April 7, 2010

Government has sold us out to neo-gombeen man

Posted in Banks · 192 comments ·

Over 100 years ago, JM Synge described the gombeen man as follows, “groggy patriot/publican/ge-neral shopman who is married to the priest’s half-sister and is a second cousin once removed of the dispensary doctor … the type that is running the United Irish League anti-grazier campaign, while at the same time they are swindling the people themselves in a dozen ways and buying back their holdings and packing off whole families to America”.

When we see the closing of businesses and the emigration of our neighbours and relations while deeply entrenched “insiders” disguise national robbery in the emotional language of patriotism, it is not difficult to conclude that the gombeen man never went away.

Even in terms of the detail of Synge’s gombeen man buying up the peasants’ holdings, it is obvious that, for NAMA to work, the State will have to trade land cheaply at some stage in the future. And guess what? To get the market going it will have to sell stuff at way below the price NAMA bought the stuff for in the first place — that’s how to generate liquidity. So like Synge’s gombeen, the very people who caused the mess will be given the opportunity to buy the stuff back cheaply in a few years’ time.

Let us examine the bailout of Anglo/NAMA through the prism of the late 19th century and early 20th century politics of rural Ireland — where most of us came from. It is easy to see the direct link between the ways and wiles of the post-Famine gombeen man and the instruments and choices made by this Government.

We see the return of the gombeen tactic of saying one thing and doing quite another, terrifying the people into believing that we have no option but at the same time, setting aside €2.5bn in fees to make sure the gombeen’s pockets are lined with silk despite the people’s misery.

We are seeing not the return of the traditional gombeen but the emergence of his direct descendent, the neo-gombeen, who is a traditional gombeen hiding behind the international lexicon of high finance. The neo-gombeen thinks that if he uses the language of the ‘Financial Times’, as opposed to the ‘Skibbereen Eagle’, he can get away with it.

Given the pliant nature of the national reaction to the Anglo/NAMA business, the neo-gombeen’s plan might seem to be working. But, in reality, it matters not a jot how many references the neo-gombeen makes to “bond market spreads”, “basis points” or “rating agencies”, the game is the same; the players are probably better dressed but that’s about it.

In Parnell’s Ireland, the traditional gombeen man thrived by lending money to the peasants, charging huge interest rates and when the peasant couldn’t pay, the gombeen man repossessed his neighbour’s holding and moved on to the next debtor.

A recurring feature of the post-Famine gombeen man was his willingness to put his fellow Irishmen in debt in order to make a few quid for himself and, more significantly, to please his foreign bankers who lent him the cash in the first place. Does this sound familiar?

Today we see a repetition of this pattern. The middlemen in Ireland who will make money from the bank bailout are salivating at the fees they are about to earn, and scaremongering the rest of us into believing that “there is no alternative”. But of course there is.

Letting Anglo go bust is what free market capitalism is all about. Failure is punished and success rewarded — these are the rules of free-market capitalism. It is about risk and return and a corporate default in Anglo wouldn’t make one bit of difference to Ireland’s creditworthiness. It wouldn’t affect our reputation because we have no reputation to defend. In fact, a default in Anglo would signal that this is a proper capitalist country, not a “gombeen capitalist” country.

But even if neo-gombeenism wins, the victory will prove to be short-lived — a sort of smart arse victory which has no substance. The reason is simple: the world has moved on. The rest of the world is getting on with creating wealth from new and viable businesses. This wealth generation is in direct contrast to the favoured method of the gombeen man, which is stroking a few quid from wealth that has already been generated. This is why it is so crucial for neo-gombeenism that the Irish status quo and land/credit/banking oligarchy remains intact.

Gombeen capitalism is never about generating new, real wealth from innovation, hard work and trade. It is about taking a cut. Central to it is land and property. If the gombeen can engineer an increase in the perceived value of land, then he can get a small slice and that prevents him having to go to work or trade.

Keep this in mind and think about the core contradiction at the heart of this Government’s economic policy. On the one hand we have the deep-rooted gombeen capitalism of Anglo/ NAMA and on the other we have the ambitious, but achievable, “smart economy” idea.

The Anglo/NAMA strategy encourages what is called “rent seeking” in economics. This is where the professions see something that they can milk fees out of, and rather than create proper business, they trouser fees which ultimately come from the general public’s taxes.

Therefore lawyers, accountants, stockbrokers, estate agents, valuers, senior civil servants and politicians are all behind the NAMA/Anglo stroke. As long as this structure stays in place, it replicates itself. It makes sense for the mammies of Ireland to urge their smart kids to join the professions, why wouldn’t they?

Now contrast this with the smart economy idea, which — at its purest — is an effort to create a Silicon Valley here, where capital and brains come together to build a new economy.

But this takes money. The Government has said it will set aside €500m to help create this economy. This sounds like a lot — until you think that it is putting 44 times more money into the Anglo black hole. So it is spending 44 times more to keep one fetid bank from the gombeen economy afloat than it is in trying to make this economy work properly.

Now, with the new education-based innovative economy in mind, think about how much of a competitive kick we could get for the money we are wasting in Anglo. There are 22 universities and third-level institutes in the country so they could get a billion each for a start. And they could get a thousand new professors working on research projects for 10 years. Now imagine going out and telling the world about that and see how much capital and expertise would flow in.

Or maybe we’d like to spend the Anglo swag on students. There are 146,000 full-time students here at the moment. So we could spend €38,000 per student; imagine what sort of education that would give them. Or what about spending some on early intervention in children’s education? Or what about the new Science Gallery in Trinity? It cost €100m. We could build 223 of them all around the country. That’s a possible future.

So who is going to win — Old Ireland or New Ireland?

  1. ciaranmg


    I’ve been reading your posts for some time now and while you make a great deal of sense, they are short on solutions.

    It is clear we need a change in government but how is this achieved and who is going to take their place? It’s clear to the dogs on the street that people have no faith in Enda Kenny as a leader and it’s unfortunate that he will be the last to realise this after it’s too late. What’s worrying, is that in desperation and as a protest, people will vote for the likes of Sinn Fein (Thankfully the greens have shot themselves in the foot already)

    There is a lot of anger and frustration out there but there’s nobody doing anything to focus that anger, and until there is we’re screwed.



    • SlightlyBonkers

      hi Ciaran

      might I suggest that it’s nohig to do with any political leader in the opposition?

      the gov does nto have to dissolve the Dail no matter how charismatic the opposition leader is. frankly a better opposition leader would convince them to hang on with their toenails, though now they know it wodl end them. They are banking the last great hope on the Nama plan that as Lenihan put it in the dail, woudl make people go out a buy houses.

      that’s as far as the current gov see, becuase it’s all they know. they know that there is a simple pyramid system that takes money from the citizen and passes it to finance and construction oligarchs. as long as this money is flowing there seems to be an economy. no money flowing? only solution (game in town, whatever) is get people buying houses. cause that’ll last for ever

      if the gov can’t / won’t see that this is not a solution to the woes that exist, then they ain’t gonna give up power. they are safely deluded.

      as you know, every now and then FF wheels out a personality as being a top brain that the country can believe in, until that person is discredited. It used to be charlie mccreecy, later bertie, later cowen, earlier on lemass / dev, you name it. right now it’s lenihan. they’re not even going to try with Mary coughlan. and mark my words, when lenihan falls out of favour we’ll stop hearing mastery of his breif, and someone else will be seen to be the FF brainiac.

      but not a one of them has the capabilities, they are our aristocracy. THere are bound to be good FF people ut there, but I wager not a lot in comparison. the anyone but Enda line is one where you will get a differenet answer depending on how you ask. I am sure Enda thinks he is up to the task. I know an ex leader of a non FG party that thinks enda’s a great guy and would be good for the conutry. beat that.

      anyway, bottom line of this rant is, join a team, that is not FF, and do your best within it. FG, Lab, SF, whomever. and lead by exmaple.

