March 10, 2010

Fresh thinking needed to cut growing dole queues

Posted in Irish Economy · 421 comments ·

One of the saddest and most revealing books I have ever read was written about the Great Depression. ‘The Unemployed Man and His Family’ was written by an American academic called Mirra Komarovsky.

She interviewed 59 white men who had lost their jobs in the depression and tried to assess the impact on their families.

I read it when I was in university and it has stayed with me for the past 20 years. If you want to know why unemployment and the reduction in unemployment — not the banks, the bondholders or some secondary issue to do with the financial markets — has to be the cornerstone of our economic policy, read it.

If you don’t have the time to read it, just look at what is happening around you.

The original American study was the first to relate the loss of a job to the loss in self-esteem; it was the first to highlight alcoholism and depression associated with redundancy. It was also the first to link marital breakdown and domestic violence to unemployment.

In ‘The Unemployed Man and his Family’, the writer went deep into families and documented how the redundant father lost the respect of his children as well as the wider society, how the sex lives of the couples were destroyed and how many men didn’t recover from long spells of unemployment — even those who did get jobs eventually when the economy recovered.

In the 1930s, unemployed families and couples stopped socialising, not just because of a lack of money but also because of the embarrassment. Anyone who has experienced unemployment in the family will know that the family can become quite remote from their neighbours and friends. The family sometimes cuts itself off. This puts huge pressure on the family and in many cases the family is not strong enough to deal with this.

The world has obviously changed dramatically since the 1930s — not least gender equality changes and the entrance of women to the workplace — but the lessons are still valid.

The detrimental impact of unemployment happens at any age. One of the most annoying things I have heard in recent months regarding unemployment among young people and graduates is when older people dismiss it with the “get off your arse” line.

Equally infuriating is the assumption that because they are young, a stint of unemployment won’t affect them too dramatically. Again, the evidence from the United States reveals the opposite. The young unemployed go off the rails very quickly and very easily.

In Japan, which in the 1990s went through what we are going through now in terms of unemployment and economic collapse, the evidence is startling. The Japanese Centre for Socio-Economic Development reveals that the generation who started in the workforce in the 1990s and had to deal with high levels of unemployment in their early career now make up six out of every 10 cases of depression and stress.

Something similar is happening all over our country at the moment. So, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to let our doctors and our pharmacies deal with this? Are we going to let dealers make a fortune while we pick up the tab?

If we look at all economic recoveries, they are always led by small businesses. So small businesses will drag us out of this mire and in the main will be the key driver for employment growth. But at the moment in Ireland most small businesses are not in the position to employ people. The margins are too tight and demand is not strong enough, in fact it is weakening. In addition, if you have worked in a small business, you will know that training people can cost a huge amount in terms of time and cost. So we must do something that makes it easy for small companies to hire.

On the flip side, there are thousands of graduates who don’t really know what they want to do, but might have an idea of what type of industries interest them. How many of us have been faced with the dilemma of “how do I get in the door”? How often, particularly when we were younger, did we lament, “if only I can get a chance to impress these people”?

So, how do we get in the door when the people inside the door don’t even know that we are there? This is where the labour market has to be changed. We have to make it easy for small firms to take people on.

FAS has a scheme where young graduates can join companies for up to nine months to gain work experience on no pay, but they retain their unemployment benefits. This scheme should not be limited to young people. It should be open to all the unemployed.

Retraining is what is needed here and it can be done at a fraction of the cost by unleashing this programme to make it as open as possible. For instance, the scheme is restricted to companies of between 10 and 20 employees, which can hire only two additional staff on this basis. If the company can take on five people instead of two, why hold it back?

There is a myth that companies will somehow exploit such a system, but that is nonsense. Providing training within small companies is a hugely expensive task and is engaged in with care. No firm trains up somebody, not least a small firm, to risk seeing them walk out the door in six to nine months.

This is a win-win at little cost to the State. And there is a deeper opportunity here. For more mature businesses, let’s deal with an age-old dilemma that has held back employment — the initial cost of hiring staff.

When a company sees the potential for a new hire, it must weigh up the cost of taking on somebody for the position. Will it be worth it to train them? This is a cost to the company and deters employment.

What if, across Ireland, we adopted the policy that when someone is being hired, they are not hired at full salary from the get-go but would be given incremental increases as they learned their new role?

We could set out a period to full salary within a six-month period. This would have powerful knock-on effects. First, it would make it far more attractive for companies to hire. The expensive cost of early employment would be mitigated. Secondly, it would allow companies to take more risk in hiring as the costs of getting it wrong are reduced. For the potential employee, it gives them a chance to prove to employers that they were a good hire and a worthwhile investment.

Why not do this now? We are paying the dole anyway and the huge positive effect of employment can’t be underestimated. Open the scheme to everyone and see what happens.

  1. I read the same book and probably about the same time you read it too, but times are now radically different back in the 1930′s in the western world as we know it , they did not have the technology we have today at our finger tips , television wasn’t in every house a colour set with HD ( now Sony launched 3D sets two weeks ago) the choice of media was limited , there was no internet , no facebook , no twitter , no Skype, Play Station, the Wii , x box, mobile phones, the i phones , and transport the Car the choices, cheap air travel, communication and information were still at embryonic stages. Nuclear Power, Solar Power , Algea fuels were all still science fiction.
    What they did have back in the 1930′s which we still have to day is Greed , Bankers, and power hungry Politicians .
    We have a chance well in fantasy land to change but human nature is a hard thing to change when you have such an un even society of have’s and have not’s. Just take a look at Jack O Connor and the Unions looking for more money from a Bankrupt state and look at the money the Union heads are been paid , they have no idea what it is like to surrive on social welfare and try to pay bills.
    The Idea of or prehaps I should say the phylosiphy of doing a days work for payment we are at an axis now as the tecnology is there for us all to live good healthy lives but when you have a system still so focused on currencies we as a race cannot develop and a political establishment hell bent on protecting the establishment .
    Our system is broken when a Green Politician can get a politician unseated via Twitter yet he votes for NAMA there is something just wrong there.
    Fresh thinking ?….. Our ‘Insiders’ can’t even spell it !

  2. Colin_in_exile

    David, I think you’re a little naive here.A few points.

    1. You won’t find many people over the age of 25 who wish to work for free.

    2. Its a lose lose situation for the person who works for free and after nine months is out on their ear to make way for a new slave.

    3. Shouldn’t companies be asked to re-hire ex-employees if they experience an upturn in business, and pay them a salary?

    4. Why can’t companies match the dole payment of €196.00 and give someone a wage to live on?

    5. If businesses require free labour, are we not simply supporting unviable businesses, i.e. unsustainable incompetent cronism which will eventually go bust?

    6. Many businesses can get around the 20 employees rule by hiring temporary staff on a kind of semi permanent basis, so don’t be surprised by large outfits like cordil hiring using the free fas work placement scheme.

    • Alan42

      Colin in Exile . Exile yourself to the mines in Australia . I don’t know what kind of an engineer you are but you should look into it .
      There is no recession here and Interest rates have just gone up yet again . All banks are dandy .

      With high unemployment working for free is the way to go . David is right . Businesses are reluclant to hire somebody and train them .
      What employees never understand about business is that while there may be plenty of work flowing through the place the margins may be very tight or non existant .

      Last week I fired one of my managers 18 year old Son . Generally useless and thought that smoking dope in the car park was alright .
      I always have a soft spot for the kids who come to the door looking for work . What impresses me about them is that they are making an effort and are willing to walk around all day having rejection after rejection thrown at them . Most people dismiss them but I have found them to be hard workers with no sense of entitlement .

      • Alan42

        I was once having a problem with a skilled worker . Guy was really great at his job but became a nightmare when he thought that he should be running the place .

        We had a meeting about him and there was all sorts of ideas about what we should do . Try this , maybe he is having problems at home , maybe we should give him some difficult work and cut his overtime to teach him a lesson etc etc .

        Just after the meeting this skilled immigrant guy knocked on the door . He had just moved to the country and was desperate for work .

        You know what ? As ruthless as it sounds I just sacked the difficult employee and gave his position to the door knocker .

        • tony_murphy


          you need to treat your employees better imo.

        • cozzy121

          Must be great to have so much power over peoples lives. Hope your staff know their place an tug forelock as you pass….

          • Alan42

            I love this response . The ‘ difficult guy ‘ did not like how I ran the place and thought that he was so good that he could go slow etc . It went on for weeks . The immigrant guy on the other hand is knocking on doors handing out his CV .
            I am not in the social work business . I am in the business of making money . It really is that simple .

            I am actually a good employer as I have a very low turnover of staff . Pay average wages with plently of OT .

            We even have a scheme where we deduct 2 hours per week off the employees pay and every 4 weeks they get an extra day off and thats on top of their holiday entitlement .

            When I talk about the immigrant I am talking about Australia where there is lots of immigrants and not Ireland which just used them as cheap labour .

          • ps200306

            Alan42 I completely agree with you. My company is also a fair employer, but there are always some people who will take the piss. Their mistake is thinking the workplace is some kind of democracy in which their opinion should hold as much sway as their manager’s. It doesn’t, and can’t, work that way.

          • Deirdre

            Alan42 below says

            ‘We even have a scheme where we deduct 2 hours per week off the employees pay and every 4 weeks they get an extra day off and thats on top of their holiday entitlement .’

            What you describe is forced unpaid leave. This practise is used by companies to save on their wage bill but it’s nothing to boast about. And if it wasn’t in addition to their holiday entitlement it would actually be a wage cut. So, why mention it?

        • My my what a great example you set to us all.
          Give that man a cigar.

          • s1lverbullet

            A lot of the problem with Irish ‘managers” is that they can’t manage. just because you are the boss does not mean you are always right. i remember doing a business management course and could’nt help noticing how little of the theory could be applied to Ireland. Maybe if the workplace was a little more democratic and a little less authoritarian, then this country wouldn’t be in the state it is, with absolute idiots running the major institutions

        • StephenKenny

          Sounds iike a good approach, organise things so that all the unemployed are desperate and will do anything to get work. Alternatively, just sack all the ‘difficult’ staff, maybe including those who need too much pay, and just import a load of desperate immigrants.
          It seems that IBM have picked up this idea recently, ofering a bunch of their staff help with relocation, if they’ll relocate to India (from Texas, I think) and work under local (i.e. Indian) terms and conditions and rates of pay.
          The problem with this approach is that it only works if only a small minority of companies are doing it – when too many do, it starts to destroy the abillity of consumers to buy the products and services that the companies make, and to pay the taxes that the governments need to pay the public service sector. Eventually, it will simply significantly lower the standard of living of the previously developed countries.

        • Ruairí

          I wouldn’t be so hard on Alan42 here. I think we do people a disservice who create jobs for others.

          John Allen hits the nail on the head in that there is always work, not always jobs. we must seek to add value. every employee should or what are they for? Decoration?

          We all commend workers’ rights. But don’t confuse that with a troubleseome colleague who only reads their job description when it suits their rights but not when it’s about their responsibilities. There is nothing worse than a colleague stepping outside their job description in a well-run ship, particularly owner-managed, ant then possibly also not doing the bit they were supposed to do. And signed up for!
          I wouldn’t be so quick to damn an employer who rewards the keen. That same employer may surprise you and hyper-reward the worthy. Duncan Bannatyne comes to mind. Tight? Tough? Maybe. But he came from a tough background, socially and environmentally and he’s not about to put up with pansies with issues or foggy thinking. Foggy thinking is laziness expressed. And Ireland is full of foggy thinkers. They also make their way to Oz to try and pollute it too.

        • Deco

          Maybe he should have been running the place ?

          • tony_murphy

            I agree Deco, maybe he should have been

            I have witnessed this kind of management practically everywhere I’ve worked. Get rid of any potential threats – even if they are very good at their jobs. Protects ones position at all costs

            Employees who sway with the wind will always be alright – until everything goes t it s up because the high achievers have gone

            Employees do sometimes have personal problems which can temporarily affect their performance. I believe that good employers take this into account and also question their own actions as to why employees are not motivated

            Sacking someone should never be done without very good cause. Karma

          • s1lverbullet

            Ireland is one of the few countries where the hardest workers never get past the drone stage and all the arse-lickers seem to get very very far

      • Colin_in_exile


        Thanks for your suggestion, I may well have to go to the mines of the Australian Outback. That means giving my girlfriend, parents and siblings the 2 fingers, but I’m prepared to make sacrifices – I always have and I expect I always will. I never had a sense of entitlement. To study the course I always wanted to study at University, I had to pay full fees and I funded this by working at weekends and all college holidays as a taxi driver.

        I respect you for creating employment and paying employees for work done. Just a query though, the guy you sacked, do you think he deserved the chance to hear what you disliked about his style and an opportunity to adapt his behaviour to fit in with your idea of how you like your business run?

        • Alan42

          Colin . The guy I sacked was a very talented worker . What happened was that I promoted somebody into a management position over him . The guy I promoted had people skills and this guy did not . If I had have promoted him I would have had to make him an SS uniform . He is South Africian and I have some workers who are from Sri Lanka and Northern Africa . This guy openly stated that to these people that Mandela is a thug .
          The guy I promoted over him who became his boss had a problem with his attitude . There was basically a personality clash between the two . The South Africian had a major problem with my decision and had no problem telling me of the errors of my ways .

