October 20, 2010

Simple rules of economics say we must spend, not cut

Posted in Irish Economy · 263 comments ·

On Monday the opposition parties finally visited the oracle on Merrion Street. Things are bad. So bad that even Michael Noonan couldn’t summon a suitable analogy to describe the situation.

This is the same man who on Budget Night was capable of the immortal put down “Wasn’t Pol Pot radical?” when individualisation was being breathlessly and flatteringly described as “radical”.

He is again focusing on the budget but this time he could only muster: “The figure of adjustment published already in the Government plans was €7.5 billion. With lower growth rates projected, the level of adjustment is going to be significantly higher than that.”

It may lack Noonanesque flourish, but let’s look at that statement for a minute. Growth in the economy is expected to be lower than previously forecast, and yet the solution proposed is to cut more. In economic terms, this option is madness verging on criminal negligence.

At the core of macroeconomics is an idea called the “automatic stabiliser”. This could be described as economic ballast. When the people save money, the government should compensate by spending it and vice versa.

A recession like the one we are experiencing happens because people start, quite suddenly, saving much more of their income. This recession in Ireland is a balance sheet recession — a recession which occurs in response to the implosion of the national private balance sheet. We have a load of debt on one side of the balance sheet and a load of assets (property) on the other, which are falling in value.

In order to get their houses in order, people are saving and trying to pay down debt. This means that they are taking money out of circulation and saving it rather than spending it.

This is easy to see when looking at the figures. At end December 2006, household savings were €77bn; GNP for 2006 was €153bn. This meant that national savings equaled 50.3pc of GNP.

By the end of June 2010, household savings had jumped to €85bn and GNP for the 12 months to June 2010 had fallen to €135.5bn. This means that household savings are now 62.7pc of GNP.

Taken together, these two developments mean that household savings as a percentage of GNP surged by an enormous 24.5pc in three and a half years. (It is important to note that while the level of savings increased by only €8bn, or 9.5pc, much of the increase in the ratio has come about because of the fall in GNP across that period.)

In 2006, as you’d expect from the ‘automatic stabiliser’ way of looking at the economy, when the people were spending, the government was saving — running a small €2.26bn budget surplus which was 1.5pc of GNP. Today the budget deficit is 17pc of GNP. So the swing from government saving to spending has been a full 19.5pc of GNP.

Taking a bit of altitude, we can see that the budget position is doing exactly as expected. This is the way the modern economy operates. It is not the end of the world that the budget deficit has ballooned. I am not making light of what needs to be done, but we need to see some context. Put simply, there is still lots of money in the economy, but people are scared stiff of spending it.

Any big budgetary strategy should be aware of this.

When you draw back and look at policy, it is not hard to conclude that there is a basic failure of economic understanding at the centre of the ‘slash and burn’ policy.

The first thing is that there is a difference between the individual and the economy. If there wasn’t, economics would be accountancy.

If an individual is living beyond his means, then yes, cut back on spending. But a country is not an individual. An individual’s income comes from an external source (an employer, customers or the dole) but a country’s income comes from itself mainly. Because of this, when a country cuts spending, it ends up cutting its own income.

This might sound like a contradiction, but it can be explained by another simple bit of economics called the multiplier.

In a normal functioning economy, when people have money they spend it. The people they give it to when they spend, also spend it, and so on. The money is shunted on throughout the economy.

When you cut, the opposite occurs. The more we cut, the more the economy will shrink because there is in tandem with the cuts a credit crunch — the banks are bust and interest rates are going up, not down.

Ireland is in a bind when it comes to stimulus. We cannot print money to increase the amount of money in the economy. We cannot borrow more from the markets because they, rightly, see our economy as a risk.

So what can we do? We can make sure that the money that is in the economy is used wisely and not wasted on savings or banks, or, indeed, saving banks.

It is time to think a bit. Here is a possible alternative plan to achieve stimulus so that the economy doesn’t unnecessarily contract in the next two years and so that unemployment doesn’t unnecessarily rise.

Currently there are €107bn of outstanding mortgages in Ireland. Allowing for an average outstanding term of 25 years and an interest rate of 4.5pc, that means that mortgage payments per month in the economy are approximately €600m per month. Or €7.2bn per year. There is a stimulus sitting right there.

Why not freeze all mortgage payments for two years? Nobody makes any payment on their mortgage until November 2012. If we assume a conservative multiplier of only 1.4, Ireland would get €20bn worth of stimulus without upsetting our EU leaders’ rules at all.

Probably a function of how we are all thinking at the moment, but I bet your first question is ‘What about the banks?’ Well first, we own the banks, so they will do what they are told. The financial regulator has been very generous with bending the rules to allow defunct institutions like Anglo to continue in whatever half-life it currently inhabits, so I’m sure he would be willing to allow Irish banks to carry mortgage debt for two years without forcing them to take write-downs on it. After all, a policy like that would be in the interest of the country, rather than just the interest of banks.

Of course, the bondholders would still want to be paid. And they would be, they just might have to join in the two-year waiting game. Which would be better for them? Get a haircut now, or wait a few years and get paid.

The effect on the economy should be fairly rapid, as the increased spending would lead to inflation. Right now, for Ireland, some inflation would be a good thing. True, some people would choose to save the money, but targeted incentives to bring forward spending could be also applied.

We need to come up with suggestions, which limit the downturn and ease the burden on ordinary people. Isn’t this what sovereignty is all about? The financial markets would be the first to support us, because they want Ireland to grow.

As the economy grows, the risk diminishes. In contrast, the more we become a large debt-servicing agency with falling revenue, the riskier we become and the more likely the austerity drive will hit the buffers.

David Mc Williams will host Ireland’s first economics festival in Kilkenny from Nov 11 to 14. Details at: kilkenomics.com

  1. adamabyss


    • Adam.
      A thought.
      Going back to your attempt to get people to meet up and my meeting a few people here informally, this Kilkenomics thing David is involved with should be fairly accessible to all.
      There’s nothing stopping us having a fringe meeting around the main event.
      It needs a overnighter to make any headway since we’ve only everf spoken on here and personalities come into the equation.
      You’re a pretty strong character as I am, but that can oftern put people off.
      Everyone has to move together.
      There would be no point in meeting up to discuss the fact that the system is shagged. Thats’s a given.
      What would be the agenda? Discussions on a postcard please lads and lassies.
      Tis time to get of the comfortable Ass and go meet McWilliams. He’s busted a gut and the talking needs a bit of focus now.
      The whole lot of us should make the effort because we’ve all agreed it’s a crock of Buinniocht.

      What say ye all?
      Descend on Kilkenny and have a voice. At the very least David McWilliams will put names to faces in all of us who have backed him.

      It’s only 2 hours from anywhere(ish) unless your some German genius above in Donegal taking pictures, in which case we’ll wait for you.

      The time is now folks. We knew all this rubbish 2 years ago. The least we can do is wallow in self contentment.

      I’m going anyway.


      • adamabyss

        Sorry, just saw this Furrylugs. Okay, I am on for this. Would anyone be going down from Dublin? I don’t have a car (poor student with only an Antiguan licence – have to do my test here some day) I would be on for staying overnight – weekend night best for me – Friday or Saturday night – return next day. I’ll have a look at the schedule in the morning as I’ve had a long day in Maynooth. I’d have to miss my weekly football match on the Saturday – I play in the top division in Dublin – over 35s. Also, would have to miss it to go to that event next week that Tim suggested we go to. Weighing up the opportunity costs here. I’ll sleep on it and look more closely at dates and options (plus finances) in the morning and ‘revert’ – a moronic word that official speak (like banks) use these day. Night Ireland.

  2. uncle fester

    I still don’t understand how taking money from prudent people capable of managing their finances and giving it to financially illiterate people who bought houses they couldn’t afford is going to improve our economic situation.

    • Dorothy Jones

      @ uncle fester
      Certainly, there were plenty who bought property at unsustainable multiples of their income. However, many did not and have quite simply either become unemployed or have seen their businesses/firms/consultancies contract or expire. resulting in a struggle to meet even interest-only payments.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Who do you mean by prudent people capable of managing their finances? The banks? Are you joking or is your question serious?

      • uncle fester

        My question is extremely serious. I don’t see how taking money (through taxes) from people who are not financially over-stretched and giving it to people who are financially over-stretched (via a mortgage freeze) is in anyway helpful.

        You are taking money from people who have managed their finances prudently in order to bail out people who, inadvertently or otherwise, have not managed their finances prudently.

        Bailouts offer an incentive to continue reckless behaviour. We shouldn’t be doing it for banks or for individual people.

        • foi foi moi moi

          thats the narrow minded greedy me fein attitude that got this country into of recession..think of the bigger picture fester !

          • uncle fester

            The only me feinism going on here is stressed borrowers looking for their bailout at the expense of everybody else, i.e. “NAMA for the little people”.

            That’s not how a free market works unless I missed the chapter on socialising losses.

            A mortgage freeze is useless unless we do one of two things and that’s either paying off debt or investment in infrastructure that will pay a dividend down the line.

            Simply giving the portion of the population who are mortgage payers free money is not the solution. Spending it in the economy is all fine and well. Retail will get it’s pickup. We’ll buy new cars and party like it’s 2005 but in two years time, those mortgages will come back exactly the same size as they were before. Free money got us into this problem. It will not get us out of it.

            @Emigrant lass
            Please read my last comment, specifically the last line. I don’t want to see ANY bailouts. NAMA sickens me to the core and it needs to be shut down (with all the bankers jailed), not widened in scope.

          • PMC

            It was Fester who had his eye on the bigger picture all along.
            All the sheep had their heads buried in the sand and look where they’re at now.
            Excluding young families who bought a primary residence to live, the rest can go to ****.

            Every greed merchant who needed more than one house contributed to the rising cost of houses and so priced young people out of the market.

        • Emigrant lass

          @Uncle Fester,
          How many families do you know who are not financially over-stretched? Could you count them on one hand?

          What about NAMA and the reckless behaviour of all involved there!! Why shouldn’t the ordinary citizen get a mortgage repayment freeze when the big developers have? How many millions of Euro is wasted on NAMA which will do the opposite effect for the stimulous of the economy!! Where are the big boys spending their money, Marbella or Costa del….???

        • michaelcoughlan


          Thank you for your response. I happen to agree with your point now that you clarified it. It is unforgivable that reckless banks are being bailed out at the expense of the citizenry. I just responded to your previous post in the context of the article which suggested that the money was be taken from the banks in the short term to help the people to get back on their feet.

  3. Dorothy Jones

    David, This idea sounds so simple and workable to a normal person. One lives and hopes…

  4. Deco

    eh….spend what ?

    As Joan Burton explained many moons ago…

    “We are in this recession, because we have no money…we have no money….that’s what is causing this recession…this government is not doing enough to get us out of a recession…”

    At the time she was on a ministerial pension, expenses, and a TD’s salary, (from what is arguably the most expensive parlaiment in Europe) and her leader had not declared that former ministers pensions should be returned to the exchequer.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Her actions and the actions of others did strike me as very damaging but right now they are the best of a very bad lot, no sincere left party will suddenly materialise out of the shadows, there are so many checks and balances in the system to prevent such a development, so this is it, this is the team we’ve got, a team that lacks depth no doubt but we’ve got to elect them.

  5. When I read the article this morning I was hoping maybe the ‘dudes’ in the dawl would start talking about it by afternoon and realise that what a wonderful world we have and quote dmcw but I forgot that politics only serves politics and not the people like you and me.So that trows us all back into the philosophers of stone.
    I would like to see it work and bring good news to the young working able people with mortgages.I believe to make it work there would have to be a phasing in in a parrellel financial structure that credit card loans etc be paid off during the honeymoon period so that when the two years are up the personal overall debts are much improved than before it started .
    This idea would be a namatuffu for the people with residential /investment loans and bring new hope.

  6. Deco

    I disagree with the article.

    If people stop paying their mortgages the merrygoround via the banking system will get even more decepid. Savings are providing solvency for the banking system, and in fact household savings increases are doing a far better job of stablizing the banks that Cowen and the circus in Kildare Street.

    Keynesian economics regards saving as a problem. Common sense tells us that you must have money saved before you spend it, otherwise you are indebted and trying to catch up.

    Look, as a result of the ‘manufacturing of consent’ our value system has changed.

    The multiplier is not going to fix anything. I mean what happens if the multiplier is less than 1 ? Then you get debt going up, and income not meeting the gap. This is exactly what happens to an overstimulated, high cost, inefficient, uncompetitive economy. And that is what Ireland has become. Ireland is still chronically inefficient.

    By the way, if you think Ireland is suitably efficient, then ask yourself “why we are borrowing 20 Billion a year to pay to run the state?” This is regardless of the banking problem.

    Austerity is something that is totally unacceptable, and anaethma to the Irish concept of lifestyle. We have the new ditherer, Happy Gilmore telling us that it is not going to happen. And let’s face it. We love being told that. And the ICTU regards this as something that cannot be compromised.

    The reality of the nations finances, both state and from households is that austerity is unavoidable.