      DMcW is not going to start a party and lead it. and if he did it woudl become the same as any other one.

      whjat ireland needs, and my father often said, and he si right, is a good dictator.

      right now we have a bad one

      • SlightlyBonkers

        If I may add one more point :

        there WILL be a general election. and within a couple of years.

        don’t fret about how we are not overthrowing the gov now, in 2012 you will get to unsheath your knife and do as you will to FF.

        so you better plan for that. how much better will your chances of success be if you plan for 2012, not for a fluffy velvet / orange / etc revolution that topples the gov and replaces with charismatic robespierre.

        start your due diligence now on how si a committed public servant, not who is keen to lead.

        many of history;s great leaders were reluctant ones. they delivered results by being happy to work to that, and then people sat them down and said look, you have to lead.

        find someone in politics now, who looks understated and works hard and is honest and support that person, motivate and encourage that person.

        waiting for a messiah will be a long wait

        • Could I humbly suggest that you change your name to “EversoslightlySpotOn”?
          That was simply and nicely put.

          “waiting for a messiah will be a long wait”

          A long weight around the neck of our so-called leaders would solve a lot of our ills.

  2. Without knowing the full extent of the secured and unsecured bond holders it would seem unlikely that we could simply repudiate the loans from the ECB that are keeping the Anglo barge afloat. Then the depositors simply must be returned. That leaves how much?

    Now getting back to the average taxpayer who defaults on their debt and ask them to find a lender who will advance them a loan if indeed they have defaulted elsewhere and you get the picture that it may not be as simple as you make it sound.

    Long term this event may be forgiven with new growth, but survival on the international debt market in the short term with IMF probably having to step in to cover the other short term funding requirement will do just as much damage.

    We would have a short sharp shock and the Public sector Unions would have to acknowledge that it is not just as simple as hiring more in the public service when the private sector has been decimated as Peter MacLooney said to the Teacher in the last few days.

    The idiots maybe running the asylum but a dose of thorazine for everyone will not make the problem go away.

    • ps200306

      Anglo is not Ireland

    • paulmcd

      Gerard, Reading your comment is sad in the sense that you are so far behind the curve in terms of the issues which have been discussed in detail on this site that it is almost as if you have just come out from under a rock. (I am actually wondering if you might the feckless offspring of a gombeen family.)

      The average taxpayer did not run up these debts. There are options available to make those responsible pay the price but these options are being ignored.

      Personally, I think it would be fair to see the €2.5 billion bill for professional services to be rendered to NAMA being paid 75% out of assets assumed by NAMA, but only at their LTEV for the after-tax fees of the firms concerned. Ernst & Young were the brilliantly insightful auditors to Anglo and if it is true that they are also to render services to NAMA, then they should be paid 100% in such assets, starting with handing them the keys to estates in those far-flung fields of the boggy Midlands and lands of Breffni.

    • paulmcd

      Note to David:

      David, Did you create a new password to allow gombeens to get on to this site, namely: 2 + 2 = 5

  3. Keith Cantillon

    Hi all,

    I decided to get off the fence and start commenting.

    First up I left Ireland a few months back so it looks like I am watching a slow moving wreck from afar.

    A lot of expats here are shocked at the stories from home and the treatment the public are getting from Dail Eireann.

    I saw seen people in tears with having to leave Australia and return to the dole in Ireland.

    Has anybody done any research into how this Government can be stopped?

    Is there any bit of law that be used to halt this NAMA/Anglo debacle?

    I mean we had the right to vote on some issues, but this bailout has been steamrolled right past the public with little consultation or even condideration to other viewpoints.

    As David points out the money could be spent on improving various useful services in Ireland, except we are allowing the gombeens to flush it down the toilet.

    Lets hope the next Government will be in fear of the public and be “Open, Transparent and Accountable.”

    Oh, the rules regarding voting outside Ireland seem to have changed in the last few years, it appears I can’t vote anymore. Did I miss the press release?

    • Keith Cantillon

      Apologies for gramatical and spelling errors.

      • paulmcd

        Keith, Shure u dont need to worrie abowt spelin errrors or misstakes in graMMAr in the nu ireland. in the institute wher i teech all dat matters is RETENTION! in anudder institute i heer off, wit the best results in ireland, u wl get a degree just fr driving thru the campus

  4. SM

    But as always, how on earth do we change this once and for all? It is inherent in Irish society. Gombeen-ism is woven like a fabric into us. The lovable rogue who has eaten away at the root of our chances of long term growth and stability must be exposed at every turn.

    We almost have to stop being Irish.

    • Eireannach


      Well put – many Irish have to stop ‘being Irish’, at least the kind of Irish their mothers and fathers taught them to be.

      Those who want to see the end of gombeenism need to organize into a force, a power centre. This new force will have to engage in a power struggle with the gombeens to gain control of the power centres of society – one by one by one. Local councils, boards of schools, boards of NGOs and quangos, TDs, MEPs, captains of industry.

      We have to take back control of the power centres of society from gombeens – one at a time. Many Irish will feel those seeking power in this way are pro-EU, West Brit ‘modernists’ or Dublin-type cosmopolitans or whatever.

      But there will be a massive power struggle at all levels between Old and New Ireland. It will be, effectively, a civil war.

  5. We have to start to BE IRISH again!

    1. The public has to get up it’s feet, wipe away tears and fears of change, and demand the current establishment to step down.

    2. Anglo has to be closed, all debts repudiated, like yesterday! Deposit holders? Excuse me, those who still hold deposits in this bank do this for very specific reasons. Would you keep your account there?

    To those who might still have deposits there and never thought about it. Close all accounts and get your money out there.

    3. The whole NAMA concept has to be challenged on all possible levels, even outside of Ireland’s High Courts. We have to get rid of this BS.

    This principle has to be adhered to at all costs:

    QUOTE: According to democratic principles those who are deeply affected by a policy should have a say in their formulation, and those who are responsible for massive failures and injury should be held accountable. ENDQUOTE

    4. We need totally new blood in politics to enable mid and longterm change, the short term change will NOT come from politics, it has to come from the Sovereign, the people!

  6. http://irishsovereignty.wordpress.com/ Peoples’ mindset needs to change. arselicking politicians for a piece of the pie can only work for so many for so long. We need to make new pie. join the irish sovereignty movement http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Irish-Sovereignty-Party/114571111886400 and put ethical people in office. But then you have to accept that power corrupts and keep these new crowd in check.

  7. @David

    …..Over 100 years ago, JM Synge described the gombeen man as follows, “groggy patriot/publican/ge-neral shopman who is married to the priest’s half-sister and is a second cousin once removed of the dispensary doctor … the type that is running the United Irish League anti-grazier campaign….

    This is stuff for a Christy Moore ballade!

  8. Alan42

    There is nothing ‘ Neo ‘ about them . They were and continue to be over fed , alcoholic , red faced , corrupt goons .

  9. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Irish-Sovereignty-Party/114571111886400?ref=nf
    see what your political ideology are and compare to the current gombeens. We still have masses of people who live for political favour. No change until this mindset changes

  10. Good investors’ money is better off not spent on this crucked, little backwater. I can’t wait to get out of here. Ireland is overrated and we are up our own arses. The more cash we’d be given, the more opportunity we’d be given to mismanage it.

  11. SM


    That petition has too many information fields to fill in, it works against itself. People won’t sign it.