          If an employee , no matter how talented they are is creating a problem it is picked up by the other employees . They will actually come to me and complain . They will want to know why I am putting up with this difficult employee while they are working hard and are not creating problems .

          If my employees see me as weak then I have a major problem on my hands . They then doubt my ability . Basically they want me to produce plenty of work on the floor . In our business there is plenty of overtime and its all about making money .

          Last year was tough Business was tight for the first 6 months and then it boomed for the last 6 months . I was advised to let staff go during the GFC scare but I hoarded the skill set instead . That cost me money while I did work with no margin .
          My sin was to pay the same xmas bonus as last year and this guy marched into my office demanding to know why I had not incresed it while also telling me how bad an employer I was .

          You know what ? I am the employer . I cannot even understand what my Sri Lankan emplyoee says to me as his accent is so thick . But I do know that he has 2 Daughters in private education which is costing him a fortune and he wants to work . On the other hand I have a very skilled worker who walked out the door with $2300 one week in his back pocket ( with overtime ) who is causing problems on the floor .

          I am a product of the 80′s in Dublin . I will simply not put up with some guy who can earn $ 2300 after tax a week telling me how to run my business . The guy on the opposite shift to him is from Argentina and has actually withnessed a bank collaspe . Guess what ? He is one of my best workers . He earns massive money through overtime .
          Last week I had an apprentice who grew bored of his apprentship and went missing for two weeks . I find that legally I cannot sack an apprentice . Fair enough . But I had a Sudanese refugee knock on the door looking for work . I had none but it just bugs me that I have an apprentice who cares so little for his job while this guy has travelled half the world through refugee camps is going without .

          • Bamboo

            Well said and I wish you the all the best. You care for your employees. You know you’ve made the right decision and there is no need to explain anymore.

          • Colin_in_exile


            Thanks for your reply. I wish you every success with your business.

            But, can I pick your brains for a moment?

            If I’m employed in a senior position in a business, is it better for me to be a “yes man” than to use my talents to the maximum effect?

            Should I speak with a thicker accent to endear myself to the boss?

            Should I inform my boss what kind of education my children are aspiring to in order to garner some sympathy or do a Paul McCartney and send my kids to the local school so they can meet and know people from a non-elitist background?

            Should I always follow the “right on happy clappy” liberal left line in the workplace about multiculturism even though I know its damaging for society (in my opinion, and I’m not racist by the way)?

            Note; White South Africans are now ruled by a Polygamist Corrupt Zulu called Jacob Zuma. If your ex-employee had some unorthodox views on Mandela, were you not curious to find out what they were and thus maybe call his bluff? I always found it remarkable that very shortly after coming out from prison, he gave his wife Winnie the elbow, forgetting about all the support she gave him on the outside in all those years he was in prison? Or have I got something wrong, is Mandela a living day saint?

          • drick

            well said indeed.
            in sydney myself after coming back after a 5 year stint in ireland. lucky to get out.
            ever fancy a beer ,drop me a line here

    • Ruairí

      Its hard to know Colin in exile. Lets say we had real leaders in the Minister for Commerce and the Taoiseach and Mnr for Finance etc.

      Let’s say they implemented such a scheme for a limited period with a strictly defined review period. It would then mean that you or I etc could try our hand at something new, hi-tech. local etc. Low cost to you or I. High potential. especially if there was a strict cut-off date (metrics of cut-off dates need to be managed carefully to avoid unintended consequences though).

      There needs to be some way to put the control in the volunteer worker’s hands, not the employer’s hands. So a programme that lessens worker’s rights on one hand (but increases workplace mobility) and strengthens the individual worker’s right by giving them some form of PAYE / PRSI credit to bring forward to the next employer.
      Padraig O’Connéide, MD of Aer Arann, was on the Frontline on Monday night and (apart from the Silicon Valley “guys” addition to his spiels!!) he made a great point that meshes with what David is saying. Make all efforts to keep people and get people working. The social consequences of not doing so are beyond our worst nightmare. we do not have the discipline among our younger folk that we had. The memory of austerity is just not there. Padraig’s specific idea was to look at the social welfare bill differently. essentially salughter it by slaughtering tax burdens on new employees in new / existing companies. So forego the tax, get people working and get people spending. Plus the tiny side benefit of less depression, suicide, car burnings, vandalism and God forbid, TD kidnapping and kneecapping. That wouldn’t do, at all, at all……..

      And I agree with you:- get public service wages down (not necessarily from the low-paid end of the pay pyramid, just get the bill down). Sick pay has NOT been tackled. We all know there’s major BS going on across all semi-states and State depts. Overtime, cut it and employ more people, (if the pay budget keeps being spent at that level). If property prices unwind, our economy will deleverage. And that means public servants too. And that especially means the bloodsuckers that are private professionals i.e. doctors, chemists, solicitors etc etc. We’re either in it together, or we’re not. And all bets are off then, buckos.


      I knw u probably wont reply but that wont stop me making my points.
      In reference to zuma ruling over white south africa and u refering to him as a polygamist .May i say that he being a polygamist has nothing to do with him beeing the president of the country. He is entitled to do whatever he pleases in his private life.More over he is the president of southafrica not the president of white southafrica.It seems some people still cant get over that fact.Refering to him as corrupt i guess u should take the logs out of your eyes before taking other peoples own cause in your own backyard called ireland ,your ex taoisach bertie was a crook plus yr current government in connivance with he bankers are going to enrich themselves through the hanky panky stuff called Nama .
      Courtesy of the truth

  3. DH

    The idea of an incrimental training period sounds great although businesses might see it differently. The highly profitable corporate giant I work for has recently hired in a lot of college graduates on low salarys to do admin work for the sales staff, and in doing so is training them to be sales people, however when they get offered promotion to sales they are not being offered any noticable bump in salary. The company knows that these people are prepared to work for low wages and has no intention of bringing their salary in line with the other sales people. They are trained, they are working on low salaries and no other companies are offering a better deal – i guess that”s capitalism? I hate capitalism….

    • It is not quite as bad as it seems. The accumulated knowledge that these graduates receive will serve them well in the upturn and will of course weigh up the value of staying when better offers arise elsewhere. That too is Capitalism

      • mcsean2163

        That’s assuming there is an upturn! In the meantime you could be stuck for 5 – 10 years on a rubbish wage.

        Oh to be working for the government….

        • Bamboo

          With a lot of luck we get to find out about this upturn when it comes. I am not surprised that this upturn may be well hidden away from us. We can still be slogging away for years while the people at the top are holidaying in the sun.

    • Ruairí

      Its interesting. A short number of years ago, Airtricity won best company in the Top 50 Best Companies to work for in Ireland. As I’d applied when they were a wee baby, but I hadn’t taken the offered interview, I said I’d apply again (3 yrs ago). This time around, their sales staff were hired contractually through Sales Placement. I’m sure conditions were good etc. but when you’re a hired gun, the money shoudl be MUCH higher. Otherwise, you should be a fulltime direct employee. Best company to work for? Don’t believe everything you read in de papers buckos, about anyone. Obre les ojos and find out for yourselves (the Jesuit-educated among you will know that instinctively).

  4. Cannot Swim in The Air –

    We can only swim in water .When the book David is referring to was published it was in the Age of Pisces ( Water )as was too The New Testament and we all had our hearts on our sleeves then. Today we are in the Age of Aquarius ( Air ) and this is the new age of Invention and Communication and Speed .We are a race of ‘clikers’ as we bleep our mobiles and pc’s.We should not talk about swimming instead we should contemplate in Space Travel and Voyage under the Seas. We need to build up new ideas for tomorrows world.

    • ps200306

      Isn’t astrology a discredited science?

      • G

        I think you’re confusing it with economics :-)

      • Fergal73

        Astrology is not a science. There are no empirical double blind studies. It doesn’t predict anything with the accuracy of equations. It is vague and open to double / triple / multiple interpretations. You might as well call Christianity / Islam / Buddhism / Hinduism sciences. They are beliefs, nothing more.

        The Giant Green Teapot is the main man.

    • Eireannach

      The Age of Pisces ends about AD2150, at which time the Age of Aquarius begins. However, the influence of Aquarius has been growing since the Renaissance, as Aquarius rules science, technology, air and space travel and ant-hill or beehive-type human cities of the future.

      We are at the end of the Age of Pisces. Pisces rules alcoholism, feelings of being lost, prisons, monasteries and oceanic compassion for all beings. We will experience Pisces very powerfully during this century as the oil age ends, much of our suburbs become dysfuntional, and all the unsustainable things we do (most things) can no longer be sustained.

      The end of Pisces, that is C21, will be very dark for anyone not attuned to the rising mindset of Aquarius.

      Pisces is the meek lamb (Jesus, the lamb of God, is the spiritual symbol of the Age Of Pisces). People have to stop being sheep or, literally, they are going to die as the Age of Pisces dies.

      It’s not funny. It directly relates to David’s article about depression, feels of uselessness and so on when there are clearly 1000s of things that need to be done to reinvent our society along the principles of sustainable development.

      • Eireannach – you have a crossed spatial cosmic strategy – corrections – Aquarius has arrived a few years ago and was celebrated in one location in India by over 8 million people at the time in one specific location –
        The Age of Pisces is denoted by the Fish thus the miracle of the loaves and fishes in the New Testament .When it finished we at that time saw the fall of communism and the fall of various leaders who were also Pisces too eg De Clerk, Gobachev , Khohl of Germany etc
        The Ager of Aries – the Old Testament finished over two thousand years ago and that was denoted by Abraham as the Lamb of God ( thus aries a ram ) and the Holy Spirit ( fire ) thus the ten commandments .
        We have moved in three ages Fire – Water and now into Air .Our new age is denoted by the internet , mobile phones , click click , bling bling president of france etc

        • Age of Gemini ( Air ) – Before the Old Testement we had gemini and it was during this passing that Dun Aengus was distroyed from being a circle to a semi circle perched up high on the cliff edge and is now a craftwork made by both man and nature .This was during the fall of Atlantis a greater land further out into the Atlantic.
          What is interesting between this gemini and our present aquarius is that both are Air signs.Can we deduce that Merrion Sq & Mandarins have created a NAMA that is a craftwork made by Corrupted Politians and Bankers!
          ?From the Fall of Dun Aengus to NAMA makes it all very interesting.

          • Malcolm McClure

            John Allen: It has been suggested that the Greeks should sell some of their islands to Turkey to defray the cost of their debts. It occurred to me that long ago, Ireland might have sold the other half of Aranmore to Iceland to cover the cost of debts to the Vikings. Perhaps we could avoid needing NAMA if we sold the rest of Dun Aengus to Lake Havasu City in Arizona, where it could sit proudly beside the old London Bridge?

          • Lenihan is a Gemini….should we be scared?Geminis are Slave Traders

    • Today Revisited : The axis of change and distruction returns over 5,000 years later .Here is the heavenly evidence :
      Dun Aengus was distroyed in Gemini ( Air )
      NAMA is distruction in Aqarius ( Air)
      Lenihan is Gemini ( Air )
      Bacon ( gov advisor ) is Aqarius ( NAMA )

      So much for Big Brother .

  5. I still can’t get around the concept of trying to reduce 430,000 unemployed, or under-employed and Enterprise Ireland rolling out the PR red carpet for a hoped for 900 jobs over 3 years after investing in 73 companies and the IDA saying it will generate 150,000 or is that 200,000? jobs in 4 years. This all sounds optimistic until you take into consideration that each year we churn out new graduates and school leavers onto the job market so the number would still at this point only give the labour force a stand still position.

    The problem in Ireland is that from the Unions perspective is that we tend to fight to get back what was taken away rather than work to deliver what maybe possible. It is not “Naive” merely an option. The question is who is prepared to do something about it rather than discuss it. Everything seems to require a committee to get started and getting started requires a committee meeting that creates a camel when a horse is what is required to paraphrase another saying about committee resolutions.

    Ideas, naive or otherwise are what is needed and the more the better chance of finding one that works. I look at the Cumberland street scene on the news of unemployed and see the image of “Follow the money” cover and recall the 80′s realising that no one was prepared to help so we had to help ourselves.

    Why not form a bartering system where skilled workers could work for a service? I know it sounds simple but my Dad (RIP) used to fix the toilets in the pub for a few drinks. Now that sounds small change but it served him and the publican and money still circulated and using the multiplier effect perhaps gave someone else a small increase in their cashflow.

    So keep the ideas coming and someone may take one up to help a solution elsewhere.

    • Gerard Brandon – your late father had a true virtue for work we sadly no longer have.It was humility .

    • s1lverbullet

      I have the answer to the jobs problem. Get Cowen to phone the EU to get those 250,000 jobs we were promised for voting in the Lisbon Treaty. Job done…. country fixed. Or were they lying I wonder??


      the whole idea is hoopla i:e optimistic and vague
      to be realistic it would take a while top bring back employment rates to pre recession period .lets say 8 years
      courtesy of the truth

  6. Well, respectfully I disagree on this statement:

    David said:
    There is a myth that companies will somehow exploit such a system, but that is nonsense.

    On the contrary, I have many examples of internationally acting companies located in Ireland that take advantage of dodgy legislation with no or very little control.

    When the IT bubble was in full progress, companies like GATEWAY were on the front of schemes that were subsidized by Irish government when it came to employment and help from the government. Let aside tax advantages, they were payed for their unethical HR turnover. From memory, for every person they hired through one of the myriad job agents, and who stayed longer than I think it was 10 months, they got payed the first three months salary and the commission of the agent which often was 1.5-3 times monthly salary.