    It is either austerity, or total bankruptcy. We behaved ourselves into this one. And there is a persistent amount of loud-mouthing going on saying that we are not going to have to change our behaviour. This makes it even more certain that the IMF will change matters for us. Press-the-button and keep the lifestyle.

    If you are borrowing 20 Billion a year to sustain the Irish lifestyle, and the providers of this money have decided that your behaviour is not something that is credible, then they will stop providing.

  7. So, instead of dealing with our debt in the here and now, let’s forget them for 2 years, let’s all go party. Rock on!

    Debt forgiveness from bondholders and debt forgiveness for mortgage holders with mortgage debt written down to current market value; and bondholders debt restructured on the same ability to repay, makes a lot more sense.

    Throw in a contribution from Corporation Tax up from 12.5% to 25% and we’re getting there.

    People might get used to not paying up! Or maybe workup a getaway nest egg, mass exodus in 2012 to the Caribbean:) Keep thinking!

    Slash and burn way to growth is crazy, I agree!:)

    • reactivator

      ‎’Since the 1960s, Ireland has pursued a strategy of offering tax incentives to attract multinationals. A lesser-appreciated aspect of Ireland’s appeal is that it allows companies to shift income out of the country with minimal tax consequences, said Jim Stewart, a senior lecturer in finance at Trinity College’s school of business in …Dublin. Getting Profits Out “You accumulate profits within Ireland, but then you get them out of the country relatively easily,” Stewart said. “And you do it by using Bermuda.” ‘

      Read fully article here for major “eye opener”…


  8. I think that David is trying to think out of the box and is at least coming up with alternative ideas. That is a good thing in what some people are now agreeing is a conservative and right wing country that is shot of critical thinking.

    There is an anti brainstorming culture in this country. As soon as someone proposes something radical they get their heads shot off and labeled as a crank. Sometimes the craziest ideas are the best but in this case I am not so sure.

    If he is suggesting that the bondholders get paid then he is taking a diversion from his previous stance that the bond holders should be burned. Which is it David? Make up your mind. I am getting confused here.

    We are like a circular firing squad and no-one seems to agree on anything.

    Some ideas I have heard lately:

    100k max salary.
    25% corporation tax.
    70% corporation tax on offshore resources.
    Burn the bondholders.
    Political and institutional reform.

    There are many people talking about such measures and asking why not?

    If we are ever to get a grip we need to think for our selves, define what kind of country we want to be living in in a decades time and stop looking for approval from foreign entities.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Granting the banks 10s of billions of citizens money so they could carry on as normal has to rate as possibly the greatest betrayal in the history of the Irish Republic. For these same people to show up and talk shows and call for benefits to be cut, single mothers to be targeted illustrates just how pathologically they truly are. They are out of control and no amount of regulation will reign in their practices. Big banks and the cosy cartel they operated should be broken up immediately. No bank should ever be in the position where its failure can potentially jeopardise the future of the Irish State, the fact this still has not be done two years into this crisis, is another betrayal of the Irish Republic.

      For the banks not to pass on this money in the form of credit to small businesses and the self-emplpyed is a betrayal of the Irish Republic. For banks to be back awarding bonuses/incentives, huge salaries, throwing people out of their houses after what they have done to the State is another betrayal of the Irish Republic.

      If the banks refuse to bend to the will of the people, if the politicians refuse to implement and legislate in the interests of the people, then the lot should be thrown out, those deemed responsible put under investigation and any profits generated from nationalisation of the banks used as an employment stimulus because you can’t have a jobless recovery.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Spot on Gege. Betrayal is the only way to describe it. Not just the Republic but our ancestors, ourselves and our future generations.

    • Tim Johnston

      100k max salary? Sure, why not throw that in there in the hope nobody will notice. They’ll notice when they need an operation and there’s not a single surgeon in the country.
      Sorry but making bullshit anti-rich laws is going to create wealth how?
      Ireland could maybe handle a 15% corporation tax rate, given that no new companies are going to be attracted here in the current climate anyway, and the existing ones won’t leave over such a small increase.
      The tourism industry – on which we used to rely – shot itself in the foot over the last decade with greedy price-hikes and appalling service, maybe they could reverse those trends to attract visitors?

      • Gege Le Beau

        Are surgeons wealth creators? Has the hippocratic oath truly become the hypocritical oath? Rumour must be true.

        Once met a surgeon in Cuba on $30 dollars a month, seemed happy enough, met another in Poland recently who makes a few thousand a month (nothing equating the salaries of our gang), equally happy. Surgeons of all people should know money can’t buy you health.

        The corporate tax rate is the 11th Irish commandment, thou shalt not touch. Business run society.

        • Tim Johnston

          A lot of people seem under the impression that the Hippocratic Oath means doctors should work for free! It doesn’t, it just says they can’t refuse to treat people they don’t like.
          But yes, I suppose they are wealth creators, as long as you see a symbiotic relationship between wealth-creating and non-wealth creating sectors of society, something the media with its attacks on the public sector has been trying hard to damage.
          And I don’t for the life of me know why corpo tax can’t be raised even a token amount. Madness.

          • Gege Le Beau

            So how exactly do they create this wealth? On the public system the citizens of this country pay their wages, while on the private system (private hospitals on public land), they charge those who can afford it for health care, is that wealth creation, I suppose it is a bit like a landlord charging a tenant, a tenant who if he/she could afford it would purchase their own home, bit of a captive market given failed marcoeconomic policies.

            As for corporate tax rate, it cannot be touched because the corporates will not accept any tampering otherwise (despite their seeming affection and love for all things Irish as has been poured out here on occasion) they will up sticks and hit the road to lower cost economies, indeed, they are already doing that (Dell from Limerick to Lodz, Poland). The multinationals are one of two pillars which the economy was dependant on, the other being construction, with the latter a dead duck you can’t touch the remaining one for fear of a complete crash, loss of 100,000+ jobs and all the associated issues. Plus we are firmly in the corporate camp, business run society, so the working poor, the disabled, the blind, they got to foot the bill for criminal mismanagement of the economy by the so called political class, because they regard themselves as a class apart from the rest of society, which in reality they are.

          • Harper66

            I think media attacks on people in the public sector earning the average industrial wage are unwarrented – however a limit in the pay for the public sector to 100 K I have no problem with.

            If public sector unions had some courage and if ICTU had any principle they would expose the actual problem in the public sector which is the bloated over paid upper tier of the public sector.

            I am a memember of the public sector and of a union, I should know.

            The senior civil servants and consultants et al hid behind the average public sector worker and then kept quiet when the lower paid workers were shafted, in the last budget..not being able to count bonuses as income etc.

            Watching Mike Sodon on Vincent Browne last night nearly made me sick as he explained that there was a shortage of people in this country “capable” of running banks and that is why high wages are required to attract them to this country. There was me thinking all you needed was an ability to maintain the staus quo and have a good knowledge of Porn sites.

            We need a good sharp shock of honesty in this country cowens double speak has poisioned the country.. We cannot afford our td’s Judges,etc. Joan Burton should be called on her pensions, consultants should be told to work for less or else bugger off to some where that will pay them at their current wages.

          • paddythepig

            If 100K isn’t good enough for you Tim, then go. You’re no loss.

            What are all the 100K public servants who were recruited since 2002 doing? Why did the country not fall apart prior to 2002 if they are so essential.

            We need a massive reduction in renumeration, and NUMBERS, of public servants. Take a leaf out of George Osborne’s book in the UK.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Harper66

            Could not agree more with your comment on Mike Soden, I also thought Vincent Browne was shameless in his promotion of Soden’s book, and his line of questioning below par.

            I do question Browne, he writes articles of a social justice nature in the Irish Times and then from time to time makes light of serious topics, it is hard to take him seriously with this seeming inconsistency.

            His programme the other night was very weak, loaded as the panel was with capitalist ideologues. I thought Soden’s comment in relation to single mothers particularly distasteful, and was surprised he was not challenged on it.

          • Tim Johnston

            Don’t worry I’m long gone. I emigrated during the boom. But if Ireland started doing extraordinary things like cap salaries I’d never return. Not because I want to make more than that (fat chance), but because totalitarianism is not my bag.

            So, you are in favour of cuts in government spending then? But I have to ask. If the government is short of revenue, and given that the top 5% of earners pay something like 48% of the total income tax take, how is eliminating their income going to help reduce the deficit?

          • paddythepig

            Tim Johnston,

            Here’s the reality. We have intelligent, educated, experienced posters here who can’t get a job for love nor money. They are getting 196 Euro a week. They just happen to be in the wrong business right now. You are complaining about the hypothetical situation where a doctor or surgeon would receive 100K a year, or 2K a week.

            My point is that we are in a financial emergency. The employer of medical staff – the Government – has run out of money. Anyone who thinks that 100K is pittance or mickey-mouse money clearly doesn’t know what it is to mickey-mouse money is.

            Where did I ever say that taxing the higher paid would clear the budget deficit? You are trying to put words in my mouth. It is obvious that even if you taxed every penny above 100K that it would not even get close to closing the deficit. But money needs to be found, and given we have an emergency, it is not unreasonable to increase tax for those over 100K. This is in the interest of fairness.

            You may think this is a disincentive for some to work. I don’t agree. Nothing is stopping any doctor going abroad and availing of higher wages elsewhere, if those wages can be afforded in another country. Your labelling of a wage cap as ‘totalitarianism’ is nonsense; a wage cap is pragmatism, given the employer is bankrupt.

          • Tim Johnston

            Paddythepig, no you’re right, you didn’t say it would eliminate the deficit but you indicated that 100k was enough for anybody to earn, which is worse because it’s a moral judgement not an economic one.
            Capping is a disincentive to work, and what will we do when our docs and other professionals go overseas?

          • paddythepig

            Tim Johnston,

            What I said was we don’t need people who think 100K is not enough for them. This is not the same as saying salaries should be capped at 100K. Furthermore, this is not a moral judgement at all ; it is an economic judgement. The Government has no money. What part of that don’t you understand?

        • Julia

          @ Tim,
          Do you remember the German ambassador to Ireland a few years ago, the one who embarrased us all by telling us we were a bunch of cowboys? Can’t remember the details. He also informed us that his 40 year old daughter works a consultant equivelant job in a German hospital and earns 90,000E. This tiny wage has not discouraged her from living in Germany and Germany does not suffer from a lack of doctors, nor do I hear about appalling standards of care in German hospitals. Not everyone wants to live in the US.

      • Yes 100k maximum salary for all public servants.
        There are surgeons in places like Cuba and India who would be only too glad to come here and earn say 60-70k.

        There is no reason why anyone should need more than 100k a year to live on.

        • Tim Johnston

          Oh, and after having left their homes and families, they come halfway across the world, arrive at Dublin airport to be told they’re going to be taxed half of that to pay for our debts? You have a low opinion of Indians! :)

      • Tim Johnston

        The public sector doesn’t create wealth per se, but enables its creation. You can’t make money without health, education and law.
        If the limit is just for the public sector then, sure. I thought the suggested limit was across the board. I can’t imagine any administrative function being worth 100k.


        Every Western country has a doctor shortage, which is why we’re fleecing the third world of theirs.

        Ditto. Indian doctors (Cuban ones aren’t up to scratch) will not work for that in Ireland. And not when Canada will pay them twice that. Gone are the days when we can pay slave wages for professionals from poor countries.

        Once again, it’s not about having a committee decide what people are “worth”. That’s between them and their employers.

        • foi foi moi moi

          if 70k a year is slave wages..put me in chains NOW….

        • Harper66

          who owns the banks in Ireland?….

          Are the hospital not part of the Public sector? I think you will find there is ore than administration in the public sector…Judges etc.

          Could you tell me what work deserves more than 100K ? and enlighten me as to why as bankrupt state should pay it?

          • Tim Johnston

            It doesn’t matter what work you or I think deserves more than 100k. If one person wants to pay another that amount it’s no business of anyone else’s – Unless, as you point out, the state is the employer. If the state employs doctors as it does in Ireland, and lawyers, etc, then it has to pay them market rate. If the state builds a road they can’t just make the engineers work for less than they would for a private project.

            Other than that, as far as I can see, it’s mostly admin and running departments. In which case employees should also receive a fair wage for their work, what they would receive in the private sector for doing the same thing. Just because I can’t personally see what admin function is worth more than 100k doesn’t mean I’m in favour of some kind of wage cap. What do you think?

          • Harper66

            your not comparison of building roads and working as a doctor is nonsense. You are not comparing like with like.
            A contractor building roads works in a very competitive market where he will get the job if his quote is the lowest submitted , however a doctor answers a wanted ad and agrees to work for a certain wage. If they cannot get a high enough wage they are free to find someone who will pay them what they feel they are entitled to.Big difference. Market dictates the builders price, vested interest and gombeenism spin decides the pay of the higher paid in Irish society.

