May 26, 2010

Forget Anglo -- invest in children's futures instead

Posted in Banks · 238 comments ·

LAST week I had a great night in Limerick. I was down to host an evening of music, debate and political cabaret in the wonderful Dolan’s Warehouse. The event was organised by the Northside Learning Hub.

It runs outreach programmes, working with schools and colleges to make education available to as many people in the northside of Limerick as possible (

There were many teachers in the crowd and the honesty of the discussion was revealing. The teachers wanted to teach, but there was a sense, particularly amongst the primary ones, that they are overburdened. One teacher — a young man — spoke of his despair trying to teach the 4th-class syllabus to children of varying abilities, where he could see children being left behind in front of his eyes. These children will slip back academically, becoming alienated initially from the classroom and then, ultimately, from the school.

On the way back on the train, I was thinking of the extraordinary waste of money that is being poured in to keep Anglo open and considered what could be done with just a fraction of that money. The Anglo bailout will add as much as €20bn to our national debt; can you imagine what spending the equivalent on creating a new education system would deliver?

The crisis gives us permission to change this country, to reset the clock and learn from our mistakes. As unemployment continues its inexorable rise, a recent academic paper byKevin Denny, of UCD, is a timely reminder that economics is about people, not debt.

Debt is simply an accounting identity; the real productive power of an economy is its people. Education and learning is not just about a workforce or about training, it is about making our lives richer. Sometimes this point is overlooked in the constant economisation of the education debate. Sure, having an educated workforce is important but having a learned society is even more so.

Making children happy in school is now essential because, as unemployment rises, the old trends where social class determines educational achievement means more and more children will fail in school.

The reason Denny’s work on educational opportunity for working people is so invaluable is not just because he is a respected economist but because he means it.

Many years ago, I worked as an economist in the Central Bank. Back then there was a dreadful hierarchy in the place, which separated the economists in the bank from everyone else. Because economists in the central bank had to have a minimum of a good masters degree in economics, we were mistakenly put on some sort of ludicrous pedestal vis-a-vis the rest of the staff. I couldn’t believe it when I entered the place — but that was just the way.

It was the old Ireland defined by a weird type of class and education apartheid.

Kevin Denny’s dad, Harry Denny, was a porter in the bank and every time he’d drop up to my office doing his rounds, he talked about his son “Kevin the economist” who was studying at the LSE. Harry was a lovely man and he was so proud of his son. He was proud of Kevin because his son had done what he, Harry, never had the chance to do, which was to use his education. Kevin laughed years later when I first met him and mentioned the chats I had with his dad: “Not many lads from Ballyfermot become senior lecturers of economics.”

And it’s not changing: the abolition of university fees has, according to Denny’s recent paper, made little or no difference to who gets into college (

In fact, the abolition of university fees 15 years ago did not improve the chances of poorer children getting into university. The paper also explains why this is the case. There was and still is a shortage of places in university, not a shortage of students. The poorer kids who did manage to get the points were normally on the grant anyway so they didn’t pay in the first place. The middle-class children and their families just got a subsidy for an expense that they were planning to make all along.

The most important thing is how the children do in the Leaving Cert. Poor children do badly in the Leaving full stop. For example, after 15 years of free university it is the case that if your father is a professional, you will, on average, get about 90 points more than if your father is a manual worker.

If your dad is “other white collar”, you are likely to get about 50 points more. If your dad is out of work, it will “cost” you about 30 points.

Now think of those figures in the context of the tens of thousands of fathers who have lost their jobs in recent months. If, as seems quite likely, these men find it difficult to get another job, what will the impact on their families be? According to Denny, the impact is significantly detrimental and, if nothing is done to change the education system, will lead to more kids failing in school.

Now let’s join the dots and link the evening in Limerick, the Denny paper and Anglo. We know that stuffing money into Anglo is a waste of cash, we also know that letting children fail in school is not only a waste of cash but it is a dangerous waste of people, both for their own sake and for society’s sake. And now we know that the Leaving Cert is the block. So why not use the Anglo money to fix it? Let Anglo go bust and start again.

If we were to make a massive investment in education to the tune of €20bn we could transform this country. How many proud dads like Harry Denny could we have?

But instead we will use this money to bail out creditors in a bust bank that doesn’t even have an ATM facility.

A country that makes such choices deserves to go bust because only through a massive crisis that sweeps away the status quo can such a place change.


    Seeing as Irl plc has the most skilled and well educated udole queue on the planet, why invest in providing competitor economies with more productive labour?.Too many people is the problem, a result of Irish women refusing to regulate their fertility.We paid dearly for this mistake in the eighties and few lessons have been learned.Expecting inexperienced Irish workers to compete against trained and qualified staff who will work in the Irish economy for a pittance was always going to end in tears.Shame on the dummies in the Trade Union movement for supporting such a move.


      I won’t comment on your ‘Irish women’ comments except to say what a dumb gombeen, anti Irish, racist comment ye make?

      re”why invest in providing competitor economies with more productive labour?”

      Educated people mean educated workforce attractive to foreign investment and ability to self sustain/generate jobs at home and do not Irish people have the right to an education that will give them a job abroad if they need it.

      No education means dole queues,
      social disintegration expenses, more gardai, social services expenses, drugs, you name it. It also means Government by the gombeens, for the Gombeens, basically a lot more of what we have now.

      Education is maybe the only way out of the morass we’re in!

    • wills

      There is a gender cold war at the center of Ireland sucking it into a black hole.

    • ak8

      Would you get a brain!!! If you’re going to comment at least leave an educated comment.

      “Too many people is the problem”, that is the most ridiculous excuse for our problem since Brian Lenihan Snr remarked that “we can’t all live on a small island”.

      Why not? Look at the Netherlands, Israel, central Europe.

      Even look at Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau.. They’re all city states, which is basically what Ireland is approaching should Dublin keep growing.

      Ireland has a relatively low population density compared to the rest of Europe. In 1840, England had double Ireland’s population (15m v 8m). England now has some 52m people, so to claim that Ireland is overpopulated is utter nonsense. If anything we’re underpopulated!!

      Your comments are simply an excuse to shift the blame for this mess elsewhere. We should be responsible & except that we caused the mess, not the EU, not the Americans, not the Euro…. we did! We borrowed the money, we built the houses, we bought the houses…. it was Irish run Irish banks that lent money to Irish people to buy Irish land so that they could employ Irish people to build Irish houses. And the Irish Government did nothing to stop it, even when Europe told us we were on a crashcourse!

      Our fault, simples!

  2. Great article, in the dangerous and toxic Alice in Wonderland propaganda world of FF we live under, it is precisely such areas as education as a right and a key support of decent society that are most threatened by the waste that is Anglo.

    re Malcolm’s link previous article also

    John Fitzgerald is one of the Alices I refer to above @ 28, surprised Pat McArdle wasn’t interviewed along with Lenny and Clowen and they could’ve got a quartet RTE/Pravda thing going!

    But the ‘return to growth figures’ John mentions from your link

    “he forecasts annual growth zooming up to as much as 5% between 2012 and 2015, before falling back to what he calls “boring, European” levels.”

    I think there was a slight communication problem between John and Patrick Barkham the journalist author of above.

    Only guessing now, but just before John had the meeting with Pat, John was on the phone to Sherry Fitz Auctioneers and his brother Mark.

    (John)”What’s happenin, bro?”

    (Mark)”Pure shite at the mo, not an outside loo stirring in this market!”

    “Feckin NAMA is delaying with the transfers, all krapp about deeds of title gone missing, the usuual”

    “Should be sorted by the end of this year and were in there. We’ll need to milk the goat dry but we should be in there sellin NAMA krapp by end of this year. This’ll take us out of the dumps. We’ll at least do a 5% growth with the NAMA between 2012-2015.”

    John confused growth of Sherry Fitz with growth in the economy.

    1.00 EUR = 1.23179 USD

    We need to get back to FDR’s Second Bill of Rights vision of a government for the people by the people.

    The education and welfare of the Irish people are under threat by the fanatically blind support of criminal bankers/banks by the present toxic Government.

    • G

      I posted on this in David’s previous article – towards the end, worth reposting some of it as I deem it so important.

      The Roosevelt presidential library said it wasn’t filmed. His own family told us it wasn’t filmed. Michael Moore’s team scoured the country without luck until they were given a tip about a collector connected to the university of South Carolina.The university didn’t have anything archived under FDR’s speeches that fitted, but they found it in the vaults and it saw the light of day 65 years later. Roosevelt knew he was dying when he made this address.
      Among Roosevelt’s Bill Of Rights were the following:

      Among these are:

      The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

      The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

      The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

      The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

      The right of every family to a decent home;

      The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

      The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

      The right to a good education.

      All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

      For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.”


    • please reply ‘Alice’ above with ‘A Lice’

  3. The most important thing is how the children do in the Leaving Cert. Poor children do badly in the Leaving full stop. For example, after 15 years of free university it is the case that if your father is a professional, you will, on average, get about 90 points more than if your father is a manual worker.

    If your dad is “other white collar”, you are likely to get about 50 points more. If your dad is out of work, it will “cost” you about 30 points.

    When I gave private piano lessons as a student, I was teaching a 8 years young girl that had absolutely no interest in learning this instrument, but the parents were obsessed with status quo, and in their world, the father was a bank manager, it was necessary that her daughter plays piano and performs in front of selected guests they invited to their home.