    The result?

    The yearly HR turnover in companies such as Gateway, at one stage employing > 1,6000 people in Ireland, was in the region of 35-40%.

    Go figure.

    • lff12

      Odd you mention that. I went for Gateway once and despite getting 100% in their entrance assessment (and they told me straight how impressed they were) I didn’t get the job. Looking back I’d say it was a clerical error somewhere, but I had an offer from somewhere better and thought little of it.

      I agree their staff were very underpaid though. It is a huge myth that people working for multinationals are paid huge money – most of them are lucky to get maybe 10-20% more than the minimum wage at this point and many are very poorly skilled and get little development opportunity.

      What skews the stats is the hugely inflated pay given to small numbers of senior management in these places that creates the illusion that average pay is higher, plus the fact that many are 24×7 operations where many staff are highly dependent on overtime and shift allowance. I recall working in one place where I was getting 35k but my real salary was only 26k which was even then well below average wages. And I was “skilled.”

  7. On top, they invented commission schemes for their employees, I say invented, because it was a scam.

    While the mouth below cocaine powdered nose of the CEO was jabbering hyped up american motivation speeches on a stage and people were expected to applaud like he is the Messiah, the reality was that 95% of staff was severely underpaid, >40% of payrolls were wrong every single months, a payroll clinic had to be installed, a PC computer manufacturer had a payroll system on a mainframe IBM AS400 system and one single operator who did not have a clue.

    The commission scheme was designed in a way that only 5% of people ever made any commissions at all, while their base salaries ended up to be in ridiculous low figures, so low that no one gave a damn after being there for a few weeks, having figured what that was about.

    But no worries, few month later, the next fresh wave of irish taxpayer subsidized employees joint the ranks and the cycle started again.

  8. lff12

    It is a good point, these schemes are useful and its true that many companies don’t just dropped well trained employees after 9 months. However some are really short sighted and will simulataneously drop one staff member while hiring another with a different skill set instead of retraining.
    The place I work now has an almost annual redundancy round, while at the same time hiring for vacancies in other areas. They seem incapable of thinking more than 3 months down the pipeline.

    On the other hand, the idea to pay less to starters isn’t a bad one. I agree its hard to start on small money. Much of our problem is that “zero” now equals the dole payment plus rent subsidy or mortgage assistance. Also a huge problem if you are coming off the dole is covering the cost of travelling to work. This nearly broke me on the one occasion I was unemployed – plus living for 5 weeks with no income at all after being on the pittance that the UK dole is for 13 weeks. It would help if people were given some little “sign off loan” after 4 weeks if they don’t sign back on and stay working which doesn’t have to be repaid if they stay at work. Even petrol vouchers, a bus ticket or food vouchers would help people bridge the gap.

    • lff12

      2 hours after I posted this, I was given effective 3 month notice of losing my job.
      “At risk” they call it so if we find another job between now and 30 days before closure when at risk beecomes “official” they can refuse redundancy. How screwed up is that?
      How innocent it looks now.

  9. Philip

    The harsh reality of today is not to have any employees. If we must have employees, ideally please provide at zero pay. All must be cost neutral or profit positive. No wages and commission only….what a tangled anxiety driven mess we have.

    let me introduce you to that old concept of the broomcupboard business. The web site that makes money but gets paid nothing for doing it. The pop / jazz radio station that ticks over during the night making money from ad revenues while employing no one…no one except the guy who chnages the tapes or downloads the new programmes for the next few days. That hardware used to be in a shack or a broomcupboard. Now it is an anonymous application running in an anonymous server on a datacentre God knows where. 100s of acres of servers humming away employing a few guys on shifts covers 7x24x365 with a dog or 2 for company to keep them from fiddling with the kit too much when they get bored while all of our “entrepreneurs” fool themselves into believing they are bringing a service with a .0001% margin and making a profit.

    Meanwhile, fewer are working. And it is getting worse not becasue of the recession but becasue they are simply not needed anymore. We are in an automated world. The Chinese are just the precusor to unpaid robots!!

    We have loads of specialists and well educated people who are not needed. This means people are not needed full stop! In Ireland, we only need 2.5M. The rest of you fcek off ! Yiz are useless.

    Next few years we probably only need 1.5 million. and so on until we get down to around 80-90K…enough to populate Croke park or give us each 1 sq mile of land (620 acres).

    Joking aside etc…we really need to start thinking in terms of a zero recovery global economy at least for the next 2-5 years. The question: How do we keep a society stable and developed enough.

    The solution? History books show how it was done in the past. Sticky stuff indeed unless we have the leadership and the vision.

    • Original-Ed

      You’re far off the mark there – less and less workers will be needed as we move more and more towards automated production. The financial leverage that technology is giving to individuals, like Bill Gates, is ridiculous and the more that technology takes over from the human, the idea of a national income for every citizen becomes a realistic option. Once that income base is in place, then tax income above that level and tax both consumption and production.

    • Malcolm McClure

      Philip: There is much sense in what you say. One needs to make a distinction however between high tech and infrastructure potential for attractive employment.

      There will always be money and jobs for those smart enough to get in on the first wave of a high tech break-though. Late comers will just pick up the crumbs.

      Infrastructure in terms of houses, roads, railways, electricity, water and broadband eventually reaches an economic saturation point in developed economies. So skilled workers in those industries must look to underdeveloped nations that have unexploited economic potential in terms of agricultural or mineral wealth to find longer term well-paid employment. If they join a VSO and get to know the language and local big-wigs, after a few years they can make a good life for themselves.


    There is a ready supply of 500 million people acrose europe , many of whom are trained, qualified and experienced and are far more employment ready rhan school leavers and grads.Hence, the end of apprenticeships and a return to employment conditions of the eighties.Some companies are paying eastern europeans off the books and ditching them after 6 months.There is nothing to stop a person working for free, an employer wants a recruit who will add max value from minute 1.Sin a bfhuil.

  11. G

    Came across this dramatic article on suicide in Japan in 2009………….agree with the central thrust of the article.

    A friend of mine is working for free in a solicitors office, glad to get the experience and keep his dole payments…………mortgage, new born baby etc, not ideal but better than sitting at home………………

    WE NEED TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, that has to be the priority if we have any chance of pulling out of this nose dive towards economic oblivion.

    Article: Desperate Japanese head to ‘suicide forest’

    AOKIGAHARA FOREST, Japan (CNN)– Aokigahara Forest is known for two things in Japan: breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and suicides. Also called the Sea of Trees, this destination for the desperate is a place where the suicidal disappear, often never to be found in the dense forest.

    Taro, a 46-year-old man fired from his job at an iron manufacturing company, hoped to fade into the blackness. “My will to live disappeared,” said Taro. “I’d lost my identity, so I didn’t want to live on this earth. That’s why I went there.”
    Taro, who did not want to be identified fully, was swimming in debt and had been evicted from his company apartment.

    He lost financial control, which he believes to be the foundation of any stable life, he said. “You need money to survive. If you have a girlfriend, you need money. If you want to get married, you need it for your life. Money is always necessary for your life.” Watch Taro describe why he wanted to die in “suicide forest”

    Taro bought a one-way ticket to the forest, west of Tokyo, Japan. When he got there, he slashed his wrists, though the cut wasn’t enough to kill him quickly.

    He started to wander, he said. He collapsed after days and lay in the bushes, nearly dead from dehydration, starvation and frostbite.

    He would lose his toes on his right foot from the frostbite. But he didn’t lose his life, because a hiker stumbled upon his nearly dead body and raised the alarm.

    Taro’s story is just one of hundreds logged at Aokigahara Forest every year, a place known throughout Japan as the “suicide forest.”

    The area is home to the highest number of suicides in the entire country.
    Japan’s suicide rate, already one of the world’s highest, has increased with the recent economic downturn.

    There were 2,645 suicides recorded in January 2009, a 15 percent increase from the 2,305 for January 2008, according to the Japanese government.

    The Japanese government said suicide rates are a priority and pledged to cut the number of suicides by more than 20 percent by 2016. It plans to improve suicide awareness in schools and workplaces.

    But officials fear the toll will rise with unemployment and bankruptcies, matching suicide spikes in earlier tough economic times.

    “Unemployment is leading to this,” said Toyoki Yoshida, a suicide and credit counselor.

    “Society and the government need to establish immediate countermeasures to prevent suicides. There should be more places where they can come and seek help.”

    Yoshida and his fellow volunteer, Norio Sawaguchi, posted signs in Aokigahara Forest urging suicidal visitors to call their organization, a credit counseling service.

    Both men say Japanese society too often turns a cold shoulder to the unemployed and bankrupt, and breeds a culture where suicide is still seen as an honorable option.

    Local authorities, saying they are the last resort to stop people from killing themselves in the forest, have posted security cameras at the entrances of the forest.

    The goal, said Imasa Watanabe of the Yamanashi Prefectural Government is to track the people who walk into the forest. Watanabe fears more suicidal visitors will arrive in the coming weeks.

    “Especially in March, the end of the fiscal year, more suicidal people will come here because of the bad economy,” he said. “It’s my dream to stop suicides in this forest, but to be honest, it would be difficult to prevent all the cases here.”

    One year after his suicide attempt, Taro is volunteering with the credit counseling agency that helped him get back on his feet. He’s still living in a shelter and looking for a job. He’s ashamed, he said, that he still thinks about suicide.

    “I try not to think about it, but I can’t say never. For now, the will to live is stronger.”

    • Malcolm McClure

      G: I think long-winded discussions like this about suicide should be banned from this site as they are no help to anybody. Much the same goes for non-specific suggestions that emigration is the solution to unemployment in Ireland.It is good to see David pointing to one of the few FAS initiatives that have any relevance to the present situation. Workingfor experience without pay other than dole money is unsatisfactory for both employer and emplyee. The former has no levers to enforce timekeeping discipline and the latter has no concrete evidence that his efforts are appreciated.

        • G

          I suppose the point I was trying to make, was that it is a real issue. Japan was touched upon by David in his article, but as the CNN article points out, it is not the way to go, people can find a way forward, despite the darkness.

          Shutting the issue off completely might do more of a disservice. I accept its a sensitive topic, but maybe by bringing it out it can serve some good, but I take the point that this particular site may not be the appropriate one. Apologies if I upset anyone.

          In case there are people reading who do feel terribly down, then this is a useful number and always remember things can and do get better. The Samaritans: 1850 60 90 90.

          Best to all ~ G.

          • You should not need to apologise G and I can’t believe that people are prepared to chastise you just because you have have shown your humanity by caring for your fellow countrymen who are struggling right now.

            On Reeling in the Years on on RTE on Saturday a woman who was an agony aunt for one of the newspapers said that loneliness is our biggest problem in Ireland.

            She felt it was a sad state of affairs that in the the west we are still too afraid to admit that we are emotion beings. This was in 1975 and nothing has changed. As soon someone utters the D word people want to ban it. Go figure.

            Loss of hope, depression and suicide are a by product of the society we have created and in Ireland there is a lot of depression.

            Working for free may be the answer for some people but for others it would cause an even bigger dent in their morale.

          • G

            @ Pauldiv – It was motivated by compassion.

            I came back to Ireland in 2004 with a degree, a first class honours masters, knowledge of two European languages, experience of working in a major European institution, written a host of stuff (articles etc) only to be told by a certain national newspaper that I was overqualified (in the second interview) for their journalism traineeship programme. I was 27 at the time.

            After that debacle, I was unemployed for 11 straight months and reached a pretty low place and was about to emigrate to the United States but got a ‘break’ – if you can call a data entry/shredding job and being bullied in an office ‘a break’, but I handled it through various methods, beat those who wanted to see my ruination, and have been building myself back up ever since.

            It hasn’t been easy but I am glad I didn’t give up, I am also glad I didn’t ‘get on the property ladder’ like all were advising me. I am glad those negative/destructive people didn’t force me out of Ireland as my family need me (my father was recently diagnosed with cancer).

            My gut got me through that and a lot more, never once let me down – I beat the bastards and there were a fair few of them, some of them overt, others in the long grass. I now use my experience to advise and assist others.

            I’ve been there, I know exactly how unemployment can hit a person, David caught the essence in his article.

            We need to get people back to work, its going to take the kind of imagination and creativity which we have never seen, taking out the government is the starting place.

      • wills


        What are you like with your high hobby horse banning hissy fit.

        • Malcolm McClure

          Wills: Prefaced by ‘I think’ should have indicated that that caveat was merely a personal opinion. Thus no need for you to ventilate such indignation.
          G: Your openness is appreciated and your personal experiences are inspirational. Your point is well made that life is a struggle for all of us and that reversals of fortune can build character.

          • G

            Things can be misconstrued or ‘jumped on’ with this medium, it has its limitations.

            You know its interesting, even though my father faces major surgery tomorrow, he was in his hospital bed this evening railing against Mary Harney and the FF government, he said he wants to recover to see this government fall.

            The apple doesn’t fall from the tree

            We’ll keep going forward, with the odd stumble, but rise again, we have these boys on the run, lets keep up the effort with David sounding the call to arms!!

          • wills

            Well G, I disagree, with you and Malcolm, i consider your post relevant.

          • G

            I am with you Wills, I think overall it was relevant, but I could see also the flip side. Glad we had the ‘debate’.

