March 22, 2010

Fitzpatrick didn't act alone

Posted in Irish Economy · 210 comments ·

When I was in school there were fellas whose Mammies stood behind them with a mallet when they were filling in their CAO forms to make sure they ticked law, accountancy or medicine. The holy of holies of this type of Irish mammy was to have her son in the professions. This was what she had strived for all these years and it would be made concrete by the son’s entry into university and from then on the conveyor belt towards professional respectability.

Most to these lads were decent enough characters and went on to become partners in law firms, doctors or senior managers in the banks and department bosses in the big accountancy firms. They were never risk takers or particularly adventurous. They knew that the system rewarded obedience and conformity. And come to think of it now, they were quite capable of grassing up a messer in class or telling on lads smoking in the jacks. Put simply they were not to sort of lads you wanted beside you if you got into a scrap. They’d run a mile, worse still they’d switch sides if they had to.

Today these type of fellas form a central phalanx of Dublin’s professional class. There have become the “insiders” in Ireland. They have grinded away, kissing ass when necessary and are now rewarded for their good behavior by an equity partnership and a board directorship or three. They are now deep inside the system and realize that their job and their prosperity is based on preserving the status quo.

In the cacophony of moral outrage surrounding Sean Fitzpatrick, these lads are most voluminous because they realize that Seanie constitutes a threat to the status quo. He needs to go down, in order to protect them. The system needs a few scalps in order to spin the line that “we have drawn a line in the sand”. The insiders understand that the Seanie arrest is a damage limitation exercise for the “insiders” which allows them to heap approbrium on one – or maybe a handful of individuals – in order to allow them, the professionals insiders to carry on as if nothing had happened.

Amongst the leading lights of Ireland’s professional class there is a monumental struggle going on for personal and institutional survival. They are trying to pretend that Sean Fitzpatrick acted alone and that he and he alone was responsible for the financial madness of the past ten years.

I am not going to defend Sean Fitzpatrick here but I am going to make the fundamental point that he did not act alone. If we want to learn from this disaster, we need to acknowledge that the system is rotten, not just the generals. Seanie sat atop of a deeply corrupted system which was aided and abetted by insiders —politicians, estate agents, corporate lawyers, accountants and mush of the media – who extracted fees, votes and profits by making the property scam legitimate with the legal opinions, their qwack economics, their glossy brochures and their “oh so clean” set of accounts.

The insiders have made Seanie their moral skip, into which they can throw all the grubby deals that went wrong, all the bad advice they doled out and all the greed that saw them cross the is and dot the ts of yet another syndicated property consortium. Yes they were all involved in the great property scam, wining and dining, taking fees and lording it over others, but you wouldn’t think that now. Now they are distancing themselves from anything to do with Anglo as if the past never existed.

By the time they have rewritten history, Seanie Fitz will have acted alone. There will be no evidence of the dozens of lawyers, other bankers, and accountants who creamed off the top. Not to mention the estate agents and other spoofers who valued the market to validate the bank and property deals which the lawyers and accountants market now as billable services. The aim of the rewriting of history is to make sure that guilt is local not general, that there were a few bad eggs rather than a corrupted system and most crucially, at the end of this the same insiders should remain in positions of power.

To achieve this objective Ireland’s professional classes have constructed what could be called a large “Indignometre” that is chiming away in their heads. The Indignometre measures the level of outrage at Seanie Fitzpatrick and these last few days it has been ratcheted up to full tilt.

I met one of these insiders the other day. He’s a successful lawyer around town and the height of respectability. Sort of bloke who hasn’t put a foot wrong ever since his mammy applied spit to her hanky to wipe of the chocolate stains off his face.

I haven’t seen him for a few years. The last time I met him was in 2006 in the O’Reilly Hall in UCD. I was presenting a business awards ceremony – a sort of Rose of Tralee for men with BMWs and moderate handicaps. Seanie Fitzpatrick was there too – at the top of his game. Back then Seanie was everyone’s friend. There was a queue of admirers coming to kiss the ring of the man who had changed Irish banking. In the world of Irish finance, Seanie was the man. He was Mister Big. He had led the charge and they had followed him. This lawyer was waiting obligingly at the end of the Seanie queue, grovelling for an audience.

Four years ago the sycophants lined up. So called financial journalists who have subsequently dammed Seanie were there paying homage as well as other competing bankers hoping to be noticed, lawyers and accountants hoping for fees, captains of industry and builders, of course the builders, many of whom were made by Seanie.

A few years ago, this lad whose Mammy had pushed him up the greasy respectability pole was all “Seanie this” and “Seanie that”. Back then he was giddy telling me how he and Seanie and the lads were out playing a few holes, putting deals together. Now he is claiming that Seanie acted alone.

So we are to believe now that not only did Seanie run the bank on his own, but he pedaled the shares too, he signed off on the accounts and did the legals on the repacked property deals. Not only that but he wrote the puff pieces in the newspapers and as for the board members of Anglo, sure obviously Seanie didn’t listen to them — they are not to blame either. In fact no one is to blame but Seanie. History is being re-written.

In the great drama that is playing out in the Irish professional classes Seanie Fitz occupies the position of arch villan and there is a desperate struggle now on the part of those who were his best friends not so long ago Sean to distance themselves from him.

Remember these were the same fellas in school who might change sides if you got into a scrap at the bus stop.

The fact that they are trying to rewrite history is not that surprising what is galling however is that these guys who contributed to the mess and profited from it are now being given jobs in NAMA to make sure we pay for their greed. Ernst and Young, Anglo’s auditors have a job with NAMA, along with PWC who claimed Anglo’s losses would be €3bn rather than the Euro 14 billion it is likely to be. The estate agents who valued the market and created the hysteria are now advising NAMA on valuations and guess what, my lawyer mate who was hobnobbing Anglo three years ago is advising who now? You guessed it, yes he is now being paid by NAMA!

Maybe his Mammy was right all along.

  1. [...] Celtic Tiger, we have silence (though an awful lot of finger-pointing) with dealing with the Bust. David McWilliams yesterday examined the curious case of Sean Fitzpatrick, a man who transformed a sleepy unexciting financial [...]

  2. As much as Sean Fitzpatrick and others are deserving of criticism for their part in the present chaos, I can’t help worrying that we are villifying to the state of pariahhood people who achieved spectacular successes as well as failures. Whilst ensuring the law is upheld and crimes are pursued, I can’t help thinking people like Sean Fitzpatrick still have a lot to offer the State and people constantly calling for his head on a pole will deter the use of these people’s considerable experience and past successes.

    • Jonathan Hannon

      Ireland is indeed run by insiders and for insiders. Its the same in all western countries. But we’re an idiotic and docile crowd who just take. Elaine Byrne had an excellent article in the irish times last week where she discussed lack of power in the dail. She referenced quotes form Eoin McNeill made in the early 1920′s. He said that as we had been under english control for so long that people saw politics as been detached form their lives. That people just viewed politicians as another class and felt they simply had no power. This all sounds familiar. Incidentally, Eoin McNeill was Micheal McDowells grandfather. Its all very well all us blog freak meeting up on this site agreeing with each other about how bad things are and how the system is set up against us. But do we feel we have the power to do anything about it, well obviously not.
      Back to Davids point about Seanie Fitz not acting alone. This is very true. i worked in this business for many years. I now realise that my conscience got the better of me, and I got out in time. But here’s a sample of how a standard site would have worked.
      A farmer gets a call from a auctioneer/developer. He’s told that if he goes along with what he’s told he’ll be a rich man. The auctioneer then makes a material change to development plan to the local authority. He talks to a councilor. the councilor then legally gets the zoning changed and the site is now revalued at high density residential. The land makes it to the market. The auctioneer then ropes in three developers and plays them all off. Then one eventually gets the land. By this time an army of valuers, engineers, planning consultants and architects have been paid very well. Then the builder has to get the money. This cant be done unless the other sites have been revalued and cross charged. This takes the efforts of several valuers and solicitors. Then seanie fitz comes in and lends the money. If the builder went through a broker then he has hassled harranged and bullied the broker to get him the money. His life will never be the same unless he gets it. Never let a builder tell you they were sold a lie by the papers, these guys wanted this and fought to the end for it. Then anglo lend the money and the game starts again. Through a deal like this its usually the same individuals that have been paid. the accountants have signed of on the fake statement of affairs and given in the accounts and tax clearance. then they get paid. My point been is that a lot of people have made money before seanie fitz comes in. He also makes money. Anglo were never cheap. But it was all pretend money anyway. The developer rarely put his hand in his pocket. Al the costs were rolled up anyway. Anglo charged more, but what the hell, they were giving the money. If a developer knew that he’d get the money to enable him to make 10 million he didn’t really mind paying Anglo 500k more that the other banks. It was first time buyers that were paying it not him.
      Then one of the best scams in town came into play. Think of all the times you heard recent house buyers saying, “Since I bought my house it’s gone up so much, the second phase is already 20K more that what I paid”. Let me translate this. The bank always included the condition of a certain level of pre-sales. So the auctioneer would be keen to get the sale of the whole estate. So he “sold” contracts to his friends and also himself. The contracts were always in phase two. Once the contracts were signed Seanie gave them the money to get going, Then there was no risk for the bank, because if it all fell apart the pre-sales would pay for the site. Phase one is built and sold and then the auctioneer released phase 2, jacked up the price on the pre sales and he and his buddies made a handy 20k. This was facilitated by the law society as the sale was never really closed so they got out of stamp and everybody was happy. The margin of profit was huge for everybody and everybody made money. The builders usually hated the bankers and always felt they were been looked down on by the boys in nice louis copeland suits and the bankers hated these red neck up starts who had the balls to go for it and make more that they were making in their safe bank jobs. It took a lot of people to make all this happen. Not just seanie fitz. I knew a lot of seanie types. They all had a type A personality and a victim complex. They all had their own narrative and life story well rehearsed. The only thing that mattered to these people was their ego and legacy and the image of success. Its unlikely that he will do time, but everything that matters to him is now gone. All these people had huge personalities and were loved in the communities. People were proud to know some inside story on them. Now its all turned to shit. I knew of one builder that was drinking coffee and as he looked out the window he saw his Bentley been taken away. He then had a nervous breakdown. Once the money is taken away from these people then they realize who they really are. Thats not always something they can deal with.