  12. “setting aside €2.5bn in fees to make sure the gombeen’s pockets are lined with silk despite the people’s misery” – isn’t it the case that NAMA’s operating expenses for 10 years (€2.4bn) are in the main rechargeable to the financial institutions and isn’t it rumoured to be the case that thus far NAMA has made a “profit” of €25m on its due dligence costs because it only incurred €100m and its contracts with the banks allow NAMA to recharge a minimum of €125m?

    Mistakes have been made on an epic scale (ours is the 3rd most expensive bail-out in the history of the world according to Goodbody today) but David’s piece is very depressing – every country has its movers and shakers and financiers, if we were in the US, the home of equality and opportunity we might be taking pot-shots at the Jews on Wall Street. And every country has its insiders, look at the Bush and Kennedy dynasties in the US. And at least we don’t have the Governor of Illinois selling senator seats as happened when Obama was elected. Romantic Ireland is dead and gone and has been for at least a century. We have a mix of people “moving and shaking” our country and their characters represent the usual spectrum of greed, corruption, decency, stupidity, patriotism, intelligence, clientelism. I don’t think our lot are much different to others and our focus in society should be on providing equality of opportunity especially through education.

    • @namawinelake

      The main fat on the goose will come from the financial services industry, solicitors, auctioneers, estate agents who’ll be charged with moving the toxic rubbish over the next ten years, around the NAMA Theme Park, guess who controls the price of property/land — the Nama gombeens funding provided by us serfs.

      Plus there is the hidden cost of inflated land/property prices, the artificial mini bubble NAMA has to engineer to make a return on its investments.

      Mostly the hidden cost of overpayment for toxic assets e.g Glass Bottle site value down from from €400 billion to €40 million.

      Most of all the waste of money poured into the black hole of Anglo that will never give a return. As D points out there are many ways to spend that money wisely.

      NAMA was never needed. BOI and AIB could have been reworked on site and managed their own toxic crap. Anglo should have been let go.

      The NAMA palace should never have been built, an act of pillaging worthy of the likes of treasonous Saddam Hussein or a Tullamore leprechaun with delusions of patriotism!

    • Malcolm McClure

      If it were discovered that the Taoiseach’s DNA descends from the J2 Kohanim Zadokites haplotype tree, it might explain why his sense of moral responsibility extends only to members of his own tribe.

      • “J2 Kohanim Zadokites haplotype tree”

        Oh No, I shouldn’t ask what that is, but I will lol :)

      • paulmcd

        Taoiseach??? Is that Garlic for a type of fish?

        • paulmcd

          Casting LIGHT on Gaelic Terms

          Taoiseach= A commander-in-chief who believes that darkness causes a light bulb to change by itself.
          Tánaiste= a second in command who believes that a “light” bulb is a bulb which is not a heavy one and will therefore produce just a “wee” flower.

  13. The Eye

    Tryed to sign the petition however their are too many fields. If we could organise a book in the city centre (hard Copy) any comments anyone?

  14. Great article.

    I see Fintan O Toole in a similar vein


    We are turning into a feudal society of serfs and gombeen vassals. We’re going backward instead of forward.

    Maybe a march from Parnell Square to Anglo where we dress up with this theme in mind. We are now after all the world’s Anglo Theme Park.

    It’s all rather embarrassing when we envy what we previously regarded as third world, Latin American countries such as Uruguay responding to financial crises better than we do.

    We are now the Ponzi Banana Republic of Europe. Anglo Nama Scamarama Inc.

    Yeats “no country for old men. The young In one another’s arms,”

    They’re leaving in their droves.

    One difference, even the 19th century gombeen men couldn’t get away with taxing future generations as easily as this crowd have done!

    They’ve hobbled the future growth, prosperity, and freedom of our democracy.

  15. Yes David the G-man has always been with us and he always will be. Why should these guys learn an honest trade and make a living from it when they don’t have to? They don’t need to use their brains to make anything, invent anything or do any real work. They are in their places due to that old Irish trait which rewards tribal allegiance and they are literally unmovable from their currently enrenched positions because the Irish people have given them the power to act as they like.

    During the famine G-men acquired a lot of land and even paid the boat fares of those too poor to pay the rent and they would be more than happy to do it again today.

    The political parties are tribal and as such they are not fit for government. I can’t believe that some people out there are so stupid as to believe that a change of governing party is the answer to the G-man culture. Those in power use their tribal connections to oil the wheels of Irish society and they are inter-bred. Is anyone in this country seriously suggesting that there is any diff between FF and FG? If so then they have learned nothing and don’t have a clue about how the world works.

    The G-man culture is not just an Irish phenomenon as anyone who has read Robert Tressel’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists with tell you. For the uninitiated, this is a book written by an Irishman who was an outsider in a town on the south coast of England at the turn of the 20th century.

    Greed and crass stupidity has always been the mark of G-men in all societies while fear has always kept the masses of the people from taking direct action.

    I read somewhere on this forum that there was some forward thinking Hibernians meeting up on Easter Monday to put the country bang to rights but so far the silence has been deafening. What’s the news lads?

  16. liam

    I just finished listening to the last podcast in a series from Peter Day’s Business report on BBC Radio4. He visited a country that has decided to build a smart economy, by targeting education and business and by wiring up the country with high-speed fibre interconnects and intra-connects. The country? Rwanda. You are right, the world has moved on and is moving on. This smart economy stuff is great and all but it requires a determined and sustained effort. And we are competing with contries that are more determined than we are.

    I’ve always been puzzled by the attitude the Irish have towards themselves. The typical thing I hear from folks in Ireland is that everything must be so efficient in Germany and Japan etc etc, as if that is the key to their success, like their kids get sprinkled with some kind of fairy dust in school that makes them superhuman. I have lived in Germany and Japan and I’ve come to some conclusions. The Irish education system is not so different, better in some regards. There are generally not fewer opportunities, there are comparable levels of capital available and actually quite similar attitudes to risk (aversion) and face-saving and general conservatism. Compared to much of the rest of the world, Ireland is a relatively top-tier state.

    The only outstanding difference I have observed is that the Japanese and the Germans get stuff done. You might battle forever to get a commitment out of them but when they finally do commit, they follow through. There is a high value placed on delivering on promises that is strikingly absent in Ireland. The Irish are great at talking a good talk but it seems acceptable to say when the time comes to do something that ‘ah sure its fine the way it is’ or ‘sure we’re Irish, we’ll give it an auld lash and hope for the best’ etc. and then making up excuses, and the worst of all: ‘that’ll never work here’. There seems to be a deeply ingrained National Inferiority Complex towards success that pervades all levels of society from the contracter building your extension to the expectations of citizens towards national policy. This attitude stinks. It seems acceptable that being Irish is synonymous with having a go but ultimately failing. And we have come to accept failure as the inevitable conclusion. Failure is fine if you are at least prepared to aim for success, that is part of the learning process. But if you starting point is the expectation (and therefore objective) of failure, what chance do you have?

    • SM

      Well said Liam

    • wills

      Liam, must read john waters ‘the horse with a long neck’, covers the theme of ‘Irish inferiority complex, brilliantly.

    • Bamboo

      Yes, well said Liam.
      Besides getting things done I think the Germans simply don’t accept shoddy work. There is also no child labour in Germany while it is rampant all over the country here.

    • Colin_in_exile

      We’re back to Saipan. FAI blazers thought that playing on concrete like pitches would be good preperation for the World Cup. Keane points out its not. McCarthy can’t do the right thing and agree with Keane, so he sends him home where the “Establishment” lay into Keane, saying he’s not a team player etc…… you all know the rest.

  17. @ The eye and SM

    I just watched a friend signing it, took 30 seconds.

    However, thanks for your feeback, and here is a another thought.

    People could start sending postcards to the outgoing Minister for Finance, demanding closure immediate of Anglo and no banking guarantee extension. Flooding them with postcards. — Just a thought….