            You also refuse to comment on what work you consider worthy of 100K plus, on the grounds that the market should decide not you or I. I disagree I think the measure of a society is in the ethics and morality it promotes. These ethical and moral issues should be decided by a democratic process.Lets face it an unregulated market without an ethical ideology is what has gotten us into this mess.
            The notion of market to exist with out influence is a nonsense. It must be regulated and if it is it should be regulated by a set of principles decided by the people whom that market serves.Not like we have now where the people serve the markets.
            Perhaps what we are seeing now is just a communism was shown to be a folly thanks to greed/human nature so too capitalism is a folly thanks to neo liberalism.

          • Tim Johnston

            Harper, I suppose you’ve just described perfectly the difference between Left and Right: one believes ‘society’ has the right to tell a person they have too much money or whatever, and the other believes society does not have that right. It’s what a divorce lawyer might call “irreconcilable differences”!

            I’ve mentioned doctors a few times as worthy of high earnings but I’m reluctant because it’s a subjective judgment. It’s also a moral one as you’ve pointed out – but why is it a moral issue when someone earns a lot? A better question to you would be, Are high earnings immoral/unethical in themselves, or because they’re a multiple of what other people in that society earn?

          • Harper66

            you make some good points.needless to say, I use doctors only as an example, I am not looking to start a witch hunt on the medical profession !

            I think high wages in the public sector is an ethical question. At present and for the past two years low earners in the public sector are being squeezed to the point of being wiped out financially and the higher earners are relativly untouched.

            And most galling of all is that the higher paid in the public service are willing to hide behind the lower paid, meanwhile the bloodlust of the general public is abated by taking another 5% of the lower paid.

            I would like to see some commentator in the media come out and say the lower paid have paid enough, there is nothing left to take.

            I was taken aback when Leo Varadker was on Vincent Browne and he excused the orgy of spending in the dail, expenses etc by saying it represented only a small percentage of the total spend of the government! My jaw hit the floor when some labour representitive said politicians could not take a pay cut as it meant every one down the line would have to take a cut too. What sh*t.

            In the context of Ireland at the moment I dont see much of a difference between the public wealth and private wealth and the top. Broadly speaking they are all in each others pockets.

            Finally, it is not a matter of telling people that they are earning too much money it is a matter of telling people that their high wages are being paid by squeezing someone else to the point of ruin.

            Personally I dont aspire to wealth I’ve seen too often what lows people need to stoop to in order to aquire it.

          • Tim Johnston

            Thanks for your reply, Harper66. I think I’ve mentioned before that I can’t see how working in a government department should allow you to take home anything like 100k+ per year. So you’ll get no argument from me on high civil service earnings.
            With the added factor that you and I, as taxpayers, are actually paying them those wages (not to mention those of TDs..) then I can see where the anger is coming from.

        • Gege Le Beau

          @ Tim Johnston, those in the public service do create wealth, in every sense of that word. People in the public service enrich the society through the essential services they provide, plus they pay considerable taxes and levies on the little income most of them make (majority are below €40,000 per annum), money which is recycled in a number of ways (recapitalise the banks, or as seed capital for start-ups).

          As you mention, if a would be entrepreneur can’t get an education, can’t get access to health care, doesn’t have his/her rubbish picked-up, well they’re not going to get very far. We are all interconnected that is why I found the public v private debate such a distraction and deliberate government tactic of divide and conquer, which impoverished us all.

          I think capping salaries at 100k a good idea once doctors have reduced hours and good conditions. I think there should be more of them but as we know the university point system is a kind of choke point that surpresses the numbers (also high cost makes it prohibitive), so a few make a lot but the public as a whole suffer with waiting lists etc, I also believe more money should be put into preventative care with education programmes beginning at an early age, seems to me that arriving at a bug infected hospital for surgery seems like a first resort in this country, when there are a whole range of things that could be put in place to reduce the need for this.

          It comes back to the structure and nature of a society, stress levels as a result of inflated cost of living during the boom and now more stress related to the severe indebtedness of the bust, many people must be scratching their heads and worse still, thinking the unthinkable as one caller to Hook’s radio show illustrated yesterday which I won’t go into for obvious reasons.

          A more equal and fair soceity, with rates of pay that reflect the economically devastated country we now inhabit. It begins at the top, politicians, banksters, heads of the semi-states, the Unions, the senior staff in the public service, judges, university presidents and vice-presidents, the lot should be cut by at least 50%. We also need to cut our costs by 30% (tourism is one area for example, we have priced ourselves out of the market, a coffee on Berlin’s main thoroughfare, the Unter den Linden, cost me €1.90, in my local coffee shop it is €2.60 without the view of the Brandenburg gate, instead there is an empty block of student apartments).

          • Tim Johnston

            Couldn’t agree with you more on tourism. We ripped off every visitor to our island and now we wonder where the money’s gone?
            Ireland also exports education, and a fine job we do of it. The negative side is there are fewer places available for Irish med.students. I don’t know what the figures are but I’d guess around half the students at the Royal College of Surgeons are foreign, and maybe less at Trinity Medical School. Which is great for the economy, but they could expand and produce more doctors. A few of the foreign ones do stay in Ireland though, and we import a lot trained in other countries.

            Sadly, doctors working fewer hours is just a dream at this stage, when there are such shortages.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Let the free market dictate, ditch the points system and prohibitive cost and let as many people who want become barristers, doctors, accountants, that will bring down charges fast enough – real competition in the market place – a capitalist concept championed ironically by the ‘professions’.

            As we know, rules are skewed in favour of the rich and wealthy while the propaganda (the great equity of the system, free trade, competition in the market) is mere dinner talk.

          • Tim Johnston

            Absolutely, Gege. Why do we think that free market principles need only to be forced upon the ignorant doofuses who work for a living? CEOs, lawyers and other professions are as protectionist as anyone else. When a profession control the influx of new professionals – it’s in their interests to keep the numbers down!

  9. Gege Le Beau

    Social Economics v Market Economics

    Community v individualism.

    Stimulus v austerity.

    Humanity v neoliberalism.

    The Republic v a Plutocracy.

    Outsiders v Insiders.

    One Irish American encapsulated it pretty well:

    “Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.

    Our gross national product … if we should judge America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets.

    It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play.

    It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

    Bobby Kennedy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968

    • michaelcoughlan


      And look what America did to Bobby Kennedy.

      • Gege Le Beau

        He has a mixed record, no doubt, but he was getting close to the truth and the heart of the system, and so became a threat. He may have got into wealth redistribution, the third road possibly but not clear if it was that sincere or more populace stuff, well someone decided not to take a chance, a lot of knives were out given brother’s presidency.

  10. paulmcd

    Folks, the following is off topic but the news is out today and is being ignored by RTE:


    The headline reads: Anglo Irish to Buy Back Subordinated Debt at Discount

    The headline itself is misleading because the bonds are essentially worthless and it is impossible to buy them back “AT A DISCOUNT”.


    In reality the bonds are to be bought back above zero, essentially AT A PREMIUM.

    You will note that Peter Mathews is very restrained in his comments; and I suppose this is necessary in order to get the powers-that-be to listen.

    They will NOT listen. I think that Peter Mathews is wasting his time. Personally, I will be hoping for a day when a new government will launch an Icelandic-type commission of enquiry into what amounts to a criminal misuse of public monies.

    It is ironic that Anglo Irish “public-interest” representatives have initiated the proposal and will, I presume, obtain the Minister’s approval.

    We should be worried by the crimes about to be committed “in the national interest” when, in fact, we will be witnessing another loss of 100% of the taxpayer funds, so used, to report, solely on the basis of an accounting technicality, a false PROFIT.

    Our Government is enforcing the WORST or most expensive option on Irish citizens at large, so that the bondholders will experience the LEAST cost. This is what Mr Lenihan means by the LEAST WORST option and I find this UNACCEPTABLE.


    1 Finance houses which are on the Interpol list of institutions suspected of money laundering

    2 Tax evaders

    3 Property developers, some of whom are bankrupt

    4 Various money launderers using funds of criminal origin

    5 Investments trusts of certain Irish families with close connections to the ruling parties

    BEARER bonds are used to facilitate criminal transactions:

    In 1982, the US Government outlawed dollar-denominated BEARER bonds.

    I hope that Anglo has ensured that a comprehensive list of names and addresses of ALL bondholders submitting coupons for payment is being compiled for later release.


    The ODCE should investigate the books of Lawyers, in Dublin and London, who are acting on behalf of bondholders so as to complete the lists. Lack of cooperation on their part should be met with equal indifference when they request payments.

    • jandal

      I’ve sent out 65 tweets in the past 2 days to Irish media asking why they have not covered the Anglo Bondholder list story. http://twitter.com/tinggg

      Replies have questioned the reliability of the source of the list @guidofawkes – however no inclination to corroborate. When pointed out that the FT covered the story on Monday, this seemed to perk their interest a bit more…sigh… Aiden Corkery (Daily Mail) said they covered the story p19 on 19Oct – don’t know if they did – anyway all the others are silent.

      I’m sending this out today – the tel is the EU Media contact for GSachs – unless any of you have Peter Sutherland number? Feel free to tweet your favourite journalist.

      Q:Has Goldman Sachs,financial advisors to the IRL government, ever been an Anglo bondholder or agent for one? Tel:44-20-7774-4080

      • Deco

        Jandal. Good work.

        It indicates clearly the theory that I have been saying all along.

        There are companies on that list who have big advertising spends. And they need active consideration. It seems that only one, an English newspaper has the balls to cover the story.

        The Irish media are sitting on their advertising revenues and keeping their mouths shut. Their advertising revenues are more important than the need for the Irish public to know what is going on.

        Support our advertising sponsors !!!!

        • jandal

          I guess its idealistic to think a journalist might relish the opportunity to unravel the Irish Da Vinci code.

          The deep ignorance of many of my friends regarding the economy is worrying – they don’t read online commentary, they might watch the odd current affairs programme, read the IT or Indo daily but thats it – for many Irish people the mainstream media is it, if they are not reporting it then its not happening. These are our voters.

          I have a good friend, the son of a TD (now dead many years), who is a teacher – when talking to him the other night I raised the Anglo bailout and he just was disinterested. When I asked him why he didn’t seem to care about an issue that his children and grandchildren would pay for he said he was depressed with how hopeless life had become in Ireland and said the whole country was depressed and hence his sense of impotence.

          I’m not living in Ireland at the mo but like others that frequent this board I would like to move back but don’t see that happening any year soon. What I do pickup on from my family and friends in Ireland is a growing sense of gloom and hopelessness – I also, for the very first time, detect signs of poverty creeping into the lives of people I love – this is only going to get worse.

          I wrote to TD’s Michael D. and C Ó Caoláin today simply because they have questioned Lenny in the Dail re the identity of the bondholders – maybe they can nudge something.

          I don’t know how workable Davids suggestion is but we need alternatives to austerity.

          • Harper66

            “I wrote to TD’s Michael D. and C Ó Caoláin today simply because they have questioned Lenny in the Dail re the identity of the bondholders — maybe they can nudge something.”

            Well done Jandal.Maximum respect!

    • paulmcd

      I have emailed both RTE and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement which is investigating the Anglo debacle with the above information.

      Unfortunately, if you phone Peter Sutherland’s office, I doubt if the fat penguin will have waddled in yet. You will be told that he is NOT AVAILABLE or HE IS ATTENDING A MEETING and there may be no good time for contacting him as he is frequently in attendance at meetings.

      The question you raise JANDAL should have been asked by RTE when Sutherland was giving us his good advice.

      • paulmcd

        Perhaps our Financial Regulator should draw up a strict set of rules for DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST when people like Sutherland choose to give advice.

        RTE let us down very badly in this regard.

        • Gege Le Beau

          @ paulmcd – Perceptive!

          Same should apply to TDs who voted on NAMA and sit on committees relating to finance and banking. You can’t be insolvent and sit in the Dail.

          I personally think you should not be allowed double or triple job as a well paid ‘public servant’.

  11. Philip

    Money is a time machine. it merely allows you to get stuff quicker if there is more of it around. If you dry it up, you slow things down and longer term decisons become laced with greater uncertainty.

    All DMcW is saying is create greater certainly by stalling the rate at which cash is drying up in the shorter term to put ourselves on a better level at a future date. But it demands prudence or we are back to Celtic Tiger lunacy worse than ever before.

  12. Tim Johnston

    David, I nearly always agree with you (except for the Keynesian bits), But giving the government the use of all our ATM cards is not going to help. It’s pure totalitarianism for the state to say, ‘you ignorant peasants are saving your cash? Well, we’re going to spend it because we know best’.
    I agree with Uncle Fester and then some. Giving money to the same irresponsible oiks who blew their boom allowance on magic beans is sheer lunacy.
    Why, when it comes to “stimulus”, is the government miraculously expected to know what to spend it on?

    As Deco says, Keynesians regard saving as a problem. It isn’t. Saving it just a different kind of spending (unless it’s “saved” under the mattress).

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi Tim,
      Let me point out to you something which you seemed to have missed in your analysis regarding giving money to “irresponsible oiks” to blow on magic beans. The banking system in Ireland failed first and the property industry second. The reverse happened in the US. The job of the banking staff was to measure risk and place capital accordingly. They failed to do this when they leant money to people that couldn’t afford to pay it back. They simply lent money to all comers in a competitive race to the bottom chasing market share and obscene bonuses at all costs. The irresponsible oiks are in fact the failed personalities in charge of our banking institutions and our regulatory and administrative systems.