      • wills


        Holy sh111t.

        Fantastic informative post jonathan hannon.

        Fair whacks to you for posting that one.


      • Deco

        That builder was not forced to buy a bentley. A Skoda would have done the job just as well.

        The professional class have failed. Now the rest of us, who persistently endure their patronizing bullshit, have to provide them with a bailout. The main example, being this TINA (There is no alternative) mantra. A bit like what the doctor told you when you were a kid and you had to take your vaccinations. Except the superficial layer is removed from the underlying reality.

        But we are wising up.

      • Ruairí

        +1. well documented. We all instinctively know the various elements of that process in our daily lives (as punters) but you threaded that nicely and closed some gaps. Thank you.

  3. paulmcd

    David, Most of the people to whom you refer would congratulate the Finance Minister on doing a very good job, given today’s difficult circumstances. He is perceived as serving their narrow sectional interests very well. The Minister is afraid of taking difficult decisions. His budget was designed to serve class interests and to foster the perceived public-private sectors’ divide.

    Brian Lenihan comes from a very privileged background and lacks the backbone and moral courage to act with impartiality. To date, he has been taking easy, pain-free decisions which are in the best interests of the elite; namely, continuing the FF policy of inflicting the maximum pain on the maximum numbers in the lower orders of society when times are tough. The most blatant example of this was his unwillingness to cut the pay of the judiciary and call for the constitutional change which would be necessary to achieve this. (His wife is a circuit court judge, go figure.) Impartiality, me nanny: just listen to the FF bluff and guff on the airwaves.

    Lenihan and Cowen are such cowardly lions that it is clear that we need dramatic change to protect low to medium earners from State-sponsored theft. If the forthcoming results from Anglo and Nationwide do not precipitate this change, I will abandon all hope and consider leaving the country.

    As we approach the implementation of NAMA, I am feeling that if the Dáil were an asylum for paedophiles, then it seems the paedophiles have taken over the asylum. Rather than molesting children, the “paedophiles” in question are targeting and abusing individuals on social welfare and those on low to medium incomes. I am sure that many higher earners also feel emotionally and psychologically abused by these incompetent self-serving scoundrels.

    Higher earners in the private sector are being spared. They will continue to experience preferential treatment as the Minister is insisting that the marginal rate of tax will not be increased and insists also that there will be no wealth tax — not even for millionaires and billionaires!

    Many medium earners who are approaching retirement years will have paid a 60%+ marginal rate of tax for years earlier in their careers and would have suffered even more severely from this harsh taxation regime if they were of unmarried status during the 1970s and 1980s.

    There is scope to apply much higher marginal rates of taxation for those earning 6-figure sums and higher annually.

    • Original-Ed

      Interesting thing about the seventies was that while there was a punitive tax on single earners, there was rampant inflation which encouraged spending and once on the property ladder with 100% mortgage relief, the pressure was over. On top of that there was tax relief on personal loans – a weird combination that led to the economic disaster that was to plague all of the eighties. As far as I can remember, house prices more than quadrupled over the 70s, but wage inflation cushioned the blow for buyers. The eighties was a total disaster as the government went into overdrive on tax levels and collection – revenue reigned supreme and went on a power trip – some of their antics are best forgotten – a time not to be repeated.

      • paulmcd

        Original Ed: You are right that middle income earners should not have to pay punitive rates. I am proposing that there should be surtax rates on the highest earners who are on 6-figure and higher incomes and it should apply for the duration of NAMA or whatever might follow on from it.

    • ps200306

      High earners are already paying the vast bulk of PAYE tax, while the much large majority of low-middle income earners pay next to nothing comparatively.

      • paulmcd

        PS: This is the kind of misleading nonsense you get from Government representatives all the time.

        High earners in Ireland are so vastly overpaid that even with their tax breaks and avoidance schemes which ordinary PAYE people do not have the means to avail of they may in fact pay a proportion of tax which is large relative to their numbers in society but on average they pay a lower proportion of their gross earnings in tax.

        Joan Burton has highlighted how high income earners who are contributing up to 160,000 euros towards private pension schemes receive rebates on these contributions which are costing the State 2 billion euros annually. Today they are buying units in their pension funds at a MASSIVE DISCOUNT. They no longer need any tax break for pension purposes for this reason alone.

        A more moderate view would be to limit sum to qualify for this benefit to 25% of national average earnings.

        By the way, is it still true, as in the 80s, that 5 per cent of the people control 95 per cent of the nation’s wealth?

      • liam

        This is entirely true, and its a tautology. The greatest burden of taxation will always fall to the richest people by virtue of the fact that their income is higher. Regardless of one’s philosophical disposition on the matter, its a simple mathematical fact.

        Increasing the level of taxation in proportion to income on those with a higher disposable income is logical. a 10k increase in tax paid by somebody earning in excess of 100k a year is an annoyance, increasing the level of tax paid by somebody on 20k by 2k a year could be crippling.

        Of course there is always the question of what that tax gets spent on which is where the arguments usually start to get out of hand. That’s my simplistic, principled interpretation anyway, and without getting in to the infernal details of Irish tax law. I’d certainly welcome a counter argument.

  4. Incident


    Fully agree with your latest edict.

    Slightly concerned however that you went to press without spell checking or proof reading.

    17 errors.

    Ah sure we are all human afterall! (as Seanie’s Mammy might say)

    • paulmcd


      Remember to proofread and do knot thrust Spiel Chick plus note the flowing pints:
      1. Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
      2. The passive voice is to be ignored.
      3. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
      4. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
      5. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
      6. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
      7. Going forward, avoid clichés like the plague.
      8. Be more or less specific.
      9. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
      10. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
      11. Do you forget the trailing question mark
      12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos. Comprenez-vous?
      13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
      14. One should NEVER generalize.
      15. Don’t use no double negatives.
      16. Avoid ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
      17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
      18. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
      19. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
      20. No exclamation marks!!!!!

  5. Incident,

    Forgive the spelling errors as this copy was not the one used in the SBPost yesterday as its website is down today. This is unproofed copy. I will put up the published one when their site is fixed.

    Best David

  6. You have once again hit the nail dead on the head David. Only last week I was in the company of people as you describe, who were defending their position in a very subtle way. These people are firmly a part of the set of people who were in charge throughout the period of mismanagement and now need to basically tough it out, because they unbelievably even to themselves, they still are in charge. What is becoming distressingly apparent is they are going to get away with it. There are so many of them and they aren’t suffering too much and are realising they are more powerful than even they thought they were.

    • Tadhgd

      Its true. The sad thing is how everyone just goes along with it. Just to do something I emailed a long standing local TD last week with some views on NAMA – No surprise that I have not received a reply. In addition people still have that property fixation. Asking prices in the area where I grew up are down 25-35%. It is a decent location within 10km of Cork City but in my opinion the prices are still too high. I’m not too sure that they will drop much more but will bump along at this level while NAMA props them up. All the vested interests will be happy with this including those already on the ladder. On another tangent a French girl from my office was in Cork through work for the last two weeks. Knowing her well I took her for lunch last week and enjoyed a good conversation about the old country. Her perception of the people was at times scary. Among the impressions some people left her with anti-England, over weight, too sensitive when she mentioned something not so good about Cork, oh and they eat chips with Chinese and Lasagne. As mentioned I’m from Cork myself so was able to balance some arguments out but it was not all bad anyway as she said the people were very generous and nice to her. What can I say was interesting.

    • coldblow

      Sounds about right to me. The people you (and David) refer to are I think at the apex of a pyramid that reaches down to grass roots, but the lower tiers are more expendable.

      Here’s a quote from an interesting recent post from Gurdgiev (though I wouldn’t agree with his reasoning in getting there, assuming I understood him correctly, that is):

      “The maze of interchanges in a small country between sectoral vested interests — political and executive, social, environmental and economic — is informing our ideological and electoral positions. The state is seen as an (at least occasionally) benevolent defender of the interest to which one is aligned. The stronger state, therefore, is just that, a stronger defender. From the intellectual laziness of our academics, to the nearly unadulterated parochialism of our regulatory and legislative interests, to our clan-based politics, the ills of our society are traceable to the historically conditioned inability of Irish society to accept the basic tenet of liberty. We have never learnt that any vested interest, no matter how small, must be treated at a political level as a monopoly-seeking cartel. This, of course, coupled with the recognition that the state itself is a collection of those vested interests, means that the pursuit of liberty for all, requires a coherent limit on the State. The power and financial privileges that have accrued to nearly all of us, as vested interests, have prevented us seeing that.”

      Which I take to be saying that the state is skewed in favour of the vested interests (which we nearly all are to some degree) and against the hypothetical citizen per se. Now I wouldn’t see the stuff about liberty being important but rather (following Crotty) the historically determined inequitable conditions of property ownership.

      Well, whatever about all that, it is increaingly clear to everybody that it is a political problem. The difficulty is: how can the state be used to try to solve it if its raison d’etre is to protect the vested interests it should be challenging?

      • Deco

        Coldblow – thanks for the quotation from Gurdgiev.
        { We have never learnt that any vested interest, no matter how small, must be treated at a political level as a monopoly-seeking cartel. }

        What is hilarious is that the media has been bought by advertising revenue. The media acts as arbitrator in the endless conflict between the various vested interests. In this context, the media is completely compromised, and is purchased by the highest bidder. Just look at the drivel in the IT Business supplements down the years. And now, because ANIB is flattened, and the Duopoly are the power again, the media are blaming the entire mess on Seanie Fitz. No commentary from the media concerning what is going on inside BoI, or AIB.