    • Keith Cantillon

      I suspect they would go the way of the St Paddy’s Day shamrock – straight into a furnace.

      Then again the mass purchasing of postcards would support local shops and An Post.

      Perhaps a free postcard everytime somebody collects the dole…

  18. AndrewGMooney

    I cannot see how the mysterious bondholders could possibly want to engineer a situation where all their investment is sinking in a deflationary quicksand. The whole thing seems irrational. The only possible way of being paid back for the money already invested in ‘old Ireland’ is to generate a thriving, vibrant ‘new Ireland’. This reflation will probably only happen as part of a general rapprochement/realigment of debtor/creditor nations worldwide. Until then, the tired nostrums of ‘neo-Gombeenism’ will surrpetitiously entrain and enslave the ‘patriotic’ to go against the mid and long term interests of their homeland.

    This is a great article and it brings to mind the contributions of Deco (rent seeking) and Wills (financial ponzi oligarchy). Hat tip to both.

  19. Garry

    To be serious… The point of the gombeens buying up the peasants holdings is well worth repeating; there will be a new landlord class in Ireland after the next decade works its magic. I’ve warned about this here 2 years ago; I thought it would be corporate but either way it’s looking more and more likely.
    And now to be flippant… Sure maybe the mammies of Ireland are right; there’s very little money to be made in tilting at windmills. Plenty of brave idealistic adventurous young lads headed off to fight for the defense of small nations in 1914 and never came back. And plenty of others stayed at home, lived to a ripe old age and claimed the ira pension despite never having done anything more than sing a few ballads when drunk.
    But best of luck to all those trying to protest.

  20. Colin_in_exile

    How to avoid the Gombeen?

    1. Avoid going to the pub / niteclub. This is a huge challenge for Irish people. Meet up in your friends’ places.

    2. Avoid buying a car in Ireland. Import one.

    3. Avoid eating out. Prepare your own meals.

    4. Avoid gym membership. Cycle on the road, Jog in the park, Walk on beaches / in woods.

    5. Surf on your Credit Cards. Transferring Balances from one card to another on a very low APR %. Haggling helps.

    6. Avoid Labels (Clothing). Plenty of good non-labelled clothing out there.

    7. Avoid Greedy Property Landlords. Shop arround as Mary Harney says.

    8. Avoid Irish Music Events. Cheaper to fly abroad.

    • Eireannach

      Rent a car as you need it.

      Starting for EUR15/day for a Ford Ka, up to EUR50/day for a 7 series BMW if you need one for some reason.

  21. Alan42

    Live off nature in a forest avoiding all contact with Irish people forever .

  22. JRedmond

    Enough is enough, if we want change we need action, enough talk. But will we have the balls to do it, unfortunately the answer is no.


    • Bamboo

      it is not bad enough (yet) for people to come on the streets and riot. The people are kept dangling on a thin line. As log as the line doesn’t snap and as long as we are dangling away, you can’t expect any riots. The G-man will screw the people as long as they can and there are still plenty in the G-established world to keep them high and dry. In fact only IF the line is about to snap the G-men will reach out. If the line can’t carry the weight anymore, t is only then, that they will reach out just about enough to avoid the line from snapping and more trouble. And when they know the line is fixed, the people will still dangling.
      And when the line eventually snaps, the G-men will be gone. Gone abroad to enjoy their sunkissed palaces.

    • liam

      It remains to be seen what the long term consequences of going down the Thai or Kyrgystani route will yield in the longer term. I advise caution.

  23. danwaits

    I have been reading and listening to David and many other commentators over the past eighteen months and what has changed?……..absolutely noting as far as I can see.

    We still have a Government which is making reckless decisions that will have the most devastating effect on Ireland’s economy since the Act of Union of 1800.

    We have not had any opportunity to vote for or against these decisions and we continue to allow mis-truths to be pedaled by chancers and gombeen men/women whether when answering questions in the Dail or on various radio stations.

    As the likes of this forum demonstrates, there is no shortage of angst or bilious spleen out there in “ordinary people land”, but what are we all waiting for?

    It is clear that the political opposition have no balls for the fight, for if they had, they could easily have called a national strike to topple the Government anytime over the past year, to force an election with a choice of fresh mandates on how we, the people want our futures decided.

    Maybe we’re all waiting for the inevitable cuts in welfare payments to bring the “great unwashed” onto the streets before we finally spring off our arses to join the safety of the mob.

    Surely we’re a bit braver than that? All I know is that, right now, we deserve the Government we voted for, we deserve the screens of mendacity we allow the truths to be hidden behind and we’ve no choice but to accept the decisions being made on our behalf until we find that energy and willingness to expose ourselves to take to the streets and make change happen.

    In the meantime, we can all hide in web forums like this and let David, Vincent et al do all they can to give voice to the resistance, but until we find the will to organise, resist, and exercise or civil rights, we’re nothing much more than a bunch of Victor Meldrews, slowly morphing into senile eunuchs.

    • “senile eunuchs”
      Fully on board with all the sentiments, even the senile bit, but go easy on eunuchs. From talking to an old IRA mans son last night, eunuchs have ,in a Darwinian way, evolved or morphed from the stock that died fighting for the “democracy” we have now.
      We’ve a guy doing the rounds down here logging which farmer lit his gorse so that REPS can be withheld.
      We’ll find him.
      And when we do, we’ll post his GPS co-ordinates for posterity.
      If you happen to read this my friend, you might like to think again about your handy little job.

  24. Again,
    Hi All,
    I log in to get my fix of the latest of David’s articles, and again it is depressing to have the cold facts of what is now happening to our country so eloquently presented.
    I suppose it is a stage one must go through but where are we heading?
    A Group of politicians now want to interfere with the Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield as he at last tries to hold the Quinn Group to normal financial oblegliations and corporate governance.
    Will we now see this kind of interference from local Gombeens in the future ?
    Because if so, then we are really up the S*** Creek!
    The Quinn Group has loans totalling €4 billion
    The regulators’ concerns over the solvency of Quinn Insurance group justify the actions of the regulator to date and should not be interfered with!
    Matters have not been helped because of the complex structure of the Quinn Group and the ranking of the syndicate of banks and bondholders, led by UK bank Barclays, ahead of Anglo Irish Bank in relation to the loan security over the group’s assets.
    The banks and bondholders are owed a total of €1.2 billion, while Anglo is owed €2.8 billion (That’s you and me, the Irish taxpayers) by the Quinn family which is secured on the family’s shares in the Quinn Group and the family’s property portfolio
    So in other words we the taxpayers are again been shafted and we just got another 5 to 6 thousand workers on the governments payroll (new civil servants)
    Add these to the Anglo Irish Bank staff, the staff of Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland
    Where does it stop? The taxpayers of this country cannot keep footing the bill this incompetent government clocks up.
    The only growth in the Irish state is the size of the public servants and its national Debt
    with the help of this Group of self interest politicians we are reminded that here in Ireland we are still under the yoke of Kiss Ass local politician to get what we are entitled to in the first place and by going to these self anointed group of politicians we perpetuate this culture of cronyism

  25. ps200306

    The reason why nothing has changed is that there is no solution to our problems, other than to work our way back to prosperity over a long number of years. We blew it. (And I mean “we” … it is useless to point out that some of us contributed nothing to the screw-up). It’s as simple as that. Sure, there are some heads that should roll, and measures that should be put in place to ensure that we don’t repeat past mistakes. But there are no silver bullets. We’re going to have to suck it up, plain as that.