      • Tim Johnston

        Just to clarify, are you suggesting that Fianna Fail are responsible?
        I’m agreeing with you on the bankers..

        • michaelcoughlan

          Fianna Fail have a huge share of blame to take for putting in place the policies which exacerbated the problem and most unforgivably kept in place a wholly incompetent regulator. When they retired him he got full pension and finishing entitlements. An absolute disgrace!

          • Tim Johnston

            True enough. As for the banking industry folding before property, is that true? I was out of the country so I don’t really remember the exact sequence of events.

        • Deco

          Actually FF governance in the era 1998-2008 was in two phases.

          The first phase, until 2003, was a boom, followed by a recession that RTE kept describing as a ‘downturn’. But by 2003, we could still have settled all the books and got ourselves on a long term trajectory that was sustainable.

          Then Bertie became a socialist. He shafted McCreevy and put in Clowen. And we went on an almight binge. It was pure binge-economics. And that screwed us up rightly.

          I reckon that IBEC and ICTU have a lot to answer for. If FF did not give us the 2003-2008 binge, IBEC and ICTU would have been demanding that they get replaced. Of course, with Ahern no stupid project was given proper scrutiny. He was the drunken barman throwing bottles of whiskey to the customers, on somebody else’s credit.

          And besides, we always had the opportunity to leave the bar, and go home and not get a hangover the next day. Unfortunately, thanks to the media, nobody did. The media were in on the binge-economics madness also.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Bertie and socialism, always gives me a laugh, the people who needed it never saw a dime (don’t think Charlie ‘we’ll spend it when we have it’ McCreevy needed much convincing, he was becoming a little too popular perhaps or maybe there were other considerations).

            Ahern bought sections of the population to ensure re-election, hardly socialism, more the privatisation of the electorate.

            Agree, the heads of the Unions have as many questions to answer as the politicians, cosy capitalism at its worst as the Financial Times characterised it.

  13. bob-notyourUncle

    Shouldn’t corporation tax be left well alone… ?

    … otherwise wouldn’t a pile of multinationals will leave Ireland?

    … woudldn’t Ireland will see a well-paid tax-paying citizens losing their jobs otherwise (which won’t help replenish the coffers).

    BUT — out of the BOX thinking well reccommended. Good to read something original.

  14. wills


    Too complicated.

    Too many ideas overlapping.

    The economic system is split.

    There is an underlying free enterprise system generating the wealth and a boil.

    One can tinker around with multiplier effects and liquidity irrigation lateral thinking and brainstorm into reality what exactly.

    What is it the article is concluding is the sourced outcome here.

    A rebound economy? What for! Why?

    The economy and its boil will still be there putting all wealth generation under threat like what has just happened.

    Is this not obvious at this point.

    The clockwork on which the economy ticks is cuckoo.

    • insider

      David’s idea may sound crazy on the surface. But often the best solutions spring from crazy thoughts or a blend of crazy ideas.

      Social benefits are far too generous in Ireland. This needs to be addressed and now is a good opportunity to do it. If the outgoing government have any sense of doing the right thing by the country then they should do this now. Now that Britain has made some tough calls the Irish government has the go-ahead to also cut.

      Wealth generation is a major problem in Ireland. The construction boom only served to build overpriced houses to sell to the locals. As a nation what exactly do we export or do to increase the capital inflow into the country? This is easy for me to say as in Australia all we have to do is dig a hole in the ground, build some infrastructure, get the reources on a ship, and sell to the Chinese. There is very little manufacturing or resource refinement – it’s impossible to compete with Asian countries.

      You cannot put a cap on wages – that’s just stupid. That market should dictate worth. Even in Oz the Government pays crazy rates for consultants. This is largely viewed as short term pain, long term gain as they won’t have to pay the consultant a pension. And this is where the single biggest factor that will impact Europe over the next 40 years comes into play – DEMOGRAPHICS.

  15. David, you still don’t get it. The government would only do the things you have been talking about if we lived in a democaracy. But we dont live in a democaracy we live in a dictatorship which controls the people because the elite gansters at the top of the Irish dictatorship have control over the media, the instuitions(courts, police etc) and have control over most of the political parties. We only have an illusion of democaracy because the same big business funds and owns all the major political parties. They are doing what is best for themselves, that is killing the economy so as to weeken the people and weeken their assets and therby take more control over the people to enslave them. (Dictatorships are all about slavery, regardless of which ‘ism’ it calls it self). Problem is most people are too stupid to figure this out, instead they believe the relentless lies and slants of the business owned commerical media.
    (Your articles are good by the way, your one of the few jurnilists with any credibility left)

  16. 2008 Irish NO to Lisbon treaty

    During a meeting last week in Germany, Merkel and Sarkozy together agreed on how they would respond if the Irish rejected the referendum. But neither really knew what they should do. Capturing the sense of helplessness both felt, Sarkozy said, “Whatever happens, we will offer a joint German-French response.” No matter what, the two said, the ratification process should continue, and an exit clause could be provided for the Irish if they weren’t willing to hold a swift second referendum on the issue.

    Irish YES to Lisbon treaty

    Big Ignorant Fucker From Offaly:

    “If you are frustrated or angry about our current economic challenges, here is one specific opportunity for you to do something positive about it,” Cowen told delegates in Dublin.

    This is a national issue that is going to determine the direction of this country not only in the coming months or years, but the coming decades.

    About 67% voted “Yes”, official results from the latest referendum showed. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen hailed a “clear and resounding” endorsement.
    Political leaders across the EU have also welcomed the result.
    The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said it was a great day for Europe.

    THE EUROPEAN Commission has rejected calls for the 2014 deadline for getting the Irish public finances under control to be extended by two years.

    The Taoiseach said later he had indicated his view it would be in the national interest that there be clarity about the country’s determination to restore fiscal stability.

    “The party leaders reaffirmed their commitment to addressing the deficit in the public finances with a view to reducing it to 3 per cent of GDP by 2014,” said Mr Cowen.

    …. no comment!

    • insider

      The counties that voted NO to Lisbon part 2 should be put in charge of running the country as an emergency step to stop this madness.

    • Deco

      Where are those posters ?

      “Vote Yes for Jobs”

      Unbelievable that some idiots actually beleived all of that. The only unemployed person who got a job as a result of the EU in the last 12 months was Suds Junior. And I don’t think that had anything to do with the Lisbon Treaty.

  17. StephenKenny

    Completely off-topic, but there’s beauty in simplicity:


  18. StephenKenny

    I’ve got two problems with this line of reasoning:
    Firstly, as far as I understad it, savings are not necessarily dead money, assuming it’s savings in the bank rather than under a mattress. A bank can lend 10 times it’s capital base, so €1 offers €10 in possible loans.
    Secondly, if 2 year repayment holiday was made, what would happen to the money? I just can’t think of any reason that the Tiger wouldn’t arise as a phoenix and delight all the importers.
    When it was over, the banks would just have more massive problems (these 2 years would have to be accounted for).

    I’m all for spending:
    1. Take the top xx native (i.e. not multi national) companies who actually employ lots of skilled people.
    2. With these companies, propose a government partnership programme that would consist of massive assistance in expanding their businesses – marketing, sales, overseas, r&d, production,
    3. Help these companies to nurture local suppliers (the way the Germans, French and Japanese do it).
    4. Put money into training to create the skilled people ‘to order’, as it were, in direct support of this effort.

    Back to Sputnik.

    • insider

      I think Ireland should take the leap of faith into Cloud computing. It’s only a matter of time before other countries do it so why can’t we be the first and potentially save some money in the process. Then the government can focus resources on some of the initiatives that Stephen mentions whilst potentially turning wealth support staff into wealth generators.

      And so it’s back to demographics. Ireland will battle with Canada and co to attract doctors/IT professionals etc and this battle is only going to intensify over the coming decades.

  19. Noonanesque :

    The Village Schoolmaster in the class , the Local Garda in the village and the Parish Pump Pariah in the pub : all of the above summarises this charachter who consistently attempts ‘to fake economics’ ‘without experience’.

    Wordsworth never used economic jargon neither did Padraic O’ Conaire yet this is the very school soap box that he stands up on ‘to speak through the chair ‘ what in effect he is faking and does not realise it .He dismal attempts to quote some taxation basic rules as though he was claiming his own court and council with a preening authority that he ‘knows all ‘ and dont interrupt him.He expouses that ‘ bully mhairtin ‘ in the dance hall and saying ‘leave her alone she is mine’.

    We must ask ourselves how he was given this task as shadow minister for finance and why a better qualified minister was earlier replaced .His politics served someone elses needs and not his merits that gave him this position that he has since lowered what this responsibility stands for.

    Watching him speak is comical and makes angels of the verbose of the ‘thugs talk’as his intonation vibrates from the front to the back of the class media he is addressing in public.He needs to understand that an ‘old dog cannot learn new tricks’.So he must set himself aside and nurse his own bones.So cheers ‘pol pot’.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Pity the national interest never sees any resignations, it seems only to work one way, bottom up.

      Noonan exercised exceedingly poor judgement as Minister for Health, pursuing the dying Brigid McCole through the courts. She got no interview on Frontline, if she had she may have provoked a nation, may she rest in peace.

      State faces claims of cruel delay in settlement of dying woman’s claim
      Tuesday, December 24, 2002

      By Brian Carroll

      THE Brigid McCole case effectively destroyed the political career of former Fine Gael leader Michael Noonan and remains one of the biggest health scandals in the history of the State.

      Mrs McCole died in October, 1996, from liver failure, after being infected with hepatitis C through contaminated anti-D blood product. She was survived by her husband, Brianie, and their 12 children.

      Tests taken almost on a daily basis in 1976 showed that plasma being used to make anti-D serum was infected with hepatitis. Yet, in 1977, Mrs McCole received her infected anti-D product.

      Her death, therefore, was not just a mistake. An agency of the State made a conscious decision to ignore the clear danger of infecting large numbers of women with an incurable disease. More than 1,600 women were infected.

      The incompetence of the Blood Transfusion Service Board was compounded by the Government’s treatment of the victims best illustrated in the case of Brigid McCole. After her death, her family called on Michael Noonan to resign his position as Minister for Health, claiming Mrs McCole was “threatened” for pursuing her compensation claim through the courts. Brigid’s daughter, Brid McCole, said the family wanted Mr Noonan to explain why the State threatened her mother in a letter.

      “It was only when our mother lay dying in a Dublin hospital just before her court action was to begin did the admission of liability and apology come from the Blood Transfusion Service Board.

      “Even then she was threatened with costs if she pursued her case for aggravated damages – the same damages that this Government has said should now be paid to victims.” The family claimed she was forced into accepting the comparatively low figure of £176,000. She died the day after the settlement was reached. She was 54 years old.

      The BTSB’s solicitors wrote to Mrs McCole’s solicitors on September 20, 12 days before she died, threatening to “seek all additional costs” from that date if she proceeded with her action.

      The letter warned: “If your client proceeds with her claim for aggravated and exemplary/punitive damages against our client and fails, then our client will rely on this letter in an application to the court against your client for all costs relating to the claim for such damages and for an order setting off any costs to which your client might otherwise be entitled.”

      The Finlay tribunal found that this letter was shown to Michael Noonan before it was sent and was not altered.

      When elected leader of Fine Gael, Mr Noonan said the McCole case had marked a personal and political watershed in his life. It was an episode he deeply regretted. RTÉ broadcast a dramatisation of the events surrounding Brigid McCole’s death shortly before the general election in May this year. FG lost 23 seats. Mr Noonan resigned as leader.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Yet again an excellent post.

        It would only take a handful of people like you including yourself to form a third force in Irish politics and secure the balance of power.

        These posts are so much more refreshing than anything the shit throwers in the so called left in the Dail can come up with. Calling for labour to be elected is a complete waste of time. Whilst I agree that massive salaries need to be reduced in the banks and in the Dail I don’t agree the arbitrary nature of the cuts you suggest nor the salary caps per se.

        But I agree wholeheartedly with the thrusts of your arguments which in recent times carry allot more weight than previously as ou no longer refer to failed Marxist states nor do you dissipate your very insightful analysis by going off on a solo run insulting people whose actions you fail to understand.

        • Gege Le Beau

          Sorry michaelcoughlan, I don’t like being misrepresented. We all get a little hot under the collar from time to time, but I try my best to tackle the argument not the person but when provoked I respond, like now, it is fundamentally a question of respect.

          If when talking about Marixst states you mean Cuba, well I never indicated it was a workers paradise, in fact, I have highlighted the need for a political oppostion and greater press freedoms among other things, but I also highlighted the brutal context Cuba finds itself (longest economic embargo in human history, consistently voted against in the UN general assembly, I believe the last vote was 185-3 condeming the US embargo) and also the exploitation and degradation it suffered for centuries. I pointed out some of the remarkable achievments in the Cuban education and health systems because I wanted people here to think and reflect.