      • jay-joe

        I think the concept of liberty is here actually of interest. Perhaps taking Berlin’s ideas on positive liberty vs. negative liberty we might see a little clearer. Positive liberty says people should have a role in choosing their government, basically true citizenship. However this could be corrupted via elite rationalism, in that elites held that for People to be free then people must improve themselves, but it is elites that often define what ‘improvement’ is. In a paternalistic way elites then control the people, and encroach on their freedom. On the other hand negative liberty is basically the freedom of the individual where political power then is only used to ensure individual freedom.

        Thinking about Ireland though it seems we have a strange mix of the two: Looking at 1922 we had Dev’s idea of some type of Gaelic idyll as a philosophy for the nation, fuzzy & repressive as that was it did give something of a pole star to the county. But once that whole generation died off and was replaced with the likes of Bertie and Haughty, there didn’t really seem to be any ethos or direction, rather a slap dash pragmatic type of politics, where the state lurched from one sound-bite policy to the next. Taking FF’s last 15 odd years , I cant actually say what they were/are in power for. I can’t detect any overarching idea or goal other than continuing to retain power. This I feel is light-years from the point of actual politics, to have power in order to build something better.

        So in contrast to Dev we have this style of negative liberty, where during the boom years we became free, or at least had the freedom to earn and speculate economically. We had much negative liberty in that individuals could pretty much do as they pleased without interference or indeed regulation. For the average man that was slaving in a 25k a year job to buy an overpriced house, for the masters of the universe like Seanie F it was to gamble with billions. Both camps however believed the ethos of the boom: We’re free, and free to start making it!

        This I think brings us back to the idea of an ethos and positive liberty.
        The ethos of the last 15 years then has been there is no ideology, we are all here to speculate and become rich. Wealth became the benchmark by which we came judge each other, it was the way the people improved themselves, and it was FF’s goal to facilitate that, (and cream a little off for the boys). If we look at how the unions, academia, civil service, business, media and political class became co-opted into this notion of ‘social partnership’ I think we have evidence for their lack of ideology or even more basic, simple reflective thought. As above post notes vested interests, were all able to be brought under the umbrella of a unitary political system because I feel it was a system devoid of true direction or ethos. In essence the rationale of the elites was that ‘Everyone’ was growing rich, so wasn’t that enough? Most of the rest of us did I’m sorry to say buy into that, Im certainly guilty of that to my shame.

        So since most of us then were/are connected to some vested interest (alluded to above) and all those interests came under this umbrella of the bland status quo. However for this to survive each interest had to agree to the terms of the deal namely: Nobody rock the boat and we all get rich. In consequence any independent thought or analysis (DMcW ect) about the nature of the system was ridiculed. The paradox then was that we had the negative liberty, to get rich as individuals (greed) and this individualism (greed) was the ethos of the system, one which eschewed any ideology beyond that. But its rejection of a guiding idea beyond greed was a rather twisted ideology in itself. You’re a member of (insert affiliation) so don’t be a citizen, don’t participate don’t think, and you’ll get your turn at the trough.

        • Bamboo

          Thanks for your post. Excellent.
          I’d like add the fact that we live in a society that wealth parading and indulging are encouraged by the media. And sadly enough we are accepting that media and especially the advertising. We all have to have this and the other. If not, your life is so miserable and you haven’t fulfilled your ambitions. What is the pint in living if you can’t have that. Now that we have all that material wealth we can celebrate by displaying it. What’s the point if you can’t display it and what is the point if you can’t create envy among your surroundings. There was a time in the 70′s that the wealthy wants to display an air of social kindness. Instead of having a shiny car they choose to go for a (totally unnecessary) “of the road” type car. This displays a sense of living in the country, in touch with nature, socially minded, bordering on the “lefty tree hugger”. And a scratch to the car didn’t really matter as it is all part of the image. But in fact it was only for the privileged few among us. But as this concept became old fashioned and the social mind became somewhat watery during the boom years, these “of the road” cars were rebranded to 4WD or SUV cars and other types of image cars. The rebranding changed to an image of wealth, decadency and indulgence. An image that was far easier to sell comparing to the old image. Some even can’t get enough notice from their spanking shiny cars after spending so much on it. In frustration they turn into anti-social and illegal parking with their hazard lights turned on and in some extreme cases, young boys turn their cars into more vocal cars by changing the noise levels upwards, the so called “Boy Loosers/racers” cars.

  7. Malcolm McClure

    David : “When I was in school there were fellas whose Mammies stood behind them with a mallet when they were filling in their CAO forms to make sure they ticked law, accountancy or medicine. The holy of holies of this type of Irish mammy was to have her son in the professions.”
    Brilliant hook for the article, David, but don’t lose your nerve. Of course you meant to say: “The holy of holies of this type of Irish mammy was to have her son in the priesthood.”
    Irish mammies have a lot to answer for. Their intentions were honourable, they worked hard to raise a respectable family. But Da was the feared paterfamilias, never to be seen pushing the pram, heaven forfend changing a nappy.
    NAMA is Mama’s revenge for her enslavement by the system.

    • coldblow

      I’d say you’d be right up to about 30 years ago (at the latest), Malcolm, but I doubt it applied much to David’s generation (though I could be wrong).

      Of course, for a long time now mothers would be very uneasy about having a son a priest and would worry about the social consequences – and that would apply even if there were no scandals. They’d probably be happier nowadays to have him in, say, advertising. ‘God’ is, well, embarrassing. I think economics (and the social status resting on it) was always the driver in this kind of thinking, just dressed up according to the changing fashions.

    • Ruairí

      :-D And Daddy’s revenge would be NADA. Looks like we’re screwed either way.

  8. David,

    do you have any idea how unpleasant it is when you read something and all of the sudden you start laughing really hard, just in the very moment when you had that second mouthful of coffee this morning.

    Sub consequently the coffee which now runs down the wrong tube, changing the laughter into a painful cough and well, if your primal body functions are still intact you spit it out in a rather ungracious way to protect yourself from drowning in a mouthful of coffee.

    If you are lucky that happens when you stand outside with the Lads having a coffee break and someone is telling a joke, and you cough and spit to the amusement of the others.

    In my case, living rather secluded in rural Donegal, it happened when I read this line:

    ….I was presenting a business awards ceremony — a sort of Rose of Tralee for men with BMWs and moderate handicaps…..

    Although the following events all happened in less than 10 seconds, they had this special super slow motion quality that you perceive in situations like a car accident.

    ….Time runs different for the one who is in the middle of the events…. Here is the attempt to describe the events unfolding in real time in no more than 5 seconds….

    As a result my somewhat slick, slimline apple wireless bluetooth keyboard was caught up in it and was drenched in the majority of coffee that left the front of my face with considerable acceleration, from where the liquid followed laws of gravitation and made it’s way under the graphic tablet and wireless mouse to eventually spread out over my glass table.

    While the rest of my face was rather looking stupid, observing the ways the fluid spread out, when I realized that number of rather important compact flash cards holding a total of 32 gigabyte of pictures would be reached by the approximately 40 degrees celsius sugary liquid in the next 2-3 seconds. – The desk is my own design and with 2,65 meter x 1,25 meter rather large and is my post processing station holding a massive 30 inch and smaller 24 inch screen, laptop and other electronic gear for music and photography. It is not a paper pusher’s delight with the stapler on the left and neatly arranged pile of useless daily company memos, but rather the place of real work. – Approaching rapidly the age of 50, my reflexes are not the same anymore, but still working to a degree, so my instinct had my quickly accelerate my arse out of the chair to grab the compact flash cards before the coffee plays Titanic with them, when my elbow applied just enough kinetic energy to the mug standing to my right beside the laptop to top over and make it spill the rest of a nearly full cup, parts of it now making their way under my laptop, while splashes already found their way onto the screen and keyboard.

    The resulting great dilemma is of that kind where your brain can become useless, because you are presented with two options, and only the elite fighter pilot trained people amongst us stand a chance to make the right choice in a fraction of a second, the average citizen never been exposed to fighter pilot training, more than will make the wrong decision, or none at all, the latter was true in my case. So instead of grabbing either, laptop or compact flashcards, my facial expression probably changed from stupid to sheepish, I just observed the liquids reaching their destination….

    I shall be excused now, I have to make another pot of coffee.


  9. I was looking the names on the letter written by the so called whistleblower at Lehman brothers.

    The letter was written to a Kelly, a Reilly, a Callan and an O´Meara.

    WSJ Link is here

    Their was to play the man not the ball . So they “ousted” him.

    In Ireland, this would probably have worked.

  10. G

    Thank whoever, but my parents never put me under any pressure to enter the ‘professions’, so fortunately I got into university (major disappointment) and was delighted to do Arts, despite the gibes from those doing Commerce and Law (they always had a sinister air about them, which is why I think William Golding’s book ‘Lord of the Flies’ such an important contribution to literature).

    I was discussing this very theme on Saturday with a friend, who is an accountant and who courageously started his own business and is a decent guy.

    He said the same people who didn’t take any risks are now hissing at Seanie Fitz – the chattering classes who contribute little if anything, as you say, set out to play it safe and have their underwear ironed (front and back).

    I don’t know the ins and outs of Seanie F – never met the guy – Anglo looks like a train wreck, but instead of demonising this dude the guy should be brought in to unravel the finances and assist with either wrapping up the bank or sorting out the unholy mess.

    The theatrical arrest (with journalists and photographers on site) was a disgusting setup and the fact it came 18 months after the event speaks volumes, as my buddy pointed out it was more suited for the Naked Gun 33 and a third!!