      • Fergal73

        I think that pointing out the obvious – that emigration is likely to be the most viable option for a significant number of graduates each year is an absolutely valid position.
        Should we sweep the option under the carpet? Emigration is a valid option.
        Pointing out the elephants in the room is a duty.
        Warning of the dangers of unemployment, be they alcoholism, depression, suicide, domestic violence is reasonable. Advocating them is a whole other story. G is providing a warning.

        • Malcolm McClure

          Fergal73: I think that most readers of this blog would appreciate if the darker negative options were only mentioned briefly, as illustrations of the extremes that sensible economic plans should avoid causing at all costs.

          Otherwise it is a short hike to the adoption of taliban or nazi solutions, with all that that can entail. Terrorism is the ultimate failure of civilisation. As is flying a cessna into a tax office. We must continue to distinguish madness from elephants in the room, particularly if they are pink.

  12. G

    Just posting this again as I put it on the tail-end of the last article, think it important also.

    See Country number 14, the good old Emerald Isle, saints and sinners, no wonder the American banks are involved, all part of the imperial grand strategy.

    US federal deficit: who owns America’s debt — Find out which countries are propping up the US economy

  13. G

    New York Times ran a very good series of articles on the deleterious impact of unemployment.

    Unemployment along with the growing national debt (€1.1 trillion according to figures released by the Central Bank today – see RTE/PRVADA website) are the two M-A-J-O-R issues.

    photos in the series –

    other articles in the series –

  14. G

    Irish debt stands at €1.1 trillion

    Wednesday, 10 March 2010 12:06

    New figures from the Central Bank show that at the end of January, Irish residents – mostly companies and institutions – had an outstanding debt of €1.1 trillion.

    Figures for issued debt securities indicate that €790bn worth of this debt is denominated in euro, while the remaining €270bn worth is denominated in foreign currencies.

    Most of this amount – some €789.1bn – is accounted for by entities based in the IFSC, including companies involved in asset finance, securitisation and treasury management.

    AdvertisementIrish financial institutions including banks account for €182.6bn of the debt securities, of which €46.8bn is in short term securities.

    Irish Government debt at the end of January was €78bn, an increase of €6.7bn since the end of December, and reflecting a five billion Euro bond issue in January.

    Irish pension funds and insurance companies account for €2.2bn of the outstanding debt instruments.

    Around 9% of the outstanding debt is in the form of short-term instruments, mostly due for repayment this year.

    Story from RTÉ News:

  15. MK1

    Hi David,

    I agree that solutions to unemployment are needed but its not easy divising them. The country also wont put in schemes to prevent future social costs of alcoholism and depression, etc.

    I think colin_in_exile and laughingbear do make salient points that there will be nefarious employers who will take advantage of schemes and people.

    Greed ….. its the same human fault which is omnipresent in the exploitation of workers in small companies as it was in the credit frenzy with bankers and developers and our ‘blind’ government.

    Its true that more could be done with unemployed people than just paying them dole. And there are ‘good companies’ that would employ them if supported with a scheme. But expectations and costs for everyone are high. Young people may also take their chances abroad first.

    I recently hired someone that was out of work for a while, paid them 27k but they became very demotivated as they thought it wasnt enough money, and this was someone with a poor tack record and barely two years of experience. I had to let them go.

    Only a prolonged recession will see attitudes of laziness (which some have) dissappear. We are only at the start ….

    And there are jobs out there, its just that people dont want to do them for that amount of money. Why work 30 hrs at minimum wage (240) when you can get 196 on the dole and pull in a few nixers as well here and there …….


  16. Bamboo

    “sign off loan” after 4 weeks is an excellent idea and your point of “the cost of traveling to work, petrol vouchers, a bus ticket or food vouchers” is just an absolute minimum that Ireland needs to apply immediately. I was never in that situation I must admit but I’ve given to many people in that situation something towards this bridging period. Then there is the utility bills of course.

    I realize, being in working environment, you need to have some extra cash to go out with your colleagues for some lunch, a drink every now and then and maybe a contribution towards some sort of birthday present. You need to have some bonding with your colleagues and make friends in this environment. All of this really eats your into pocket if you have zero money. (I’ve worked with younger people most of the time who like their (rightly so) social life, elaborate lunches and pints)

    David, Thanks for the article. I think every (no matter what it is) idea helps us all and gives us inspiration to other ideas. It is up to any of us to make the very best of it.
    As we are still in a state of shock/anger and bombarded with how much nepotism, cronyism, bankers scammy tricks, FAS, multinationals, GOVs, etc, has brought us to where we are today. And rightly so, of course.

    One day we will come to terms and realize that each of us has to make the best of what we have/can do. If not we turn to “harikiri” and what good does that do. How I wish so much there is some good news that we can build on and that this news will lift us all out of this mess.
    Look at Machholtz post, one post sounds all desperate and the next post is his optimism, energy and full of ideas. Machholtz, as you described the sheer reality your daily situation, many posters are worried (I was anyway) about you, and then you pick yourself up and brought that optimism. That is good what I call good news.

    During the 80′s crisis in Holland there was a “late late” type show called “the good news show”. It was hoasted by a very critical presenter and only brought good news and the slightest bit of cynicism and skepticism was jokingly brushed aside. May sound odd but hey, why not, every little bit helps.
    At the moment every serious chat show only brings bad news, cynicism and skepticism. We can’t get enough of this for the moment but once that mood changes, then we can move forward.

  17. tony_murphy

    Cost of Taoiseach’s PR machine spirals ‘out of control’ at €1.6m

  18. RE “There is a myth that companies will somehow exploit such a system”

    1. The free workers are called “interns” elsewhere, and is unfortunately much abused by companies – by odd coincidence a BBC programme yesterday highlighted “interns anonymous” set up to warn of industrial scam practices in this regard.

    2. While it is clearly odd to be paying out benerfits to fit people (there should be retraining/study obligations according to skills held, and unemployed with skills can be involved in training others)
    the subsidizing of private companies in this way is wrong:
    Any state subsidies (which temporarily free workforce in effect is) should go to start-up ventures.
    Existing companies should not be subsidized – it distorts competition

    • That fact that some people are reduced to advocating unemployed workers work for free is surely an indication of the failure of the Capitalist spirit.

      • G

        The conception of ‘capitalism’ was a failing of the human spirit.

        • The problem is not capitalism, it’s interfering with capitalism….

          For example,:
          Banks are now said to have run amok and so now must be “saved and regulated”:
          Failing banks should simply go bankrupt – like any other failing capitalist enterprise.
          If loans to current Irish banks was so “holy”, then the bondholders should simply be offered stakes in overnight resurrections of AIB or Bank of Ireland, with “new” in front of their names and keeping office staff and present accountholders etc, a debt cancellation programme that keeps Irish taxpayers out of it – there is always a banking market, and debt-free banks would suddenly be much more valuable to shareholders,
          so the bondholders would get a fair deal too.

          Proper competition is at the heart of
          a proper capitalist sysyem, which in turn depends on free markets.
          The principal weakness is in the facility of new entrants to gain a foothold.
          That is why state subsidies should be focused on them.

          Politicians keep wanting to bail out companies to save jobs.
          But the answer is to have a proper functioning state sector with unemployment benefit geared to making reemployment easier:
          Reemployment which is also made easier by the policy of favouring new enterprise, with new companies that take the place of the old, and maintain competition.

  19. Ruairí

    Haven’t read the article or comments yet, looking forward to it, as David’s getting to the heart of what concerns the masses of people, and therefore these articles will raide his influence among the sheeple.

    But first for some inspiration from the tweets of Tony Robbins. I only wish Brian Cowen would murder a rock, like Muhammed Ali, and stop murderin pints, like most of the TDs we have. Sure Jaysus, I can murder pints myself, as can the 500k unemployed now. We need men (and wiminfolk) who can murder ROCKS. These are the times we’re in

  20. Funnell – what I am reading from these responses seem to ‘dwell on jobs’. If we try to focus on’work’ it might be easier to find a ‘lifestyle’.I am in ‘business’ since 1977 and I have had to adapt every seven years to remain ahead of the pack.I have never been short of work and no matter what I ever want to do I always see lots of work everywhere .I muck down to it and somehow I find a ‘lifestyle’. Mucking around brings with it new opportunities .Wishful thinking is only for faeries.

    • Philip

      But you are an accountant/ tax advisor/business advisor with a network. Says it all. be an accountant and be well connected. Ho hum…. not very easy as it happens. 1 in 1000

      • Philip – I disagree .I shoot from the hip and I have ‘no network’. My last job is always what sells me to the next job.Your generalising is simplistic and not realistic.You are in DENIAL to find work. There is too much work everywhere all around you.Pick one.I find it challenging to learn from what others do and I print their mindset in mine eg a Doctor, a rubbish removal man , a taxi driver, a carpenter , a quantity surveyor, a broken marriage and finance in tatters, challenging the taxman – the sheriff – cab – tax investigators , farmer, builder etc etc
        There has never been as much work needed to be done and should be done so muck down down and do it.Maybe if you were starving you would understand better.

        • Philip

          You are as I originally devined, a very skilled individual. Luck always favours the prepared and well experienced. That’s all you are saying. One job leads to the next…networking – as against smoozzing or whatever. That is an exceptional skill and not easily taught… for my denial etc….well I can see how one misunderstanding can lead to others :)

    • wills

      Brilliant John ALLEN, bravo, completely agree with you on this.

  21. Philip

    If we knew and were honest about the base cost for an average graduate, we would probably take a slighty different tack on employment for near zero.

    Starting after leaving cert, the cost of producing a graduate (from their perspective) is about 12K/year. Say 50K. We still need to keep this guyon board while servicing a debt of some 500/month for the previous 4 years of education/ board. So now if we throw in about 10K a year to keep one self together, we are looking at about 16k a year cost neutral. Add in taxes and we are at about 25K/year to employ someone who has skills.

    25K is your baseline. Below this, you get an unskilled monkey and a crap service or your are not paying your bills. It is that simple.

    I see this as a 2-3 year standby while things recover.

    The way around this whole mess is you get every able bodied man and woman working for their country. Maybe it s a case of joining yer local FCA, stay at home with the family and look after your community and if you have a large family, the old diel payments can be lumped togetehr maybe to start a business or have a load of parties.

    • G

      Greece and Cuba offer free third level education, you don’t pay for a book.

      The Scandinavian countries, in particular Sweden and Finland offer all kinds of deals, including free postgraduate education, they know they will get the benefits of it in terms of peaceful, harmonious, and educated society.

      It can be done if we have the will and imagination.

      I’ve written about the benefits of free education in the following Irish Times article:

      Free education can benefit all of society

      • Bamboo

        Thanks for your article G.
        I followed classes for years run by a worldwide school/institute. If you genuinely aren’t in a position to pay the full fee, then you just have to tell them at enrollment and it is discreetly managed. Absolutely no questions asked.
        My two boys joined the local soccer club in Holland. Fees and yearly contributions are based on your personal income with a maximum and minimum amount. If you don’t want to reveal the details on your income, that’s fine.

        • G

          No problem Bamboo.

          Again the sophistication of a more nuanced approach, not the blanket increased registration fee from €800 to €1500 – sledgehammer approach, neither discerning nor equitable.

          We are better than that surely?

  22. Philip

    Pay dole to communities – not individuals. Employ communities, not individuals.

  23. Ruairí

    “In the 1930s, unemployed families and couples stopped socialising, not just because of a lack of money but also because of the embarrassment.”

    David McWilliams, you are a god among men. Not because you have brains. Not because you say it as it is. But because you have brains, insight and EMPATHY. The vital quality also of de bould Vincent Browne. He’s not always right, is Vincent, but he cares about his fellow people. And in my opinion, nobody deserves to be in journalism or particularly in politics if they don’t have the masses at heart intheir daily decisions. That means good luck and goodnight Kevin Myers and Brendan O’Connor (closet talented person) and bon voyage all of FF except possibly for Fleming and a handful of backbenchers.
    I suspect that your being unseated a few times in key journalistic gigs (for lesser talent but impressive ratings draws) adds to your insight but there’s no denying your inherent fairness and hence decency, expressed weekly through your writings over multiple years. A constant call for smart business as against lazy business (property plays), a call for meritocracy and holding to account. All called for with the intention of bolstering our national community, not to attack vested parties. A true patriot. Mindful of his fellow citizens.
    It is only when 350-400k of the 500k unemployed have recently become so, that we see a number of things happening. Families being touched by unemployment who have never shirked work in their lives. People having others cast aspersions at the unemployed and realising just how unfair that abuse has been. Whether taxpayers, self-employed, old folk, mid-20s workers, all have signed up to our tax system and all have done what was aksed of them It is not their fault that they have lost their jobs.
    But they shoudl remember that they have not lost their social power. It is your birthright on a daily basis, renewed in every decision you take. Support or destabilise those who aid or destroy your social fabric.

    I take my hat off to your empathy and efforts David.

  24. DarraghD

    David you should look at the Freemason’s, an organisation based on the principles of fraternity, what we need is something for people who want to create jobs, based on this organisation…

    You have master degrees at the top tier of the organisation (people who have actually created jobs by risking their OWN money, sanity, energy, etc, as distinct from those who have been threading water in handy multinational managerial positions for the last number of years until they were recently let go)…

    At the bottom (apprentice), tier of the organisation, we have new business start ups and the people promoting them. The top tier take the people at the bottom tier, through the craft degrees, helping them to avoid the (usually very predictable), pitfalls that kill off a new business start up (in my experience, that is almost always a lack of a clearly thought out sales strategy)…

    Then people at the bottom progress up through the various degrees, consumate with their success and their experience… Sounds workable and doable to me!