    This blog continues to suggest a silver bullet for Anglo — although perhaps not in so many words — but there is no sensible accounting provided for such a thing. A decent analysis is provided by Karl Whelan here:


    Bottom line — we can save a couple of billion in subordinated Anglo debt in the four to five year timeframe if we play our cards right. The rest of the pain is unavoidable. Although there is still a lack of relevant information, that is the closest I’ve seen to anyone actually doing the numbers… anyone without a huge vested interest, that is. Until I see someone else come up with harder, mnore credible figures, that’s the assessment I’m inclined to put my faith in for now.

  26. The problem is that we do not have the real figures
    The Department of finance are constantly giving us different figures
    We cannot thrust Lenihan or the Banks
    They will not come clean, and will continue to drip feed us until its too late do anything else
    In order to complete their mission and that is to protect their buddies and saddle the taxpayers of this country with their debts.
    P.S .I do not accept your concern of the “WE” in your posting. (ps200306)

  27. paddyjones

    I feel David is flogging a dead horse here, NAMA has already happened nothing can stop it. Nobody likes it but it is a nescessary evil. The only people to profit are the employees of NAMA are these the gombeen men ?
    To say that the NAMA money can be spent elsewhere is a nonsense. It is the EU that is driving this only for them B Lenihan would not have made the statement to the Dail last week. NAMA finance comes from the ECB at 1.5% this is backed by mainly property assets. These assets will be sold over the next 10 years probably making a loss and there is the next black hole. The market will always dictate value.
    while the economies of Europe like France and Germany race ahead in the next few years Ireland will be left debtridden and deflation will take its toll. Why for instance does a coffee cost 2.50 here while in Germany it costs 1.00 just asmall example of how Ireland is so out of kilter.
    The IMF will be here within 2 years there is no escaping our huge debt.

  28. Art1980

    It is sickening what is still going on in this country – see link below. I really believe the worse is yet to come. Joe public is going to boil over some day soon – good thing guns are hard to come by in this country or we would soon have a shooting range on Kildare street with the Dail as a target practise.


  29. Ruairí

    Where are all of our concerned celebrities and concerned social leaders vis a vis the rape, pillage and hollowing-out destabilisation of our State?

    http://www.politics.ie/lisbon-treaty/71310-celeb-group-campaign-lisbon-2-we-belong.html They were well able to tow party lines that were fed to them when it came to Lisbon 2??

    Where are the mighty intellects and cultural warriors of Ireland now? Why aren’t Sinead O’Connor and some of these other insider yoyos voicing their extreme unease at what is essentially a greater blow to the Irish nation than the proposed Haiti-like annuities of the retreating British in De Valera’s time?

    If Megan Fox can ably voice her objection to school budget cuts in USA http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/07/megan-fox-wont-stand-for_n_528411.html?ref=twitter (and why shouldn’t she, she has influence?), then it means that it is not just the irish people as a whole that are demure and ineffective in the face of tyranny but also those cosmopolitan world-travelled cultural icons of Ireland that also need their moral compasses examined.

    In what is turning out to be the laying down of the foundations of the greatest threat to our personal freedom and sovereignty (in hollowing out government so that it will be unable to do its job when the overburdened public cannot (€1.6TRN debts and rising as Philip has noted)), almost to a citizen, not one of our cultural world giants has lashed NAMA, lashed the government??

    What does Colin Farrell think? Seamus Heaney, Bono, Gabriel Byrne (cultural ambassador)? What do they think of the utterances of David McWilliams, Senator Shane Ross, Senator David Norris, Gene Kerrigan?

    Can’t they see what we see? Can’t they clearly recall the damaged Ireland of the 80′s and 90′s? The lost friends, the suicides?

    It is within their power to speak their minds and give a tongue lashing where it is due. I feel that many of them are tax exiles and are afraid to say boo in case their part of the gombeenism (tax-free status) is removed from them. I agree with the tax status but disagree as to what is art. I do not agree with any citizen disavowing themselves of politics and standing by while having a powerful voice (in today’s media-savvy world) but saying NADA about NAMA. Could it be that they bought a few aul houses themselves and really weally weally want to buy into the Peter PanLenihan world of LTEVs.

    How hard could it be for a willfully -minded group of artists and celebrities to do what Kevin Brigadier-General Myers believes didn’t happen at the GPO on Easter Monday 1916 i.e. a spot of poetry before embarking on a killing spree (I always read some Sylvia Plath before I stalk a TD or two :-D ).

    ps Kevin suffers from Edward de Bono’s Intelligence Trap. Poor sod. As do many of our finest. Awful dose I believe but, being thick in comparison, I wouldn’t know……..

    • Ruairí

      Addendum. I think the poetry and killing spree was spot on in 1916. Just what the doctor ordered.

      I think all our modern ‘intellectuals’ and “cultural greats” of the modern ireland need to do is SPEAK OUT!!

      Say your piece o mouthpieces of VIP and MTV and Hollywood and Poetry Ireland and the world of art and film and all that shines.

      SPEAK OUT!!

  30. Freethinker123

    “The most dangerous man,to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself..almost inevitably,he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable”

    H.L Menken American journalist among other things 1880-1956

  31. “We open today with the rise of the just default camp, in the world of sovereign debt. Since much of the debt was accumulated corruptly, between brain dead or venal politicians on the take, and great vampire squids aiding and abetting a crime on the public, just default, and let the great vampire squids take the heat and most of the loss. Kings and countries have been doing it since time immemorial, this time it’s not different after all. Why pay off the money lenders 100 pennies on the Pound, and at 6-7% interest in the case of the tax and work shy Greeks. It’s not real money after all, just meaningless fiat money pyramided off the currency of the world’s largest debtor that also can’t repay its debts. The great vampire squids will be back, begging to work out some sort of deal to return a restructured debt to the performing ledger.”


  32. Philip

    Well Ruairí, this is what David is at in the Abbey and good luck to him. I think we see more of it. I dream of a Pat Kenny or Olivlia O’Leary starting to break ranks as well. But their commercial appeal outside of RTE may cause them to reconsider…oh well.

    The problem is well stated in earlier comments. The facts are not all there to draw firm conclusions. The most you can do is make comparatitive references. Absolute truths on who is responsible for what seem unavailable. Welcome to fudge.

    And shure….as my friends say, stop reading all that nonsense from the Gingernut (DMcW). It’ll mess with your head. And shure very country has its problems and its not that different no matter where you go. Will yiz all pipe down and stop being so negative.

    What was so attractive about DMcW in earlier years was that he seemed a plausable prophet with a good story. He added salt in an all too sugary landscape. Now, all it is is salt on top of more salt.

    One thing a I do appreciate about this blog is that there is a well expressed narrative for what is wrong with this place. A few more solid and unassailable facts are needed plus the ARTs….we need the Arts. Where is Heaney te al?

    • tony_murphy

      I was on my way to work on Tuesday when I read this Article on the Independent’s website. I didn’t realise to start with that David wrote the Article. But I was totally engrossed. It was so articulate and contained so many truths. As I read it, I guessed David was the author. It was a work of art if you ask me. It painted a picture.

      I will be snail mailing a copy of the article to my parents who have never accessed the Internet. They may not have read it in the Independent. I will also be sending them a copy of Fintan O’Tooles article in the times on Monday

      Ireland is not really with the internet age, and with all the shenanigans of the insiders over the last countless years, it’s unlikely to ever be. (NAMA/Anglo/Debt/Eircom etc…)

      Maybe if everyone sent a copy to 10 people who are not internet savvy, it might make a difference. Maybe chain mail is what is required. Target Governement minister constituencies and government ministers in particular – like Connemara which is Minister O’Cuivs backyard for example.

      Time to set a target of say June 1st to get rid of Cowen and Lenihan and the bleedy mary’s + rest of the drinks cabinet

  33. paulmcd

    Listening to the News this evening, I can hear the drums of public service strike action starting to beat.