    The effort is primarily designed to take heat off the government, it is rare I agree with Enda, but we do need a change of government plus a full Dail investigation along the lines of the DIRT enquiry, which was successful and inexpensive.

    The ‘professions’ still unsure as to what is professional about them when there are stories in the papers every day, those who played it save, have a lot to answer for with regard to the financial crisis and the child abuse situation – a whole bunch of these people were involved, colluded in silence – one thing is for sure, if we want to get this country going again we need the visionary and the risk taker to push things out, these other people will never do it!!!!!!

    How I despise their cowardice and yet they are first to condem – Pharisees!!

    You mixed among them David but come from a different background, I am glad you called them out publicly and their ‘Mammies’ with them!

    • Original-Ed

      We need risk takers, but not reckless traders. Risk is perfectly manageable, but Seanie’s reckless lending model was a disaster waiting to happen.

  11. David – you have hit a lot on the head here – it is a summing up of Irish Society (dont exclude our brethen in the Cloth as well).

    When the British left Ireland in the 20th Century (and took with it – its social hierarchies and etiquettes) – it created a vacuum into the people which you write about were sucked. 25 years ago Bank of Ireland was run by Anglo-Irish – and it was bank with honour.

    Its all professions – I hold most medical consultants in the same manner as Seanie FitzPatrick. Seanie lost me a considerable amount of money in Irish Bank Shares; and the Consultants are taking more of me as I try to deal with the stress that has caused me.

    Either they are actively corrupt; unscrupulous or they wallow in blissful ignorance.

    All of which leads me to conclude that now is the time for Ireland to re-define its identity – and build the model society (that includes one church where priests can marry – if this means giving 2 fingers to Rome – so be it). Give a further 2 (or even 3) to the current political system; and throw in the planning laws as well.

    If we achieve this – Ireland will be the place where decent people will want to live – and that solves all the current economic problems we have – in fact NAMA will be a success beyond our wildest dreams.

    BTW – vegetable patch update. 2 rows of earlies; spinach; broadbeans; onions and garlc all gone in over the last few weeks.

    • wills

      Phil, with you up to…

      ‘…- in fact NAMA will be a success beyond our wildest dreams’.

      Now is the ‘our’ referring to the ‘insiders’ cos if it is I 100% agree, it will be.

      • As I have always argued, Wills, there is nothing wrong with a strong property market – it is, in my opinion, a good backbone to any vibrant economy.

        However the risk is that the next notch up from a strong property market is an overheated market – a risk that was clearly overlooked by the powers that be (been).

        NAMA allows time to re-balance the property markets. If it fails to do this – then this country fails along with its people – because its wealth is decimated. Branding people as insiders is as much about selling newspapers as it is about taking moral high grounds.

        BTW – as an impoverished Irish bank shareholder the values that are going to be transferred to NAMA will destroy existing shareholder value completely – even though I believe there will be a strong recovery here over the next few years – even (some) property.


        • liam

          I am sorry to hear that you took a hit from the banking collapse, that is unfortunate, but caveat emptor (as my secondary school commerce teacher used to say) and all of that. Perhaps there is an opportunity here to conduct the due diligence you (or your pension fund manager/IFA/broker) clearly didn’t carry out on your Irish banking investments, and avoid a second fleecing.

          I don’t wish to throw a wet blanket on your beliefs, but its worth considering that belief requires no evidence, and there appears to be substantial evidence indicating that Nama will strangle the Irish economy, and none to the contrary. I’d be very interested to hear what criteria you would regard as signalling “success” for Nama.

          • Liam – per chance you read this as I have not logged on for last couple of days – here goes.

            I bought considerable number of Irish Bank shares during 2008 – because I relied on the assurances been given by our Government and the then regulator. I took the Anglo blip on Patricks day (and subsequent recovery) as a sign that things were ok. So I reckon I was “fleeced” by my Government and mechanisms within the State.

            I have previously aired pro NAMA views: Property Loans connected to NAMA originating outside the State have an exceptionally good chance of recovering considerably more than their loan value – taken from FT; Bloomberg and some anecdotal evidence I happen to have – all based on the assumption that World recovery is under way.

            The outcome of the Irish situation is based on more of a wing and prayer – mainly based on our exports leading a recovery (I also predicted weakening of the Euro a couple of months ago as an arguement versus David McW for not leaving the Euro).

            More anecdotal evidence is that we (were) involved in a niche market business that was effectively wiped out last year. People we worked with had no business at all. Now – these people again have waiting lists and we are contemplating re-opening our business.

            I find that many of the anti-Nama voices; have vested interests be they political; or self interests (such as Trade Unions getting in on emotive branding and sloganising – often witnessed on this blog).

            The greatest error made was the State Guarantee – altho at the time it seemed a good idea. Having taken on that Guarantee we are now having to deal with the consequences; and NAMA is the best option out there (there isnt another realistic runner that I have read about).


  12. Alan42

    That is really a great article . I remember years ago my Aunt won some sort of dinner in some South Dublin Hotel . I went with her and as we passed the bar she stopped and as she gazed at the red faced overwieight suits in the bar , she said in hushed tones ” They are the elite ” I thought that she was actually going to genuflect .

    I don’t know if its as bad now but do you remember how Consultants used to swan around hospitals like Gods with a whole team of junior doctors with their heads bowed . I can understand the junior doctors being submissive but even the patients and visitors were in awe . Same goes for most of the professional classes including the government . ” oh he’s a TD , Look a Minister ! ”
    How can the same government that has driven the country to ruin still be in power ?
    It is this grovelling at the feet of these people that has them the way they are . As me old granny would say ‘ Robbers ‘ But the people are worse as they let them away with it and even pay for the privilege .

    • Alan42

      Ireland is run by and for the benifit of this greasy cartel .

    • Deco

      Hilarious anecdote about “the elite”.

      My first encounter with the elite was looking for a job in Dublin in 1994-1995. They were superficially nice, and condescending behind it all. It was a case of the job going to the person with the must suitable accent. They controlled Ireland back then even more than now. The entire culture of induction to most companies in Dublin meant measuring up on terms of the ‘career ethic’ that David has described in his articles. Accent was often more important than ability, in getting a start.

      • wills


        i dont think ‘elites’ are bound together by accents atall, or by postal addresses either.

        I think its all bound together by ‘what side one is on’.

        The ‘on the bunk from one s responsibilities’ side or not.

        • Deco

          Maybe you are correct. The superficial can misguide us.

          But human motives always provide clear indications.

          • coldblow

            About 30 odd years ago a professor Honey wrote a well-known/ notorious book (delete to taste) about accents in England. This provoked indignation at my uni. He merely pointed out that certain accents are a barrier to social and material advancement. Apparently all regional accents in England are fine, you get plus marks for them in fact. Not sure about Geordie. Only 3 are definite barriers: London (Cockney), Brum and Scouse. I think Benny Green was the only Cockney voice you’d here on the BBC that was meant to be taken seriously.

            My experience of Ireland (or at least Dublin) is that, despite occasionally hearing about the ‘snobbishness’ of the English, the social divide is even more noticeable here. Again, regional accents are ok, probably ‘low’ Cork and Limerick are iffy, but only Dub is a real barrier. Until recently, and even there I’m not so sure it has changed that much, it was confined to Joe Duffy, Brennan’s bread and jokey eejits in ads.

            It’s generally accepted that women are keener to ‘improve’ their accent than men. I have noticed that while it’s often easy to place school student’s geographically from their accent, the girls tend to sound similar to their Dublin peers.

            One of the main functions of the English public school system was to inculcate RP. When I was 11 I was offered a free place at the local minor public school (Mervyn Peake was the only past pupil of note) but my mother didn’t push it as it wasn’t Catholic and I wasn’t very keen anyway. Certainly my charming ‘regional’ accent wouldn’t have survived long. And it’s also true that many people with ‘lower’ accents oblige in reinforcing the stereotypes by loutish behaviour!

            To get back to the point, I don’t know but I would be very surprised if it is possible to join the ranks of the elite without sounding right. (In fact, it was DMcW’s accent that initially made me suspicious of him!)

  13. Dilly

    This article will upset my ‘Insider’ uncle. But, that is ok, he is an extremely arrogant and obnoxious person. He was arrogant even back in the 80′s, and boom just made him ten times more unbearable.

  14. Peter Schum

    David, surely you are not suggesting there will actually be any consequences for Seanie following his arrest. Were the events of last week not merely a theatrical event played out on front of the nation to create the illusion of accountability & retribution. Seanie played his roll well, and didn’t even miss out on his beauty sleep. Perhaps you should consider him as male lead in your upcoming premiere of Outsiders? ; – )

  15. Court & Council – Should legal action be taken by the authorities against SF then it is the prerogative of the Judge to decide the outcome and not this forum .Ideas are inviting and opinions are interesting however a kangaroo court cannot happen on this forum otherwise justice will fail us .For those reasons this article has severe limitation to ayone who wants to respond with a free spirit.

    • Bamboo

      What is this airy fairy stuff about a kangaroo court?
      Of course we ALL know that a “judge decides the outcome and not this forum”

  16. I heard a story very recently about Seanie’s Golf Club lowering their fees to attract more members. Apparently SF stood up and expressed his concern that lowering the fees may attract ‘Riff-Raff’.

    • Deco

      What does he mean by ‘riff-raff’ …. does he mean people who have run out of money, people who have earned bad reputations, or people who have been in jail at some stage or another……

      Just asking : )

      • paulmcd

        Deco, I think he means the people who cannot avoid paying their taxes.

        • Deco

          Maybe Seanie should go to the K-Club…the golf club of choice for the most tax-efficient of millionaires….the only difference between him and the Staffan Class, is that none of them have been investigated yet….

  17. Tim

    Folks, Suspicious land valuation for NAMA:

  18. Sicilianirishyank

    David, the problem is that while all will tut tut and pontificate nobody will do anything for fear of it hitting them on the rebound. The system here is to blame the and not take responsibility.

