destructive effect for all else do it on the basis that people will be suckered in on debt cos they want instant gratification despite going against their best interests.

    They see this fact of life as scientific and impossible to alter, much like the law of gravity.

    They see the human condition caught in a web of vice, dooooommmmeeeeeeeed!

    I determine they are wrong and people en masse are ready to earn and spend and live their life according to the principle of delaying gratification and growing and learning and taking the risk of living using the new technologies.

    And so doing away with debt bondage.

    And i say, lets start some type of cultural awakening on to approach ones life living it a different way than the model we are all now presented with everywhere.

  28. Deco

    League of Rogues.


    as Liam Griffin commented….the same names keeping popping up again and again, in the same business and ….I don’t any of them….and if I do not trust one….I know not to trust any of them…these are the scoundrels that are holding our country down…

    • Deco

      I find it impossible to believe that that they are bankrupt and that they have none of the proceeds of selling overpriced, badly built houses on land that they rezoned, that they have none of this money salted away.

      I am sorry but some part of this story by McNama and pals that they are bankrupt is complete nonsense.

      Forget investigating the banks. Let’s have an audit of the business deals of these 10 rogues, and let’s findout if they really did go bankrupt. Let’s find out how many of them have hundreds of millions of Euros salted away in the Caymans….

  29. wills


    NAMA is bailing out……………. the following …….

    They are developers Liam Carroll;
    Bernard McNamara;

    Sean Mulryan of Ballymore;

    financier Derek Quinlan;

    Paddy McKillen, owner of the Jervis Street Shopping Centre;

    Treasury Holdings, which is owned by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett;

    Cork developer Michael O’Flynn;

    Joe O’Reilly, the developer behind the Dundrum Shopping Centre in Dublin;

    Dublin builder Gerry Gannon, co-owner of the K Club golf resort in Co Kildare; and

    Galway businessman Gerry Barrett, owner of Ashford Castle in Co Mayo and G Hotel in Galway.

    Scamarama doo………………..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Fergal73

    “Each baby carries this Government’s €46,000 legacy”.

    It seems to me that this single line should be enough to encourage those of you who can to emigrate. if you’re not tied down for personal reasons, get out before you are. If you’re stuck in huge negative equity, abandon it. If it means never returning to Ireland, then don’t. Ireland is a country that has always exported its ‘surplus’ population. Forget the ethics of abandoning your debt. It’s not like those in power have led by example with the bonuses, the blind eyes, wins on the horses and in the case of one Taoiseach a privately owned island with no income to explain it. At the top you get a bonus for failing miserably. Everyone else pays for the Fingletons, the Haugheys, Mary Coughlans of the country. The state will make sure you pay for their mistakes and debts if you stay.

    Staying on will only condemn you and your children (born and unborn) to a grind of incompetence, limited career opportunities and a general lack of hope.

    New Zealand, Australia, the US, Singapore are all places where you can thrive with the right skills. Brazil is booming (though Portuguese is required).

    Why stay? The weather? The economic climate? The open and honest business culture where everyone has an equal chance to succeed? Insightful and strategic-thinking politicians who have built a top-class transport, communications and water / sewage system during the boom years? The Pension Reserve that will be there for you after having been protected from short-term raids for ongoing (and NAMA) costs?

    • wills


      Some of us posting here did emigrate and then return, in my case, around 4 times.

      So, enough already with the recommendation.

      • Ruairí

        +1 Wills. That is a repetitive banging drum you’ve got there Fergal73, in fairness!!

        As my old Jesuit Sociology professor Fr Micheál McGreil told us in the early 1990′s, don’t emigrate! Stay and fight. Make this the country you want it to be. and that is the task at hand. That is why we (many of us, at least) post here in addition to wider activism.

        • Fergal73

          Wills and Ruari – I know it is repetitive. Another word is consistent.

          Few could argue that from from an educated individual’s perspective, who is not tied to the country through emotional or other baggage, other countries provide better opportunities. To argue otherwise is in my view dishonest.

          I will happily listen to / read arguments that present the benefits to the individual of staying and ‘fighting’ for the country. Collectivism is a wonderful idea, our species’ history indicates that we’re not very good at it.

          Fr McGreil’s viewpoint may be viewed either as patriotic or a wish for the collective good.

          I’m not criticising anyone for staying (the rest of family are in Ireland), but I stick with my position that if another country offers better opportunities, take them.

        • Tim

          +1 Ruairi.
          My parents emigrated in the ’60s and I was born in New York as a result.

          They wont drive me out. I am staying to fight. (whatever that might mean).

    • wills

      I can’t recommend enough to anyone on here reading the posts that you should travel keep living in Ireland and change things here at home for the better.