    Another 7 years old I taught at the same time was from a working class background, and she was pestering her parents to allow lessons, which they could not really afford. She had a banged up old piano which was heavily detuned, so I arranged for a piano tuner who owed me a favor to come and have a look what he can do, so we ended up with a well tuned instrument to start with.

    The bankers girl had a small Steinway Grand piano at her disposal, overlooking a beautifully designed garden.

    The banged up upright piano stood in a cellar room with bare cement floor and a light without lampshade dangling from the ceiling. After six 1 hour lessons, I found her to be really talented and most important full of interest and curiosity about music, when the parents told me that they can no longer afford lessons and did not want me to come back.

    I decided I make a deal, and on my next visit to the little princess with no interest and limited talent in music, I talked to the parents and told them the truth. I explained to them that it is rather painful on me to teach someone who has no interest, and in fairness, only a very limited musical talent.

    I expected a storm of abuse to come over me after I called a spade a spade, but they did not dish out, but rather listened to what i had to say. Then they asked me if I would agree to continue teaching her if they would pay me more. I was a student myself and money was important, so I was tempted to say yes, but made them a suggestion. I offered to try my best to trigger her interest and continue to teach her to the best of my ability, and I would not ask for more money per lesson, but asked them to sponsor another student instead.

    It ended up that they payed me for the other girl to be taught, and I could continue working with her, which I really enjoyed.

    True talent is not class dependent and should be nourished and sponsored to the best of a societies abilities, if we fail to do that, we miss out on the most important core elements, the fundamental building blocks of a prosperous society.

    Massive investments into our education system would pay back in less than a decade, and we could really say that we are interested in building a long term sustainable smart economy, without these investments, it is nothing but a hollow promise without substance.

    • ThomasFergus

      What an inspirational piece. Fair play to you laughingbear.

      For my own part, I played piano for 5 years when I was a young fella, quit at 12 on Grade 2 of the RIAM and regretted it for years afterwards. Over the last 2 years of the crisis, I got more and more despondent with the way the country was being run and more importantly, how the crisis was being portrayed in the media. When the whole public sector/private sector lie was repeated echo-chamber style in the media by the likes of Pat Kenny and Aine Lawlor (I bet she’s proud of her fawning One to One interview with Seanie Fitz!), I decided enough was enough and got rid of my tv set and with the savings on NTL and the tv licence, bought myself a keyboard piano. I just passed Grade 2 of the RIAM (20 years later!) and hope to pass grade 3 in December. Best thing of all, when the tv licence inspectors called to my door, I told them I could no longer with conscience pay the outrageous wages of insider bluffers like Pat Kenny and Ryan Tubridy, and that RTE had become an instrument of complete govt propaganda. They did not demur.

      It’s never too late to go back to education!

      • Dilly

        Excellent. I got rid of the TV during the winter. I still don’t miss it. I am studying Science subjects in the evenings.

    • Deco

      College is only one step in the process.

      A lot of people who were dismal enough at college did very well afterwards.

      Michael O’Leary boasted that he learned nothing about business in univiersity (TCD). An interesting thought that !!! So much for sticking more money in third and fouth level…..


    During the past 40 years, more and more money has been spent on education .The result is the most attractively remunerated teachers on the planet, working the fewest hours.The economy is in a bigger mess than ever-there seems to be a negative colleration between education spending and national financial solvency.Ray Crotty dealt with this , as well as measures to reduce Irelands crazy birth rate in Ireland In Crisis (1986).25,000 school leavers per annum is an optimum figure, not 65,000!.Pass the durex.


      I think you’re confusing the right to education and spending on education.

      You have a good point that investment in health and education has been pocketed by the service providers at the expense of more hospital beds, more teachers, etc. That’s a criticism of the management of our economy.

      The negative correlation you mention is false, the true correlation is bulemic spending on the property bubble.

      We’re now blaming taxpayers for the woes of our property meltdown. This is Alice in Wonderland propaganda that will also be used to evict families such as the Moores link at 2 above.

      BTW anybody want to meet to offer a service, to document evictions with video and provide support to those under threat of eviction, let me know!

    • Black Cat

      The Irish primary school teachers do not work enough hours for the money they get- I chat to an english national school teacher on nursery world and her work day starts at eight and ends at half five. I have training with an ex national school teacher from London every couple of months and she can”t believe the short hours they work and that teachers here don’t have to do individual learning plans for children of different abilities whether its learning difficulties or exceptional ability .

      • paulmcd

        Black Cat, It is not safe to make these judgements.

        You have to be sure that you are comparing like with like in terms of class size, facilities, number of subjects taught (eg, Irish teachers have to teach 2 official languages), etc.

        Also, you will find jurisdictions in Europe where primary teachers are allowed to retire on full pension after only 30 years’ service instead of the 40 required in Ireland; and in Europe the pension can be a higher percentage of final salary, eg, 60% instead of the 50% applicable in Ireland.

        Also, Irish teachers do not receive the benefits in kind of some of their European counterparts, such as family accommodation provided by the State.

    • Deco

      Slickmick – If you think that Ireland’s birthrate is a problem….maybe you should travel, and teach others who might also benefit from your wisdom.

  5. jwd

    While I agree with your basic point about the greater added-value of investing in our children’s futures rather than burning more money in the banking ‘incinerator’, experience with the Health Service shows us how little can be achieved with money alone.

    Most of the extra billions ‘invested’ there ended up making a quick exit via payroll costs for increased salaries and ever more management headcount. Any plan for Education must learn from this. History tells us however, that when the ‘Social Partners’ get their greasy fingers on the ATM machine that is the taxpayer, we soon forget learnings from the past.

    Also, we need to ensure that we get better value from Higher Education spending e.g. why should we spend huge amounts of money training doctors and nurses only to see them emigrate to sunnier climes? There should be an undertaking of a fixed period of ‘National Service’ by graduates for professional courses, and supply of places should more closely mirror demand

  6. G

    This issue is very close to my heart as I came from a so called disadvantaged area, went to a disadvantaged school, some school mates ended in prison, a couple were shot dead because of involvement in drugs etc, despite all that, and because I had a solid home life and an innate curiosity I got my Leaving Cert on the second attempt (appalling and almost useless examination system), got my degree, a 1H Masters and went to work for the European Commission.

    I can honestly say, almost every barrier was put in the way to me achieving all that, from the faux choice of ‘woodwork or accountancy’ (I couldn’t hit a nail nor add 2 & 2), my skills lay elsewhere and it was only after I left school that I started to blossom.

    I wrote about access to education for the ‘disadvantaged’ and had an article appear in the Irish Times where I cited the case of Graham Baitson from Ballymun:

    “We have worked hard over the years to open up our universities, which previously were bastions of power for the elite of Irish society. I would not like to think that those old walls are being re-erected by those who have benefited most from Ireland’s education system to the detriment of those who have benefited the least.

    It is time for those in the university sector to reach out and actively engage with people from the disadvantaged areas. In 2008 the Irish Times reported on Graham Baitson from Ballymun, who despite an underprivileged background, discovered he had a unique talent in the field of electronic engineering. He graduated with a first-class honours masters and is going on to complete a PhD. There is a great wealth of talent like Graham Baitson waiting to be unleashed in so-called disadvantaged areas. Although scholarships, Bridging the Gap and Access programmes are commendable, we need to be more radical in our approach.

    We must move away from the accountant’s balance sheet and look at the spirit of education, to how it enriches an individual’s soul and mind, how it breaks the cycle of poverty and benefits future generations. It is time to focus on the positive impact “free” education has on society’s development with reduced levels of crime and greater social cohesion.”

    There is still a large degree of class snobbery (a hangover from the colonial days) and a fear of actually dealing with the issues of poverty, neglect, disadvantage and access to education – an empowered ‘impoverished’/ ‘working class’ also threatens elites (this should never be forgotten in this debate), politically they would probably vote Left or Labour.

    I would have one criticism David of your point that dropping third level fees did not improve things for the disadvantaged, I don’t accept that, there must have been people who took a chance and went to college when fees were dropped, in any case, the existence of fees acts as a mental disincentive to people from disadvantaged/working class areas. The University registration fee has been increased from 900-1500 euro, private schools (already well off from fees) get State top ups

    I also pointed out in my previous article that is not just the issue of fees, there is also the cumulative impact of the cost of attending college in terms of the price of books and materials, renting accommodation:

    “The reintroduction of university fees will lead to the increased indebtedness of our students. Contrary to perception, university education is not free; the Students’ Union have calculated that the average student incurs, at minimum, a bill of €10,000 per annum when taking into account living costs, the price of books, materials etc. The reintroduction of fees will add greatly to this financial burden.”

    A Greek colleagues pointed out (from a poor working class family) that he did not spend a penny on his education – no fees, all books paid for etc I believe in ‘Universal education’, give people a level playing pitch and see what happens, certainly I believe in as much assistance as possible being provided for those from more challenging socio-economic backgrounds.

    A fairer tax system and more equitable distribution of resources would go along way, but as long as you have a Taoiseach making statements like this, then I think it will remain a pipe dream

    I agree that a more nuanced approach is needed, I would also agree that the dropping of fees benefitted the middle and upper classes as they have the disposal income to cover ‘running costs’ and drop their kids to school.