    It is worst with the politicians and the club as they cannot seem to take responsibility for anything. It would not look good so they blame the civil servants the global economic crisis and anything they can but it was the club that caused the crisis here and anyone with any sense could see it.

    It will never be fixed or corrected until they realize that property prices re still way overvalued here and until they bring them down hard and fast they will kill this economy for the future generations.

    • paulmcd

      Sicilianirishyank: The Irish have a great deal more to learn before they accept that our property prices are way overvalued, even at current depressed levels. The average house price in the US is c. 165,000 dollars at the moment, which is about 120,000 euros, but for that you get a lot more house for your money.

      The Irish Republic has one of the lowest population densities in Europe and building land, to start with, should be considerably cheaper. At the moment the average house price here is about double that of the US, despite the fact that Americans have greater after-tax DISPOSABLE income.

    • Deco

      Are you in any way related to a SicilianIrish Taoiseach we had a few years ago…Carlo the Don…


    How have the inept John Begg and Dan McLaughlin retained their cushy numbers?.Fingers took a £1 mill bonus and headed for Monaco and left £9 bill to go into NAMA.Why have banks not fired their lending managers?.

    • Deco

      Did not know that Fingers pulled a fast one like that. But it does not surprise me. Amazing how it was kept out of the news.

      Dan McLaughlin is technically unemployable. His job is economic forecasting. And he has been making a balls of if for the last five years minimum.

      As a taxpayer, I want Dan McLaughlian sacked from the taxpayer owned bank. And as a taxpayer I also want no more subscription fees from taxpayer funded banks to be paid to the IBEC lobbying organization. FEC IBEC !!

      By the way, I still have not heard a satisfactory explanation for why INBS was saved. Systemic importance ? I doubt it. More a case of “too well connected too fail”. The maFFia did not want Charlie McCreevy’s loan approval document to be for sale on E-Bay.

    • Ruairí

      Well, the only one I know that was fired was the lending manager who refused to lend to Michael Lynn.

      Incidentally, whatever happened to Michael Lynn????????? Suffering in the sunshine? Another Wild goose?

  20. Tim

    Folks, Eonomically damaging & fiscally irrelevant: Burke and Taft examine the figures and ask – do cuts = savings?

  21. Daithi

    All above articles are very interesting and disturbing but actions speak louder than words. What can be done so that the next generation of “outsiders” don’t end up paying for the mess? I have heard enough but I feel we need to do something about it as quickly as possible? Would you Mr Mc Williams be willing to organize something to galvanize public opposition to this corrupt system which favours the “insiders”?

    • Deco

      Thanks. Celente says that if the bosses of Goldman Sucks were called Giotti or Lombardo, people would say that they were the mob….he is intimating that Goldman Sucks are a gangster operation.

      Celente is also giving us severe warnings about the next three years, saying the system is insolvent and will basically crack up. Interesting analysis. Needless to say, you never see him on US networks. “Our advertising sponsors” have made sure of that !!!

  22. MK1

    Hi David,

    David> Forgive the spelling errors

    Okay, mush and much are interchangeable as I guess its true that all that much money is now mush!

    I fully agree with your general axiom that there was more than Sean Fitzpatrick in this mess. Indeed, there are plenty that were non-Anglo-related involved, and there were a lot of people “on the make” as you point out. It was a gravy train, as easy as shooting fish in the barrel.

    Btw, shouldnt the regulator and Minister for Finance (Brian Cowen) be arrested first before Sean, as they missed it the shenanigans????

    Well, shooting fish in a barrel is the same in any bubble. We had a bad case of a frenzy, bubble, and now we are dealing with the bust/crunch. Which we are dealing with unfairly as in punishing All (the FF line is that everyone made money, well perhaps everyone in FF did!).

    But the people are still not vexed enough to force through change, to protest, to revolution. The people are powerless to stop NAMA, it would seem, and they dont have a new system/movement to throw their support behind, as yet.

    I’m not in favour of labelling people insiders and outsiders, clearly there are people with vested interests and who want status quo plus lack of competition in their sector to continue, the who you know rather than the what you know was always a big thing in Ireland and remains so. But so-called ‘outsiders’ have been clamouring to be ‘insiders’ and have joined in with gusto, not with principals of refraining.

    You see, when money comes into the picture, arent most people more like Gordon Gecko’s rather than Mother Teresa’s or a Gandhi?

    Stand up ye who have not sinned (by taking more money than you worked for/deserve) and cast the first stone.

    Meanwhile, children are dying today across the world due to lack of basic foodstuff ….

    Look in the mirrrors folks ….


    • MK1 , The Mirror is Broken !

    • wills

      Don’t agree.
      One is either an ‘insider’ or an ‘outsider’. An outsider by definition does not want to be an ‘outsider’ that is why they are an outsider cos they get sick in their stomach by the very idea of been complicit in an insider jailor system.

  23. wills


    Yes, seanie maybe made to walk the ‘plank’ the door of the castle then slammed firmly behind him.

    Absolutely very important to highlight seanie been thrown to the wolves by the inner circle.

    Quite amazing though if it is the case Seanie is been thrown to the lions how far down the totem pole he is in the inner sanctum.

    Amazing to think Seanie can be hung out to dry by an ‘insider elite’ and they are not threatened by the possibility of him singing like a canary on the other side of his defenestration.

    On the calibre and motive and modus operandi powering the insiders I agree its motored along by deep seated oedipal drives and arrested sexual development and ultimately i think an epidemic of narcissistic personality disorders ascending up the scale from sociopathy into potential psychopathy and NAMA and the fundamentalism driving NAMA really delivers an expose on the lunatics now running the rigged market asylum.

    The ‘irish mammy’ cultural malaise is of massive interest to me and i’ve written a series of papers on this precise topic and all its ramifications and implications.

    • Deco

      Seanie is not a complete insider. I read The Bankers by Shane Ross. Seanie was an outsider with ANIB, offering serious competition to the Duopoly. He sought to become an insider.

      The duopoly are behind this need to blame everything on Seanie. They hate him. And they are escaping any fingers (sic) being pointed at any of their own number.

      Seanie Fitz is the “fall guy”. He is the escape valve. The IT is ripping Seanie asunder, and the Duopoly are buying advertising.

      • wills

        In my reckonings Seanie is an ‘insider’.

        He is responsible for running a POniz property bubble scam and anyone involved in this racket is in one way or another an out and out ‘insider’ to what degree each individual must decide based on the facts.

  24. Deco

    David – excellent article.

    Nothing against those parents who want their kids to do well. But in Ireland, under the steady infleunce a narrow enough set of cultural mores, which narrows to the width of a human hair in the leafy suburbs, careers are almost always seen as relating to membership of some clique. And the pressure on males is much heavier on females. (The pressure on females is to ‘catch’ the said male stereotypes – so much for the phrase ‘you can marry money, but it will never marry you back’).

    My real beef is that these professionals seem to get away with deliberately devising a complex system and then acting as gatekeepers to enable those with money to negotiate it, and the res of us to get suckered into obeying it. Classic example – the tax system. We all pay PAYE. But the K-Club set are exempt on a long list of predelictions. The tax system is rigged with loopholes. But it is not just the tax system. I can get put in jail for not paying my TV licence. But if I wreck a bank, and cost the tax payer 24 Billion, I can still reside in my mansion in New England and have a really swell time. Or if I wreck a back and leave it to NAMA to fix, I can go and retire in Monaco.

    The problem is that these professional class have played the system to their own benefit, and in doing so have made it both excessively powerful, and powerfully unfair. The legal code in Ireland is the mother of all sorts of corruption. Loads of crooked entities seem to think that they can behave fairly ruthlessly and that they can employ professionals to prevent any liability for their ruthlessness. Another classic example is Competition Law.

    Can sombody tell me how Denis O’Brien is allowed own most of the private radio stations in trh country, and is allowed chase ownership of an already dominant newspaper empire ? Ireland is full of knowitalls who are outraged at Murdoch controlling the media in other countries. And here, under our noses, we have a tax non-resident, owning media organs that are telling us what to do with our taxes ? Does it not seem a bit absurd ? How come none of the knowitalls in the Irish media never comment ? There is something fairly inconsistent here !!!

    • wills


      I think the codes are ok.

      its the ‘gatekeepers’ as you quite on the money nail who are the darlings of doom for the rest of us / outsiders.

      You are so right on the system itself now utterly set up for the banishment of anyone who is a threat to the ‘insider’ control on the ‘free markets’ .

      Critical for the ‘insiders’ is to preserve control on the ‘free market system’ above all else.

      This is key to getting at these scammers, this is their achilles heel.

      • Deco

        They rig the “free market system”. They do not want it to be a free market system. They want it to be a system that discriminates in favour of the established players.

    • Deco

      By the way – there is a professional career ethic in this country that stiffled the country for sixty years. And it is back stiffling the country again.

    • Deco, ‘they’ don’t comment on it simply because they know which side their bread is buttered on. The Irish media papers and radio stations are feeding from the same pool via the advertising agencies which distribute the advertising revenue down the line. The Station Managers and Newpaper editors just don’t have the balls to stand up to Dennis, I took on a contract two years ago with The Thomas Crosbie group but walked away from it when I saw how this was organised and like the Banks the Radio stations and Newspapers are all in debt but with clever accounting and been ‘friends’ with the Banks they are not closing.
      The dishonesty in Ireland is simply astounding , we are both inside and outside spineless , and I am afraid this mindset will not be broken either.

  25. Philip

    I want to know where I can apply to be an insider. My Mammy has a lot to answer for. For just a sniff of those millions I am sure many of us might be tempted to back stab and flip sides just for the taste of it. She probably was not aware of the mallet methodology God rest her.