      • Deco

        Wills…it is a matter of analyzing the situation….gathering facts….exchanging stories….listening for the rumours….and talking about everything we learn….everything we know….spreading it outward to everybody else….

  31. Tim

    Folks, some might find this “Ladybird version” of how banks make money useful:


  32. Ruairí

    My Big Gat Greek Wedding II to be filmed in California writes Whiskey & Gunpowder from Las Vegas http://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/california-is-americas-big-fat-greek-tragedy/
    Not sure which colour to back meself. I think you could bet against the house on this one lads as the house could shortly come down………

  33. David the debt might be €46,000 per child but the parent might have to earn €100,000 income or more to be in a position to repay that child’s debt from a disposable assuming the parebt is frugal enough to do it..Part of the difference namely €54,000 would have to pay tax first so as to pay the Childs Levy.

  34. Bamboo

    Justice done at last

  35. Ruairí

    Achtung/ Warning!
    Some personal weapons may be of shoddy manufacture and can, who knows where or when, just blow up in your Goddamn face! http://truthisfree.baywords.com/2009/12/22/willie-odea-lied/Ac

  36. Ruairí


    “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful” – Molly Ivins

    Irish Citizens 1 – FF/PD/Greens Nil

  37. wills

    Quote from willie on RTE lunchtime news,

    ‘”ah sure i’m just a vickdum sean.”

    On greek thread here is link on the great bond issuance POnzi scamarama.


  38. Blackpigsdyke

    As a long time reader of this site I finally decided to contribute due to the events of the recent weeks both internally and externally. I feel we are our truely on the edge of change in consitutional politics. As mentioned by Tim, Wills and others stay, organise and be part of the change. A small suggestion build support would be to circulate the factual comments posted here to the unfortunate fellow Irishmen and women who queue up to sign on the dole every week. Knowledge is power!

  39. ConcernedCitizen

    I read this site regularly but have never posted as there are a lot more educated people in both economical & political terms than I could ever dream of being.

    By no stretch of the imagination am I a competent economist so please bear with me, but could one of you with more experience in such matters please explain why the following can not happen.

    From a lay man’s perspective the Gov are bailing out their buddies and it will be us and our children that will be paying for it. Why not bail out the people, reduce everyone’s debt and let the small few that were greedy go to the wall. Surely if we reduce everyone’s debt then there will be more spare cash in the pockets of the people which will in turn be spent on goods & services. I know an argument against this is from those who were wise and didn’t give in to the debt trap, fair enough, but desperate times and all that. If the Gov bailout the people the banks will still receive some of the money owed but not all but then again they should have been regulated so they should take the loss.

    After the bailout the Gov should make it very undesirable to gain credit therefore rather than Joe Bloggs taking out HP for a flat screen TV etc, he would simply save his spare cash for a few weeks and then purchase the item out right.

    I for one am Irish and I don’t want to leave my country because of the way the crooks have run it, but I certainly don’t want my children to have to pay for something that they have had no control over , and for this reason alone it is extremely plausible that emigration is a very real possibility.

    I know this is a very simplistic view (as I said I am no economist) but if we are going to be paying for the Gov’s buddies to be bailed out, wouldn’t we rather bail out the people. I’m sure everyone here knows of family or friends who are caught up in this mess, wouldn’t you rather bail out them than the FF cronies, I know I would.

    Let the learning begin……

    • wills


      There are many different side views on your question posed in your comment.

      My take on why the gov are taking the macroeconomic approach of ‘fixing’ the banks debts over all else is attributed to power and control.

      So, the banks get the debts on their books sorted because the ‘interests’ behind the banks pull more weight over anyone else.

    • Malcolm McClure

      ConcernedCitizen: Welcome and you make good point, that has been raised several times here and elsewhere, notably on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

      I have never heard a satisfactory response, except a vague reference to moral hazard. This implies that if debtors in the general population had their debts annulled, then they will never expect to be required to repay any part of their future borrowings, and the whole basis of commerce would collapse. One possible solution for cash-strapped mortgagees is to negotiate an equity split that leaves them with the proportion their deposit represented and rent the rest until they sell up and leave.

      When companies cannot repay their debts, but can provide evidence that they have some prospect of recovery, than they can usually negotiate a roll-up, a deferral or a percentage repayment. NAMA assets seem intended to fall into this last category, recovering their fair value at some point in the future.

      If a country controls its own currency it can let inflation devalue everyone’s debts.
      As Ireland is stuck with the Euro, we don’t have that option.

    • Deco

      So basically RyanAir asked the DAA last July for a lease on Hangar 6….and the DAA started being as nasty as possible.

