November 1, 2010

Who’ll invest in a country with an obvious death wish?

Posted in Irish Economy · 273 comments ·

I am writing this article from a ‘‘ghost hotel’’ in Leinster.

Rumour has it that the business was recently sold for €1, but the hotel itself is probably in Nama.

It will never be worth what it was built for.

Today, as well as owning a small part of this hotel, I am the only guest in it.

The reason I know this is that, when I asked about the lack of hot water, the very charming hotel manager said that I’d have to run the water for a bit as there was no other hot water being used in the whole hotel.

There were no other guests.

The hotel has more than 90 rooms. This is reality in Ireland, and this reality needs to be defined and accepted.

The reality is that bank lending is falling, prices in most sectors are falling, lending to residential housing is falling and the economy is in the grips of a credit crunch.

People have too much debt and don’t want to borrow, and the banks have too much bad debt and don’t want to lend.

Against this background, the people who run the country make announcements about ‘‘front loading’’ budget cuts as if budget cuts are some sort of clean arithmetic, which has no impact on the economics.

This is not arithmetic, it is economics and, in economics, everything is related.

On paper, arithmetic can look clean and incisive, but in reality it affects jobs and people’s decisions to spend.

It means nights in a ghost hotel and wages for hotel managers, it means Christmas parties and Christmas presents, it means investments in machinery and the difference between some hope and no hope.

Those who best understand the difference between simple arithmetic and complex economics are the financial markets.

Investors want to invest in an economy which has the prospect of growth. If they see that a country is being turned into a large debt-servicing machine, they will pass. If they see that the people who run the state on behalf of the citizens are little more than despised debt collectors for owners of capital, the financial markets will take flight.

The reason for this is that there are always other opportunities and there are always losers in the great game of capitalism. So if new investors see that their fresh money is being used to pay off old investors, they will say thanks, but no thanks.

There are more markets than bond markets.

There are equity or real investors who want to see new companies, new workers and new ideas. They have no interest in a country that will waste money on a bust banking system and squeeze its own citizens.

They realise that countries, like companies, need time to turn themselves around. If you put a gun to a country or a company’s head, it will just fold. We need time.

But the incompetent lads who run this country don’t understand this. They got all macho on us last week and made the big announcement on the budget that was supposed to prove that Ireland could take the ‘‘hard’’ decisions.

And what happened? The market laughed in their faces. Everyone can see through the corny schoolboy language of our regime.

We all know that there is nothing hard about writing a cheque for rich investors in Anglo while at the same time, cutting the health budget for the poorest.

That is not hard. Picking on the poor, while siding with the rich is a sign of weakness, not strength.

Last week, it was not just the average citizen who saw through the haze of incompetence that clouds economic policy in Ireland.

The financial markets saw through it too. In fact, the financial markets and the average citizens are on the same page – both know that if you cut everything now, there might be nothing left to generate the revenue necessary to pay the debts.

Both groups realise that bankrupting the country is not a clever debt strategy. So, rather than buy Irish debt on the back of the announcement, the markets did the opposite and sold.

The spin – written by people who have never worked a day in the financial markets – was that the markets would be impressed by our government’s toughness.

But, of course, the opposite happened. The financial markets took one look at the budget plan and concluded that it would push the Irish economy over the edge.

No investor wants to invest in a country with a death wish. So Irish bond yields moved up again as investors sold Irish bonds and, of course, the sugar daddy that is the European Central Bank had to step in to buy up Irish bonds as the buyer of last resort.

So when the rest of the world is getting on with the process of recovery, we are still at square one and the rest of the world is less and less inclined to prop up this government.

Investors realise that there has been no reform in Ireland; the same cronies are still in power everywhere. Why would you believe that the mentality which built ghost estates and ghost hotels with other people’s money has changed, if the same people are in power?

Why would you believe that your money won’t also be wasted?

So when the governing insiders tell a prospective investor not to worry because the plan is ‘‘screw the people and look after the bank investors, rather than the bank customers’’, who can blame the investor for running a mile.

They don’t have to listen to this garbage.

Unfortunately, we have to – at least for the time being.

David McWilliams hosts, on November 11 to 14

  1. uncle fester

    “The reason for this is that there are always other opportunities and there are always losers in the great game of capitalism. So if new investors see that their fresh money is being used to pay off old investors, they will say thanks, but no thanks.”