    What we need, and what will not happen as it didn’t happen in the boom, is a massive investment of the sum you talk about in so called disadvantaged areas which suffer from historic underinvestment/underdevelopment and generational poverty.

    It is timely that this article has appeared as I just heard Fergus Finlay speak and he gave some astonishing statistics while maintaining that we have to target children from the ages of 0-3 (pre-school) as it is the most formulative time, he pointed out the following:

    In Ireland there are 110,000 children in consistent poverty.

    5.1% of the overall population or 216,000 people are in consistent poverty.
    16.5% or 700,000 at risk of poverty.
    70% of those with disabilities (intellectual etc) were unemployed during the boom.
    In 2005, Ireland spent 4.6% of national income on educating our children, in 1995 it was 52%. There was nothing spent on pre-school, which is regarded as the most crucial of all periods in a child’s life.

    He also pointed out that the pressure and burnout of social workers is enormous and that we have half the numbers of social workers (factoring in proportionality) compared to the UK.

    €20 billion, the amount being used for Anglo, has been found and is being put into a dead bank, if we put the same amount into our so called disadvantaged communities, our children’s education, we would transform Ireland.

    In my lobbying of the cabinet on this issue, I included a number of quotations in a letter I sent to Ministers, which I think it fitting to conclude this post (and apologies for the length).

    George Bernard Shaw — The greatest of evils and the worst of crimes is poverty.

    Nelson Mandela— Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.

    Aristotle- Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

    Victor Hugo- He who opens a school door, closes a prison.

    John Dewey- Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself.

    George Garver – Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.

    • G

      That should have read: “in 1995 it was 5.2%”.

      But again I think education is a useful exampe of the neoliberal drive toward the privatisation of education, where public schools and libraries are run down, universities are run along corporate, those with the money can get the grinds etc (commodification of education) so their children can maximise the points they get out of that ludicrous Leaving Cert examination, an absurdly competitive process, which is more about rote learning than developing criticial and independent minds……..

      Noam Chomsky ~ Most Schooling is Training for Stupidity and Conformity

      Noam Chomsky on the Role of the Educational System

      NC – “Liberal elites regard education as the indoctrination of the young, train people to be obedient, stay passive, no crisis of democracy, don’t raise any questions, the stupidity in the system has a function, people are filtered out because of it”

      • Julia

        Have you read Ivan Illich ‘Deschooling Society’, a marvellous book written more than 40 years ago. I read it when I was about 18 and it always coloured my view of education.

    • Black Cat

      I have a friend with a learning difficulty who is 32 now and instead of being given extra help at school he was put in with a class reserved for trouble makers and got no education at all, he’s now sweating blood to try and make up for it by getting a degree in social work, the education system completely failed him and he is obsessed with the sense that he is lacking as a person because of his lack of education

      • G

        I was the same, 36 in my primary class, a lot with serious ‘issues’, ‘dysfunctional to say the least, the teacher liked using the stick, I couldn’t grasp long division (no wonder in that environment), was sent to ‘remedial class’, where the worst gangsters were, it was like Dante’s Inferno, I slaved at home into the dark hours and mastered the dam thing as best I could so I could back to the regular class and throw off the stigma.

        Getting the 1H Masters in UL, put A LOT of ghosts to rest, was 27 before I felt like I had a functioning brain!

        • paulmcd

          Kudos to you, G, for triumphing in such an adverse environment!

          The use of corporal punishment in the schools was a shameful form of child abuse. I remember a time, before the introduction of “an caighdeán oifigiúil” when a teaching Brother from Munster used to punish me and classmates, in Cavan, for giving CORRECT answers to questions “as gaeilge” but in Ulster Irish rather than Munster Irish. We were left bewildered.

          There are many who have been suffering all their lives because of this grotesque and universal form of bullying which permeated our school system.

          Punishment and the suppression – as opposed to the cultivation – of independent thought and a questioning mind were the hallmarks of Catholic education and the justifications were: being born in the state of original sin; the infallibility of Church doctrine; the need for salvation (with accompanying virtues – chastity, obedience, piety and the fear of the Lord.)

          The Church has certainly left its mark on Modern Ireland but with the Irish sheeple cow towing to political cowboys.

        • Black Cat

          It doesn’t seem to work for me – I think the whole idea of grading people’s worth based on the education system leaves young people traumatised – I still get nightmares about the leaving cert! It teaches some people that they are failures before they even know who they are are and makes others unable to think outside the box. Like Lisa Simpson says -”Look at me! Grade me! Evaluate and rank me! I’m good, good, good and oh so smart! Grade meeeeee!! “

  7. G

    This is appearing in today’s Guardian

    Ireland: Shattered Dreams

  8. @G

    Great post, but I don’t subscribe to the need for preschool between 0-3 proposed by Finlay. At that age the child needs the personal attention of mam/dad not anonymous baby-feeder production line assembly cacaphony

    • G

      He will have to speak for himself (seems like an honourable man, one of the few around, even though I wouldn’t be a huge fan of Labour or Mary Robinson), but he wasn’t taking parents out of the equation, he was adding education based on the findings of international studies/research, which I would need to look at, it does seem a bit young to be introducing a child to ‘education’, I would need to see the strategy.

      He has effectively highlighted child poverty, abuse and hinted at what is coming next, the death of children in care, I would rather have his voice in the battle for ideas and a fairer country than not. One of the few effective champions of the people from what I have seen on TV and in person, I accept things are more grey than black and white.

  9. Education will only work when the population sees it as a way out and demands standards. That is one of the things that happened in Northern Ireland. The “Nationalist” population took to education to get past discrimination in jobs.all levels of the population demanded the standards from the schools that would ensure entry to 3rd level education. Besides putting money into education we need to create the awareness of the benefits.

  10. SM

    In September 2008 I was in hospital having routine surgery. While I was in my bed one day reading, an old Ringsend lady who had trouble staying quiet for more than 10 minutes was bemoaning the banks and the government. That’s fair enough but she predicted we’d be back to the 1980s and all would be lost which I didn’t believe.

    I threw my eyes to heaven in my middle class arrogance.

    She just might be right.

    • Deco

      No banks went to the wall in the 1980s. AIB did have some fairly serious difficulties over the ICI and DIRT ‘events’.
      No, it would be much worse than the 1980s. Debt in the 1980s was much smaller, because everybody was more fiscally conservative. The government had a debt problem. But there was enough money in the Isle of Man to bailout Ireland. Nobody knows where the money is gone now.

  11. paddyjones

    DMcW is totally wrong , more public spending is not what we need, we need cuts the more agressive the better. DMcW is just a populist now he used to be an economist but he totally ignores the debt crisis. Yes we need to stop Anglo from getting anymore public money we need to close it down, but we also need to tackle our deficit and debt.
    Our teachers are the best paid in Europe even after the cuts and pension levy. An average teacher here takes home about 2600 per month while in Poland they take home 300 per month. in poland they have bigger classes they have less holidays less resources and they still manage to have higher standards.
    When DMcW says we should spend more on education basically he means paying teachers more, that is ludicrious.
    In budget 2011 we will cut another 3 billion, the easy options have already been taken now it gets harder to find savings. Who will it hit social welfare? pensioners? they are the easy options. I look forward to hearing about it being leaked in the media long before the budget announcements.
    DMcW get back to hard economics

    • SM

      I think DMcW is talking about educational apartheid which has been very deliberately perpetuated by those who benefit from it.

      Polish school teachers salaries range between €15,000 to €38,000 per annum. Minimum monthly take home would be about €800.

    • paulmcd

      “Our teachers are the best paid in Europe etc”.

      Paddy, Your statements above are simplistic and remind me of some of the biased reporting in the Irish Independent.

      Things are never quite what they seem to be. Someone may cite, for example, how lecturers in Ireland are so much better paid than counterparts in the UK. The statement does not reflect realities: differences in the cost of living, the likelihood of promotion to higher grades, career average taxation, and requirements for retiring on full pension.

      Many older teachers/lecturers in Ireland will have paid income tax at the marginal rate of 65% when on relatively low starting levels of income. Their UK counterparts never experienced these astronomical rates of taxation.

      I was at the level of Assistant Lecturer in the early 90s when a brother of mine, 6 years my junior and living in London, was promoted to Senior Lecturer after only one year . This is a widespread practice in the UK and is necessary to keep staff with the necessary qualifications and experience because the pay scale for Lecturer is a major incentive to leave the profession at the earliest opportunity.

      For education at PRIMARY LEVEL, I made the following observations at 4 above:

      You have to be sure that you are comparing like with like in terms of class size, facilities, number of subjects taught (eg, Irish teachers have to teach 2 official languages), etc.

      Also, you will find jurisdictions in Europe where primary teachers are allowed to retire on full pension after only 30 years’ service instead of the 40 required in Ireland; and in Europe the pension can be a higher percentage of final salary, eg, 60% instead of the 50% applicable in Ireland.

      Also, Irish teachers do not receive the benefits in kind of some of their European counterparts, such as family accommodation provided by the State.