          If people want to get upset and tell me to move to Havana or North Korea, well I think that reflects a fear of change/mental poverty. My posts on Cuba form part of an overall critique on the impact of neoliberalism which has its origins in imperialism and colonialism, hence the big discussion on Latin American history with McWilliams’ Chile article. I don’t believe for a second that you can look at economic data in isolation of the historical record or the reality of the people’s socio-economic situation on the ground. The Chicago Boys boasted of economic growth but they failed to mention the massive spike in poverty, a direct consequence of their policies. I personally think that form of economics to be dangerous.

          I believe in an alternative socio-economic system to Western Capitalism (hardly radical in these times) but I do not claim to have all the answers, in fact, I learn more from from this page than I contribute. I naturally don’t agree with David McWilliams on everything but I’d like to think he is the kind of person you can agree to disagree with.

          As for Labour, I think they are the best of a very bad bunch and should be elected to see what they can do, there is nothing coming over the hill, this is it, so we better work with what we’ve got, parallel with this I think the emergence of local political organisations, the strengtheing of a civic society that holds the government to account is needed now more than ever, horizontal not vertical ‘democracy’ which has failed spectactularly. Again this is hardly Che Guevara politics, more common sense given the economic shock we are going through. There is another way.

  20. johnpaulodriscoll

    I have read and listened to sound and insightful observations and explanations from Mr McWilliams, Prof. Kinsella, and others who know what they are saying; I have seen intelligent and innovative proposals to spur growth and employment, from unions, industry, and other sources, over the past two years; & there have even been a few bright ideas put forward by opposition parties. But the government has not & will not the heed these wisdoms or warnings outside the doors of Merrion Street, except what they receive from Brussells, the Central Bank, and those invisible few who do not communicate on mainstreet. We are two years on from the huge bank guarantee, which was strongly advised against, and every step and sidestep taken by Brian Lenihan and his department have failed to plug or narrow the gaping hole in the sinking ship.

    It is a bunker mentality: they are mentally, psychologically, and intellectually unable or unwilling to change course; they are numbed to the impact that their failed efforts are having on the man in the street & the suffocating economy; & they react to all intelligent proposals from outside as under a siege.

    Someone needs to pull the lever, immediately. Only a fresh set of eyes, ears, & brains can confront this crisis intelligently. The new government will have to be open to & carry out many of the wise proposals, like this one from Mr. McWilliams.

    Where is the lever?

  21. @ bob – notYourUncle

    No, it shouldn’t! No, a pile of multinationals would leave Ireland.

    Why would they? Look at all the infrastructural money spent on roads, education, health in Ireland over the past two decades – too little I know, but enough to take us beyond states such as Bermuda in the Caribbean, or even Montenegro closer to home.

    We’ve a highly educated population and we are established members of the EU – Sofar:)We’ve a lot to offer multi nationals ‘going forward’.

    Its part of a sacred cow Irish mentality that speaks inferiority complex to approach CT as if it were the apple in Ireland’s garden of Eden.

    No, it ain’t.

    Arguably, Ireland’s multinationals have been getting too free a ride from Ireland INC. It’s time we stood up for ourselves and showed a bit of cop on internationally, if not locally.

    We ain’t behoven to a shibboleth CT complex that runs in fright at the thought of increasing CT.

    Look at the evidence and facts surrounding CT in the EU.


    “Average corporate tax rates in the EU fell by 0.28 percent to 25.04 percent in 2005, thanks to rate cuts in six EU member states including France, Greece and the Netherlands. This compared with average rates of 28.31 percent for the OECD countries, 28.25 percent for Latin America and 29.99 percent in the Asia Pacific region. In the UK, the rate was unchanged at 30 percent.”

    What you find is CT is often part of a broad range of other taxes that are added to CT that jump the tax take back to the state. Germany, for example, see link below adds a broad range of other mandatory taxes eg municipal taxes, solidarity taxes to its low rate of CT 15% bringing the total closer to 30%, ‘real’ amount of CT when other taxes
    are added.

    As part of the fright night Hammer horror fear of touching CT, the scenario of fleeing multinationals is often prescribed:) This is another myth. Across the UK, Germany and the EU there has not been a fleeing of multinationals due to their ‘high’ CT tax rates.

    If we havn’t the confidence and self belief in ourselves to raise the CT to a decent 20-25% at least, we should shut up shop.

    The IFSC might have been an argument at one point to retain the rate of CT to 12.5% in the hope of a bonanza of invisible corporate financial finance flying under the table to Ireland.

    Lehman’s and Ireland’s recession plus the ending of the financial derivative serving industry in Wall Street and worldwide has put paid to that argument. Plus it’s not clear we ever made money out of that CT aspect of IFSC in the first place.

    Raise the CT to at least 20-25% and allow multi nationals in Ireland make a contribution to the restoration of Ireland’s dignity through a national solidarity tax.

    Another myth is that the EU look enviously at our low CT rate and they would dearly love to bring their CT down to our level!

    No again, rather they think our CT rate is idiotically low and we should bring ours up to a rate closer to theirs. They are right, we are idiots to have such a low CT rate.

    Read more here:


    • Deco

      { We’ve a highly educated population } cac as an tarbh

      Really. I read a link this week indicating what goes on in Irish universities. It seems a lot of people have better things to do than learn the finer points of Calculus. Even such simple tasks as how to write good clear English get a miss.

      Why did the CEO of Intel Ireland lambast the literacy skills of our graduates ?

      Why is the biggest problem that a lot of graduates have problems thinking for themselves ?

      Why is that so many people in Ireland get involved in all sorts of Lemming runs ? From Eircom shares, to buying a new car in a certain year, to voting for the ditherer, to buying the latest gadetry, to shopping in NYC, to repeated stag parties in Barcelona, we see herd like behaviour. And those who think of themselves as highly educated people do this much more than anybody else.

      I reckon that the commentary about highly educated young people is stretching the truth a bit, and is a bit of PR spin to provide a clap on the back to idiots behaving cluelessly….a bit of a sacred cow actually. How many expensively educated Irish teenagers does it take to kick another teenager to death outside Annabels night club because he has the wrong accent, and because the lawyers will acquit on a technicality ?

      The presumption that people are educated leads to all sorts of nonsense, including this assumption that real intellectual activity is not required in life, that instead you just follow the other muppets in a lemming run….

      • You make good points there Deco and I don’t disagree with them. In relative terms our second level system, a disaster in terms of its support for science and maths, is relatively highly regarded. We are not Botswana. Some of our universities have been rising in world rankings, but have begun to fall again.

        • Deco

          Look, I actually reckon that until the age of 17 the Irish education system is fairly competent. I mean there are students that are disinterested, and students who are learning something academically against their will, which will be of benefit to them. It is after the age of 17 that the stupidity and ineptitude creeps in. The real issue I have concern with in second level is career guidance. It seems to be used by ambitious teachers who are trying to get themselves into principals positions. In other words it attracts people for careerist rather than vocational reasons.

          But I reckon that large parts of our third level institutions, especially the bigger univerities are churning out legions of wasters. Now, we are not alone in this regard. The US does it, and the UK does it also. But I reckon that there are lots of degree courses which are really just cheap ways of keeping down the dole queues. This is a legacy of the 1980s.

          I also think that there is severe underprovision of certain areas, like medicine and mathematics, and severe overprovision of other areas, like law and generic courses in the humanities, where there will not be enough jobs available. We must have the highest number of legal graduates per capita in Europe at this stage. Yet, doctors are working 16 hour shifts and have been for over a decade to deal with demand in our hospitals.

          And nobody in public has commented on this yet. Nobody. Instead there seems to be this push towards making nursing a degree course, a kind of a technician career underneath doctors. And then there is no money to pay the qualified nurses.

          The level of fudging in public policy is astounding.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Commodification/corportisation of education as Henry A. Giroux and a whole host of others have written. It is argued that education is a vocation for a dwindling minority. What was seen as a ‘service’ has been turned into a business. All about titles, salaries and pensions. Intel called the bluff, Batt said there would be an enquiry, anyone seen the findings?

            Is Higher Education in Need of a Moral Bailout?
            The Corporate Stranglehold on Education
            Henry A. Giroux

          • Good points Deco.

            HL Mencken reckoned that most people stop maturing mentally around the age of 18.

            I have personally known people with masters degrees who were stupid and unemployable.

            I just don’t buy this highly educated population crap. At all.

          • coldblow


            By coincidence I was thinking the same thing about career guidance only yesterday in the sense that I was wondering what the teachers in the English public schools were thinking when they pushed their less bright students through the exam mill and on to the redbrick university I attended. They probably raised the status of the school by swelling the number of undergraduates they turned out. It is an odd experience to take part in a seminar where you and one other student worked shifts to think up questions to pose to the prof. (an expert on Civil War England) while the rest sat there in complete silence (and most of them, unlike me, had studied the period before). I mentioned before the occasion at the end of my final year when I was given a look at a fellow student’s dissertation and knew at that moment that I had been conned all along. Perhaps they should just give the bright ones the books and let them at it. The tradition here has always, it seems, been to churn out people seeking sinecures, after all that, and property ownership, were the only safe options here (I think JJ Lee bears this out?). I imagine the rest had to work the system, call in connections, pull the right strings, or emigrate?

            Re nurses, my mother went over to London in the late 30s to train as a nurse (I wonder why she couldn’t stay here to do that?) and was there during the Blitz. They had to do everything, cleaning the floors included.

          • Deco

            The more I think about, the more convinced I am that Ireland’s Third Level sector is generating nonsense.

            A few good gradautes, but a crowd of lemmings as well.

            In fact, the one thing I observed from college was people trying as hard as possible to be as irresponsible as possible. And that was in a recession too. The whole culture is harking back to the days when only the priveleged and a minority on scholarships went to university, and when there were very few course available.

            I also notice that the “manufacturing of consent” is at saturation level in third level. Drinks companies giving free beer to student union officers, banks sponsoring everything, all sorts of corporate saturation and patronaization nonsense.

            The one accusation that can not be thrown at Ireland’s third level sector is that it is pre-occupied with intellectual development. Maybe the college bodies might intend it to be that way, but it never works out like that.

          • coldblow


            My lot (in the north of England) used to imitate the late 60s students with protests about deinvestment in S. Africa and the like. Apparently Keith Joseph came to debate one day (a fellow student who wouldn’t have been well-disposed towards him told me this) and he was jeered and heckled. Apparently when he spoke he made mincemeat out of them. Another fellow got himself at the front of all the demos, I was told, and he had the long hair and the rest of the gear. Then after a couple of years he metamorphosed into a cool, clean-shaven dude. What you had everywhere were denims, donkey jackets and light brown cowboy boots. They wrote down every word: “Good morning” (write it down). At first they would say absolutely nothing in seminars, later you couldn’t shut some of them up. They liked to say things like “relevant”, “judgemental” and “society is brainwashed”.

            This novel is about trendy lecturer, Howard Kirk:


            “Howard Kirk is a lecturer in sociology at the local university. The Kirks are trendy leftist people, but living together for many years and the advance of middle age have left unfavourable traces in their relationship. It is Barbara Kirk who notices this change, whereas Howard is as enthusiastic and self-assured as always. Officially, the Kirks oppose traditional gender roles just as fiercely as the exploitation of humans by other humans. Nevertheless practices have crept into their lives which do not live up to such high standards: Howard writes books, while Barbara – stranded with much of the housework and two little children – would like to but never gets round to doing it. Any female student who comes to live with, rather than work for, them is ruthlessly made to baby-sit and perform domestic chores…”

            The tv series was excellent.

            Just to add balance (sigh) did anyone see the excellent Yosser’s Story (gissa job) episode of the Boys from the Blackstuff last Saturday night? The scene where the priest pulls back the shutter in the confessional box to reveal Yosser Hughes’ manic stare through the grille is superb (I refrain from ‘iconic’). I think the next episode (Sun evening at 9 I think) is very good – I’m going back nearly 30 years to Thatcher’s England – but for some reason this is the only channel out of several hundred to go on the blink? Conspiracy?

    • Alex

      >Across the UK, Germany and the EU there has not been a fleeing of multinationals due to their ‘high’ CT tax rates.

      Because it will be more expensive to leave, due previous investments, but multinationals minimized new investments in those countries

      >Raise the CT to at least 20-25% and allow multi nationals in Ireland make a contribution to the restoration of Ireland’s dignity through a national solidarity tax.

      Why MNC’s should pay for populism of Irish politicians and subsidize inefficiencies in Irish public sector?

      • Not because its more expensive for them to leave, rather because their surging profits have easily absorbed reasonable CT.

        CT has not suddenly gone through the roof in those countries, but in the main was largely there prior to the establishment of corporations in those countries.

        We havn’t seen investment dry up, the only problem has been Ireland Inc caught up in the over enthusiasm re IFSC and the hypo surrounding it.