    • ps200306

      What have the Freemasons got that the “brotherhood of man” doesn’t? Sounds like a recipe for a closed shop.

  25. Freethinker123

    I’m currently in Perth Australia with my girlfriend and am fast finding out this place isn’t all its cracked up t’be. First of all if you don’t have a car your nearly screwed. Getting around is expensive and the public transport apart from a metro line is pretty crap! I’ve applied for 20 something jobs at this stage,of which i’m reasonably qualified for and only got less than a handful of responses. A lot of which won’t touch you with a ten foot pole if on a holiday visa. Let me rewind a bit, i spent 5 and a half yrs in college to become a graphic designer. For what i can only describe as jumping through hoops for overly paid and underly qualified teachers at one of the most ‘prestigious’ art schools in Ireland. Learning no real world skills or applications, two years on no hope of getting a foot in the door back home. I’ve tried my luck with every media and design company here, to no avale. Nearly three months on and finally get a response but only to be told. That with my visa staus i’m not worth investing in,because of the laws behind the visa i’m only allowed to have one employer every six months and i’m not worth there funny plastic money for just six months. To keep me on would require another visa to cost them in the 1000s.
    Oh and aswell as for me to stay here for another year..if i ever see that out! i’ve to go pick fruit in some shitty outback orchard for 3 months!! aren’t the ozzys so clever!!! slave labour basically just to feel privilaged to be here.. and go through more palaver.
    Soo i guess its back to the good ol’habits of us paddies and go on the sites, don’t need skills or waste 5 yrs in college t’do that. No other options open t’me right now

    oh and i’m lovin the weather by the way ;)

    • wills


      Dont focus all your mental energies on finding a job and try to absorb the new culture and se what follows keeping your head screwed on in the right way.

    • Bamboo


      I worked as graphic designer for 10 years (there was nothing like the DTP apps that we have nowadays), came to Ireland and couldn’t find any work in this field. Then I found out there is work in IT, changed to IT, after 15 years in IT I got tired of it, tried to change direction, worked in interior designer, then worked as a house painter on a building site, after a couple of weeks discovered I couldn’t hack it, got a job as a chef but again after a couple of months found it was too hard to handle because of the hours. Went back to IT for four years, then last year I was let go from the job (global crisis) and now I am back doing graphic design working from home and some other Art work. (Well, the artwork is a hobby)

      Don’t give up as you are too young (I guess). That’s the way life goes and particularly in design nowadays. I posted in a previous discussion that many young people are “sold” a course. Design, architecture, media studies, etc. are particularly vulnerable disciplines and you need to be very lucky to get your boot in the door, no matter how good you are. BTW: All of my colleagues in IT at the time have no IT background and they we complaining that they are not doing anything in their fields. It is only in the last 10 years that IT skills and degrees are required.

      You mentioned not having a car is a pain. Well, I had no phone at the time, as I couldn’t afford one. Can you believe it? Ah well, those were the days. Then Telecom shuffed me a phone down my neck (that is a different story) and I found a job thanks to that phone. I know it is hard to get yourself a car but what I remember it is quite easy to get a banger in Ozz. Unlike here!!

      Regarding the fruit picking. . . . . Well, what can I say? Is it really that bad? Life is not always glamorous. I had a cushy job and was lucky to travel for my job as well and stayed in luxurious hotels in Asia and US. From one day into the other I changed from lazy long lunches in restaurants to a job where I had lunch with my working mates in the freezing cold in the open air and no where to wash my hands. You may think all this was during the depression. In fact it was in the height of the boom years. I wasn’t young, I had three grown up kids by then. But what the heck, it is all good fun and learned a lot and took life to the full. So, if you think fruit picking it too low for you, think again.

      With your visual talents and degree I also suggest looking into video and/or animation or 3D. If and when you’re settled somewhere, try to get your hands on a very strong machine to do this if you can, PC or MAC. It is usually a combination of all these skills and a strong machine that produces some results. There is really no point doing anything like this with a machine that you normally run DTP apps with. It is a long learning curve you have to go through. Concentrate on one particular skill rather then all the three. I recommend doing video rather than animation. 3D should not be a problem to you I am sure. Animation as in AVATAR will soon be old and redundant. Besides it is only for the big boys producers anyway. Most of us probably remember all the fancy HTML pages and Flash intros that nobody really wants to look at anymore. AVATAR type animation will soon be like that. You most likely know this anyway.

      I mentioned people being sold a course. FAS is still running web design courses, which to me sounds more like occupational therapy.

      One day you’ll be back doing what you like most and the you can really enjoy the weather.

      • mcsean2163

        I was working in the sites in Sydney a few years back. A friend of mine warned me away from the fruit picking. Apparently it’s full of people who work all week, get paid on Friday and get paid so little that after accommodation and food expenses they’re broke by the time the following friday comes, people get stuck in this cycle and there’s not much opportunities in the middle of nowhere.

        • Bamboo

          You need to give it a go if you want to stay longer. I’ve heard of two girls from Cork who did the fruit picking as well. Apparently all the boys on the farm keep breaking the farm machines especially the tractors. These two girls were very careful handling all the machines and the farmer was delighted to have them there. After the three months they moved on and now they have a permit till they reach 30. So some good stories and some bad. Which one should you go for?

        • G

          Funny how history goes on repeating itself.

          John Steinbeck wrote memorably about these situations over 70 years ago – Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row etc

          People treating other people as serfs! The working poor coupled with the superfluous (the unemployed).

      • Freethinker123

        Thanks for sharing your experiences Bamboo
        I know i’ll get were i’m going but i don’t like waisting time. I went to college with the best of intentions and those in control aren’t playing ball. I’ve worked a number of jobs and was good at them. But now I feel its time to focus on what i want or change my direction,like you don;’t worry i’m not that stubborn ;)
        y’see.. I am young as matter of fact and angry at that,i know that was a pure bitch rant but what i was getting at was the shit state of the system in place! ‘Com t’Oz ye weary and niave do what we tell you and feel privaliged to be here’ yes it actually does say that on the application process,that holiday working in Oz is a privilage and not a right.
        I don’t mind hard work i’m just concerned for my future as much as anyone else. My girlfriends australian we met in Ireland, we can’t be pottering between countries for the rest of our lives, and the deal i’m getting here so far isn’t impressing me in the slightest, its their way here or no way. I had one job refusal because i didn’t have a DL!!! and the place was perfectly accessible by bus. I have experience and a reasonable amount of time gained in everything from sales, t’security t’blue collar and yes i’ll work for a reasonably low shilling. Its the system thats fucked.period.

        and as for that fruit picking lark,heck i’d do it for a steady buck,but its the lack of foresight and lazy diplomatic policy it exposes of the Oz government as a poor,poor excuse to offer young talented and eager hopefuls of ever considering wanting to be here,especially in current economic climate. Yes Oz isn’t too bad at all compared to elsewhere,but I still got the answer from people,in a stint of telemarketing these last few weeks in selling rollershutters, that they just couldn’t afford them..times are too hard. The typical working class ozzy work from dawn till 4pm from the look of the motorway. The general vibe i’m picking up thus far is their that bloody stupid with there money,there so impulsive. They’ll spend it all off,get in debt and its back in for another working week. suprise suprise don’t we all you say!
        bottom line this place is good if the shoe fits and there system is as fucked as anywhere else

        • G

          Freethinker123 – you actually have a rare opportunity if interested.

          The Cuban poet and freedom fighter wrote in the 19th century, “I know the best, I’ve lived in its entrails” (referring to US capitalism and the American way).

          You have a writing style, a flourish, backed with energy. You could at the very least write a short story exposing what is going on, the use of cheap labour, the conditions, the stories of other people and how it all locks in with the larger Australian context and State propaganda. John Pilger is very strong on this – see his website.

          It would be a very interesting read, start with 1500 words and see what comes out.

          The following poem came out of a brutal personal experience, almost worth it for the poem :-)

          Dieu et Mon Droit

          Sibelius vies with the office shredder
          For supremacy of the mind.
          Notes echo down the grey corridor
          Caressing the ears of the dead.
          The sun sets as grey hair sprouts
          The ivory tower now cold steel
          Where golden books lay unread,
          Minds like grain – grist to the mill.
          Haughty tones of the sad and lonely,
          Careless talk and darting looks
          Wild roses in the gardener’s glove.
          The sound of till and bell
          Rich business for the Reaper
          Running smiling to the grave.
          Thundering hooves
          Stale air and barriers.
          Trees stumble and apologise
          They cry:
          “Old England has left us!
          As we wait to stumble and die,
          Neath Finbarr’s stone, cold feet”.

          Barbara Ehrenreich did the same thing for her book: Nickled and Dimed: On (NOT) Getting By in America (2001) – great read about her undercover work in low paid jobs in the United States and the struggles of working people across that country, voices you rarely hear, faces you never see, the Invisible.

          Turning a seeming negative into a positive, the ultimate alchemy and the ‘work’ we don’t always see as John ALLEN as aluded to.

          Great things don’t often come from the obvious.

          • G

            Forgot to mention, Jose Marti was the Cuban writer in question, shot dead as he charged the Spanish lines in the Cuban War of Independence, 1898…………………

          • Freethinker123

            Thanks G

            read your article by the way, so bloody obvious and adaptable were your theories. I see what your on to with my being here and you’ve got me curious. I’m actually working on a book on the education to workplace transition,in my spare time. When i’m not repetitively roaming the vacancies these past weeks.
            John Pilger is excellent,yes thanks for recommmending him. I saw his documentaries ‘The New Rulers of the world’ and ‘The War on Democracy.. both had me in tears!
            Theres no denyng what we see going on around us by world leaders and people put in place to essentially run our lives are the biggets crooks of all! boy! i’ve dished some dirt this past while, Pilgers just the tip of the iceberg..he’s good though,so good infact i’m suprised he’s not shot from affar

            heres what i posted earlier in this feed,its surely a step in the right direction out of this monetary mess!!!


            probably see you on here G either in this feed or the next,maybe i’ll have that 1500words at hand ;)

  26. David I think you have not tried to explain to your readers what is work .I believe most readers have a different concept to what is really work .Jobs are something else that were never intended to be for everyone .
    Were we to find out what does history tell us about the meaning of work we then might find it easier to find contentment in our own minds what it really is.

    Work is PRAYER .

    If we understand what is prayer we will understand what is work.
    Prayer is about ASKING for something until we get it .So we keep asking and asking until we get it .This is how Saints got into business because they made promises they tried to keep.
    How do you make money ? The Bible is the best money making machine book ever written and anybody that follow its rules are usually wealthy .Just look at Ian Paisley for example.He found lots of work in the 60′s drumming his ethos and beliefs when most of us were laughing at him.He changed all that .Now he is laughing and will soon retire with a laughing retirment that all of us will envy.
    One time we were the Island of Saints and Scholars .Now dont tell me they all had a job.
    Your readers need to learn ‘to think’ and in doing so there will be plentyful of WORK.

  27. Humility is an instrument of Work.

  28. If you get nothing by asking then try again .It always Works.

    If you do not know who to ask then find a Temple ….anywhere .
    Dont ask the politicians they are mortal beings .Elect them to work only and make them redundant from their Jobs.

  29. don’t let your wife view this video:)

    @John Allen, even Johnny Ronan knows good church connections has its rewards:)

    • cbweb – you are evasive in your response …try harder …..or maybe you have a …job

    • Malcolm McClure

      cbweb: I saw the E Warren video a couple of years ago but it is still as thoughtful and provoking as when she first gave the lecture in 2007. Is a woman’s place at home nurturing the stable family unit?? Is that nature’s plan for human beings? It worked well enough for thousands of years but now we have the nanny state.

      Perhaps these questions will attract more female lurkers to participate.

  30. Ruairí

    To all readers: -

    From Twitter: -

    TheBusinessRTE Have you questions for Revenue chairman
    Josephine Feehily for an interview on The Business this week? tell us now…

  31. wills


    BBC1, last night and to night, reality programme called JOBLESS, with celebrities, following them jobless looking for a job.

    Article above, about the jobless looking for a job.

    Now, is it just me or do I smell something very very very very very very very very fishy going on.

    Up until 18 months ago the ‘jobless’ did not register on anyones radar screen.

    ANd wWALLLLOP suddenly its unemployment, jobless ruination curse upon all.

    I say this does NOT add up.

    it does not stack up.

    Our economy has been hijacked by jailors who are engineering situations that manufactors unemployment.

    The bankster / politician / developers / god knows who else POnzi takeover of Ireland s real economy is the reason for NO JOBS.

    THe bankster / controlling interests takeover of the free market, its sucking up of the wealth, its tying of PONzi gambling debts to the taxpayers, its sacmarama NAMA job on the ECB printing press, its salting away of all the cash into accounts faar far away, its forcing of the pop to pay for sick perverse pricres to live in a home, all of this is not an accident and all of this will kill innovation and incentive to work and be motivated creatively, all of it will kill kill kill stone dead normal business operations.

    And we are now witnessing it KILLING in the name of keeping POnzi banks alive killing the normal business operations of joe blogs stone dead.