  12. The local daily newspaper recorded Davids visit to Limerick and quoted David when he said : He was optimistic and hopeful for the city and that he liked the wonderful Georgian buildings .I believe David is always positive what he says and does so with hope .Unfortunately to have that hope realised medicine must be admininistered and that is what David has done in this article.
    May I suggest to David to attend one of the forthcoming Novenas during the month of June at The Redemtorist Fathers , Limerick .This is annual event .I say this ,aside from the religious occassion, it is a great National Economic Barometer and just by being around the church for a day is an amazing learning experience what is really happening and all about who we really are.This is a mecca gathering of its kind no where else to be found.
    Truths are spoken openly , facts are revealed and the pain of society is spoken about .Petitions, petitions.petitions are read out seeking hope from despair and poverty.Its a moment of living hell and redemption.

    • Colin_in_exile


      I remember being dragged to that Novena as a kid in the 80s, and hated it, it was crowded and kids were sent to sit on the carpet close to the altar so adults could park their behinds on the pews (suffer little children) and be bored out of their skulls while the sun shone brightly and warmly outside. It was the “keeping up with the Joneses” of the time, the family that attended were “well thought of” by the community. Isn’t there a saying from the bible, “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”? Protestants have a better approach to church attendance.

      Delighted David enjoyed his time in Limerick, its a pity many in the rest of the country don’t share this view and stick to their uninformed prejudiced opinions of Limerick.

      • Colin- exactly , and your parents knew what they were doing and you achieved a good education qualification from their mentoring.Maybe if you attend even one of the ten day events you might find the job of your dream.

        • Colin_in_exile


          Yes, you’re correct, my parents placed huge importance on education, even though neither of them were schooled beyond the age of 15.

          But, you know what I don’t understand is, the intelligencia are almost entirely atheistic or agnostic these days, business leaders and bankers wouldn’t be seen dead near a church, apart from attending the funeral of a celeb. It seems God is rewarding the unbelievers with money, power and success.

          I might go along on Sunday, and imagine what the late Frank McCourt would think, having grown up across the road, up the lane and around the corner.

          As for the dream job, I had it, and it was taken away from me. I wouldn’t have missed it if I never had had it.

      • Black Cat

        There’s a poem that expresses that sentiment exactly ‘the blackbird of Derrycairn’ by Austin Clarke

      • G

        @ Colin_in_exile

        Had the best year of my life in Limerick, and always like when I visit or past through, wonderful place and hope I end-up back there (permanently perhaps) someday.

    • G

      @ John Allen – I wonder are the prayers holding people back? Are these the prayers that led to successive right wing governments?

      • G – you ask yourself ‘what is prayer’ and if you are lucky to find out you should learn that prayer is about asking for something that you want .Until you get it you keep asking until you you do finally receive it .Then think of something else to ask for .Only fools are blind .
        Monks were always asking and seeking until they got it .Thats why they became scholars .

        • G

          One thing ‘asking for it’, another thing going on and trying to create it through public action, agitation, campaigning, what has been won in terms of rights has been fought for, campaigned for, people did it, whether they were ‘assisted’ by prayer or God, well that is above my pay grade.

  13. wills


    I THINK your article raise a FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION.

    WHAT is the BAILOUT for ANGLO been used FOR?

    Is the bailout been used to pay out depositers closing down their accounts. YES or NOT?

  14. I am amazed to have come across very many bank letters to business people in Clare and Limerick seeking ‘Formal Demands’. I am saying this because I am fearing for these families and the consequences that the Banks will pursue .
    The actions of FF to save a corrupt Irish Bank is distroying terminally good Irish businesses everywhere.
    This is Political Treason .Where is the Opposition?

  15. wills


    DO you know what the anglo bail out is been used for?

  16. G

    Free college fees gave me my start
    Wednesday May 26 2010

    IT was with great sadness that I read the opinions of Professor Colm Harmon (‘Abolition of college fees was not a good idea’, Irish Independent, May 25).

    I grew up in a council estate in a typical working-class environment in which money was extremely tight.

    Had it not been for the abolition of college fees my parents would not have been able to put me through college, something they desperately wanted to do for myself and my brother.

    I am now an accountant with one of the biggest life insurance companies in the world.

    While the ratios of lower/middle class participants in third-level education might be low, should we really be looking at discriminating against the poorest elements of society that want to educate themselves?

    While I agree that greater encouragement needs to be given to increase the percentages from less well-off backgrounds to take up these places, the fact is that fees do matter.

    If college fees had not been abolished I would not have gone to college no matter how well I performed in my Leaving Certificate.

    I would now be another untrained statistic on the Live Register.

    I am indebted to the State and the tax paying public for the education I have received and will appreciate the opportunities they have given me until the day I die.

    David Burke
    Irish Independent

  17. G

    Strange that Dr. Alan Aherne should have a portrait of Mr. Alan Greespan in his office…..

    “After stints teaching at a number of universities and working for accountants Coopers and Lybrand, and Bank of Ireland Treasury, he worked for the US Central bank — the Federal Reserve.

    Among his tasks was the preparation of research notes for Alan Greenspan, one of the most influential global financial figures of the past 20 years.”

    • Not strange to me…,

      Swap out Greenspan for Clowen below…Greenspan for 18 yrs since his first appointment under Reagan was a milder version of the stoking of the property bubble and fanning of Anglo by Clowen et al, it’s still happening under NAMA

      Here’s Greenspan being questioned by Rep.Henry Waxman. Clowen should be in a similar dock instead of where he is right now, anyways Greenspan….:

      “I found a flaw in the model i perceived to be the crtical function structure that defines how the world works”

      What I found even more interesting was his statement………..

      ‘I perceived this was the will of congress’

      Is he stating Republican deregulation doctrine was demanded of him.

      If so, what political influence did this involve?

      • G

        It wasn’t just Republicans, Clinton against advice from Stiglitz and others removed the Glass-Steagall Act, sped things up enormously.

        The Republican-Democrat is an illusion of choice, in reality it is one business party masquerading as two political, M. Moore put it well: “Big business buys votes in Congress. Lobbyists write laws. The result is that the US political system is awash in capitalist money that has stripped the system of much of its democratic accountability”

        • @G

          Agree with you there, over the 18 Greenspan years both Republican and Democrats were in power. It wasn’t just Glass-Steagal that created problems though,

          “The repeal enabled commercial lenders such as Citigroup, which was in 1999 the largest U.S. bank by assets, to underwrite and trade instruments such as mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations and establish so-called structured investment vehicles, or SIVs, that bought those securities.[15] Elizabeth Warren,[16] author and one of the five outside experts who constitute the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, has said that the repeal of this act contributed to the Global financial crisis of 2008—2009.[17] [18]

          The year before the repeal, sub-prime loans were just five percent of all mortgage lending.[citation needed] By the time the credit crisis peaked in 2008, they were approaching 30 percent.[citation needed] This correlation is not necessarily an indication of causation however, as there are several other significant events that have impacted the sub-prime market during that time. These include the adoption of mark-to-market accounting, implementation of the Basel Accords, the rise of adjustable rate mortgages etc.[19]”

          I think the evicted families in Moore’s Capitalism A Love Story fell victim to ARM, Adjustable Rate Mortgages where cheap mortgages were offered and then afterwards hiked up interest rates led to repossessions as part of the scam.

          Also Basel Accords which are to come up for strengthening in 2015 set low capital risk ratios contribute to risk taking.

          Overall, I agree with what you say, big business had the largest part to play in the meltdown. An alliance of low financial regulation, lack of regulatory governance, the erosion of a democratic base through invasion by corporations, plus the purchase of vote rigging power blocks that advanced the interests of
          big business ( low taxation ) at the expense of taxpayers, are all part of the contagion we are reaping the effects of.

          I recall a moment in Moore’s film when Moore asks Warren what the banks did with the TARP money? Warren replied she didn’t know, you should ask the banks, taxpayer money was handed over with no accountability, the banks were not required to say what they spent the money on!

          Shortly after we heard of bonus hikes….lots I’d say got spent on shredding machines. The same lack of transparency and accountability exists down in the Great Beast, Grendel, I mean NAMA

          Will the Irish taxpayer ever get a full account of what is being done with taxpayers money in NAMA and Anglo?


            Forgot to comment on mark-to-market, of special interest when it comes to property evaluations and NAMA:)


            Enron incorporated “mark-to-market accounting” for the energy trading business in the mid-1990s and used it on an unprecedented scale for its trading transactions. Under mark-to-market rules, whenever companies have outstanding energy-related or other derivative contracts (either assets or liabilities) on their balance sheets at the end of a particular quarter, they must adjust them to fair market value, booking unrealized gains or losses to the income statement of the period. A difficulty with application of these rules in accounting for long-term futures contracts in commodities such as gas is that there are often no quoted prices upon which to base valuations. Companies having these types of derivative instruments are free to develop and use discretionary valuation models based on their own assumptions and methods.”

            Note the significant exposure of the Irish taxpayer from this scam through NAMA and notions such as LTEV, long term estimated value.

            Not that this would ever happen, Silver Birches abandoned estate in Longford written down as a €100 ml 50% discount against a mark to market valuation €200 ml, when developer only put €80 ml into it, resulting in a profit to the developer of 25%? We musn’t assume all loans obtained by property developers were fully spent on so-called toxic assets. Could some developers have skived away vast assets into hidden bank accounts? Will we ever know where the money went?

    • Dilly

      I notice that Alan is holding his head in the painting. If the photo panned out, would there be paintings of Charles Ponzi and Bertie Ahern on the other walls ?.