        We need to get real and charge a fair and reasonable CT

        • Alex

          So far mains reasons for FDI were english speaking workforce and low corporate tax.
          The rest were disaster – high rents, poor infrastructure, excessive salaries for low qualified workforce, etc
          This is why most of MNC’s were concentrating on transferring to Ireland only high profitable not labour extensive parts of their businesses
          As soon as CT will increase, it will make more sense to transfer business to UK, where labour is cheaper, business infrastructure is better, rents are lower etc

          It is not MNC’s fault that FF promised too much, MNC’s management must take care only about shareholders profits, but not about preserving waste in Irish public sector and subsidizing left win populists

          • CT is only one part of a package of reforms that should also cover the whole spectrum of rent extraction, excessive salaries, poor infrastructure you mention.

            UK rates are 28% http://bit.ly/d4bkp9
            We would still compete if our rates were increased to the magic 25%.

            Looking at the broad landscape of the response to our meltdown, I’m not hopeful of a good outcome. It’s fasten the seat belts and wait for the IMF with default around Paddy’s Day.

            FF as well as doing 400,000 out of a job, may well include themselves in that number before long. Already EU officials are pouring over the books in Merrion St.

            I reckon they are trying to figure out a way to get FF out of there and bring in the IMF.

  22. Reality Check

    David and followers of Keynes; THe multiplier effect is rubbish.


  23. Another of Ireland’s sacred cows is DoF. Lenny has been taken on a tour of cross roads and corner turns every few months and making a fool of himself in the Dail on foot of their predictions.

    David uses the moniker ‘the oracle’ in his article above.

    When is someone going to say: ‘You’re fired, everybody within 2 tiers of the toop responsible for budgetary predictions, NAMA, economic forecasting, Go’

    Let Karl Whelan in with a team of PHD level expertise, use the former team as consultants, and run the place efficiently and professionally.

    DoF economic performance over the past decade has been dire. Time they were made accountable and replaced along with the banxters!

    Stop them embarrassing Lenny yet again!

  24. Alex

    Not the best article from David
    What David is actually proposing is to show two fingers for foreign financial institutions, which subsidized fake growth, based on property bubble through Irish banks and delay inevitable collapse by excessive spending
    it is like prescribing pain killer instead of surgery
    Ireland is not self sufficient country and spending too much on buying foreign goods
    Even if export is higher then import, Ireland still have negative balance with rest of the world, due repatriation most of profits by MNC’s
    Consumption must be reduced
    Now we have GNP at about 100Bn. If we will subtract 28 Bn, which generated by 22 bn borrowings, it will have devastating effect on economy, but there is no other choice
    Country cannot become wealthy only on reselling chinese goods to each other
    PS payroll bill must be reduced to 10% of GNP (8Bn) and spending on welfare must be revisited

    • Gege Le Beau

      //show two fingers for foreign financial institutions//

      They know the game inside out, they’re probably covered for any losses (if they had any brain), let them take the hit, they are the champions of this BS, well, let them take the medicine they are so found of dishing out to others.

      DMW has pointed out time and again, they could not believe it when they heard of the bank guarantee, Anglo should have gone to the wall when its losses were revealed, it was not a bank that was of systemic importance to the Irish economy, it does however seem to have been of systemic importance to Fianna Fail.

  25. coldblow


    Support for your general approach from the Observer:


    Which brings me to the vital importance of macroeconomic policy. I fear there is a gulf between those who grasp the importance of macroeconomics and those who don’t.
    Economists are easy targets these days, partly because they have allowed themselves to be judged too much by their forecasting abilities (which leave a lot to be desired) and partly because a particular branch of the profession took a wrong turning and contributed, with certain ill-founded theories, to the financial crisis. But give me economists every time to the kind of banker or businessman who, because he is successful in his chosen area, chooses to lecture us on the economy at large.
    Last week we had a classic example. In the Times there was a banner headline proclaiming “Labour is wrong on tax, bonuses and how to get out of a recession, says top banker”.
    Mike Geoghegan, chief executive of HSBC, may be great at his job, but in saying “the government can’t spend more than it actually collects in taxes. People can’t live without savings …” he was giving us a first-class demonstration of the widespread ignorance of the central insight of macroeconomics — that the government has to step in when the private sector withdraws if recession is not to become serious depression.
    The point is that at times like this the government can and should spend more than it “actually collects in taxes”. Otherwise we should be back to the 1930s in no time.
    What actually happened was that many people did live for a time without savings, and now citizens and businesses are reducing their debts and saving quite a lot. At a time of recession, extra government spending can boost incomes, employment and earnings, thereby producing gains which mean savings can rise. But extra savings without offsetting boosts to spending can be disastrous.
    In his presidential address to the Royal Economic Society in 1974, the late Sir Donald MacDougall pointed out that “The Keynesian solution to unemployment … involved changes in attitudes, but mainly the attitude of an elite to propositions that were not unattractive and, in retrospect (but only in retrospect), blindingly obvious, such as that when there is heavy unemployment it is right for the government to spend more and tax less rather than the other way around.”
    I commend Keynesian macroeconomics to Geoghegan, George Osborne and a cast of millions.

    • StephenKenny

      “In his presidential address to the Royal Economic Society in 1974, the late Sir Donald MacDougall pointed out that “The Keynesian solution to unemployment … involved changes in attitudes, but mainly the attitude of an elite to propositions that were not unattractive and, in retrospect (but only in retrospect), blindingly obvious, such as that when there is heavy unemployment it is right for the government to spend more and tax less rather than the other way around.”

      So it must have been rather embarrassing to that economist that two years later the UK government was forced, kicking and screaming, into cutting it’s deficit. As then UK PM James Callaghan put it:

      “We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step.”


      “When we reject unemployment as an economic instrument – as we do – and when we reject also superficial remedies, as socialists must, then we must ask ourselves unflinchingly what is the cause of high unemployment. Quite simply and unequivocally, it is caused by paying ourselves more than the value of what we produce. There are no scapegoats.”

      and just to put it in context, March 1946:
      “Never let me hear anyone say again that a Socialist State cannot provide outlets for those with initiative. The rewards given to ability in the U.S.S.R. at all levels are far greater than those given to the employed in capitalist Britain. I have seen it and it works.”
      - this man was no political liberal

  26. Reality Check

    I recommend Austrian Economics for the cast of Keynesians.
    “Fear the Boom and Bust” a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem.

  27. Alan42

    I think its a good idea . I recieved a cheque from the Australian government for $900 and so did every Australian during the GFC .

    However people are saving / hoarding and paying down debt out of fear and a total lack of faith in the political establishment . There is no leadership and nobody that even seems to know what they are talking about . That bizare event between Peter Mathews and Frank Fahey was like something out of father Ted .

    These guys are just completly out of their depth . There is not even one of them who has any real business experience . Until that changes you may as well make the cat the Minister for Finance .

    • insider

      I certainly didn’t – kevin bloody rudd labour welfare state discrimination. They would rather give the bogans $900 to throw onto the pokies than to all hard working families regardless of income.

  28. coldblow


    Re tax individualization, the rebound happens when one of the couple loses their job.

  29. paddyjones

    DMcW is really scrapping the bottom of the barrel here. Spending more …save less , well I am a saver and it is the one thing that makes me sleep well at night. Saying we must spend more to get out of this mess is just stupid. We must deleverage yes spend less and pay down the debts they won’t just go away.
    DMcW is becoming increasingly desperate in his ideas to solve our financial mess. We are like a company making losses and with big debts. We must cut costs to make us profitable again and then pay down the loans.
    The idea of a mortgage freeze for two years is ludicrous, there is no easy way out here DMcW. The EU will force us to get our finances in order and if that fails there is the IMF.
    The idea that we must spend …..spend what? …foreign borrowings. Where does DMcW think the money will come from a money tree maybe?
    We must cut the deficit to 3% by 2014 and have a credible plan to do so.
    The EU will not allow Ireland to go the way of Greece, they will force our incompetant politicians to get real.

  30. Colin


    I’m considering voting Sinn Fein in the next election, and this is something I have never even considered before. Why? They are the only party with a pair of cochones who do not sign up to the cosy consensus of a reduction to 3% by 2014. Why don’t we tell the ECB to go stick it? They know it took 2 to tango, they lent the money to us in a very irresponsible fashion. Why should we just lie over a barrel and take what punishment they think is necessary?

    Here’s my brief analysis of how I will vote;

    FF – Never. Totally corrupt, gombeens, traitors, slave traders.

    Green – Not for a generation. Totally infected with FF tendencies, may take decades to return to good health.

    Labour – Unlikely. Too close to Unions who helped destroy the country. Can’t even talk the talk, let alone walk the walk.

    FG – Less & Less Likely. Policies too similar to FF. Completely subservient to ECB.

    So, where’s the party, whose policies are;
    1. Reduce Unemployment Rate, Create Employment using Public Wirks schemes if necessary.
    2. Increase Taxes on Wealth(Property, Inheritance, Capital Gains, DIRT etc…).
    3. Introduce new 55% tax band for incomes >100k
    4. Reduce VAT & Cut out stealth taxes.
    5. Cut out wastage in Public Service.
    6. Take on the vested interests like the professionals (gp/consultants/dentists/solicitors/accountants/..etc).
    7. Weaken Landlords & Landowners, cut back on Rent Supplements give to Landlords.
    8. Make white collar crime punishable with prison.
    9. Protect Social Welfare (except Children’s Allowance for those earning >€100k).
    10. Force utilities to lower prices, threaten to sell them off if necessary.

    • Deco

      Sinn Fein’s policies are out of the loony bin. They are absolute rubbish.

      Only recommendations 5,6, 8 and 10 will make any difference – the others will either kick back or are unimplementable..

    • StephenKenny

      A lot of the policies seem reasonable to me. I’ve got a few problems with some of them:
      2. Those sort of wealth taxes never seem to generate (much) extra revenue. They’re more about social policy.
      5. A 800lb gorilla in the room – this is the practical impossibility that everyone suggests and some people even try. The reason it always fails seems to be to do with all the incentives being misaligned.
      6. See 5, although possibly more achievable (500lb gorilla). Dealing with doctors being unable to pay their mortgages could be awkward.
      7. Be prepared for a lot of unforeseen, and unwanted, consequences. e.g. rent cuts lead to house price falls, leads to underwater mortgages, leads to bank problems and more people looking for rented accommodation (ok, that one’s foreseen). Increased publicly owned housing will mean more public sector staff and more wastage – see 5.

      Lots of tax cuts and extra spending – needs to be funded.

      No easy answers

  31. Reality Check

    Increase taxes and you decrease Economic activity.

    • paulmcd

      If LOW taxes meant high economic activity, then the Isle of Mann would be the Hong Kong of the British Isles, and the Cayman Islands would be the manufacturing hub of the global economy.

      In Ireland, if WEALTH-ACCUMULATING high-income earners ONLY had taken on the burden of the bank bailout, then the low and middle income earners – ie, THE SPENDING CLASSES – would not have had to curtail the stimulus which their normal spending patterns allowed for. My proposal for NAMA – limiting impact on lower earners – is at hyperlink below.


      FF/G are guilty of economic sabotage.

    • paulmcd

      Forgot to mention that by this logic, you would expect the Nordic economies to be economic wastelands.

      Alas, the greatest extremes in terms of wealth/poverty, waste/corruption, etc are in low-tax economies.

  32. paulmcd


    Every household in Ireland is being billed today for c. €300 for the continued Anglo bailout.


    Probably RTE will report after the event.

    • paulmcd

      Total bill of €320 million for the taxpayer – money lost; and I suppose Anglo will record a “profit” of €1.28 billion on the so-called 80% saving or “discount” which should be a 100% saving with losses fully inflicted on the subordinated bondholders to protect the taxpayer.

    • paulmcd

      And to think that such a fuss is being made, in the media, over the ‘mere’ €8 million owed by Drumm.

    • Deco

      I have not watched RTE in weeks.

      The last time I looked there were advertisements for AIB every evening, telling people to get loans for personal lifestyle from AIB.

      And I sat there thinking, this is nonsense, because I don’t think they have the money to loan out.

      But hey, it is working – because RTE have not issued any bad news about AIB – except on Anglo Thursday – and that was to re-emphasize that AIB “IS” of systemic importance.

      Well….go figure….

  33. Regardless of your feelings towards free market economics, to cushion the consequences of bad decisions or insulate risk takers from negative outcomes amounts to giving that particular economic system a lobotomy. All the systematic intelligence resides in the pain aversion. This could account for the almost unbelievable lack of intelligence displayed by our key market participants during the boom. If you know you can’t really loose why should you put any effort into the bet selection. Just get them out there as large and as fast as you can.

    All that being said radical and lateral actions such as those suggested by David are necesary to revive the ailing patient. A defibrillator for the economy if you will. I wouldn’t recommend it as a typical or normal part of everyday economic life.

  34. Elsevier in Shannon : This company has announced it is closing after 30 years trading .RTE interviewed the Managing Director and World Group Operation Director of Reeds Elsevier ( stock quoted company )and what he said would embarass the government .It was not broadcasted …so more censorship in our national media system.

    • Tim Johnston

      so what did he say and how do you know about it if it wasn’t broadcast?