    So, our country s economy is been deliberately been suffocated into oblivion and we all must stand up and call out to the killers we are not providing permission for you to do this, we are not all in this together, we do not agree with what you are doing supposedly for our own good and we demand our country back.

  32. wills


    The ‘controlling elites and interests’ pilfer mass amount of monies from, the state, the taxpayer and the printing presses.

    The people are thrown into a supposed ‘JOBLESS market’.

    Please look at those two realities.

    Is it not obvious,………………………………………………..

    Unemployment quadruples in 18 months and we are all to believe it s merely just all a part of the way the economic system is, cooooooooommmmme ooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, we are not buying this cr@p surely.

    What does it take for people to see the masses are all played like a fiddle over the cliff into the hands of the dennis the menace enterprises cleaning up all the wealth and cash and assets and intellectual property laughing their a holes off at the rest of us been all like, ‘oh jaysus im outta work giz a job giz a job’ running around distracted outta ones mind looking for a job and meanwhile they continue, the ‘insiders’, continue figuring and writing the next chapter for society to march in step too.

  33. wills

    John ALLEN>

    Great post up there at 21.

    YOu brilliantly de program all this mind control propaganda over how we all perceive ‘having a job’ jailor mindset.

    The econ system we live in constantly BOXING the masses through school and the media boxing the masses into a slave mentality beautifully put together through fudging in the masses mind the difference between WORK and having a JOB>

    • Philip

      Unfortunately, your ability to live requires you pay bills for energy food and shelter. You need money in this type of economy and for this you need a job. Job=Ability to stay alive

      • wills

        Really now, i an dumbstruck.

      • You won’t die if you don’t have a job.
        You only need a job if you have debts to pay.

        • Ruairí

          Agree 100% Pauldiv.
          “It is unfortunate to see wave after wave of kids graduate from school and fall into the same trap. It is the powerful allure of money. Junior is delighted to get that first job, flipping hamburgers, making the minimum wage. Its new. Its different, and he gets more money than he ever had before. So he spends it. Stereos, CDs, clothes, movies, dates, Saturday night. It doesn’t take long until what seemed like a lot of money is no longer enough. But then he discovers credit cards and payment plans and pretty soon he has a nice car and quite a bit of debt, and oh what a thrill it is to have his own apartment too!

          Realizing that this flipping hamburger thing just won’t do, Junior goes off to college, accumulates more debt for student loans and works an eight-hour shift each day after school to keep the cash flowing. All that studying and working makes him kind of crazy and reckless by the weekends, so he spends more than he should just to “loosen up and have a good time”.

          He goes back to the weekly grindstone, only to discover a couple months later that he on his way to becoming a Daddy. Suddenly there’s another person and a baby in the picture and a whole lot more bills. But he makes it through college okay, gets a better paying job, rents a bigger house to have some “elbow room” for the family, and still can’t quite make ends meet. He feels trapped, disillusioned and ultimately desensitized to his childhood Dreams, working not because he is inspired to, but because he has to keep going day in and day out to keep the trap from snapping shut and devouring him and his family completely.”

        • Philip

          You are in debt from, the day you are born. You need food and shelter. Now where are you going to get that? I am not talking about discretionary spend that so many are hung up on.

          • wills

            WHO? are you talking about the ‘insiders’ or ‘outsiders’ philip, cos i know alorra people who do not need a job to pay for anything.

          • Philip

            All of us.

          • wills

            Philip, surely you are overlooking here, the rich do not have to have a job to pay for anything.

          • Philip

            I mean you have to pay…you have a debt to settle.

          • wills

            Philip, who has to pay?, pay what? and pay for what debt?

          • Malcolm McClure

            It was all said 50 years ago by Tennessee Ernie Ford:
            You load sixteen tons, what do you get
            Another day older and deeper in debt
            Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
            I owe my soul to the company store.

          • lff12

            Correct, Philip, and a large part of the problem is that the cost of housing, food and utilities in Ireland is still very high compared to even many of our European neighbours.

      • Ruairí

        Escaping the Job Trap by Thomas j Elpel
        “Its a Matter of Time, NOT Money!” And folks, 500k (and rising) have lots of TIME

        • That is an excellent link. It was a long read but I loved it and am very glad that I took the time to read it. That type of thinking inspires me and
          confirms that I am not strange after all.

          He is a man after my own heart because his philosophy about jobs and work is about the closest to my own thinking that I have met to date.

          I would take this even further and bulldoze Bundoran and the other empty and souless concrete towns and replace them with homes people wanted to live in – possibly traditional Irish long houses that looked quaint on the outside but which had modern facilities inside. Imagine a picture postcard Irish cottage with white walls, honey coloured roof and a fibre optic communications link piped in under ground. Now you are talking.

          It is only a dream sure, but a pleasant one and I say why the hell not. It would attract tourists back for one thing because most foreginers want to think of Ireland in that way. We could become experts at this and
          maybe create a practical and profitable niche. Traditonal eco friendly homes at a price everyone can afford.

          Ten years ago I was still in the ‘I must get a job’ mindset then I got laid off from my electronics job. I was good at electronics and could have gone to any of the multinationals that were in Ireland at that time. The only problem was by then I hated electronics and wanted to be out in the fresh air rather
          than be a slave in factory without windows. I wanted to bring some light into my life and feel human again. I had stumbled into electronics purely by accident because I attended an open night at Bell College in Glasgow in 1990. The charismatic head of the physics department sold me the course because it sounded like a dream future.

          Anyway, the very first thing I did was get out of Dublin because it just didn’t make economic sense to live there. I paid off most of my modest debts and became beholden to no one financially. I was free.

          we have, not money. When I wasn’t working on fishing boats, doing piece work in the building game and whatever little bits of work came my way I used my time to read, enjoy nature and go fishing. I had not been fishing since 1978 and had completely forgotton what a simple pleasure it is. When you are skint you find simple pleasures and some
          of the best days I ever had were ones when I didnt have a pound in my pocket.

          It also took time to adjust to the idea of not having a full time job. My parents were both factory workers who lived by the clock. There was no messing around in the mornings and you had to be up bloody well sharp.
          Laziness was frowned upon and one of my old man’s favourite sayings was ‘dont put off till tomorrow what you can do today’. Now that I was older and ‘idle’ I simply had to find an alternative to this form of mind programming because if I didn’t I am sure I would have went barking mad. In Scotland the first thing anyone asks you is ‘are you working’. When you are idle you tend to avoid these people because they make you feel
          like crap. Work, work, work and money is all they talk about.

          I started looking for things to do that would improve my mind and played with various arts and crafts that had interested me for years but which I never had the time to explore because I was always busy working to
          pay bills and ‘live’. I felt alive again and really felt lke I was living. That is when I started to find my groove so to speak. I made a few
          decisions but ultimatley I made a list of those things that made me tick and I homed in on them.

          I still had some major de-programming to do and it was hell owing to the major conflict between what I felt in my heart and what I was hearing in my mind – ‘get a job you lazy fucker’ etc. The inner critic was working overtime and I felt like giving in and fleeing back to the city but I knew I would prevail as I have always been a stubborn bugger.

          My thinking changed naturally over time and it aligned more towards what that guy was talking about in his article yet up to that time I had never read a single book on personal development or alternative thinking. This brings me to the conclusion that it is natural and valid for me to want to live a smpler life and look inside rather than be swayed by all that noise out there that persuades most people to join the rat race without thinking of all the traps. There is other and far more rewardings in which a life can be lived.

          I came to Ireland because since I was a child this is where my heart lay. For most of my time here I have lived with very little money and as a result I have conditioned myself to make more use of what I have materially, intellectually and spiritually. I am an outsider and yet I am a happy person because I am no longer a slave. Ireland has been good
          for me in the long and my personal struggles have changed me from the unhappy guy I was ten years ago into the man I am today. I would be ready to lay down my life for this country if I had to but I would do it for the Irish people. Despite the fact that we are living in right wing authoritarian state my belief is that the Irish people make the world a far better place and that we will be strong again and if we set our minds free. We can become more one for all rather than all for one.

          I have had a ten year head start over most others and just want people to know that if they want to find some real answers then they are right inside you. If you hate your graphic design job and want to become a
          master carpenter instead then you can do this. It might take ten years but at least by then you will be doing what you always wanted to do rather than living a lie. To thine own heart be true in other words and take strength from the tale about Robert the Bruce and the spider.

          Seek out others who you have things in common with and find new friends. Out with old and in with the new.

          It is a shame that so many people lack self belief and don’t follow their dreams. All that latent talent out there is going to waste. Fear
          is what stops people and I know this because I always felt my old life was unnatural because it just made me afraid all the time.

          Five years after leaving Dublin I woke up one morning and the fear was away. I had given up on being afraid and had come to realise that fear is pointless because most of it is all in the mind.

          Keep the Faith.

          • Ruairí

            I have just read with great pleasure, your comprehensive reply and note your effervescence and lack of guilt. Both the hallmarks of people who get on with things.

            I think there are many smouldering embers out there wondering are they going mad? No, they’re the sane ones. Its EVERYONE ELSE!!! LOL !

            The fact is as you say; we have the power to recreate ourselves a thousands times over. Simple as. As a man thinketh, so he become. The works of James Allen are well worth reading, should others pick up on this discussion.

            ps Big fan of Steve Pavlina and the creative space that is his forums.

        • wills

          great link Ruairi.

  34. Philip

    Was chatting to a guy trying to keep a company afloat the other day. I asked what hope he held out for the NAMA freeing up banks to give credit. He said, it would have precisely the opposite effect and not becasue of small businesses being high risks.

    He has an office space (mortgaged to the bank) he’s moved out of and wants to rent. He has a prospect. But the bank would prefer to mothball the premises becasue the current rent you can get would in effect put a firm (and downwardly revised) value on the premises as they NAMAise the debt. Far better to offer a notional value based on rents many years ago. So in effect we have less offices for rent, a business without a much needed cash stream all so that the bank can get a bigger slice out of NAMA.

    And you can imagine the effect that’s having on our employment situation.

    • G

      I had a strong suspicion this would happen, banks holding out for the best deal, inevitable.

      • lff12

        You see the only answer to that, is to slap a vacancy tax on unused property in order to force rents to occur at more realistic values.
        There are still enough property owners with sufficient liquidity to withold lots property in order to try to reduce the value drops.

  35. Ruairí


    we have looked to Scandinavia before to see how they sorted the banking crises.

    I have also looked admirably at how they handled the cumbersome burden of retrieving and benefitting from their own natural resources (you don’t gotta diggit Malcolm, you just gotta hang onto the guy’s coat-tails !!)……

    How do they solve the disappearance of work abroad?

    Government provision. Government spending.

    “If they want to defend the incomes of the unskilled (or the less motivated), they have four options. The best option is to better educate the unskilled, but this is a cumbersome, time-consuming process that offers no short-term solution. Thus, only three options remain in the short and medium term.

    The first option is to defend the wages of the low skilled through minimum-wage laws or paying social replacement incomes which imply minimum wage demands against the private economy. This is the strategy that most EU countries, Germany in particular, have chosen. It results in mass unemployment that is inefficient and financially unsustainable.

    The second option is to pay wage subsidies instead of wage replacement incomes to allow for the wage dispersion necessary for full employment without letting the incomes of the unskilled fall. This is the strategy chosen by the United States with its earned-income tax credit. Edmund Phelps, this year’s Nobel laureate in economics, has also long advocated it.
    The third option is the Scandinavian way. Here government demand for labor keeps wages high.

    While many economists judge Germany’s strategy the worst and America’s the best, the Scandinavian strategy can be considered a second-best strategy. Indeed, it is better to let people clean public parks, nurse children, and take care of the old in government facilities than have them do nothing, as in Germany. Even though GDP is artificially inflated, some useful activities are carried out.

    Nevertheless, it might be better to let the market decide what kinds of products the low-skilled and less motivated part of the workforce should and could reasonably produce, which speaks for the American way of subsidizing wages. Thus, the Scandinavian way is more than a mere accounting trick, but it is also less than a truly recommendable strategy for coping with the challenges of globalization.”

    The question is: Do we do as you submitted, back in 2007, we should do, and invest in our infrastructure hence creating government-funded employment or do we invest in building back up the ISEQ shares of our blue-chip deceivers………..

    The old argument of government spend coming out of the private tax pocket does not cut it. Government is there to harvest in the good times and spend in the bad times. That is its primary purpose, as our collective entity. The fair and efficient distribution of wealth and resources.

  36. ps200306

    In my company, the cost of training is high. It’s typically 6 to 9 months before someone is working productively. We hired lots of graduates in the boom years. A high proportion of them were only interested in working for 12 to 24 months to make money to go travel the world. They didn’t mention this at the outset, of course. They knew they’d easily get jobs when they came back, probably even with us if they asked. We’re an Irish company that started up back in 1990, before the onset of the boom. We set a lot of store by training and retaining people, so it certainly wasn’t our plan to have high staff turnover. But since it was foisted upon us, there was another place where we could get bright graduates, albeit with similarly high turnover, at a fraction of the cost. The next 200 jobs went to India.

    • lff12

      I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we had to start moving jobs from India to Malaysia because the turnover there dropped to less than a year.

      And now we are lucky if our staff in KL stay 6-8 months.

  37. oe1

    I dont hear the public sector unions leaders complaining about unemployment at all. Its always the same complaint on pay and conditions when there is a widespread deflation in the economy.We hear about the hardest hit people, which is fine. However, they know full well that many of their members are very comfortable with their 3 foreign holidays a year. Do the words debt relief or employment schemes ever spring to mind.