  18. Fianna Fail are the Sponsors of Bank Formal Demands sent to all Households and Businesses in the country . Is this also Sponsored Terrorism?


    Covidien jobs all gone. Followed by Boston Scientific job losses Clowen lays his own Tullamore hinterland to waste…

  20. Philip

    I am for free education. We should not penalise the educated for educating their children. The educated are a little better off and have the foresight to save in many cases. Why penalise them?

    The poorer are in general uneducated and the cycle of generational under educaton self perpetuates. These need some active assistance as the sucess rates for breaking the negative is low.

    We are now entering a phase where the educated are getting poor and are genuinely struggling and we are suggesting to cut yet another aid for educating our kids?? Neo Liberal elitist hogwash and DMcW’s vague reference to cease with free Uni fees is revealing in his own views.

    On the matter of more money for education – I say no. There are too many fancy buildings and fancy management jobs in place. For every billion you throw at education little or none of it would benefit the kids. We are scandalously mismanaged and worse we have a system that is designed on the manufacturing lines of rote learning. This has to be dismantled.

    I am very pessimistic about us ever fixing this given the confusion and bull$hit expressed on what should be free etc etc. It seems to me, that the column inches seem more focused on writing what people want to read than what they want to actually learn- how else do you get to pay off your debts as a journalist? A complete mess.

    By my reckoning and experience, I believe people are less educated (and certainly less fertile) than they were 20 to 40 years ago. We have come to rely on process as the means of gaining wealth not realising that is a race to the bottom mechanisation of humanity. This is happening is all aspects of our lives including education. We are becoming mechanical idiots run by mechanical idiots – and when things get dark we run to religion in a mechanical way – a blasphemy if ever there was one.

    Education is certainly the way out. Money is not the solution. We have to starve out the existing structures by turning our backs to them. We need to go back to our communities and start again. The world as we know it is f**ked.

    • wills


      It is, so, lets un f it. Are you up for a challenge, I am.

    • Black Cat

      I agree we need radical change, we need to dare to imagine something completely different than the system which has failed us. Education is failing – I was in the supermarket the other day and thinking ‘is this the pinnacle of human endeavour – what a degrading situation for what should be a great species to be completely dependent on a system that makes us helpless and disempowered

      • G

        People are generally superfluous, once elite needs, desires and wants are catered for the rest can go to blooming hell it seems. This is more plutocracy than meritocracy (and by a long way), to right that wrong does indeed, as some have pointed out, need radical change and solutions. Think we have gone beyond the point of waiting angrily for 2012.

  21. Alan42

    What a depressing and pointless article .

    This is Ireland . FF care about one thing only . And that is the party and their position within the party and the connections and rewards that it offers .

    For years Ireland has had a housing boom which has made housing unaffordable for the average person unless they were willing to take out 110 % mortgages or the real scam ‘ interest only mortgages ‘ ( I have no financial training , but even I know that interest only is for speculators ) . Now you have a situation where NAMA can only break even if there is another housing boom . Which in a economy that is in a depression that is the result of a credit binge which was used to fuel housing inflation of shocking proportions , is kind of weird .

    You have massive unemployment and as Morgan Kelly pointed out in his article last week , massive personal and business debt on the banks balance sheets which will bring the country down .

    The irish government are not interested in education or health or anything else besides another property boom . Because if they are not brought down by their debt they will sink with the Euro caused by the PIGS ( which by the way has spread to Oz , and as nothing spreads to Oz , we even escaped the GFC , is a cause for worry ) they will be brought down by the bond market . FF will not default and the reason is because the bond market like all sane creditors know that if they squeeze a bankrupt to death they will get nothing back . But if they cut a deal and get 10 cents in a Euro back that they will at least recovered something from a bad investment .

    However FF know that if they default that the bond market will not lend to FF but will lend to a new administration . They will demand it as a condition of new lending . And that is why FF will never put 20 billion into education but will throw countless billions of your money into Anglo .

  22. Alan42

    I cannot for the life of me understand how a economy that is trying to reduce its costs is praying for another housing boom so that Nama will break even ,

    I spoke to some people in Ireland the other day who were really worried over Morgan Kelly’s article . I printed it out and I read it and I reread it and reread it again . With all due respect to the him the only thing I get from it is that Irish banks have massive debt and massive ongoing debt as people cannot repay 3000 grand mortgages . Is that some kind of secret in Ireland ? The banks and Ireland are bust ?

    • Colin_in_exile

      “I cannot for the life of me understand how a economy that is trying to reduce its costs is praying for another housing boom so that Nama will break even.”

      Simples, you reduce average Joe’s take home salary through higher taxation (or/and facilitate Joe’s employer to directly reduce Joe’s gross salary) for his average job so that average Joe cannot afford a mortgage for an average house, so he’s left with two options;
      1. he takes out an average mortgage for a well below average property or
      2. he pays well above average rent for an average property.


      I went to the doctor the other day, I said Doc, you gotta help me, I keep having these awful dreams. Go on, said the Doc. Well, these beautiful women keep walking towards me, and I keep pushing them away, they keep walking towards me and I keep pushing them away. What do you want me to do said the Doc. Break both my arms, I said.

    • Deco

      “This economy is trying to reduce it’s costs”.
      Well, I am sceptical. This economy is being forces to reduce it’s own costs. Nobody tries to get their costs into line.

      The banks are bust ? Probably true. But look at all the waste and misallocation and unrealistic nonsense that went on. This is what created the bankruptcy. And we live in a country where the establishment is trying to prevent any intellectual ‘joining the dots’ development from occurring… save their own hides.

  23. Deco

    Firstly, education is neither a right nor an entitlement. It is a choice. Standing over kids trying to encourage them to read does not always work. Some kids have already inherited characteristics from their parents that are not condusive to a life of study. Education is the product of hard work. But, ironically the social mores that exist in Ireland, define progress as getting to a position where you don’t have to work. And this relates to David’s comment about “hierarchies”. It is also connects to the Golf Club mentality. In the age of the internet, is it possible to educate oneself. As Dilly pointed out, all that is required is the good sense to through out the Puke Cube. So if we want to get people to take education seriously, first we need to have a culture of rewarding hard work. Unfortunately, the organization culture in both private and public sectors, as manifested in institutional entities is the complete anthithesis of encouraging hard work. Rewards come to those who work and manipulate the system. And the hierarchies that David mentions seem to crop up everywhere.

    So the problem is the Education system. A lot of people go through the education system thinking that it is about getting a certain qualitification, a step on the corporate ladder, and then a chance to apply careerist charm and bullshit and climb the hierarchy. The problem at the moment is not from lack of money. Few in the education system seem to think that it is their job to comment on this. Many are ‘OK’ with the current institutional culture that exists in our society. But when we are finished bailing out banks, money will complicate all other problems.

    Second, Uni fees over the last 10 years were not too expensive when you consider that until recently a lot of Leaving Cert Students considered it the done thing to be in Majorca, and to get the results texted across from parents back home. Basically there is a resource allocation problem. People want free education, so that they have more money for consumerist nonsense like 1000 km roundtrip pissups. But with an incomes crisis, the uni fees issue will be a problem, because the parents have no money. [We are now doing it assways - when charging third level fees was an option, we abolished them - and when we could not afford them, we are throwing them out].

    Third, whatever happened to the ESF RTC/IT grant. Basically it carried kids through college, while they studied and learned real skills. And these were skills that gave them independence. Until the property market and consumer craze culture came to make fools of all. It was a godsend to the working class. And then the ILP threw it out. That is what you get from Smoked Salmon Socialists.

    Fouthly, even sadder than the story of kids who never get an education in this country, is the story of children who work hard, whose parents make the sacrifices, and who do a really good job – only to find the jobs have been pencilled in for the cronies kids. But there is a way to deal with that. Allow the failed capitalist enterprises and their failed networks of cronies to fail. It is not new. There is a name for it. It is called the (traditional) American way (as compared with the post GBush/GBrown method of “too big to bail”).

    Anyway, in Ireland we are talking about these issues. And we need to really analyze it – not the usual nonsense of repeating the same old nonsense again and again.

    By the way, nobody should confuse an education with acquired sophistication. The something for nothing route to greatness was our undoing as a society. By the way a system that is short on Engineers, and top-heavy on marketing graduates, should not be surprised at it’s creepy effectiveness at lying to its own members on such matters like the ‘value’ of overhyped property, or it’s own ability to get people to spend way beyond their means. But this is something that has escaped criticism almost completely in the public domain. Likewise being an assertive knowitall does not equate to being knowledgeable. And yet this is another cardinal fault of a massive cohort of Irish society.

    • Black Cat

      I think that so many people walking around today are more concerned with having the appearance of sophistication but are not at all interested in culture – it costs nothing to go to the local library and get a great work of literature but people seem to prefer to have the apperance of having money than become more cultured

      • Black Cat

        PS good point about work – meaningful work is a joy but in Ireland anyone who went out and did an honest days work was a fool, after all why not speculate and get other people working for you

  24. Tim

    Folks, some of the misinformed coments here are really sending my blood-pressure through the roof.

    Since I do not wish to die and leave my wife and children alone, just because of these comments, I will wait until I am calm before I comment.

    What a great job the government and media have done to demonise educators as public servants!