      • He is my brother in law and he did everything he could to allow many of the employees to work elsewhere in their world branches and could not make that happen in Ireland eventhough he has single handedly been responsible for not allowing this decision happen years earlier when it was on their head office cards then to do so .He praised the employees for their endurance and loyality and good workmanship.Operating Costs in Ireland became too prohitive to operate even in a tax friendly zone.The Irish Gov and Banks have distroyed the confidence in the perception how foreign employers see our country and ourselves in our country.
        This is the last straw and will break the back of the camel.

  35. Tim

    Folks, Have a look at this; I did not see or hear anything in the news today about it:

    “Anglo Irish Launches Exchange Offer: Sub Debt Holders To Receive 20% On Existing Holdings”


  36. https://tickets.carlsbergcatlaughs.com/Online/default.asp?brand=Kilkenomics

    Here we go. Quit the yapping. All the crew are at this and it will be big. It’s a big ask to attend the full show but we need to be here at some point. Study the logistical implications and decide when would be the best night for a “sleepover”. High time we all had a pint together anyway.


  37. Gege Le Beau

    Did anyone just watch the farce at the end of Prime Time?

    8 billion on a transport project that will benefit a few hundred thousand people? Have they lost the plot, cut that one project, take the money and you have your 6 billion in cuts and 2 billion for employment stimulus, does Dublin really need a metro?

    Paddy Power are betting that construction on Dublin’s Metro North will begin on schedule next year and offer the following on the end cost:

    Metro North final cost
    9/2 Under €5 billion
    15/8 €5 billion to €5.99 billion
    11/4 €6 billion to €6.99 billion
    4/1 €7 billion to €7.99 billion
    8/1 €8 billion to €8.99 billion
    12/1 €9 billion to €9.99 billion
    6/1 €10 billion or over

    • The bigger farce, though the ineptitude of Metro North was buggering, was Ryans mooncalf face when confronted by economic truth by young Taft.
      Does anyone not follow Joe Stiglitz anymore?

      • Gege Le Beau

        Here is one of his latest interviews

        Government stimulus needed to revive US economy

        • Our lot seem enthralled by any four syllable word irrespective of the meaning.
          Aus-Ter-It-Ee(where the emphasis is on Aus)
          Fund-A-Ment-Al(where the emphasis is on Mental)
          Go-Ing-For-Ward(where the emphasis is on Ward)
          Sus-Tain-A-Bill(where the emphasis is on Bill)
          E-Con-O-Me(where the emphasis is on conning me)
          And so on.
          What was the point of getting a humble honour in Leaving Cert English?

          • Gege Le Beau

            Double-speak Furrylugs, read Orwell, he knew.

            Labour flexibility – you do whatever you are told.
            Downsizing – unemployment.
            Rataionalisation – unemployment.
            Reform – unemployment.
            Relocation – potential unemployment.
            Return to growth – contined recession.
            Free Markets – for poorer countries.
            Protectionism – for Western economics (CAP?).
            Government Transparency – more cover ups.
            Greater efficiencies – less efficiences.
            Freedom of Information – €150 per request while ‘Search & Retrieval’ comes in at €20.95 per hour

            War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Austerity leads to growth, come on Furrylugs, you got to accept that despite all evidence to the contrary, it came from a guy who said there wouldn’t be capital flight because Ireland is an island (surely this rivals Sarah Palin’s comment in relation to her international relations experience: ‘you can see Russia from Alaska’).

            No, in this world, as Eduardo Galeano conveyed masterfully in ‘Upside Down World’, things are inverted.

            So a President shows up for a Nobel Peace Award and gives a speech justifying war. A criminally negligent government criminally bankrupts the country and future generations and says it is in the national interest, in the UK a Budget is introduced as fair which the Institute of Fiscal Studies points out in 24 hours is now only going to hit the poor hardest but also has basic mathematical errors, a world where countries invade other countries with the shifting sands of ‘justification’ – ‘smoking gun/mushroom cloud to regime change to democracy promotion to stability in the region’ when in fact they are chasing its natural resources, democratic governments are overthrown because they are out of favour with the New Economic Order (Haiti, Venezuela, Honduras and potentially Bolivia).

            Cigarettes we were once told by doctors are fine while Guinness gives you strength. Edward Bernays would be proud of the world he helped create.

            Truly Orwellian.

          • Surely to God you’re not comparing me to Sarah Palin? I know we haven’t spoken at all and I presume you were looking in on the side before you took the plunge but if not and you don’t realise who I am, then be cautious my friend. My POV is Bunreacht na h-Éireann and provisions therof and in particular, Article 45, being the guidance given to the Oireachtas in making Laws for the good of the people so that a Landlord Class would not again appear on this Island.
            Before you respond, I would ask you to familiarise yourself with this;


            Article 45

            The principles of social policy set forth in this Article are intended for the general guidance of the Oireachtas. The application of those principles in the making of laws shall be the care of the Oireachtas exclusively, and shall not be cognisable by any Court under any of the provisions of this Constitution.

            1. The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the whole people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice and charity shall inform all the institutions of the national life.

            2. The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:

            i. That the citizens (all of whom, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood) may through their occupations find the means of making reasonable provision for their domestic needs.

            ii. That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community may be so distributed amongst private individuals and the various classes as best to subserve the common good.

            iii. That, especially, the operation of free competition shall not be allowed so to develop as to result in the concentration of the ownership or control of essential commodities in a few individuals to the common detriment.

            iv. That in what pertains to the control of credit the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole.

            v. That there may be established on the land in economic security as many families as in the circumstances shall be practicable.

            3. 1° The State shall favour and, where necessary, supplement private initiative in industry and commerce.

            2° The State shall endeavour to secure that private enterprise shall be so conducted as to ensure reasonable efficiency in the production and distribution of goods and as to protect the public against unjust exploitation.

            4. 1° The State pledges itself to safeguard with especial care the economic interests of the weaker sections of the community, and, where necessary, to contribute to the support of the infirm, the widow, the orphan, and the aged.

            2° The State shall endeavour to ensure that the strength and health of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children shall not be abused and that citizens shall not be forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their sex, age or strength.

            Am I right wing or just simply an Irish Patriot?
            Unfortunately, unless one takes up arms against the State, Our Constitution does not recognise treason. Yet we can be sold out to the highest bidder.

  38. Tim

    In its 10 years in operation, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcment (ODCE) has never secured a conviction.


  39. “”A field study by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has found 2,800 so-called Ghost Estates around Ireland amounting to around 179,273 partially built or unoccupied homes lying idle.

    There are 78,195 dwellings in the developments surveyed that are complete and occupied and 23,250 dwellings are complete and vacant, the survey found.

    The survey found that there are 9976 dwellings that are near complete and 9,854 dwellings are at various early stages of construction activity from site clearance, foundations up to wall plate level.

    There is planning permission for a further estimated 58,025 dwellings that have not commenced and are therefore not posing any immediate construction or site specific difficulties.

    Earlier this year, Planning Minister Ciaran Cuffe and Housing Minister Michael Finneran announced a plan to quantify how many ghost estates exist and their location.

    Officials subsequently visited virtually every estate built – or granted planning permission – in the last number of years and their conclusions were published today.

    The survey is the first independent, field based analysis of multi-unit or scheme type housing across the state and will be of invaluable use to Government, Regional and Local authorities and interested bodies in monitor the construction status and spatial distribution of housing development across the state.

    Looking at the details finds that Co Cavan has 132 Ghost Estates while Leitrim has 91, Fingal has 136 while Dublin City has 82, Laois has 54 and Longford has 72 and Co Cork tops the list with 235.”"

    But we said this here a year ago. How much did this particular report cost?
    And it means that 75% of the houses built in the last three years of the BoomBust were’nt needed. So where’s the County Development Plans now. Where’s all those Planners responsible for granting the permissions? Where’s all the County Councillors who signed off on all those plans? Where’s the TD’s elected to oversee the judicial growth of the Nation.
    And where is that cupboard gurrier who presided over all this?

    And now some little half pint fecker from France is telling us it’s all the fault of the Irish people.

    There was many a part of this country that never heard the Tigers roar, and never will now.
    Just because a clique of insider corruptibles are hurting will not affect me one iota. Not one.
    Let them come and try to make me pay.
    Let them come.

  40. Sorry if that has been posted already, no time to read entire thread at the moment.

    The profits don’t stay with the Dublin subsidiary, which reported pretax income of less than 1 percent of sales in 2008, according to Irish records. That’s largely because it paid $5.4 billion in royalties to Google Ireland Holdings, which has its “effective centre of management” in Bermuda, according to company filings.


    Of course, beyond any doubts, not a single irish politician and/or servant could possibly have known about this and a ton of more scams…. of course!

  41. Colin

    Great performance by Sommerville tonight on Vincent Browne’s show tonight. Yeah, that conference call by Lenny a few weeks back to an audience of 250 bondholders, Lenny was asked how will Ireland prevent foreign depositors withdrawing their money from Irish banks? His response is, they won’t, Ireland’s an Island. Now, Lenny, the time for cracking jokes has long passed. Does Lenny think Northern Ireland no longer shares a border with the Republic? Does Lenny think Electronic Fund Transfer can be shutdown by the Irish Government? We’re in the shit because of you and your fellow FF shysters! Do the decent thing and resign from Cabinet, resign your seat as well, bring this God damn awful government down now! You are ruining the country each day you remain in power!

    Paddythepig, do you still think Lenihan is doing a great job?

    • Colin

      Here’s the verbatim about deposit flight, it’s at 31.50 on the recording;

      questioner: ‘do you see any evidence or risks of retail deposit flight?’

      Lenihan: ‘retail deposit flight, I don’t see that as a great danger. Ireland is an island and clearly in any island people tend to stay with their local bank.’

      Fellow posters, the future’s bright, the future’s abroad. Do not try and start a business in Ireland. Don’t believe all that shite. You will not succeed as you will not be allowed to succeed. Don’t waste your blood, sweat and tears, your health will suffer, you’ll have a breakdown, and the health services will be cut, so you won’t be cared for.

    • paddythepig

      I’ll reverse my judgement on that till after the budget. If he makes the cuts and productivity improvements that are needed, then he’ll be doing a good job in my eyes.

      Anything is better than the false Santy Claus economics proposed in the article above.

      • Gege Le Beau

        @ paddythepig – the comment reminds me of when grain was exporting from Cork during the Famine and people dropping like flies, while butter and other commodities were hoarded by Catholic and Protestant merchants, people made money, no doubt productivity went up but the ‘society’ was f**ked.

        • Colin

          Agree 100% Gege Le Beau.

          Maybe the unemployed should be sent to the workhouse then Paddythepig? Maybe the new minimum wage of €5.00/hr will force the low paid to live in mobile homes sites, our very own trailer parks? Those left in their homes will no longer be able to afford to pay their electric bill, and the children will be doing their homework by candlelight, taking cold showers in the winter and eating one-pot-food cooked over an open fire…….Oh, God be with the days eh? ……but as long as the important people(our betters, lets all doth our caps in unison) in Brussels & Frankfurt know that we chomped on the spoon when we wolfed down their medicine, eh?

          • MadaboutEire

            Element of truth to this, I noticed on the Sky News website they have a section called ‘Hard Times’ (very Dickensesque), among the long list of sad comments was one pensioner who was peeling spuds, he refused to throw out the peels because he was going to boil them the next day for his dinner.

            I am not surprised at the numbers of people turning to Vincent De Paul, a representative on Prime Time said a cut above 3 billion would be savage and would have an appalling impact on society and on organisations like his own. Calls to the Samaritans also must be out, although I don’t have figures to hand.

            This is a society in crisis and it will worsen. A truly dreadful legacy from the years of excess, but for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so hopefully will be the case come election time.

      • paddythepig

        Colin, have you lost your marbles? Where did I mention anything about sending unemployed to the workhouse? Get a grip on yourself.

        Gege, that’s a pathetic sanctimonious comment. You should view higher productivity as a good thing ; it means we pay our way in the world, whilst still maintaining a decent standard of living, and a fair society.

        • Colin


          So tell us then what you expect to happen, or would like Lenny to deal with the following groups

          1. Unemployed – through no fault of their own.

          2. Low Paid – competing with immigrants unlike the higher earners.

          3. Sick – through no fault of their own.

          4. Elderly -(without private pensions).

          5. Small business owners – facing higher rents, higher utilities, higher taxes, higher insurance etc…

          • paddythepig

            Weren’t you calling for 7 or 8 billion cuts about this time last year? Have you changed your mind?

          • Colin

            Who? Me? No, don’t remember calling for 7 or 8 bn of cuts, got me mixed up with someone else there mate. For clarity, I want jobs programmes created to get useful skilled people off the dole and working to provide the country what it needs, good infrastructure, like upgraded power grid, construction of nuclear power plant, broadband network upgraded, re-open rail lines for tourism & getting freight moved off roads and onto railways, more incinerators to convert waste to electricity, better streetscapes for our cities including pedestrianisation.

            What I don’t want Metro North to go ahead, its so awful its not funny, unless you live near one of the proposed stops. I want all overtime paid in HSE and entire Public Service cancelled. I want Public Service salaries capped at €100k a year. I want VAT halved, and CT doubled, travel tax and credit card tax removed.