    However, I would ask all public servants not to waste any all-out strike action, as you did last year. Please ensure that your Union leaders include a demand for the END OF THE ANGLO/NATIONWIDE BAILOUTS as the next non-negotiable point of departure.

  34. Colin_in_exile


    What about a get-together?

    Why? To find out if there’s anything we can do collectively besides posting on our host’s site.

    Where? I suggest a location (Hotel / Pub / Shopping Center) in or near Naas, Co Kildare, the first town in Ireland to be bypassed. Close to Dublin, served by the M7, the route to Limerick & part-route to Cork, also served by the M9, the route to Waterford. Also, it is the gateway to Ghost Estates Territory.

    When? From Saturday Lunchtime to 6pm ish……depending on turnout and vibes. Maybe this Saturday coming?????

    All suggestions welcome.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Don’t all rush in at once!

      There’s nothing to be afraid of. This will be a non-violent organisation, nothing untoward or criminal involved. All are welcome, young and old, rich and poor, good looking and not so good looking. Even if you just visited this site without posting any comments you will still be welcome.

      • Colin,
        Tried it and I made a hames of it. All I succeeded in doing was upsetting two of the most prolific commentators here who were up for a meet.
        I am very sorry about that.
        John McGurk who ran the Libertas campaign(Don’t all jump at once) has something going down. Keep an eye on it.

        • Colin_in_exile

          OK Furrylugs,

          I’m not gonna push it any further since there is no appetite for it out there.

          Please continue ranting and raving everybody.

          I personally will enquire about what Libertas have to offer.

          • How things Colin.
            Galway wasn’t properly organised and was a complete cats miaow as a result. I’l hold my hands up to that.
            I got a phone call today which threw me. A blasted serious phone call from a serious player. He wants me to start it. Insomuch as he’ll bring the powers to bear to finish it. I never saw myself as anything other than yer average Joe Soap.
            But there you go.
            Reluctant or not, here’s my number again 0871440080.
            That man took it upon himself to make the effort to phone. Apart from burying a dear friend tomorrow, I’m free.
            One step, as Confucious said, could lead to thousands.
            Go n-Eirigh

  35. Deco

    Finally the Gombeen element in our society are getting commentary, after screwing the young people of Ireland for the last thirty years and more.

    The Gombeenism mentality is exactly as David says it is – a mentality where the gombeen is trying to continually enlarge his cut. And this means price fixing and market regulation – Irish style….Create loads of hype about demand and supply, obliviate the truth and make above normal profits.

    Gombeens. Politicians who took brown envelopes. Their pals and relatives who took state jobs, or jobs in semi-state organizations. The business man who filled the brown envelope full of cash, and who was the main mover behind the new retail centre beside all the housing estates that he als built. Planning permission not problem. The Estate Agent – whether or not you would recommend them to a friend. The advertising guru who gets paid for dressing mutton up as lamb, for helping to sell rubbish. The bank loan executive who takes commision for the loans that are not in default and have to get propped up by the taxpayer. The retail supergiant who make massive profits in Ireland and who never tell anybody publicly, because the law says that they do not have to. The quangos and the clowns running them.

    A Gombeen in Ireland today, is somebody who successfully manages to overcharge or manipulate state contracts to screw the rest of the society. Ireland is rampant with them. Every now and then you see them at charity does reminding the rest of us (who are broke because of their rackettering) that they are good kind people really. Just don’t ask them to pay taxes like everybody else or to stop rigging competition.

    To break free of Gombeenism, firstly we must raise ourselves above the intellectual constructs that they have structured for Irish society, the prism that they have shaped for us to use to view the world.

    It is a bit like the main character in “The Truman Show”. Everybody is tending towards a natural journey questioning all the lies around them. And around them there are loads of prompters to prevent the individual finding out the truth of his situation. “Here try new Guinness draft, it will make you forget about the state of the country”….”The all new BMW…..”…..”Because you’re worth it” (we make advertising and give you shite to get you out to spend the hard earned dough in your pocket)…etc….

    And the danger is that people will switch off the remote control, put away the footy magazine, and try and do some thinking.

    Whenever you hear a lie in relation to money or authority, you are listening to a gombeen on the take. And you have the power to starve the gombeens into oblivion, by not doing business with them. Even if you have to live very frugally, consider this, you are making your society a far freer, far less corrupt, and far more transparent society.

    On the other hand, just do as you are told, and facilitate gombeenism as a profitable system for extorting obscene amounts of money out of ordinary decent people.

    You have the power, every time you put your hand in your pocket, read for your bank card, or sign a cheque, to undermine the gombeen, by opting for anybody who is honest and who provides them with competition.

    • This is precisely why I came up with the alternate persona of Thriftcriminal, in reaction to just what you describe here. I’ve been doing just this for 3 years, before the whole nonsense of fabled tiger began to unravel. Once you start seriously unraveling though it all starts to fall down, gombeenism is so rife that starving them will cause more unemployment, and break the system even more. Arguably this means that the system can be rebuilt anew from finer granularity, but I suspect that the IMF would waltz in and replace the incumbent gombeens with some new ones, fully in the knowledge of what they are doing, but it is expedient to put in place people who “know the system” to get it back up and running ASAP. Change is a bitch.

      • Deco

        You do not cause unemployment, if you take your business to their competition :))
        If you do not like paying for Mr. Penny Apple’s cars, you can find somewhere else, where you get a more honest deal. And so on. It takes searching. Breathe life into any business that is undermining a price fixer.

      • Deco

        But I will admit, a lot of the time, you are dealing with a particular sector that is rife with gombeenism.

  36. “He who goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.” Not only does borrowing bring added care for the property of other people — it destroys self-reliance in the man himself. In the light of good judgment, lack of funds may well serve as an indication to the individual that something is wrong in the course he pursues, that the step he plans is either false or premature, or that he is going in debt, not for need but to satisfy a personal desire. Perhaps wisdom would say that unless all the principal factors in a contemplated move are present, one would better wait, and create in himself a feeling of satisfaction with things as they are — at least until such time that the ways open up for natural change. Borrowing, moreover, never solves problems, but only puts off the day of reckoning. The man who borrows gambles with the future. For who knows what tomorrow will bring? Where is the person who can say with certainty that when the time for paying back a loan comes he will be in better circumstance than he is at the present moment? The impulse to borrow indicates an unwillingness on the part of men to face their present situations squarely. Afraid to take inventory of ourselves, we poultice our ailments with a loan, upon the uncertain prospects of tomorrow. Oh for the courage to give up extravagant desires and to live within the limit of one’s means!

    The growth and success of money-lending agencies have grown out of the realization on the part of individuals that borrowing and lending among friends is a dangerous practice, that in the final analysis it does not pay. Inspired not by the motive of helping others, but of realizing an interest on the dollar, loan agencies take advantage of the human frailty of unthriftiness, of the uncontrolled desire for things. Hence usury — the pounds of flesh exacted in payment by the Shylocks of modern times. And banks and agencies have found by experience that people who begin the practice of borrowing are likely to remain regular customers. The habit once commenced has a tendency to repeat, so that some remain debtors for the balance of their lives.


  37. paulmcd


    Taoiseach and former Minister for Finance on driving the Irish Economy on to the rocks

    Sorry, Judge, but it wasn’t my fault. You see, I found myself tailgating this juggernaut on the international highway. I needed to see the way ahead, so the missus wiped me glasses. I realised we had to move forward, so, I put the foot down. Suddenly, the juggernaut went out of control. The driver failed to give adequate warning of his intention which was very inconsiderate when you consider his speed of 100 mph. I was knocked off course and veered a number of times before we hit the rocks.