    Anyway, an idea that might work in the present crisis is a 4 day week that could be made mandatory, with exceptions for people with large debts.

    • G

      a more nuanced approach is required by all sides.

      At the moment it is a bit like two untrained heavy weights (Unions & IBEC) battling it out in an outhouse.

      There is little sophistication or imagination, more trench warfare than Blitzkreig.

  38. johninmunich

    Community spirit and strategic thinking is what is needed to prevent unemployed peoples skills from going unused.

    Example – an area or town decides it wants to be more attractive to tourists. It`s the little things that can make the difference so they decide to put up a few quirky benches around the town for the tourists to sit and enjoy the sun. So local businesses sponsor the material (with the shoe shop sponsoring a bench in the shape of a shoe outside their premises etc.). The benches are made by local unemployed carpenters who are giving something to their community. They also get a small token of appreciation such as pairs of shoes for their kids etc or whatever the business has to offer.
    Some other unemployed young fella translates a couple of hotels websites into French or German and they get him a couple of nights stay somewhere else to get away from it all.

    The 400,000 have a myriad of skills and plenty of time. If a community comes together and sets out a strategic plan surely they can only benefit from bartering.

    While I’m on here, villages in Bavaria and the Black Forest usually look like picture postcard because if anyone leaves their house neglected and falling apart, it will eventually be taken from them. The same should happen in Ireland. The unused estates could be used by local community groups for everything from free premises for one man businesses to holiday homes to stages for murder mystery weekends. The whackier the ideas the better and we should be throwing everything out there.

    • Bamboo


      I agree with you. Especially regarding the “Bavaria and the Black Forest”. Not so sure about the “murder mystery weekends” though. What I can remember about that area is that every bus stop has a country timber bus shelter . And each one of them has it’s own design. These are probably built by the locals with local timber of course as timber seems to be all over the place. We can do the same here and locals design their own bus shelter which make everything more friendly. The people are so proud of their area overthere and thus making the best of everything. Vegetable allotment all over the place and so on.
      We’re lucky to have a Bus shelters along the country roads. It is now upgraded to a bit of freshly laid concrete on the ground in my country area.

  39. wills


    Oh dear, lookslike some on here are been conned by the paper money scamarama?!!

  40. Ruairí

    Ok, now I told you guys not to drink from the free Fianna Fáil milk cartons they leave at your door……and not to fall asleep! But the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak…………..

  41. @malcolm

    According to Warren, unemployment impact on families can be more devastating than ever it was pre ’70s, plus rising incomes in the US since that time have been a myth and are disproved by her statistical research.

    Unemployment in Ireland will hit families harder than ever before as similar conditions exist here. Both partners needed to keep the ship going, one loss of income can sink it!

    She doesn’t suggest answers plus her research findings will have hardened with the meltdown. But more families than ever before are falling into the poverty trap!

    Now that the Greenspan deregulation model has collapsed itself, maybe we need to look again at some enlightened nanny state policies to support its biggest victims. They may include middle class families with one or more partner out of work!

    We get instead the NAMA state!

    Plus the distribution of income in Ireland as in the US has been the rich becoming richer at the expense of the poor becoming poorer.

    Transfer of wealth now to the banksters via NAMA another example of this.

    We’ve already been a country with high levels of persistent poverty, 7%

    It would appear that many middle class families may be hiding the fact they have now joined the 7%, what is that figure now?

    While those at the top still get disproportionate state support by way of tax exemption, avoidance, even though on average their incomes on average are nearly nine times as multiple of what the poor earn.

    Now that taxpayers own the banks surely taxpayers have a greater say in demanding that the so-called rich in our society should pay proportionally more in taxation that would at least bring them into line with Nordic country figures of 5 times of what the bottom feeders earn!

    Impact of NAMA on earning power and distribution of wealth in Ireland we await more investigation and disclosure of!!

    • Malcolm McClure

      Warren’s figures suggest that the additional income gained by having the wife out at work gets swallowed up by child-care costs, second car requirement, fast food purchases, stress medication and additional higher rate taxes. Meanwhile the children become latchkey kids and start to drift about in gangs waiting for their parents to return home in the evening.

      What life all about if that’s the best solution?

    • ps200306

      Plus, the price of starter homes expands to eat up all of the two-income budget. So now it’s a vicious circle — house prices now make it impossible for families to survive on single incomes so more couples end up working, house prices go up again … and so on.

      • Bamboo

        Unfortunately nowadays a starter home is often a home that is so called “affordable”. The banks made sure you can afford it by giving you that mortgage. A starter home often has all the mod cons and if not, it has to be converted to have it all. Fancy kitchen, en suites, decks, etc. So from being “affordable” to “not so affordable” and finally to being a total nightmare. Now the county council offers you a “barely affordable” starter home and still the bank gives you that mortgage. Yes, you may be able to afford that home, if you get to stay in your job but at what cost? You may have plans to get married and start a family. Do you still want to stay in that starter home and do you think you can sell the home and move to a bigger home? What are the chances that you can sell that house? Or what are the chances that county council let you sell your “affordable” home. Watch out for the small print in these cases.

        In my days a starter home means a “really scraping the barrel” home and my previous generation, starter home really means “saving up for years to afford carpet and curtains” home.

        For the next 10 years I think you can’t afford that house prices will go up again.

        • G

          Got a call today from AIB to come in to ‘discuss savings’, ‘mortgage possibilities’, ‘strategies’.

          My response – you know the score with the ‘market’, you know the score with ‘banking practices’, you know the score regarding AIB and nationalisation. I won’t be coming in.

        • ps200306


          Affordability is a slippery concept. If the bank will give you a mortgage, does that mean you can afford it?

          A little over twenty years ago the bank gave me a mortgage for a four-bedroom house in south county Dublin. Interest rates were high, but the house — at 39k — cost 2.5 times my salary, and the mortgage was bearable through scrimping. (I only kept it for 11 months, so don’t bother telling me how well off I am). Inflation at the time was likely to hike wages and reduce the relative cost of the mortgage over a number of years.

          Five years ago, the same house was on sale for 750k. The bank would probably have given me a mortgage on it had I asked, so it was “affordable” in that sense. But I’d need to be earning 300k p.a. for it to be “affordable” in terms of the same ratio of earnings as 20 years ago. Low interest rates contributed to the “affordability”, but low inflation also meant that any bumps in the road of life would continue to be a serious risk to keeping the house for multiple decades.

          As it turns out, for many people those risks have gone bad a lot earlier than expected. But I’d question whether those houses should ever have been considered “affordable”. In my opinion, regulators must carry the blame for this.

          • Bamboo

            Not sure from your post if you are in agreement to my post.
            “Affordability” is a concept that was and still is shuffed down our throats by the bank, the media and the county council. As Fintan O’Toole rightly says rightly: if there are affordable homes that means that the other homes are non affordable homes. I interpret it as affordable to the innocent young people/couples and families. To be offered a home from the affordable homes scheme is regarded as winning the lottery. The county council call it even “awarded”. Surely, this is a joke. My friend was “awarded” such a home. A 240k apartment in Sandyford, she is single and on approx 40k a year. That is 6 times her annual income. How can the co co call it affordable. Not only regulators must carry the blame. The whole system and culture of deceit and misinformation.
            On a side note: My daughter’s friend bought a 260k apartment in our little village. She works at the bank and her mortgage is 7.5 times her salary.

            I probably have a complete mis-undesrtanding of the word “affordable.
            Selling this concept of Affordability is purely criminal and immoral.

          • Bamboo

            ps200306, was that 39k pound or Euros?

          • ps200306

            39k punts …. I guess that’s 50k euro. So it would have appreciated by 1,400% over 20 years … or about 15% compound per annum. It hardly needs saying that wage inflation was not running at anything like that for most of that period.

            I guess from your example that the council’s idea of “affordability” was relative to the current market price. Unfortunately, 80% of total insanity is still pretty insane.

            Btw, the house I’m talking about was in Sandyford too.

          • ps200306

            A quick search on Daft shows an identical property in the area now has an asking price under €450k. Still pretty “daft” at 10% APR appreciation over 23 years.

  42. Tim

    Folks, The progress report from Farmleigh.

    That’s it, David! The DoFF reckons that the govt. has fulfilled it’s role following the Farmleigh plans with the 2010 budget.

    All done, so.

  43. Tim

    Folks, my brother (who lives in Sweden) sent me this tonight:

    Brian Cowen meets with the Queen of England and asks her, how come she has such an efficient Parliament?
    “Well,” says the Queen, “the most important thing is to surround
    yourself with intelligent people.”
    Cowen frowns “But how do I know the people around me are really
    The Queen takes a sip of tea. “Oh, that’s easy. You just ask them to
    answer an intelligent riddle.” The Queen pushes a button. “Please
    send Gordon Brown in here, would you?”
    Brown walks into the room. “Yes, my Queen?”
    The Queen smiles. “Answer me this, please, Gordon. Your mother and
    father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your
    sister. Who is it?”
    Without pausing for a moment, Brown answers, “That would be me.”
    “Yes! Very good,” says the Queen.
    Cowen returns to Dublin and asks Martin Cullen, the same question.
    “Martin. Answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a
    child. It’s not your brother and it’s not your sister. Who is it?”
    “I’m not sure,” says Cullen “Let me get back to you on that one.” He
    goes to his advisors but none can give him an answer. Finally, he
    ends up in the toilet and recognises William O Dea’s shoes in the next
    Cullen asks, “William! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and
    father have a child and it’s not your brother or your sister. Who is
    Minister O Dea yells back, “That’s easy. It’s me!”
    Cullen smiles, and says, “Thanks!” Then, he goes back to speak with
    “Howya, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle.
    It’s Minister O’ Dea.”
    Cowen gets up, stomps over to Cullen, and angrily yells into his
    “No, you idiot! It’s Gordon Brown!”
    Now you know why we’re f****d

    • wills

      LOL, tim.


      Scary but brilliant.

    • Deco

      While the joke is funny….the real world Gordon Brown is no economic genius either…..I remember him gloating about what a fine job he had done….boasting about Cool Britania being an unbridled success…and then months later Northern Rock, Bradford & Bigley, and then RBoS.

      If our government ministers make Flash Gordon look even slightly intelligent…..then we really are bunched….

      • G

        @ Deco – a post for that dinner conversation around election time…..

        “I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery.”
        Gordon Brown’s 1997 Budget Statement

        “Under this Government, Britain will not return to the boom and bust of the past.”
        Pre-Budget Report, 9th November 1999

        “Britain does not want a return to boom and bust.”
        Budget Statement, 21 March 2000

        “So our approach is to reject the old vicious circle of the…the old boom and bust.”
        Pre-Budget Report, 8 November 2000

        “Mr Deputy Speaker we will not return to boom and bust.”
        Budget Statement, 7 March 2001

        “As I have said before Mr Deputy Speaker: No return to boom and bust.”
        Budget Statement, 22 March 2006

        “And we will never return to the old boom and bust.”
        Budget Statement, 21 March 2007

        • Deco

          Thanks for that.

          Unbelievable. He is a complete waste of space. And he has turned Ireland’s number 1 export market and neighbour into a basket case.

          Even if our muppets knew how what export led growth actually meant, the chances are pretty slim that it can be achieved if Britain goes bankrupt or the Pound Sterling sinks to oblivion.

  44. wills


    200 more billionaires added to the list in 2009.


    It was a bumper year 2009, right…..

    • ps200306

      Pretty meaningless though. It’s based on equity values which are in a massive bubble. When reality kicks in a few months from now, the list will be pruned again.

  45. ps200306

    Here’s what your boss might be doing soon:


    Did this catch your eye? Good – now, can anyone help me understand how these NAMA bonds willl work?

    Trying to work out something in relation to NAMA:

    * Bank has non-performing developer loan, initially worth $10.
    * Bank has lien on developer’s assets, which was worth $10 but is now worth $2.
    * Government buys loan for $7 (30% ‘discount’), and takes lien on assets, which are worth $2.
    * Government pays the Bank for this loan with a Bond. Bond is worth $7 and pays $1 interest each year for 10 years.

    Is this last step correct? After say 10 years, will the Bank return the Bond to the Government?


    • MK1

      > Is this last step correct? After say 10 years, will the Bank return the Bond to the Government?

      No, last step is that Government pays bank with a Gov Bond, and bank goes to ECB and exchanges it for cash. Gov bonds could be of any type I would have thought, 1 year, 2 year, 5 year, 10 year and hence a mix of these.

      You also missed one step, Gov puts more capital into banks as they write-down “further” asset losses. So we could end up paying 9 “dollars” for the original 10 loan. Madness I realise.

      The EU will also have an opinion as to whether all this ‘help’ should convert the bank into it being owned by us (nationalised). Our Gov’s attitude to date has been to let the banks off and support them.

      Btw, Gov also published in their NAMA proposal that the 2 dollar asset would recover to above the 7 dollars paid within the 10 years.

      Pie and sky come to mind.


  47. Your.Country.Your.Fault

    dear all

    I think it’s worthwhile looking at this link

    here’s how the SGP govt has dealt with the downturn.

    Bear in mind that it can do this as over the last few decades of the country’s existence it’s been putting away money in the kitty (which is a euphemism, and the word euphemism itself is understatement). And it paid off its original debts, rather than making debt SOP.