    Guys, the people to blame for this are those who signed up for the mortages, left their grey matter at home and maintained their belief in the fantasy land of making a quick buck . All Seanie and the rest of them did was make it easy.

    To date, I see no outrage. Not on the streets or in our opposition. Nothing.

    I will be interested in seeing what sort of a sell out the “Outsiders” will be. I hope it does raise awareness and self examination and promotes a change in attitude. So far and judging from the lacklustre response to the Bishops and the Pope’s letter, my feeling is nothing will happen.

    The contented majority are still in the majority.

    • wills

      I dont think its blame moreso calling out the truth on the real narrative as opposed to the lies and disinformation and bullcrap the meeja and the commentators are pushing to slip away and pass the cost of inglorious property bubble scamaramas onto children.

    • Deco


      The problem is that people signed the dotted line, and got these mortgages. The “lemming” euphoria needs to be recognized. The crisis is itself making people realise this.

  26. That’s it put ALL the blame on our Mothers ! this is why ‘we are where we are’ ….. we are Afraid to upset them !.
    Seanie won’t go to jail and if FF have their way they will just set up another Tribunal . can’t contribute another word here as I went out golfing today and got battered by strong winds and gale wind, so shattered here. !! ( and I didn’t even manage to do any deals while there) .
    Ireland won’t change until as I have said before We Wake up and sober up , there will always be ‘insiders’ and outsiders’ this is society some are doers others sit back. Until the Majority of the Ordinary people see that the system is broken nothing will change .
    But to date I don’t see any one here, putting forward and New Party , so ‘the insiders’ will stay inside while the rest of us sit on the damp grass out side the gates ( or pale )

  27. Deco

    Blair Horan (CPSU fat cat) has been claiming that the real problem with the Passport Office in Dublin, is that there was a flood last week, and the photocopier has not been dried out.

    But it rained last night for the first time in almost a month. Where did the water come from ? A burst pipe maybe ? I just find Blair Horan as non-credible. He got involved in the Lisbon Referendum, and it was purely on the basis of ensuring that the state kept borrowing millions every week.

  28. Deco

    Here is an interesting statistic. At the height of the boom, there were regular secondary schools in South Dublin that were unable to fill their classrooms, because all the kids were shoved into boarding schools.

  29. Colin_in_exile


    That Irish Mammy hasn’t gone away you know. Exhibit A; Orna Mulcahy of the Irish Times.

    “However, dedicated Leaving Certificate parents will be taking no chances and even now will be booking extra grinds and Easter cramming classes. There is too much at stake for this year’s students and for the year or two following them. They need to reach third level and stay there for a few years until the country is in a position to offer them jobs.”

    Its quite funny really, it has always amazed me, that people who decided to bring children into the world treat them as status symbols or accessories of the suburban dream they aspire to, in order to impress their friends / families / neighbours / fellow golfers etc…

    I used to feel sorry for some friends of mine who were brainwashed into thinking 3 weeks of “ag caint as gaeilge” in the middle of nowhere was a great thing. Ah, but their mammies were so proud of them. Its funny, none of them ever returned to An Gaeltacht.

    • Deco

      Pride again…a curse on us as a society….because it makes any exercise in practicality, let alone humility or honesty…culturally unacceptable.

      It is always possible to differentiate between parents doing it out of love, an those driven by superficial concerns….pride usually surfaces in the case of the latter.

      The jobs market has got very competitive. But the jobs market will only get fixed as a result of people working much harder….

    • coldblow

      Orna Mulcahy:

      In the early 90s an acquaintance, a pleasant refined lady, suddenly informed me, quite out of the blue:
      “Isn’t the Irish Times a WONDERFUL paper?”

      The night before last I happened to see an old article by Fennell – something along the lines of:
      “The other day I overheard a well dressed matron in [Dublin hotel] saying to her companion “Linda broke her arm in the Gaeltacht and she is now in plaster.” I can’t find words to pin down why this is so hilarious, so for those who do find it funny I just offer it…. If the Gaeltacht didn’t exist it would probably have to be invented to meet a psychological need among the refined classes.”

  30. stiofanc02

    David, you are my hero. You dislike the weak, pencil-neck chickenshits of the world as much as I do. Your writing in Follow the Money about Mark Little and Miriam O’Callaghan being a confectionary delight for television and the Lenihan episode were largely misunderstood. You had the beers with Seanie Fitz on the night described and you connected with him on a personal level that night. You too have the ability to put people under a spell. You are a bit of a Seanachai as my Irish speaking wife would say. In your case, and I have seen you speak live, you are also a comedian as well. I am fairly poor man by money standards, come to think of it Im destitute, but at least Im the kind of guy who you could depend on to stay on your side in a fight and not run away or change sides out of fear. God I hated those pukes in school, all 8 years of it. But, and its a big butt, when I think of how leaving school at 13 yrs old was a bad idea, and lets face it leaving school at age 13 is stupid, at least Im not an ass licker like the lawyer you mention. The Godfather saw a gap in the market and he filled it. He just used the incorrect amount of filler. Mel Brookes in , The History of the World, was squeezing some of the finest boobs in the kingdom and said “its good to be the king”. He was right, but, when the leg hugging lame and the halt hitch their rope to your wagon,watch out.. because when the shit hits the fan, you can be sure they will run and hide. David ,You are the man! Glad to have discovered you since I came from America. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  31. Ruairí

    @ Wills, from The Economist: -Book reviews: The prophets of the financial crisis, pity no-one listened to them

    More on Michael Lewis.

    Interesting comment left re Amway, banned in UK apparently in 2008. Some might recall (IIRC) David discussing various pyramid scams (sorry, “schemes” just my country pronunciation bise) doing the rounds circa 2006 was it? The strange thing is it was often the same boyos who were auctioneering and selling mortgages that were either involved and pitching or else just running this scams, sorry schemes, past me in the pub of a Saturday night. The same lads who were up to their eyes in Amway when it hit Ireland like a craze back in 1989-91 IIRC.

  32. Ruairí

    And still more Irish scammers, fuelling the great JOD giveaway.

    Has anyone noticed that the national Lottery have pulled the stats from their website? Hmmmm.

    Luckily, these boys are on the ball to keep us on the inside track: –

    Now before some smart alec says that lotteries are a tax on the poor, don’t be ridiculous, that’s what NAMA is for. The lottery’s a bit of craic, even the venerable Chinese recognise the utility of that ticket purchase. A harmless bit of aul craic.
    But I DO find it very interesting to note that whereas in the land of successful fascism that is / was Spain, el Gordo (not to be confused with the Brit’s spendthrift Sugar-Daddy!) is quite democratic and distributive in its nature, whereas our lotteries and how they fail to distribute windfall generously but instead insanely reward the few mimics our rotten society to a tee. In fact David, it should be the metaphor for an article for you. Instead of a village / town benefiting from multiple €10-20k windfalls, as with el Gordo, we have a system that takes from the many and insanely rewards a mere handful. That sounds oh so like our tax system! Sounds oh so like NAMA. Sounds oh so like our PR voting system too.

    Can someone successfully call out this rot, this acceptance of sleaze in a down to earth layman’s fashion? David, your articles are very accessible, but I think until you drive home what NAMA is, what this whole insider / outsider wheeze is, then our collective hopes here are still highly assailable. Until the common mindset approaches a sense of loss, we will have no change.

    • Colin_in_exile

      The house price index, which was compiled by the ESRI / Permanent TSB is no longer being published. The spin put out is that the sample size has plummetted below what would be scientifically accurate……these guys would have put Goebbles in the shade had they lived in the same era.

      There’s Statistics, Damn Statistics and Lies.

      • Ruairí

        Well noted Colin. So much for a ‘free’ society. Surely the Data Commissioner’s brief shoudl also include the sustainable delivery of info as a requirement of any data producer?

      • Deco

        So the ESRI-Permo house price index will no longer be published.
        Was this because
        i) nobody believed it’s ‘results’
        ii) it’s publication was measuring the scale of the disaster
        iii) it was worthless information anyway
        iv) it was undermining NAMA, Irish bank shares, and the perception that we are trying to give international investors
        v) it was damaging consumer confidence ?

        Or maybe a bit of all of the above ….

        • Deco

          Maybe we should start a petition to get the ESRI – Permo TSB house price index restored. Or we could do like the US statistician, John Williams – we could start our own index so as to provide the real statistics to the public ?

          Imagine it looked almost as if the ESRI might actually publish data that was adverse to the tradition of talking up the economy. And true to form they fudged their way out of it.

          It all seems considerably DDR-like… a scene from “Goodbye Lenin”.

          Maybe we should have a film about the Irish Finance Imperial crash…we could call it “GoodBye Ahern” after the Great Socialist Bollox who led us into the financial sewer…..

        • Ruairí

          Here’s an update on that most valiant of disseminators of info : – the The Permanent TSB/ESRI house price index: -

          23/02 CIF calls for a new valid house price index to replace the now QUARTERLY PTSB / ESRI one.
          10/03 Magically, PD-infected FF are doing just that My my, the nous of the them CIF bise & girls…..

          “Work on establishing a new house price register which will be based on achieved sales prices rather than asking prices is now underway, the Government has confirmed.

          Minister for Housing and Local Services, Michael Finneran, T.D., said the new register will replace the current quarterly index published by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
          He said he hopes to put in place a register along the lines of those already operating in Scotland and England.

          He said two important elements are being examined; the first is an address specific register of house prices, and, sitting on top of that, an aggregate index to allow for an in depth analysis of national, regional and small area trends.”

          NO date for delivery. Many dependencies etc etc.

          So who will keep track of the daft asking prices and the disparity between daft asking prices and true market selling prices? Maybe George Hook’s Happiness Index for the buyers of said bargains?

        • Colin_in_exile


          The answer is all of the above.

          This is suppression of vital public information. Why is this being done? So that vested interests can “call the bottom” without anyone being able to call their bluff with figures to back up their case.