    So *many* of you, supposed “enlightened-ones” have fallen for it. Shocking!

    • +1

      Tim, is it not exactly how this is supposed to work? It is so stereotype, make the victims become those responsible, and in continuation declare ‘war’ on the poor, take all they have, then call them the originators of their own downfall.

    • Black Cat

      Its not just the media, there are great teachers of course, my personal experience of national school was of being slapped and humiliated by a teacher, me because I was a foreigner and another girl because her mother was an alcoholic and didnt wash her so she smelt of wee, I’m sure there are countless other tales of people whose developing personalities were quashed by teachers and who have poor opinions of the education system, but I still think they are paid more than british teachers for less hours

  25. via Karl Wheelans blog, by Frank Barry:

    Keynes’ famous lecture on economic experimentation, delivered at UCD in April 1933, has recently become available online.

  26. wills


    ‘The banks are bust ? Probably true. But look at all the waste and misallocation and unrealistic nonsense that went on. This is what created the bankruptcy. And we live in a country where the establishment is trying to prevent any intellectual ‘joining the dots’ development from occurring… save their own hides.’

    SPOT ON.


    FULL MOON has arrived so SLOW DOWN



    This is an unsponsored notice to readers to Save Your Life

    You may return to Normal Pulse by Saturday Safely.Until then STOP if you can and RELAX

    • Ye know the sun is 400 times the size of the moon. Not an eclipse chaser but at times of full eclipse the whole of the sun gets shadowed out for a few minutes. What are the extraordinary chances for this to happen?

      Plus the well known effects of tides/effects on menstrual cycle, moon wobbles.

      Allied to this
      the new solar cycle began around 2008 with the first sunspots and height of activity expected 2011/2012

      John, you need to adjust your moon observations to take solar activity into account as there appears to be good space weather conditions growing towards economic bust towards the end of this year as Euro solar fuel begins to escape and run out..

      • cbweb – I agree with you .However as the next largest planet in our system is the moon it is easier to explain how this small ball has such a wonderful effect on us all and in particular our emotions thus causing a weakness to our reasoning skills.It is usually in times like this Logic is defeated and all Greatness by man is distroyed and the last laugh is left to ‘the gods’ even ‘the pantheon’.

    • apart from John’s hobby with the stars…. he has a point which is valid…. this whole economy game should consider to SLOW DOWN!

  28. Straight Line :

    Did you know you can draw a straight line down from Eyjafjallajokull to Eyeries in west Cork and both names are Icelandic .Can this tell us something ?

    • What about Eyre Square ?What is underneath it?

      • ‘ ryanairfjallajokull’ – is this a new word? If it was it could mean ‘ a big european airline on a glacier’ . I have a melting feeling O’Leary wants to go to the toilet .Should he take a parachute?
        I am so thankful Aer Lingus is refunding all my expenses because I was stranded in April in France and I will travel with them again soon.

  29. stiofanc02

    I think this John Allen fella has forgotten to take his medication. Perhaps John you should STOP POSTING your B.S. and then we can RELAX. By the way anyone notice the time lag after David publishes his thoughts and then everyone else gets on board.

    • Black Cat

      Chill out man! This isn’t everyone here is respectful and its what keeps us coming back – I like his posts – he’s in touch with a natural cycle of the moon as we all should be and used to be before we became industralised

  30. stiofanco2 – your volcanic and a perfect example of how the full moon works.Thanks so much for demonstrating this .Evidence speaks louder and this is an economic contributor factor to GNP.

  31. Philip

    The first part of any healing process is to remove the root cause. Yesterday the bill to have early by-elections was defeated 72-68 and so far, it seems no one will wind up in gaol. Amnesty International declares as “frightening” the extent to which state bodies can withhold information from the highest elected officials of the land. We obfuscate the rights of our children with the bull$hit laws that are supposed to protect them and the government has blocked any proposals on a referendum for a set of rights for children. Education is it? We’ll give ya education if you dont bloody conform buster!!

    In response to an earlier request – what am I going to do about. it? Well I can dance outside Dail Eireann all day and probably get locked up. Become part of a pressure group for change – sorry, but bandwagon activity just becomes a support podium for the charismatic gits who have their own power agenda.

    It is depressing – but merely because it is taking so much time and I am impatient. I am optimistic however that the whole edifice is failing and catastrophically so. FF is effectively dead. Ditto for Greens. Management of all our banking institutions have months left. And our civil service and HSE throughout will feel major change. Why? Money will have been pulled. I think this is imminent and John Allen’s lunar observations merely point to the obvious. Just open your eyes.

    So what do I do? well, I have my own friends and community and we try and educate one another and I notice people are starting to listen more and more. Nothing can be taken for granted.

    • Phillip,

      in my humble opinion, democracy in the dail is abused and perverted to nothing more than a ‘voting machine’ with predictable outcomes.

      72/68 has nothing to do with democracy but everything with a rigged dail that is based on bribed independents and a dysfunctional opposition.

  32. Wooohooo 3% growth returns for 2011 !!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch out for this in yer crow’s nests:)

    We’re about to get pummelled with statistics and propaganda telling us of return to growth for e.g 2011 of 3%
    statistics most likely based on GNP.

    We’re also to be pummelled with propaganda on reductions required for expenditure on education/health and other social services. Plus people like Elderfield et al will soften up any prospect of help being given to taxpayers in mortgage arrears because of ‘moral hazard’, a point ignored when pouring money into the banks. Plus young and old will be encouraged to leave Ireland purely to get people off the live register:

    Two important points need to be born in mind as we digest this false, fair weather ‘growth’ propaganda.

    The first has been alluded to by our host re education, austerity/cutbacks in education and other sacrifices
    elsewhere will not be taken into account by these GNP figures.

    Secondly, off the balance sheet accounting for sovereign debt, including NAMA and the bank bailouts mean any growth figures are only the result of an accountancy trick.

    Its a simple trick. If I sell 10K in year one, 12K in year two, let’s say my GNP has grown by 20%, simple .

    if I don’t account for the fact that I borrowed 10K in year one and 20K in year two in order to remain solvent and make that GNP work,…..go figure.

    Ballooning debt is not an index of economic growth and should not be.

    Plus GNP disguise austerity and deep cutbacks in the quality if life echoed above, see here:

    “Third, in opposition to parochial economistic view of development held by mainstream economists, it is emphasized by some scholars that there is no direct compatibility between GNP growth rate and actual human development. As Daly (1989:75) points out, “Limits to growth do not imply limits to development.” Similarly, for
    Trainer (1989:2), “Identifying development with sheer economic growth certainly does wonders for GNP, but it does very little for the poor majority.” Fourth, going one step further and in line with dependency theorists, Alschuler (1988:6) mentions that sometimes economic growth may lead to national disintegration, internal
    colonialism, state repression, and thus, maldevelopment. Shiva (1989) also points out how the GNP measure may eventually imply maldevelopment. There are indeed certain developing nations with high GNP growth rates (especially the Newly Industrialized Countries), which have achieved such high growth rates often at the expense of internal state control and external dependence.”

    Looks like we’re in for a long period of maldevelopment…

    • G

      Financial literacy and ‘economic’ education so critical in order to see the wood from the trees.

      Can’t have a recovery with static to rising unemployment, mortgage arrears/defaults etc

      If Billy Kelleher thinks we will all be saved because ‘new car sales’ are up, then we are truly f**ked.

      No decent newspaper or media outlet in this country, might have to do a Beckett on it and f**k off to France.

  33. @ John,

    talk about the full moon, it was impossible for me to set up my photo gear so quick, but last night at around 2AM, it is never totally dark on the horizon at this time of the year in Donegal, the full moon created a rainbow over the bay. I have never seen this before, just stunning.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Western World Prediction Come True: The New Fascists will call themselves Anti-Fascists (i.e. Communists).

      Eastern World Prediction Come True: The New Communists will behave like Anti-Communists (i.e. Fascists).

    • Deco

      Seen this in the Irish Indo today. Full credit to the photographer who managed to find this out. And then managed to sneak the photos out. If it is exposed then we know what is going on. And then more people will exercise their conscience.

      I have a MP3 player – and as far as I know it is made in Germany. (though you never know with subcomponents). This means that EU labour law applies for a lot of the value chain.

      This reminds me of the article written by David last year, concerning the factory in China where workers were getting less than 2USD per day for stitching up an Irish soccer shirt. (The same shirt is officially much more expensive in Dublin). Something like 78Euro plus was made on the entire process chain, from people who created nothing, via handovers and control of the chain. All of this so that people in Ireland could claim to be proud to be Irish. Really the entire debacle was shameful gombeenism. Half a million on the dole here, and workers in China getting a fraction of that amount to work ten hours a day.

      • G

        Easy to make profits when people are treated like this, old tale, work forked out to subsidiaries for obvious reasons.

        • Black Cat

          Stuff like that depresses the hell out of me, don’t blame them for jumping off the factory roof, I won’t be buying an ipad after reading it, my Dad’s always saying, ‘you better learn to work harder and faster because you’re all going to have to compete with the Chinese now’ and similar cheerful things.

          • Deco

            this sort of stuff happens, and it cannot be out-regulated.

            But, if it becomes common knowledge, then the brand obsessed commercial outfits sitting at the top of the hierarchy will get forced to cough up the cash to compensate the affected families, and improve conditions.