    Judge, I couldn’t have done better in the circumstances. I have 25 years’ driving experience. I may have been a wee bit the worse for wear. And the drink didn’t help either. But no-one could have foreseen that the juggernaut would swerve. I was a victim of circumstances beyond our control.

    Please take into account, Judge, that I receive only 500k in salary and benefits annually; and no-one has ever considered awarding me a bonus.

    • Deco

      The judge decides to sentence Brian to attend a clinic especially for politicians without a clue. The OWA clinic. (Overpaid Wasters Anonymous).

      BIFFO attends his introductory first session.

      “Hello, my name is Brian, I am from Tullamore in Ireland.I am here because the Banking regulatory authorities in New York were not doing their job properly and were behaving like a bunch of overpaid wasters. And they got everybody in Ireland got into in trouble and destroyed d’eeconomeee. And that caused the housing bubble to burst”.

      [And next.

      "Hello my name is Jose, I came from Madrid, and I am here because the Wall Street was being reckless. And this destroyed our Sapnish property boom. Also the ECB are to blame. And also the Arabs. Oh, and the Chinese. And London, and the French Gaullists. and ...". [Alright, that will do, we don't have the time. Stop].

      And who is the grumpy grouch slumped in the front. “Hello, mah name is Gohhrdon, I chom from Edinburgh, I had a big job in Westminster. I am here because the greedy bankers that I bailed out were behaving like overpaid wasters. I was a fantastic best finance brain in the world until then”.

      [Alright...well done everybody for saying all of that....well the purpose of the introductory session is so that we can all meet one another....and examine the role of self delusion in your lives..and to see if this really is effective in causing delusion in others, as we might all wish to think.....]

  38. Deco

    Brian Lenihan said on Sunday that House prices have bottomed. He provided words of reassurance once on bank shares also, and we know how that ended up. He will not be latest to hear more analysis of government projections by Prof Lucey of the TCD Economics department.


    Prof Lucey (who has more economy saturated brain cells in his big toe than the entire ‘drinks cabinet) reckons that house prices are going to fall further. Based on track records, we can expect Prof Lucey to be more correct. Put it this way, apart from borrowing, where is the money going to come from that will prop up the housing market ? From the thousands of college graduates with no jobs???

    Alright, lots of info. Rumours.
    NAMA are getting bids from abroad for the property that they are taking over. Vultures looking for the property at a knock down value.

    There is a rumour that a Big Businessman who is UK based is pushing Anglo Irish Bank to liquidate the Quinn Empire and had it over to him. He wants to get the industrial part and the trophy hotels, hold them for five years and sell them off. This is what happens in a crisis. But it works two ways. Just look at the portfolio of properties that Liam Liar snatched up in Eastern Europe in the 1990s.

    The land that NAMA owns is proving to be a major headache. As David said, the only market for it is for grazing animals. And the animal count in Ireland is falling. This is a result of agricultural production declines (no bumber harvest) and a long tough winter. Trying to rent NAMA land is tougher than trying to rent out apartments in Laois.

    There National Roads Authority have said that there is no pyrite in the new M3 moteroway. There are rumours rife that there is. If this is the case, then once again we have project management failure. This time involving the Public Private Partership. I suppose we will not find out for a while. NTR have associations with the Private Investment firm One51. One51 has a list of important and prominent business men as investors.

    I wonder what IBEC must make of the article about gombeens. IBEC is the number 1 gombeenism organization in Ireland. It is possible that Tim and pals could reform FF. But forget about IBEC. IBEC are unreformable. They should kicked out of the governmental process. IBEC will always be an organization where gombeenism is a mandatory.

    Who here voted for IBEC? None of you. They have even less of a right to be pulling the levers of power than the ICTU Order of the beards. It is possible to un-elect the order of the beards. But IBEC are completely undemocratic and represent money chasing more money. Should we be surprised that Ireland became engulfed in greed when IBEC are involved in the running of the country. Scrap the partnership talks process. It is nonsensical.

    • SlightlyBonkers

      I dreamt about the Lenihan declaration last night. believe it or not.

      and in my dream I was in a room with a contrite (I too was surprised) B Cowen who basiaclly admitted he was lost, and several other people whom we have all seen on telly who jsut wanted to sort out the mess.

      anyway, I made the point (in this dream) that it was a bit pathetic that after all the bluster about a smart economy to get us back on our feet, that our minister for finance was not saying “we are now looking to stabilise the costs of doing business in thsi country, upskill our citizens to take advantage of global trends in sourcing staff, lay down a broadband infrastrcutre to allow knowledge economies to establish in rural areas, give our unemployed hope that better times are coming as we tuirn the ship around, etc etc”

      no he said “now you can go back to buying houses.”

      if anyone out there believes the hollow guff about “mastery of his brief” that we hear abuot said Minsiter, let them remember whom he thought of first after ransacking the country’s savings and committing their future to decadesof vast debt.

      he thought of the construction industry. Noone else. That for him was the point of his whole game. Becuase it’s the only one in town, right?

      He’s not a bad man per se. He is simply not right for the job or even public service in general. he inherited a position, and that frankly makes him unsuitable

      we accept so many people as anointed leaders, and yet they are an increasingly defensive coterie of insecure bureaucrats who have no concept of a life that was not privileged and easy from the start

      • Deco

        I had a dream (or maybe nightmare) once. I was on a bus. I was sitting at the back minding my own business, waiting for the start of the journey. The bus started up. Suddenly the bus drove up on the kerb. Then it hit a water hydrant. And a post box, and the letters went all over the place. It went off the road onto a dirt track. There was mayhem. I heard people groaning. And I grabbed the handrail and started moving towards the front.

        There was a fat man leaning over with his two hands covering the wheel so nobody else could grab it. And it was the BIFFO. He muttered ‘going forward’. He was possessing the wheel like as if he had nothing else in the world to hold onto. I don’t know if he was ever touching the gearstick. And then a lanky creep in a grey officious uniform moved a stick into my face and snapped at me ‘you, get back to the back of the bus – you should know your place’. It was Gormless.

        The first thought that hit me next, was ‘I need to get off this bus’. Gormless had a rope for holding back animals at the end to the stick. And he was trying to shove people back from the front. I tried to grab free of it.

        And then I woke up.

  39. Ruairí

    LTEV is so new and so PREPOSTEROUS that it doesn’t come up as a result in http://acronyms.silmaril.ie/cgi-bin/uncgi/acronyms; the Internet Acronym Server………

    Sorry, Colin in Exile, I can’t do Saturdays.

    What anyone wishing to assault a government policy should research is how the Jewish movement in USA perform their activism / lobbying function. They have a merciless letter-writing and phonecalling campaign machine that tears into representatives.

  40. Deco

    In 1998 I drove once in Donegal for twenty minutes, and did not see a house, and animal. I seen two cars. And it was a secondary route. Not a minor road. But look, that is Donegal. Donegal had witnessed a century and a half of population decline, economic misery and so on at that stage.

    I remember in 1999 heading West on the Sligo line, and before Mullingar, I could look out the window for fifteen maybe twenty minutes, and see nothing except cattle and sheep, and space.

    However did the media and the gombeens who were paying the advertisers penny, ever manage to convince us that space was in short supply in Ireland ? And how come, apart from David McW and few other fringe commentators, very few asked questions about this ?

    It must go down as one of the most successful hard sell jobs of all time. Up there with Seanie Fitz selling Seanie Quinn the merits of buying shares in Anglo Irish Bank.