      Presumably, given the Troika of North Dublin FF, the DAA and Aer Lingus, we can assume that Aer Lingus knew of RyanAir’s request.

      Ireland does not mean business. Worse than that. Ireland is a very nasty place to do business.

      Tim -THANKS for that link.

      Folks have a look at that link. You will get an interesting perspective to this entire debacle.

      Incidentally this makes Coughlan and Cowen’s claims about their hands being tied look incredulous.

      There might be another ministerial resignation in the pipeline !!!

  40. Dilly

    Amazing stuff. Also, checkout the Baltic Dry Index story on that site. “we have turned a corner” .. yeah we sure have, and walked straight into the path of a large truck with no breaks.

    • G

      Indeed, hard to say you were misquoted on a tape recorder, Boyle, according to Vincent Browne, pulled the plug, always said Boyle was one of the keys to the Green party, if the Greens ever pull out of government, it will be because of Boyle. That old x-factor, the unknown element throwing things out, few more in the pipeline one suspects, Cowen’s political judgement under serious question, something FF always prided themselves on, O’Donoghue, O’Dea gone, Coughlan seriously damaged, Lenihan largely out of the picture, he is certainly a wounded Taoiseach, if push comes it will start to gather steam from now…….Cowen should never have allowed this political hand grenade to go off, but go off it did, lucky man weekend is here, like a boxer struggling to get back to his corner….

  41. MarkC

    Very good article, but in a way I wish I had never read it.

    Just met a friend with her little new born baby and couldn’t help but worry about the future. Not only because of what David mentions in his article but my also because my friend bought a tiny shoebox at the very height of the boom. To think that all the greed of certain people over the last number of years was at the expense of that little baby’s futures makes me sick, it really does.

    • wills


      i agree its a good article from D as always.

      On the debt over hang on the ‘kids’ i think there is alot more to this angle than D covered in his piece.

      Please check my comment above at 17. I make the following point that the ‘debt creation’ trickery holds a box of surprises to be opened to the general public and all is yet not revealed on how the debt creation magic pen casts its voodoo onto the wealth creation of the citizen.

      So, do not get to down on it.

  42. Tim

    Ah! Tom Pomphret, who screweed teachers in th labour-court ten years ago….

  43. Tim

    MarkC, you are correct.

    That is exactly where your Ire should be.

    Where is “Ire” Land?

  44. I was desperately looking for a translation german-englisch, two words describing Gormley and Cowen extremly well, As for Gormley the typical “Wendehals”, Wryneck?, describing a behavior of a political person that easily turns around 180 degrees if the wind blows in his face, voting in favor of O’ Deas confidence, then turning around with somewhat ridiculous explanations voting against him. No spine at all, just a faceless FF bimbo, Derirde was so right!

    As for Cowen, a medieval word came to mind, Beutelschneider, Pick Pocket?, describing a thief that cuts your purse from your belt without hesitation.

    I am very disheartened of late, If I think how popular and well known David became, the constant level of pretty much the same handful of people posting here is probably stereotype of the lethargy in our society.

    When I joined here, I envisioned these threads to be populated heavily in no time, I was wrong.

    Sorry for the rant, but all in all it is more than disheartening what is happening not only in Ireland.

    The impact on aspects of social health, peace and prosperity in Europe can only by guesstimated, and even the most optimistic would be pretty bleak I guess.

    As simplistic as it sounds, but the statement that this country, and others, is run by a handful of crooks and lobbyists appears to be more than true.

    I always try to be optimistic and forward thinking, the hard it is at times, and Ernst Bloch comes to mind, hope is difficult to find these days, but every crisis is a chance at the same time. Hopefully we will get out of this with a renewed social structure and contract at some stage, it is badly needed since long. Hopefully, we will not drift further to the right, and have to witness again whole countries following false prophets that just manage to use the anger and frustration of the people for their purposes..The thread of fascism is serious in such times, and by all means my greatest concern. The Berlusconis of this world, hopefully a species on the brink of extinction, flaring up a last time with a vengeance. …. Well, one can hope!

    In all that talk about economy and numbers, how easy do we forget that we talk about people, families, children, in that respect and on a second thought, I am grateful fro Davids article, he is right, it is what really counts, and not the, excuse my french, fucking Gestapo accountants from Hell.

    Again, sorry for the rant / vent.

    Best wishes

    • Tim

      That’s alright, George.

    • G

      Yes, I had the same feeling that the number of posters had declined.

      Appalled listening to people in Limerick and their interpretation of events around O’Dea – the populace can be most peculiar – so convinced of their beliefs despite being totally misplaced.

      Education, education, education………..

      Thanks for the German words, might drop them into a conversation this evening :-)

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