          • G

            Someone mentioned that a comment was made that the ‘suicide rates were in keeping with the societal ‘norms’ in China’, how devilish!

  34. Kabbalah – the Jews have perfected the art of holding the past with the future while continually interpreting the annals of their great masters with the current events of today .This cohesiveness is a sacred bond that has preserved their traditions in their education over the centuries.Thus their practice of ‘Reverence’ and ‘ Humility’ strenthens their desire to always remain successful as a people and a belief system.We in Ireland have lost all of this and our displacement from the past takes away from us the future we all crave for.Thus in this void Crime prevails and nourishes itself stronger and society disintegrates more.Education is all about experiencing the past with the future and interpreting its ways without making any change within ourselves only around us .

  35. G

    Around the world with Joseph Stiglitz, calmer, no jumping around, fast editing documentary, solid, paced, with good interviews………..

  36. MK1

    Hi David,

    Another good piece from you and it raises a number of interesting points and touches on some well-known, if not currently solved, issues.

    DavidMcW> he could see children being left behind in front of his eyes. These children will slip back academically, becoming alienated initially from the classroom and then, ultimately, from the school.

    One problem with the schooling system is that the teachers do not teach individually but instead are generally more interested in just getting the class through the day. Yes, they have a general interest in their children and their class as a whole, but Sally, Jamie or whoever that falls behind will by-and-large fall back further.

    HOWEVER, there is a free answer, and thats called Parents! ALL parents should be reminded that they are part of a child’s education, which lets face it is a 24×7 thing anyway. Granted, parents may not have the means, the time, etc, BUT with state “reminding”, and more teacher-parent interaction, they can remedy the falling-behind situation.

    DavidMcW > the extraordinary waste of money that is being poured in to keep Anglo open and considered what could be done with just a fraction of that money. The Anglo bailout will add as much as €20bn to our national debt;

    But follow the money – where is that 20b going? Yes, its propping up a failed bank’s balance sheet so that it means that creditors of that bank including deposit holders will get their money back. But who got the money that Anglo loans were used for? Mainly Irish people. Its IN the country, well some of it anyway, and has been used/abused, etc. Some of it was also used for tax that has already gone on education, and many of those special needs assistants appointees no doubt. The only way to get some of the money back, and into education etc, is via a CLAWBACK TAX.

    DavidMcW> A country that makes such choices deserves to go bust because only through a massive crisis that sweeps away the status quo can such a place change.

    Now that “type of talk” is revolutionary, but you are right. However, I dont think we will have a revolution. There are too many businesses surviving, too many PS workers being kept in jobs through borrowing, etc, we are waiting for the global recovery to help us and to adjust bit by bit and hopefully come out the far side. Perhaps the 7 year olds who are falling behind in the education of today will be the forces of the future revolution, but it wont be the current people. So, no revolution today, but who knows within the next 10 years?

    “They say you want a revolution, well, you know ……”


    • “But follow the money…”

      Amazing your assumption that any part of the money for Anglo is going on tax whether through DIRT or any other way into taxpayer pockets.

      Love to see an excel sheet listing all the depositors and how much they’re owed, not likely to get that, are we? Has Seanie a load of accounts hidden away there with some of the €180ml, hope the CAP are taking a close look. Surprised no arrests yet.

      And a list of bondholders, now who exactly are they and for how much? All that tier one debt to France, Switzerland, Germany and what about tier two debt, where is that going?

      Its more likely no money has moved anywhere. All that’s happened is the debtors above have torn up their promisory notes as in:

      OK, ye owe us this and can’t pay us back, here’s another 70bn you owe us as well. Use some for capital on your balance side so you can pretend you are a bank again. The rest we’ll keep, you already owe us:)

      The only money moving anywhere is the increased interest payments the taxpayer has shouldered to pay for Seanie’s debts.

      Accountability, transparency, let’s publish the Anglo account books and show taxpayers where exactly their money is going!

  37. G

    Excellent interview with Professor David Harvey on Hardtalk

    • Thanks!

      ….Building up their own assets, paying big bonuses, and not increase lending…. Marxist or not, he is right!

      Same with politicians, preaching the spending cut mantra, shoveling it all up to the banks, zero investment in new jobs, and so on….

      I often wonder when someone snaps and the first banks are set on fire.

      The arrogance of the establishment has no boundaries, I guess nothing will change until people understand that it is their very lives and wellbeing are at stake here.

      • G

        People respond in different ways, look at the Holocaust and the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in ’43. Some go down fighting, some go down.

  38. @ Malcolm Mc Clure –

    1 I was in Galway today attending the newstalk given by George Hook .I enjoyed it and was fun and I think you would have too .I believe that GH has picked Ml Graham to push those ideas he believes in and because Ml G is an outsider/ foreigner he might lead the way for the rest of us .George is genuinely concerned about what is really happening in our little country .I think you would like Ml G eventhough he can be a nutter ; and

    2 Aer Lingus wrote to me today and agreed to pay in full my costs while I was stranded in Nice .

    • Malcolm McClure

      John ALLEN; Thank you for your helpful feedback. I gave a lot of thought to the possibility of attending, but on balance decided against it. Apart from the distance etc, and as the broadcast confirmed, it was always going to be difficult to combine serious slapstick, pointing to the lunacy of political responses, with responsible advice on how best to deliver the nation from this hour of peril.

      David is facing the same difficulty as he uses satire on stage to influence serious discussion. Also, someone texted today’s programme, calling George and Michael the Abbot and Costello of Irish politics. We all feel helpless in the face of incalculable numbers and incomprehensible global events, but of course your moon wobble provides a third way to reconcile ourselves with reality.

      I think this search for reconciliation is just a necessary preliminary stage to the hard-nosed reaction that will inevitably follow. We are shouting our curses to opposing forces across the valley and showing them our arses. The drums are beating, while we steel ourselves for the charge. But the hour for “O’Donnell Abu” “An lámh dhearg abú” or “Fág an bealach!” has not arrived yet.

      • Malcolm Mc Clure – afterwards we all had an open forum and discussions followed and e-mails given to Ml. Graham .Those in attendance were all ages and a gendered balanced crowd and there was a banter between everyone .Professions and vocations were mixed and all were well spoken and genuinely concerned about their country and their families .I met some from the Burren and from Gaeltach Connemara .Everyone was listening and listening .There was a deep collective fear about ourselves.To all outward appearance there was an attempt to show a happy face but deep down they were all carrying many stories they had heard or experienced and wanting to share and to be heard.
        George gave us all a free bar of a round of drinks and genuinely went around to everyone and shook their hands and thanked them for attending and making their contribution.

        • Malcolm McClure

          John ALLEN: Thanks again; Michael Graham indicated that during the 7pm session, he would outline how the Tea Party approach could be adapted to suit Ireland’s current situation. Did he do that and what was the response?

          Your account gives the impression that the audience was quite sanguine and deliberate in their responses. The absence of the usual smattering of ‘awkward customers’ suggests, as I suspected, that the temperature of popular opinion is still several degrees below revolutionary zeal.

          Comforted by the plush surroundings of the Radisson, were they still basking in the afterglow of the good times?

          • Malcolm McClure – I only remained for a while at the hotel for the talktime banter and did not leave to the other meeting house they had planned .I was satisfied what I had seen there.Afterwards I was imagining Tim and Furrylugs basking in the hotel lobby , but in vain as was the last time when I arrived there to meet them .They are techies in their ways of making contacts .
            I am just a cultchie wearing boots in a kaffee haus near the hauptbahnstrasse dunking my kunchen and saying danke to the beautiful frauleins that give me their lederhosens.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Guess there could be more feedback on Newstalk. The Right Hook at 4:30 today.

  39. Deco

    The financial markets are feeling very positive about themselves. Giving themselves a congratulatary slap on the back.

    the reason is that China has stopped short of saying that EuroZone debt is a bad investment. So this is a reassurance. And when there is a fair amount of things to be fearful abot, reassurance does this sort of thing. Also there were fears that Spain was sitting on an imploding banking system. The Spanish government agreed an austerity plan – after two years dithering. This will actually reduce Spanish GDP. But critically it will arrest the dangerous borrowing by the state in Spain. Therefore it means that Spain is more likely to survive in the Eurozone. And it improves the picture for the PIGS. Because we are in the PIGS zone we should be relieved. Because everything bad that happens in the other PIGS causes tremors in the Irish bond market.

    However there are things optimism does not solve.
    It will not sell 3 million houses in Spain to young people who have no jobs and who are trying to pay rent. It will not resusitate the retail complexes and units on the books of Anglo’s most overstretched customers. It will not bring down the cost of Irish electricity. It will not add one ounce of intelligence to the Kildare Street Circus. It will not make the Irish Civil Service productive. It will not solve the debt loads carried by local authorities.

    In fact it will do nothing to fix our debt problems. But don’t worry. Tomorrow you will be told before you put milk on your cereal that “And the ISEQ is up, Bank of Ireland is up, AIB is also up, and Permo is also up….on a positive day…”. Standard issue stuff. “Our adveritising sponsors” would be please sufficiently to keep up the business.

    The big picture is different. It is the problems that remain unresolved.