          Why do vested interests want to do this? So they can sell over priced housing. Why? Because this is all they know and it has served them very well in the past and they love making easy money at honest people’s expense.

          • Bamboo

            I disagree that this is suppression of vital public information. It is manipulation of information. The ESRI are in a position to tell anything they like as long as it is not too outrageously ridiculous and/or utterly off the wall or too suspicious.

          • Deco

            Honest Tom has already called the bottom of the property market. Honest Tom has declared “now is a great time to buy Irish residential property”.

            Maybe NAMA are listening to Honest Tom. Or maybe Honest Tom has realised what a swell idea “Long Term Economic Value” is….

            Or maybe the whole thing is one big joke. Actually, based on recent evidence….it probably is one big joke…

    • Deco

      JOD ? You mean Johnny Cash ? The Minister for taking the Limo between terminals at Heathrow Airport ?

    • Deco

      Our lotteries prop up golf clubs, yacht clubs, and the odd FAI fat cat….

    • Bamboo

      I think you’re right that we will have no change. Well, at least not in our life time. Ireland has so called been dragged through the 20th century economically and socially.
      I think Ireland is like a first communion scene in the 60′s, 70′s or 80′s. Don’t have the money to buy new shoes, or clothes so they saved up all year for the big day. Parents can be proud to see their children in their best possible gear.

      During the Celtic years the Irish are having an extended, long lasting first communion day. Instead of saving up for the big day, they borrowed the money and spent on things so they can show off their shiny cars, shiny kitchens, en suites, foreign holidays, designer handbags, shoes, etc.
      In fact during the Celtic years nothing has changed. The first communion day only got out of control. We will probably wake up from this dream and face a reality check. For the majority of the people this reality check doesn’t need to come just yet as they are still sitting high and dry. So no change will come. Maybe wait another two generations.

      • Deco

        No Ireland in the Celtic Tiger behaved like an adolescent in this first term in an Irish university. Went on the beer, wrecked everything, missed the lectures (especially the lectures from Dr. Christian Paul) and then ended up flunking the exams. (And this is Irish Uni exams were are talking about – they were made easier in recent years)….And now, where did all the money go ??

  33. paddyjones

    David used to be an economist but now he has turned to culture as has this board.
    Where is the anger about our economic situation, our national debt, our structural deficit , our 436,000 unemployed, our ailing stock market , our falling house prices, our personal debts?
    I think David learned alot from Farmleigh … there is money in culture.

    • wills

      I reckon D’s anger is been harnessed into a creative and constructive fashion calling a spade a spade on the economic scamarama underway in our faces a poat POniz property bubble SCAM SCAM SCAM called NAMA.

  34. wills


    The professional career ethic stifling the country is the culture of the ‘insiders’ rigging and running the ‘free market system’ in their favor so as they can avoid real work be laizy and gorge on all the earthly delights on offer.

  35. Bamboo

    When I came to Ireland in the early 90′s, contraception was the main issue. I was too embarrassed to tell any of my friends and family that the Irish are discussing contraception. Then the cases as documented in the “Magdaline sisters”. Then the property boom came, more embarrassment. People are being scammed in buying poorly designed houses and/or apartments for ludicrous money. Then the economic crisis came, the church, Nama. Now, I am watching FrontLine and a discussion on Foxhunting and other bloodsports. When will this embarrass embarrassment ever stop.

    • G

      Excellent, I left Ireland in 1997 for some of those reasons, Paris seemed more mature and dynamic……it was………things have changed a lot since, more multicultural plus we are a ‘young democracy’, it would seem to me, as a nation, we are still grabbling towards maturity…….plus old ways do indeed die hard, we are slowly emerging but I agree, it is painful to watch.

      The Church, State etc will never have the power over people they once had, the game is truly up, and I am glad, we may finally see independent minds being developed on a country scale, only took 90 years!!

      • Bamboo

        I sort of regret saying this. Ireland does has its charms of course like any other nation/culture/society. Sometimes one get so irritated and it just comes out this way. But at times it is the painful issues that are protruding from the waters rather than the positive things. Thanks to these types of forums we can all express our frustrations.

  36. Tim

    Folks, for those complaining about DMcW’s approach to matters at the moment, I say this:

    “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”.

  37. ps200306

    From earlier, paulmcd said:

    This is the kind of misleading nonsense you get from Government representatives all the time. High earners in Ireland are so vastly overpaid that even with their tax breaks and avoidance schemes which ordinary PAYE people do not have the means to avail of they may in fact pay a proportion of tax which is large relative to their numbers in society but on average they pay a lower proportion of their gross earnings in tax.”

    Funny you should mention misleading nonsense while dishing it out in abundance. Most high earners do not have “tax breaks and avoidance schemes”.

    In 2008, Ireland’s top 0.5% of earners, the 11,714 people who earned more than €275,000 in a year, paid almost 18% of all income tax, over €2bn in total. Their average tax rate was 27.5%. Almost 770,000 people earned less than €17,000. Their average tax rate was about 0.5%. The median earner, earning about €25,000, paid 4% in income tax (compared to 20% in the OECD). The average millionaire pays six times the income tax rate of the average worker. Two thirds of the 2.2m people paying income tax in Ireland paid an average rate of less than 10%.

    Joan Burton has highlighted how high income earners who are contributing up to 160,000 euros towards private pension schemes receive rebates on these contributions which are costing the State 2 billion euros annually. Today they are buying units in their pension funds at a MASSIVE DISCOUNT. They no longer need any tax break for pension purposes for this reason alone.”

    Joan Burton wouldn’t be trying to stir the populist shit by any chance? Nobody receives “rebates” on pension contributions — they are tax exempt for the reason that the State wants people to support their own old age. The reason why pension fund units are cheap is because many of them lost 75% of their value in 2008/2009 and even after the rallies of 2009 many are still in negative territory over 10 years.

    • paulmcd

      Just because something is POPULIST does not mean that it is wrong. The word is often (mis)used by politicians who are incapable of justifying an unacceptable truth.

      The reason why we are in the current crisis is because the Aherne/Cowen Laurel and Hardy act choose to play IRRESPONSIBLE POPULIST politics, and failed to recognise they were throwing fuel on a property market raging out of control.

      Yes, assets have lost up to 75% of their value, but Brian Lenihan would argue that they have LTEV, long-term economic value. He should recognise this by substantially reducing the tax concession. Whatever way you argue it, this allowance still represents a substantial loss to the exchequer.

      I am on a 5-figure salary and am paying tax at the marginal rate of 41%. Wish I was paying the average tax rate of those who are earning multiples of what I earn. Rather than putting bread on the table, or even paying the mortgage, the major problem of the highest earners is finding a safe haven to store cash for a feckless future generation.

      All I am arguing for is that people on 6-figure and higher income levels should pay a substantially higher MARGINAL RATE.

      I would be interested to hear if you can find out what small percentage of the population control 95% of the wealth.

    • Deco

      PS2006 – I think that you should differentiate between Joan Burton in opposition, and Joan Burton in government. Two entirely different people. One is obsessed with what happens to the taxpayers money. The other was obsessed with having a good time at the taxpayers expense. An incident comes to mind where she got the government jet diverted to get in retail therapy when she was a minister in the 1990s.

  38. MK1

    The thing about TAX is that there is a lot of misinformation around.

    For example, some stats provided and regurgitated around dont include PRSI, which is clearly an income tax. Others dont include Employers PRSI, which is clearly an income tax when looked at grossly as an employer (who is honest and doesnt go bust!) has to pay it!

    Also, VAT as a tax is high (21%) and applied to all income earning bands regardless of their level of income. It is also applied on basic goods and servics, not on ‘luxuries’. And there are many other flat taxes, and flat costs in society.

    Its clear that those with more income can use their extra money above the “bare essentials that are needed to live = 10-15k pa” and invest and get tax breaks. A pensioner on 200 a week cannot invest in a greyhound or a horse or a BES scheme which has 10k as a minimum share.

    In general, wealth can corral and can monoploise limited resources and can force those below entry levels to pay ‘rent’ for those limited resources.

    There is a Jail on the Monopoly board but you dont go into it for monoplosiing the other players and forcing them into poverty or debt!


    • ps200306

      Those are fair points. Tax should be based on ability to pay. It is not fair to keep “income tax” artificially low by hiking things like VAT which are not based on ability to pay.

  39. Tax Seminar – Today was my first professional seminar I attended this year .It was very clear in real time everything we knew things to be have changed a lot .Those there were feeling the change and wondered what it was all becomming .
    I noticed the predominance of some words I never seem to appear before during these seminars such as :

    ‘ability to pay’ by the tax payer
    NAMA&80% tax liability
    New Codes
    New Mandatory requirements
    Severity of Implimentation

    Essentially I personally sensed a serious depletion of trust from revenue in their forthcoming work practices – maybe I am wrong time will tell .

  40. @Deco @4,

    Lots of our inventiveness/creativity I’d say came from our Anglo Irish legacy especially kept alive by TCD and UCD.

    Growing isolationism in the 40′s and 50′s led to a smothering of creativity that came from this legacy.

    Croneyism of church and state that made so many many flee our shores contributed.

    Our culture was turned upside down by a ‘risk averse’ croneyism regarding ‘being smart’ as a possibly dangerous handicap meaning automatic exclusion from a circle of corrupt insiders who had it all sown up.

    Nowhere is this more illustrated than in the recent Hangar 6 debacle.
    In many ways this has been the true cause of our recent downfall.

    The stifling of innovation also happened in the church. Interesting in the cardinal Brady story, could be a good Peacock production, the scene of inquisition of the young
    ‘defendants’ being charged with silence and confidentiality, while the future prelate gets groomed for high office – this is what its all about !

    If future prelate complains about what’s happening, he wont become future prelate, its craggy island for him.