            Now, I’ve laid it out for you. What about the five points above Paddy?

          • Tim Johnston

            A lot of good ideas in there, Colin.

          • paddythepig

            David, a search facility where u can enter a keyword and
            root out old comments would be good.

            Colin, you seem to agree with me that we need cuts in
            public service pay, that’s a good start. Whatever spending
            can be afforded needs to provide the greatest return.
            I agree about tourism and taking on the professions.
            We should start by cleaning up our country, people
            don’t want to visit a dump. The work for dole idea, say
            2 days a week is not a bad idea to achieve this.

            The cuts I am talking about are needed to maintain care
            for the real needy. It is a matter of prioritizing spending
            despite the jibes u get from the gege le beaus of the

        • MadaboutEire

          Possibly part of the great debate over GDP V GNP or whether these are useful economic measures at all?

          What constitutes productivity, growth etc? Think these merit closer attention/analysis, otherwise the nuance and reality within an economy for a lot of people is often missed.

    • Deco

      There was a sketch a few months ago. It was by Apres-Match. I used to think it was a joke.

      Eh, no, it is evidently not a joke.


  42. CREST

    Are the youth of Ireland much better off as compared to the French youth, even though there are nearly half million unemployed. Why are they prepared to take so much crap. Anyone got any views.

    • insider

      They are if they emigrate! I reckon it’s easier for Irish to get a job in places like Australia. That said I have noticed a significant increase in the number of French in Sydney recently. The average Irish psyche is prepared to take crap left, right and centre – it’s in the blood.

      Having studied on the continent the difference between Irish universities and French or German universities is startling. French and German students really take their study seriously – probably too seriously – and they generally study for longer – so they naturally end up producing more mature graduates.

      Meanwhile when I observe the mob of Irish backpackers in Australia (I would say the majority “educated” with degrees) it’s worrying. Some of them act like they were born yesterday and have little appreciation for the local people, way of life and environment.

  43. CREST


    I think you missed my point, or perhaps I didnot put it well.

    I mean the Irish youth at home put up with more crap than their French counterparts, regarding their treatment by the Irish Government. If you look, the French did not put up with raising the pension age.
    I see no discontent in Ireland, where fare worse is happening to their future.

    • insider

      So it’s back to demographics – France understands they cannot afford to pay the pension to people living longer, with fewer people coming through to support them. It all makes sense unless you are French then of course you feel the need to riot. Raising the pension age from 60 to 62 in 2018 calls for a good protest.

      It’s an indictment that this does not happen in Ireland due to the ambivalence of the Irish psyche. The Irish voting turnout is one of the lowest in the EU. They are happy to be represented and have their decisions made by someone else. The youth have no idea – they just accept what they are given much like the rest of the population.

      • Deco

        Well, I don’t know if France understand that they cannot afford to have people retiring in their 50s from state jobs, when the private sector in France is trying to keep itself in existence.

        It would seem to be that one part of France understands the reality of the situation, and an even more vociferous part of France is still in serious denial…..

        • Gege Le Beau

          @ Deco – don’t buy the propaganda, more to it,there always is. Worth going to the source.

          The increase in the retirement age is only one aspect, the French know it is also about reducing pensions overall as this young man explains, no fools the French, and they aren’t taking it, they know their pensions like ours will be non-existent when they come around, especially with casino capitalism allowed to operate unregulated by Western governments.

          The French know Sarkozy’s measure is only one of a whole host of measures both publicly and others done behind closed doors, which attack working people and the benefits they receive (health, education etc), this fight has been building for years.

          Its interesting because the French have a phrase: ‘watch for the fangs of the Anglo-Saxons’, they know what is going on in the US and UK and aspects are now reaching their shores because elites want more money and they see what the British and American elites (and Irish) have gotten away with, this is an ideological war being fought out on the streets and outside the refineries and for good reasons.

          France Pension Protest: One Family’s Perspective

          • Deco

            I do not buy the mainstream media commentary. It is like as if you have to see everything with blinkers on. The entire “news experience” is an emotional show to throw snippets of facts and commentary, and completely miss the point.

            If the French can preserve their system, good on them.

            What informs me more is my direct observations of France. I mean walking through regional towns where nothing has changed since the 1970s. And I am wondering, what is happening in France ? It is like as if large portions of France are standing still. Now, maybe that it better. I mean, Ireland has moved into a suburban Californian future, and ended up disfunctional, plastic, broke, and in shock. But the unemployment rate for young people is terrible, and they are getting out as fast as they can – and even doing things like learning English, so that they can better themselves.

  44. Pedro Nunez

    Its because the Irish are indentured peasant slaves to their gombeen masters and protest only occurs where people believe they can bring about change.

    The subjugated lemmmings in this country never had that, it was indocrinated out of them by the catholic church and the gombeen slipmickery of the Fianna Fail ruling class.

    Who have created one lemming run after another including emigration for those who question or want to think for themselves since the foundation of this Banana Republic Septic Isle

    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose


    • coldblow

      plus c’est la meme chose, plus c’est la meme chose? They don’t even give the ‘ca change’ bit a try around here!

    • Deco

      concerning the indoctrination by the Catholic church, either they are not very good at it, or they are not doing it anymore.

      I mean what happened over the past decade had none of the hallmarks of the Catholic church, and indicates clearly that the power has moved from Maynooth to Straffan (the K-club).

      I remember an incident at a time that I would define as “Peak Anglo”, about 2006. A bishop in the West of Ireland got overcome with anger in the pulpit and launched a tirade, saying that Ireland was obsessed with stocks and shares, money, and that the country was by love of “bank shares”. It was the strangest thing at the time, that it seemed completely incorrect. I thought, well hold on, I remember when times were tough, and maybe the bishop is annoyed that prosperity has taken people away from his influence. And that was the way the story came across in RTE.

      And everybody laughed at him. And that is just the point. The Catholic Church has become pushed out to the point that people just laugh at everything they say. So therefore I conclude that they are incapable of any for of opinion forming. I listened to the professional elite rolling around laughing themselves in sophisticated derision. I realised that everything I had been thought in the media about who was in control was a coverup for who was really in control.

      I am reading a book called “Who really runs Ireland” by Matt Cooper. It is the type of book that the cliques in D2/D4/Straffan Street don’t want you to read.

      Now, there definitely was indoctrination in Ireland over the past decade. Lots of indoctrination. Telling young people that house prices would go up for ever. I would describe it as ‘manufacturing of consent’ indoctrination.

      And the media did the indoctrination. Why ? Because it was profitable. Because of the advertising revenue that comes from being on good terms with the powerful commercial interests in our society.

      This is the source of the indoctrination. As David book says on the cover “follow the money”.

      Three quarters of a billion euro spent on residential property advertising in the Binge period. That bought an an awful lot of ‘economic news’ in the media.

      Click on the link below, and search for the word “Tiger”. Here are the clique.


      Make sure you know what is going on. If you are facing the right enemy, then you might just get them. And this is important.

      Notice how the commentator is afraid to return to Ireland.

      It is our job to make everybody aware of what is happening to the point that all the dirty secrets will emerge, and a critical mass of the population will be prepared to make a big issue of it if anything happens to whistleblowers.

      That is our objective. The people get consulted only when it cannot be avoided (just look at the Lisbon farce) but the clique are consulted everyday of the week, every step of the way.

  45. What frightens me the most in recent weeks is the big come down many leaders in Irish society have communicated relating to the irish economy , budgetery expectations , various failures in government policies , the pontificating ministers genuflecting in front of cameras , the greater sense of anger and dispair from Irish programme presenters on rte and sniffing the interviewee ,the recent ESRI come down of economic performance expectations ( gov puppets) it is just a Free Fall as I see it now .
    No one absolutely ….NO ONE KNOWS what is going to happen next or Where we are going .There is no sight of the bottom and we have substituted the POPE with those faceless gurriers in ECB for our perceived salvation .They know we are Muppets who are Speechless We have lost ourselves big time .
    All the politicians do is let politics serve politics to that end full stop…….and let people become more ignorant of what is really happening around them and then claim that there is nothing they can do .
    More and more businessmen etc , journalists, Editors , tv programme presenters , artists , show entertainers , professionals ,medical people etc are all in negative equity or technically bankrupt .Yet many of them just shove along with a smile to the next day that maybe a medicine will arrive in Dunlaoghaire some morning and cure all the ills of the nation.
    Many thousands in civil service are preparing for retirement believing they will escape the wrath of the strife ahead and the arrival of the IMF Squad.Many thousands are leaving the country this week end never to return here again.Nothing seems to register in our stupor mindset.
    Crime prospers on the streets and inside the sanctuary of Irish Bank Head Offices .The Gov continue to underfund the relevant police in the course of their duties to protect their self interest and bow to the Gods of the ECB our new Golden Calf.

    • I ask myself what would the first thing I would do if I had a vote to do anything and my mind is adamant that that is : all politicians and their consultants assistants etc take a big cut in pay and benefits to the average industrial work mans wage .
      In no time we will have real politicians as a result and not puppets projecting the economy through the dail bar beer glasses .
      That is where real leadership would begin to prosper .

    • Malcolm McClure

      John ALLEN: “Many thousands are leaving the country this week end never to return here again.”

      To leave they have to pay the Travel Levy as the final kick in the pants from a ‘caring and grateful’ government.

    • Deco

      { Crime prospers on the streets and inside the sanctuary of Irish Bank Head Offices }.

      I am begining to think that deceit is the core value of our Irish economic system. The whole thing is based on bullshit.

  46. coldblow

    David had a similar proposal back in Jan 2009:


    I think people might be tempted to think that he is rolling ideas off the conveyor belt but I think his position has been pretty consistent.

    While I think I’ve learned a lot over the last 3 years or so about economics and I can now follow all the economists’ arguments pretty well (and see the flaws in those coming from some politicians and journalists) I am far from being able to critique them, so I can’t really say much about the practical end of what is proposed. I just listen to them make their points, try to imagine where they are coming from and look out for any little give-away signs. For example, on irishceonomy.ie (and excellent site) there was a recent thread on selling off state assets that was a real eye-opener and leads me to discount more than before what many of them are saying, though that’s still far from saying that these people are wrong.

  47. Gege Le Beau

    Someone else isn’t happy………

    “O’Connell was a Promethean figure who changed forever the way civil rights could be achieved. He was no coward and he was no cheap imitator. Sadly, the same cannot be said for RTÉ.”

    • Deco

      It must be also remembered that O’Connell had a non-violent, passive mass movement approach.

      I don’t know why O’Connell, and Michael Davitt, who pioneered the “boycott” method of peaceful agitation, were not included. But a tax dodger who was great mates with CJH was on the list.

      • Gege Le Beau

        I think the whole concept is open to question, bit like your country your call………but I do agree with your comment, Parnell’s achievements were also incredible, those in the 20th century in many respects built on the work of the 19th century titans. Wolfe Tone and literay figures also, all the people listed are political (with Bono the sole ‘artistic’ representative), would have thought Joyce or Beckett’s contribution (for putting us on the map intellectually – far longer legacy) merited at least a discussion. Anyone remember businessmen or bankers from Joyce’s time? You’d be hard pushed. Think the hijacking of Joyce’s name etc for Irish pubs a disgrace, says a great deal about the immaturity of the culture, something that no doubt drove Joyce to foreign shores.

        • coldblow

          Or maybe rope in the Diaspora: Einstein, Karl Marx, Groucho Marx, De Gaulle, Nana Mouskouri, St Francis of Assisi, Bob Dylan, Pele, Diana Spencer, Bing Crosbie, W G Grace, the Dalai Lama, the Four Tops…

    • Dilly

      I havent watched the show. I had a feeling it would be rubbish. I am a bit sick of RTE at this stage.

      On a different note, I recently discovered that I have a distant relation on my Fathers side by the name of Messerschmitt. He was a German engineer, born just after the war, so he had nothing to do with the plane. It is intruiging to find out things like this though. I just wonder what he would make of all this mess if he was still alive.

  48. Alf

    A good article which points out the lack of thought in the “slash and burn” policy. Unfortunately, I still believe it all comes down to the Euro. We can’t fix problems that originated with joining the Euro without going back to our own currency. Currency is in short supply and will continue to be so long as we have no control over it. Even if this solution were to somehow recover some growth it would only be temporary because inflation cannot be controlled. Runaway deflation would be turned to runaway inflation (where we were in the boom).

    The problem starts with and ends with the Euro.

    • Deco

      No. The problem starts with and ends with our behaviour.

      Our behaviour is the source of the problem, and the reason why we are seeing a very ineffective approach to fixing the problem.

      In particular our pre-occupation with virtual concepts like standing and credibility, when the underlying reality is deteriorating as a result of our inability to our financial problems.

    • paulmcd

      The problems start and end with our policy makers’ lack of discipline in managing €uro membership.

      The Central Bank always had power to restrict credit growth, but it failed to do so.

      • paulmcd

        Alf, I think in the end we will be ejected – at least temporarily – from the €urozone, and looking back we will know that it was FF/G policies from 2008-2010 which set us up for this upheaval.

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