    • Black Cat

      I feel more sorry for us than the Greeks or Spanish – at least they have sun – being young and poor in Ireland means being cold and I’ve had a lot of cold winters by now though most’d be ashamed to admit it

  40. Tim

    Folks, Did you see this?

    (via @EvertB)

  41. Tim

    Black Cat, you may not have been here, the last time this was said, so I will say it, again:

    Batton-down the hatches; buy tinned-foods. Store them. (long shelf-life stuff, like beans, spam, peas).

    Plastic-bottled water is no good; glass only.

    Store fire-wood. Get solar/dynamo-powered flashlights.

    *Make* provision.


    …. got it?

    • paulmcd

      Alternative strategy: Get fat like Brian C, recycle bullshit, and, provided you stay in Ireland, you can choose to ignore the need for change

    • Black Cat

      I bought six months supply of cat food – and some human food but the moggies come first – its hard to decide whether to stock up or run to a foreign country where there’s more work -

      • G

        Facing them same call, stay or go?

        • Black Cat

          Yea – I have the offer of a house in Blackpool but not until the owners old blind cat passes away because it won’t be able to find its way around a new house, don’t know if the UK is going to be any better than here, just put it out there in the hope that someone more worldly and wiser here might give some advice or opinion.

    • Josey

      are you serious? I used take comments like yours found on american survivalist sites with a pinch of salt?

      Why not plastic bottled water, is it cos of the leeching of articficial estrogyn? In that case floridated water is a no no too.

      Oh My all my worst conspiracy nightmares are coming through.

      Been working in Munich and Zurich this week, no sign of the recession here, lots of construction going on, new tram lanes being built.

      We could employ thousands for years making our cities look like Zurich. You wouldn’t believe the infrastructure there.

      But we all know this and we still put OUR money into the great Abyss.

  42. Blackpool Casinos in Blackpool –

    My inside information tells me that already cash takings are falling rapidly in this resort as we speak. How many tokens does it take to take a knock ?Or a candy floss blown in your face ?Or a Hard Rock cafe to break your teeth implants?Or how higher can these mini skirts can go?Or shoot a duck?
    Do we need mirror warps to see ourselves?And a wheel of fortune ?
    How many more Clowns do we need to fix a carnival bulb?

  43. Black Cat

    I expect that this is an analogy for something else but Blackpool is failing partly because the woman who inherited the Pleasure beach from her grandfather is now charging 25 quid to get in the gates whereas it used to be free – this stops the old grannies going in for a wander around and a cup of tea orkids who have just enough for one ride – that’s what the locals are complaining about – Blackpool is an incredibly ugly place but the people are lovely -

  44. Deco

    American joke.
    Q. What created the subprime crisis ?
    A. Subprime thinking.

    There has been a lot of subprime thinking in the US. And the careerists who created the sub-prime thinking have got bailed out. But not just the US. there has been a lot of subprime thinking in Ireland (plus all the other members of STUPID).

    With respect to Education, the biggest problem is our lack of meritocracy outside of the education system. In other words you get educated in a system that is meritocratic until the 17th/18th June of your life. And then after that the cronyism and nonsense starts to take over as people filter into the institutional structures (and hierarchies) that hold down Ireland. This seeps into the motivation level of the children. They do not know it, but apathy amongst the general public seeps into children going to school.

    The biggest problem in the classroom is the parents who don’t care about education sending their kids in for babysitting out of the way for the middle of the day. And the kids then responding to this by engaging in attention seeking behaviour. Maybe the parents need to go to school so as to change the children ? But in any case we need to be more meritocratic in the rest of society.

    In a country where success does not always go to the hardest worker, or the sharpest mind, but to the lad who plays golf/rugger/etc.. with the people that matter, the value of learning, knowledge, ability, and education all gets degraded.

    In Ireland it was for many years an established fact that children in the mountainous regions of the western seaboard, had the greatest value placed in education. And along the eastern seaboard, children were instructed to take more practical learning and to get into the workforce earlier. To survive in this world you need to master both, and you need to get stuck into both with gusto. That is something that we forget. We need a better hybrid approach. An admission that we need a university system and an Institutes of Technology system.

    But more than anything else, the entire society, and not just the education system needs to do something about this subprime thinking problem that got us into this mess. An awful lot of consumerist propaganda has been in circulation for the last twenty years, and it has recreated the social mores of society to be selfish, short-termist, trivial, shallow, lazy and inept. Of course the education system might have prepared you for this. But the debate in society was so effectively hijacked….that any form of critique was lacking. The masses were saturated with trivia, minutae and feel-good bullshit, that nobody bothered to think enough any more. Henry Ford once remarked that “the hardest thing to do is to think…..that is why so few people do it”. Evidently, it must be said that this is true of Ireland in the last twenty years and perhaps even further back. We have been very lazy with regard to knowledge, education and information. So much for the smart economy, when people are too lazy to think.

    Ireland has become more American than America itself !!! Especially with respect to subprime thinking.

    Bailing out Anglo, Nepoto, etc… is too stupid to be part of the Smart Economy. On the other hand if there was a national consensus that we need to dump the entire culture of subprime thinking that predominated over the past twenty years, then this would be a real recovery.

    Don’t bank on it. IBEC, D2, the meida, our advertising sponsors and a ton of vested interests don’t want any sort of intellectual awakening. The last thing they want to see if people doing some serious thinking !!!!

    • Deco

      Critical thinking has been taken out of the syllabus for the education system. And we are all the worse for it. Well, as you can imagine it is a dangerous skillset to be giving to people. Dangerous for authority. And the media has circumvented people’s natural curiosity and scepticism with a volume of useless information and rubbish, to make sure that many are impervious to what has happened.

  45. Deco

    The jobs market 2010.

    That is serious competition. Much tougher than in the 1980s.

  46. G

    I presume this also applies to this page………..

    DERMOT AHERN warned people this week that they could be sued for defamation if they posted defamatory comments on their Facebook page. The reality that comments can come back to haunt you, especially online, is hardly a new one. And yet we keep putting them out there through Facebook, Twitter and blogging.

    Social Control 101….

    • Tull McAdoo

      You just had to mention that Gobshites name, Dermot ” looking for some cause to aid self-promotion” Ahearne. Minister for Justice My Arse, that clown would’nt no justice, because nobody in FF could explain it to Him. If you want justice in Ireland just look to my man, the Judge Roy Bean of Mullingar , I give you exhibit A …… Judge Neilan, kick ass and take names later. Fcuk it man I just love this guy. Neilan for President.

      • G

        Ha ha, love the the first word in the article ‘controversial’ – you’re controversial when you do something against elites, the word raises the fear of lack of control, unpredictable, maverick………f**king Independent…….

        You can sink the country financially, sell off its assets, privatise everything, run down public services, charge for everything (including water despite the fact that half of it is leaking out through shitty infrastructure which was never upgraded during the boom), fail to provide decent support for start-ups, no broadband system, shitty housing stock which have to be insulated under a government programme because it wasn’t done properly the first time, slaughter the low waged, the unemployed, the disabled, the sick and the poor while talking of patriotism, participate in illegal wars and the arms trade, fail to regulate or even meet the regulator and pay him off for not doing his job, allow semi-state boards giant piss ups in the US & at concerts, green lights for Ministers to attend Superbowls and European cups (with government jets), run up obscene expenses but challenge a banker/developer with jail and you are a ‘controversial’!

        Now that is my definition of Orwellian Ireland.

      • +1

        Just where in the heck is the extra resources/extra legislation/arrests/ banking inquiry litigation/probes of the financial services industry/ Seanie before the courts/ firing of the boards of banks …instead of the here’s €70bn of taxpayers money, don’t tell us where you spent it now, we don’t want to know?

        Whistleblower legislation is worth sweet all if you can get away with impunity with financial crime including embezzlement and glass bottle shredded shenanigans

    • paulmcd

      Dermot Ahern is responsible for law REFORM; but – as I live in County Louth and see the weekly blurbs and photos relating to his constituency activities – I do not know where he would find the time to bring forward REFORMS (Constitutional and other) in a TIMELY manner; reforms which we so hurriedly and desperately need to counter bankster shenanigans, inter alia.

      If he is serious getting his work done, there are 2 words we should NEVER hear from him: BLASPHEMY and DEFAMATION

    • Dilly

      I was not aware of this. That Ahern is a complete muppet, he lives in the dark ages. Did I mention that I think he is a muppet.

  47. G

    There’s a ‘singles’ ad on this page now (Zoosk), I wonder if the company in question thought all these ‘sad bloggers’ need to get a life/get a girl………..any comment David?

    Seems a bit odd, doubt Sitglitz or Krugman would go for it…….

    • Yep, blogging can be time consuming. Its motivation can be some form of public/self service need to clear the mind and get a good focus on stuff impacting the world around you especially when you believe its turnin into Alice in La La Land. As an end in itself it could be very unhealthy. You definitely need a life as well. I’m lucky to have wife/kids and plenty other interests. Judging from posts here plenty have also from moon wobbles to music etc. Those without a girl/fella should get one:) Back to some java programming for me for the afternoon. From which occasionally I’ll take a look/break to see if there’s anything moron gobshite Dempsey even though it might take me a few weeks in court to defend my view that Dempsey is a gobshite, I would have to take my time doing it, wouldn’t I:)

  48. McKinsey report made me try to think a bit:)

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