    Can’t make up my mind whether that was worse than the 13yrs of silence before final admission of his presence at this court of ‘canon law’ on production of evidence by lawyers
    fighting the case for compensation for the harm done to that young defendant?

    Hopefully one of the positive outcomes of our EU membership and our present debacle
    will be a shift away from the forces that smothered us. NAMA unfortunately is a signal this
    will not happen.

    Cultivation of a meritocracy based on a true democratic realignment with higher achievement in arts and sciences elsewhere in the world is not likely to happen soon, though it has happened to some extent in an Irish Bollywood of music and film.

    It seems a prerequisite for entrepreneurs/innovators is to leave our shores. Other countries benefiting from the best Irish entrepreneurs and innovators.

    For entrepreneurship to succeed we need to shift away values based on elitism and croneyism to value a new meritocracy based on talent and ability that will be put to true service of the community.

    Maybe we need also to examine ourselves and come to some agreed consensus on just what we need to succeed.

    Whatever little we had, were losing it at the moment!

    lol below

    • also lol:

      maybe can be converted to protect us from NAMA

    • Deco

      I reckon that most people in Ireland are reasonable at improvisatoin in their everyday lives. And that the further down the payscale you go, the greater the innovation grows.

      I think that a lot of the ‘peacock ethic’ that you talk about is prevalent in Irish society. It flowered fairly comprehensively since Haughey came to the ascendancy. I disagree with you in saying that innovation came from our Anglo Irish legacy. A belief in sporting associations and the clique-ishness that is derived from them certainly did :) just look at the golf and business feature of Irish life.

      Our biggest inheritance from Britain was the class obsession thing. And this is strongest where British rule was strongest. In South Dublin it matters a lot.

      I am sceptical about the innovation/creativity coming from the two big unis in Dublin. I have yet to meet anybody from either of them who I could describe as innovative. In both cases, the system generates compliant go-with-the-flow types. Compare UCD with NIUG, for example. There is far more creativity coming from the smaller universities and the regional colleges. UCD and TCD are good at sucking up revenue from the state, and at being big. And they need bucketloads of criticism….

      • @Deco,

        I take your point but I was mainly pointing out that people in science e.g nobel prizewinner Watson and Irish people who’ve made contributions to the literary and artistic world e.g Joyce and Becket would not have been able to do so without the support of the Irish university system.

        I agree, the colleges need bucketloads of criticism by way of support to get to the standards that will improve our lot today.

        • Deco

          No….the Irish University system is overrated…these were individual geniuses…individuals who absorbed learned and who thrived on it. This is disappearing in our society. Odd-balls get shunned. No cool enough. Not superficial enough for the new Modern Ireland.

          The new Modern Ireland provides greatneess on the superficial surface. These geniuses were deepered, more intellectual, and more reserved.

          They wuld never fit in here now. They would be very despondent.

          And I presume you meant Walton not Watson.

          • @ Deco,

            I did, reading ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ at the moment :)


            Walton had a lifelong devotion and relationship with Trinity.

            As regards individuality, I’m delighted to be an outsider myself. I don’t yearn to be an insider nor do I subscribe to the myth of the individual. Individuals need good soil to flower.

            TCD has been climbing steadily in the university ratings in recent years but needs added impetus/support to reach higher. I’m not a supporter of every village having its own university or third level institute.

            But we could begin to raise standards in Ireland by working more closely with them.

          • Deco

            Is Mary Harney not also a product of Trinners…I find it hard to reconcile the ratings given to Trinners.

            The thing that Trinners needs more than anything else is competition. The two fat boys(Trinners and Belfield) getting their heads in the snout first is not good for the system, as a whole. I think that the regional colleges, and maybe some regional universities are greatly underestimated.

            This is unfortunate. This is a symptom of the pretensciousness that exists in Irish society. I would even that much of the dynamism of the last twenty years has come outside of Trinners and Belfield. I am sceptical that the big two might be living on past greatness. Let’s face it, the biggest institutions always end up be the most non-innovative and the most bureacratic.

            Also look at the Dail. The biggest fools are Cowen, Coughlan, Johnny Cash (Belfield) and Harney (Trinners). In comparison the best performers Gilmore, and Rabbitte(both NIUG) (and I am deeply sceptical of the policy framework of both).

      • tony_murphy

        I went to an GMIT and then to UL

        No comparison, GMIT was far superior.

        UL and Ed Walsh have a very inflated opinion of themselves

        UL was all about research and getting money in. Lectures did a poor job teaching as a result, students got a poor education IMO

        • G

          @ tony_murphy – as a former student of UL I would have to concur. I remain fairly unimpressed by Irish universities as a whole.

          The multinationals would seem to share that sentiment.

      • Original-Ed

        One of the least innovative and the high profile institutions is RTE. What do their programme planners do all day – watch BBC and earmark a few shows for customising. They’re the least innovative bunch that I’ve ever come across – it would appear that there’s so much jockeying for position going on, that nobody wants to take a chance on something new or else, they just don’t have the necessary talent.
        Kenny loosing the head when someone asked, what qualified him to be a broadcaster – was a real eye opener. Talk about inflated ego – it’s so big that he should have an assistant carrying it about for him.

        • G

          Original-Ed – again, concur with this statment, TG4 to its credit have given them a real run for their money. Largely oppressive bunch, pretty poor, with some on massive, absurd salaries…..pretty depressing but not surprising.

  41. liam

    David, yes, yes indeed, little has changed, the delusion continues. This is an important article, (though I do wonder sometimes at the personal characterisations you use, a lot of people for some reason find them offensive!)

  42. Garry

    FitzPatrick urged Anglo directors to buy shares, says ex-CEO

    The first of the “Seanie made me do it defences”.

  43. @Gary 42

    From your url:

    “Anglo will report losses of close to €12 billion later this month for the 15 months to the end of 2009, as it writes off about €14 billion on loans, including losses on loans of €36 billion moving to the National Asset Management Agency.

    As a result, the bank will require a further bailout from the Government, possibly as much as €6 billion, to replenish capital reserves.

    The Government injected a total of €4 billion into Anglo in three tranches last year — €3 billion in June, €828 million in August and €172 million in September.

    Just on the bit of the €36 billion moving to NAMA, where it says losses could be as much as €6.

    Surely on the proposed haircut of 30%, we’re told its gone up, so say its 33%, then that loss figure of €6 billion is incorrect, it should be at least a third of €36 billion, €12 billion.

    Of course based on a large proportion of the loans being rubbish, we’re looking at a multiple of that €12 billion?

    No wonder the valuations are delayed?

    For taxpayers and NAMA its in for a penny, in for a pound!

    • oops, read that too fast:

      ” as it writes off about €14 billion on loans, including losses on loans of €36 billion moving to the National Asset Management Agency.”

      Still same questions though, how solid is the figure of €14 billion and are we getting a bit of financial accounting schenanigans with the delayed evaluations not being ready for the end of month?

  44. cbweb –
    national crime forum report 1998 printed by the institute of public administration

    check their web site

  45. White Collar Crime – ( quotations from above report 1998 )
    White collar crime has managed to stay off the agenda too long .In doing so , it may have been shielded by public ambivalence towards a type of crime often ( wrongly ) perceived as victimless .Public attitudes need to change radically so that political will to tackle the proble will be stiffened .Legislation must be used – criminal must be dealth with as firmly as other criminals .That extensive fraud legislation is being drafted at present may indicate greater resolve in this area.

    ……..Other possible reasons ( why they never received any submissions from third parties ) are the fact that this category include crimes by the relatively powerful and secretive and often complex nature of the activity itself.

    ………White collar crimes are less likely to than others to be imprisoned on conviction.There is less likelihood that offenders in such matters will even be prosecuted not to mention given a custodial sentence .

  46. Deco

    Just heard details of the reshuffle.
    Coughlan has been taken out of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment. It is too late for the Dell workers and too late for the SR Technics workers.

    And now, she will apply her great intellect to the Education system. Maybe she will have it operating like the health system when she is finished. We now have a minister for Education who is very fluent in bad language…..almost as bad as having an obese Minister for Health who is suing Nell McCafferty for asking questions relating to the biggest rumour in Irish politics…..

  47. G

    The thing is this bloody government is renaming Departments, how much is that going to cost, every sign, every piece of headed paper will all have to change, I know re-branding like that costs a fortune…… are the examples of this nonsense!!!!!!!

    The Department of Social & Family Affairs will become the Department of Social Protection.

    The Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs will become the Department of Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs.

    The Department of Enterprise & Trade is now to become the Dept of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation.

    The Dept of Education is to become the Dept of Education & Skills.

    This is bloody absurd!!!!!

    • Bamboo

      Indeed G,
      We are missing a department of of silly walks

    • @ G

      Education is nothing to do with skills, word comes from ye olde Norse.


      1. ability to do something well: the ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience

      2. something requiring training to do well: something that requires training and experience to do well, e.g. an art or trade

      [12th century. < Old Norse skil "discernment"]

      Education has nothing to do with training or doing something well:

      'Dept of Education & Skills', what a laugh, what a mess!

      • Deco

        So instead of reducing the number of quangos (as recommended by Colm McCarthy) we are now seeing FAS divided in two in a functional sense, but remain as one in an official sense.

        It just makes no sense.

        Sure…if they making all these quangoes, there will be jobs for everybody, and there will be nobody on the dole queues.

        Time to cut down on the count of useless quangoes.

    • Deco

      { The Department of Social & Family Affairs will become the Department of Social Protection. }

      Can somebody please tell me what was wrong with calling the Department of SFA it’s previous name ?

      And what exactly does the new name stand for, that will justify it’s institution ? This is bordering on politically correct name calling. Superficial nonsense. There are still too many people relying on the Dept of SFA to say that there is a “recovery” underway as Cowen is continually stating.

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