    Gombeenism thrives, because gombeenism is profitable. But what if we change our behaviour and attitudes to the point that gombeenism is starved out of existence ? The purpose of advertising and media coverage is to influence behaviour and attitudes. What if we were to break the link to this, to make it completely ineffective. It is possible by our society reaching a higher intellectual level. A level of analysis that is instantaneously hesitant and sceptic of the TINA message. There never was a debate during the boom about where it would end up. We were being told it would last forever. And the idiocracy of it all became contagious. But what if we were to be intellectually developed to the point where we would never be made fools of again ?

    That would be freedom for our people.

    • Today I was on the bypass at Bundoran and as you will know from the road you see hundreds of brand new caravans in the holiday park. This is the Easter holidays and there was not one family in sight. Not even a dog. Bundoran is like the Bermuda triangle mystery in that there must be some mysterious hole in the atmosphere in that town which just sucks up all the people and leaves no trace of them. All those empty fancy houses and trailer parks are a sure sign that the G-Man been in town.

      Intellectual development is a personal pursuit and not something that will happen for the masses. Forget it. Mencken was bang on when he said that most adults stop maturing emotionally and psychologically at the age of 18. The G-Man is an emotionally insecure individual who is driven by a fear of want and a loss of status. He looks like a man and tries to talk like a man but if you look closely into his eyes you see that inside he is just a like a little boy who wants to play with the bigger boys.

      As for the masses, all you need to do is look at the magazine racks in Easons and you get the impression that property, celebrity and sex are the topics which occupy the minds of the people.

      The Bono generation behave like teens dreading the idea of turning 20 and many if them are more interested in having ‘fun’ than having a serious debate about where this country is going. They are secure and smug and don’t really need to give a rats if they don’t feel like it. It is every man for himself out there and it will likely always be that way.

      There is no chance of a mass sprint up the hill to reach the hallowed ground of self-actualisation which is the apex of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. At least not at a time when GPs are treating more and more people for drink and drug abuse.

      There is a massive amount of depression and fear in this country and you can even sense it when reading through all the above posts. It is as though all hope is lost and that all the guys here know it but that we each in our little way just try to get by the best we can with each day that passes.

      I liked the dream about the bus by the way.

  41. jay-joe

    Hi all
    This article from David seems to have provoked a strong response, and it relates to a question have been grappling with a question in my mind over the last few weeks.

    Basically this whole financial disaster, NAMA, property pyramid scheme has done an unmitigated amount of damage to the country, social budgets are being cut while billions — and nobody seems to know exactly how much — is poured into banks. Most of you would agree that this is a gravely bad decision for the future of the country

    My question is:
    the people that are responsible for the mess — Seanie Fitz, Liam Carroll, Bertie & Cowan et al, and those that are responsible for the fix proposing NAMA an such, – Cowan, Lenihan top bankers ect…

    Well are they
    (a) powerless,
    (b) inept
    (c) or evil?

    (A) Is it that none of them actually has any power and they were just little fish the go with the ebb and flow of the market? (more a systemic reasoning)

    (B) Is it that none of them had the intelligence to actually grasp the problems that were building, and now are totally unsuited as individuals to fix them?

    (C) Or is it that they have/are in what is an evil way deliberately selling the state and its people into a kind of debt serfdom?

    I don’t know any of these people as individuals, and maybe its to some extent systemic but my own opinion is that they are either to some extent inept or evil. I know its strong to call anyone these words, either inept or evil, but the decisions they have and are making and the secrecy surrounding such kinda leads me to a mixture of these two very uncomfortable thoughts about the leadership. I don’t want inept leadership but even less so one literally willing to mortgage my future for the sake of a clique.

    Any opinions or less pessimistic interpretations would be appreciated on that…

    • Bamboo


      In my opinion, the names you mentioned above don’t come across to me as evil. These people are playing an evil game and playing with people’s life and a nation’s future. So I’d categorize them as inept reacher than evil. I do agree with you: They are uncomfortable thoughts indeed. Myself and my family were once confronted which such thoughts many years ago and raised the same questions. Evilness is almost invincible and therefore extremely hard to recognize. I think it is not something that you can study or search for but you may have come across it at some stage in your life. I do hope though that you don’t come across anything like that. Anyway, I came across it as I said and it really touched me to the bone. I am not talking about some makey uppy scary horror, the devil or voodoo. Then there are the people who are always in the background and/or seem to be doing good deeds for you and society but meanwhile they are up to no good. Still I don’t categorize it as evil. There is more to it than the obvious. After my experience, I’ve read up on this subject as I needed to protect myself.
      You may or may not have come across it yourself and if you have – you can easily recognize it. I recommend M. Scott Peck’s “people of the Lie”. Again, In relation to the names you mentioned? No, I don’t think so, however I do think there is one public figure that falls under this category and is now in the background.


  42. wills


    I read an interesting article other day, from USA.

    It asked, why all this mediocrity running everything.

    It concluded, anyone of merit are too busy going to analysis to be able to have the time to do the other stuff.

    I’m beginning to think it could be very close to the truth.

    The people who are alive and human are all trying to work around the gombeens / zombies who’ve over run the system.

  43. Folks,

    go to cnn.com, subprime lending hrg, live!

  44. Deco

    The greatest joke of the last twenty years was the love affair with false sophistication.

    It propelled economic idiots into orbit as the leaders in behaviour and attitudes. I remember the first wet summer, 2007, there was a rush on in the hardware shops to buy ‘Barbeque grills’. It was all the rage. And it was a case, of ‘this is like I had in the year out in Australia’. I mean it became a mark of sophistication. Buying a barbie unit, and putting on expensive steak, and singe-burning the meat to become tasteless. And sitting back with your mates, and having a few beers and trying to pretend you were in Sydney. I know that certain big scale DIY (junk) superstores were promoting them. And the need to buy one spread like an infection in the commuter belt. And it was often a case that mine is bigger than yours. It was perfect for the beer drinkers to sit and have a meal outside while the women compared status inside in the sitting room with a bottle of red wine.

    And then for three long years it bucketted down Irish rain. Ireland is full of expensive Barbequeu units that are going rusty. All in the name of pretension and sophistication. Some of them have not been paid for yet. Some of them will never be paid for.

    Maybe we should put them in a container, export them to Australia, and help pay down some of the debt ? It would be a case of practicality and common sense breaking out at long last.

    Though for the moment, things are not bad enough in this country for common sense to make a big breakthrough yet !!!

    • Bamboo

      This Barbeque shit really makes me laugh. I try to avoid barbecues at all time. I have a good cooker as it is perfectly able burn the meat black as well. :-) Ireland is not what you call a BQ land, is it?
      A few more examples in relation to this “mark of sophistication”. The icemaker crap in an American style fridge, jacuzzis , granite counter tops, kitchen islands. Oops, I hope I don’t insult anybody.

  45. John Q. Public

    Anybody see this new crap from our new minister? She should be sent to work on a farm full time. Bonus points me arse! Why not just make hons maths a pre-requisite for courses that need it, fair enough, and then make places available on the relevant courses. Bonus points will give anybody who does hons maths a leg up regardless of their course choice which is unfair on those who don’t. These Gael-goers give me a pain in the face too with their bonus marks for answering exams through Irish. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0407/breaking51.html

  46. wills

    ‘Gombeen Capitalism’ is remarkably similar to ‘Ponzi Republic.’

    I’d say Gombeen Capitalism generates POnzi economies and pays for POnzi politics.

  47. David, every article you write is music to honest ears.
    Joe Higgins our only true blue Euro MP organized a few of his faithful followers to demonstrate outside Anglo Irish Bank last week.
    Their protest got 2 seconds on RTE.
    Says it all.!

  48. Bamboo

    Am I correct in saying that most of the posters here are male? I just had a look at the comments to FINTAN O’TOOLE and I’d say 80% are male posters. I wonder why?

You must log in to post a comment.
× Hide comments