    Something else to think about, if you want to learn from other countries with respect to housing (SGP learned about social housing from the Israelis, BTW, they even shipped in IDF officers to train the army and told the Muslim Malays that they were “Mexicans”. awesome.). 80-90% of people live in govt built flats. see These flats are clean, have well tended exteriors, and there is no shame in living in one. in fact, it’s a rite of passage for just about all but the most wealthy. You qualify for govt loans at low / stable percentage rates, and all the while you are working a fraction of your salary (up to a certain cap) is put aside by your employer into a special savings account that the govt matches dollar for dollar. This money can ONLY be used to buy a family home.

    You cannot own more than one at a time.
    There are several sizes and configurations to fit many different income strata.
    You cannot buy a new flat within 5 years of purchase, you can only buy a far more expensive private home.
    If you sell and purchase a govt flat again, you must upgrade to bigger one, no flipping and starting again.
    If you own one, whoever marries you cannot buy one after that (again, no buying to rent what is a social utility)
    If you are homeless, you are given four walls with a toilet and basin and you can start from the bottom up.

    now, these simple rules are what keep housing as close as possible to a social right, and utility. Without any mad marxism.

    If you want to kill yourself speculating on condos and houses, you are actually entitled to, and maybe greedy people do. There was a bubble here in private housing also, but it only affected rich people in general due to the way housing is structured.

    Worth thinking about how a few simple rules that have the long term benefit of the people in mind really deliver.

    Oh yeah, and no dole. Or pensions. Or govt debt.

    Do you know that SGP takes a state expense (education, health, housing, water etc) and turns it into a business that they can export once they have figured it out? Do you know that personal tax rates are very low? Do you knwo that if you want you can live it up like a zillionaire or scrape by on 150 euros a month as a foreign worker (maids, construction workers etc) sounds exploitationary, but these people are really happy to do it, benefit of having such an underdeveloped corrupt hinterland.

    And they are issuing passports to highly educated trained people who add value to the country. and kick you out if you stop adding value.

    the compromise seems to be that the ruling party does not believe in a free press. But when their statements are truthful, and don’t promise anything they can’t deliver, who needs an opposition?

    • Your.Country.Your.Fault

      my booboo, there is govt debt!

      but you know it’s worth while clicking around the SGP ministry of finance website. Look out for the Ideas Campaign (where they appear to have filtered the comments listing some that sound like workable suggestions instead if listing 5300 of them as a cynical PR exercise and forgetting about them). the game for “if I was the finance minister” that gets kids thinking about the tradeoffs required for national financial decisions is interesting. You mean the money has to come from SOMEWHERE?

      anyway enough of the SGP love-in.

      had a look at the farmleigh report. looks like some bored lifer knocked it together between fag breaks of a year. yes, that was well worth your salary mein freund. the regional farmleighs are no more than piggybacking on existing meetings already taking place that the govt can claim was their big idea.

      bottom line, politicians here are all just cute hoors. they are mad to live off the achievements of others and feel secure that they will never have to feel the pinch afterwards. it’s the last, great job for life.


      We just need to think outside the box.
      how about succeeding within it?

    • Bamboo


      Thanks for your link. How can I forget Singapore.
      Ah yes, Singapore was built and planned with common sense in mind. They created the garden of Singapore first and then dwellings and offices after that. Simply said but that is more or less the way it was built I think. Singapore was lucky to have someone who was able to see the big picture from the beginning. Lee Kuan Yew’s philosophy of the city is still vibrant and obviously is still implemented in GOV policies as well.

      I am not a city fan at all but Singapore is certainly one of the places I’d choose if I had to live in a city. The sheer common sense is striking.

      The beach is a fantastic place for all generations to enjoy, with the different types of trees, walkways and amenities. Funnily enough the seawater is very clean. Well, it looks very clean and in the distance you can see all hundreds of ships.

      • Your.Country.Your.Fault

        The sheer common sense is striking.
        well that about sums it up, really.

        if only our lot would focus on doing the basics brilliantly, instead of trying to come up with yet another soundbite and media distraction to justify their jobs.

        Irish politicians start from the ground up shaking hands and knowing what to claim credit for (I know, many would also say that they are doing it for Ireland etc but I am not really interested in motivations, more results). in sGP, you are picked for office if you have a proven track record int he real world. and if you work for the govt in say, land planning, or utilities, you got there through getting top marks.

        singapore is the land of successful plodders and the gov makes no secret of it being wary of rapid change in anything.

        but when the resources are marshaled they line up like nothing imaginable in Ireland. from the top down. it’s the upside of the asian management model. the downsides are all the usual complaints of lack of thinking out of the box etc. though, I argue that common sense is not all that common. least of all in public service.

        • G

          Cork city had a real opportunity to put and interesting ‘garden’ in the heart of the city centre, on the main street, Patrick street – they opted for commerical premises, mostly English shops, which I imagine are struggling to stay open given the absurd rents.

          The park that is in the city, Bishop Lucey Park on the Grand Parade is ok, they are trying to do stuff with it, but it is missing something and is not a focal point.

          New York for all its issues, at least has the tremendous Central Park, that was also a ‘vision thing’.

        • Original-Ed

          Singapore is too sterile for creative thinking – they’re like the Romans, good organisers in a great location. Can you name one SPG Brand?

          We’re a different set up – we’ll have to pull ourselves up with our own creations and not with other peoples.

          • Original-Ed

            Sorry, should be SGP – so busy with exports, time is critical,

          • Chaotic shitholes always claim S’pore is sterile. Go there and have a look – four-floors-of-whores, night markets, street stalls. People there have waaaaay more actual control that we have perceived control of our country.

            The S’pore SovWealth fund is a global force.

            As for brands, they have massive brands in Asia. You could try asking a Singaporean if they’ve ever heard of Tayto or even Guinness.

          • Bamboo

            Singapore Airlines maybe … ?
            Have they heard of Aer Lingus?

            What about Creative Labs, have you heard of it?

        • Your.Country.Your.Fault

          for some reason my comments do nto appear, I think they are being sandboxed as spam, so trying again here, sorry for repetition

          (Original-Ed says

          Singapore is too sterile for creative thinking — they’re like the Romans, good organisers in a great location. Can you name one SPG Brand?

          We’re a different set up — we’ll have to pull ourselves up with our own creations and not with other peoples.)

          As Bamboo mentions, Creative Labs (you know, soundblaster audio, and the mp3 player whose interface Apple ripped off for the iPod etc), and Singapore airlines (who own half of Virgin atlantic. I assume you also know that). You may also have heard of Singapore Technologies Telemedia … oh you haven’t? they’re the new owners of Eircom. All hail our new boring sterile Singapore masters. Then of course you’ve probably never heard of yantai Raffles who among other Singapore firms make singapore the country that makes the majority of oilrigs in the world. Ah, those sinagproeans, they must have loads of oil fields, iron ore and a massive military, and all the usual reasons why Ireland can’t be the world leader. Shame they also have the world’s busiest port, and airport, which is regularly voted the world’s best. After all, any old country could do that, especially one the size of co louth. Built on a marshy jungle. And is less than 50 years old. Tiger beer? Never heard of it. OSIM, AIBI, all leaders in their industries at least in ASEAN if not Asia. Do you knwo that even the Singaproe stock exchange is a business in its own right? chinese companies clamour to be listed on it as it helps them raise money back home! Singapore, as I stated before, takes an expense (in this case regulation) and turns it into an industry! and across asia, the singapore brand of education is unparalalled. UNPARALLALED. But of course, that hardly cuts the mustard in whatever corner pub you frequent in order to sort out the world’s problems with like minded intellectuals. Raising that pint of British owned stout (guinness) that has, actually been selling for 140 years in Singapore. Well done those Brits.

          we’ll have to pull ourselves up with our own creations and not with other peoples
          What’s this we business? What role exactly are YOU going to play in all this? Remember the global economy is such that we are all part of a massive supply chain. There’s no indignity in being an assembler. It’s often the path to innovation. Something that plodding Singapore is doing slowly, slowly, slowly… Ah, but we Irish don’t go for that intermediate step shenanigans. We do a STEP CHANGE to being world leaders. As was pointed out in various columns, instead of trying to be world class, can we just function normally for starters?

          California wasn’t always Silicon Valley, you know. there were a lot of steps between gold rush and rocket science. Anyway I’ve laboured the point enough. I urge you to labour it a little.

          Bottom line, Sinagpore ITSELF is a world brand. Education, health, precision engineering, regulation, urban development… Singapore rules the roost in its niches.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Your.Country.Your.Fault: Thank you for that timely reminder of reality in this harsh world.
            Perhaps we could import another of Lee Kuan Yew’s ideas and give the bankers responsible of this mess a caning, with Seanie Fitz first on the list.

  48. johninmunich

    We should think outside the box and do different things because Ireland will die a slow death if people do not take responsibility and think about their community. They need to sidestep the local and central governments.
    Change will only come from the bottom up, not from the top down. Looking to your local authorithy for assistance is quite obviously a waste of time, so people within the communities need to work closer together rather than individually.
    Utilise the unemployed, they are a huge asset. If one or two projects become successful, people will sit up and take notice. They will take notice of the skilled unemployed and maybe elect someone who has an interest in the community at their next local authority election and things can snowball. Waiting for a big multinational to come along and save the day is a waste of time.

    • Bamboo

      I agree fully johninmunich. We WILL topple the system, from the bottom.

      You’re absolutely right. Only last night I thought that a change of GOV is a solution and so this change will trickle down to society. But what alternative GOV do we have in Ireland? It has to come from the bottom. People in higher authority think or like to think that they have the big picture. Ah sure, don’t we all? I am not an anarchist BTW but do think that people on the ground knows best. Only a couple of weeks ago there was a lady on the “Frontline show” who has the knowledge of working with SVP and the homeless. She was constantly interrupted by people who can knows better and was able to “see the big picture”. She only had a few seconds to make her point clear. We should listen to her.

      Some who have never worked in a community environment before will enjoy this change, as he/she will be appreciated so much for their contribution. No matter how big or small, it will be a worthy contribution and one will gain such confidence from it. This then leads to an upbeat and vibrant mood swing among all. Not sure if this will save our economic problems but it will certainly be very positive. Every little bit counts.

      • johninmunich

        Of course it won’t save the economy. But it would swing the mood of the country. From the outside Ireland looks like one big piece of anger and depression now. People need to pull together.

        People like to analyse the big picture becaue it means they don’t have to ask – what am I doing to help? And I include myself in that aswell.

      • johninmunich

        Great idea, but that’s not all I am getting at. The way local businesses here in Germany work together for the benefit of a town is amazing. Stakholders in towns need to sit down together and question why their costs are too high, how can the town move forward and how can this be done with the limited funding they have at their disposal (not talking about gov funding, you can forget that). Businesses need to work together within their communities.

        • Original-Ed

          This is Ireland, not Germany – here all the cute boys sit around within communities waiting for some idiot to create real jobs so that they can ride on his back to over price land, housing and everything else, which eventually brings whole thing down – the Irish community model is a parasitic one and our politicians are it’s biggest cheerleaders.

  49. Deco

    Here is a part of the world economy where the jobs issue is being addressed.

    Note – no mention of government programs, smart economy task forces, NAMA style bailouts, bank recapitalization, civil servants refusing to answer phone calls, media personalities making half a million talking about other people’s pain, car dealers telling us how to run industrial policy, social workers running industrial policy (and leading it nowhere) or tycoons residing in Switzerland while their hotels get bailed out by the taxpayer.

    What are they doing that we are not doing ? Or maybe we are doing stuff that they would not do under any circumstances. Hong Kong is expensive compared to it’s hinterland.

    I reckon the biggest difference is a difference in attitude. They work hard and get on with it !!!

    • DarraghD

      Deco, you’ve hit the nail on the head… Irish people, they don’t want to do the heavy lifting, just look around you next time you are driving down the N4 or the M50, every second person is driving a BMW 520D. We are too much into style, spin and bullshit in this country and not into substance enough…

      If you want to see what it is really like trying to start up a business in this country at the moment, then go down to any of the industrial estate’s around the Dublin 12 area on any night of the week after midnight, you’ll see (mainly foreign people I might add!), taking machinery off the back of trucks so they can get started, putting in a set of car lifts into their new workshop for car servicing, they are not on the TV taking with marbles in their mouths or issuing bullshit reports on our standard of innovation, or driving all over in town posing in their latest “must have” BMW…

      As an entrepreneur myself, I find a lot of this seemingly endless bullshit and grandstanding, completely and utterly offensive.

      I’ve been working fairly loosly in the last 12 months with several lads who between the three of us have created 10 full time positions, with the CEB’s actively OPPOSING our efforts… The CEB’s in this country are open for one reason and one reason only and that is to keep a handful of overpaid “I got this job because I was friends with Bertie” beaurocrats and lower public sector workers, in jobs.

      They may as well be out painting kids playgrounds, because they have absolutely NOTHING to offer any person thinking of starting a business.

      I feel like a stranger in this country to be honest, looking and listening to so many fucking loo-laa’s who have a lot to say on the topic of job creation but at the same time they couldn’t run for a bus. I’m sick of ERSI reports, “competitiveness” reports, the only report we need in this country is that there are well over 400K people out of work, if 1% of those were inclined to start a business and were properly supported, there would be no problem here.

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