    Got it in one!
    10 year bonds at over 7% and virtually no comment on our national broadcaster.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hello uncle Fester,

      You ask a very important question about the national broadcaster. Massive salaries and no questions being asked? Smacks of cronyism.

  2. [...] David McWilliams came to speak in our parish three weeks ago.  A special moment for a small country parish, we don’t often have nationally known speakers.  But it was not his presence that has endured, it was his message.  The message about who was responsible for our problems; the message that we should not bear the cost of the banks’ debts; the message that we should focus on the things that we are at good at doing and be allowed to work our way back to prosperity; they struck a chord in a community of working farmers and small business people who gained little from the Tiger years and who are now expected to contribute to tha bailout of the bankers and the developers. [...]

    • blueenigma

      The Irish people are the most spineless people on earth, you will continue to sit back and accept being kicked to the ground repeatedly by these clowns. You are a joke of a nation, and deservedly mocked throughout the sheep!

      • michaelcoughlan


        This comment regrettable thought it is is accurate.

        Well said.

        A proud Irishman.

      • nigel paxton

        Spineless, no. Most of the irish people aren’t in a position to do anything about their plight now. But greedy, venal, short sighted capitalists, yes, definitely. When the money started to get splashed around, everyone jumped at it, with no thought to the future, no thoughts for anyone else, and no control over themselves. This includes the politicians, widly regarded throughout the world as some of the most corrupt and selfish in the world. I spoke to a well known economist last time I was in Ireland – a few weeks ago – who said he reckons it’ll be 30 or 40 years before Ireland is back on an even keel. Sad, but not surprising.

  3. Gege Le Beau

    Too many hotels built in the boom, too many incentives, and schemes and look where it has landed the entire industry.

    Also agree with the comment by uncle fester, and to echo the lyrics from one of the Verve’s songs…”austerity don’t work, it just makes you worse and I’ll know I’ll see her face again…….”

    You are watching the wholesale destruction of what is left of a shattered economy, a mismanagement which is in keeping with a long tradition, IMF here by Q1. It certainly is more a regime than a government.

    Don’t ‘spend’ too much time in an empty hotel David…………Happy Halloween!

    The Shining

    • Gege Le Beau

      //We all know that there is nothing hard about writing a cheque for rich investors in Anglo while at the same time, cutting the health budget for the poorest. That is not hard. Picking on the poor, while siding with the rich is a sign of weakness, not strength.//

      Strong, clear and compassionate writing.

      • Julia

        “Strong clear and compassionate writing” I agree.

        I don’t know how to do those links that you all do. Any simplified links for an rtfm type person?

        I just read on the Central Bank website that 50% of all the hedgefunds in Europe are located in Ireland just now. What is the significance of this? Are we still just a big casino?

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Julia,

          Those hedge funds are located here because we are a very low tax jurisdiction for their location.

        • Julia

          Thanks Paul, I’ll start practicing immediatly.
          And thanks Michael, are we, the present owners of most of the banks making loads of profits from these hedge funds? Or are we, as is the case with the Corrib gas field and the Dingle Basin(I think) making no profits at all?

          Just watched Primetime and Ghost Land. God help the young of this country.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Julia,

            The state recieves a very low tax revenue from profits located in this juristiction. I don’t think the ownership of the banks is related to the Hedge funds themselves.

        • coldblow


          If I am reading you correctly, then all you do is click on the address of the webpage you are reading (here it reads davidmcwilliams etc) and the whole thing goes black or whatever. Then you copy it (I use control C or you can use the icon) and you then go to wherever, here for example, and paste it in with your comment (control V or icon). Don’t know if you are looking for something more advanced, in which case I can’t help. (Dunno what rtfm means either.)

  4. BrianC

    We have no choice but to accept what the Government dicides because nobody is prepared to stand against them that is those who represent the status quo. So we need to accept the consequences of our lack of action. When I speak of Govt I mean the politic body of Ireland all sides of the Dail. Gilmore says the Croke Park agreement must be worked properly. So denial is in the DNA of all in the Dail.

    It would be absolutely futile for anyone of no credibility to stand up against the asinine politics of Ireland as it is imperative to get someone who could precipitate the critical mass to provide the momentum for change.

    Yes the financial markets may be able to distil the true facts of the matter comprehending the reality of simple arithmitic to the dross of complex economics to veil the truth which the Irish Government is hiding behind. But it is the ordinary Irish Citizen who will have to bear the burden as those in the Dail will not have to and neither will those within the cosy Croke Park agreement. They intend forcing this down the necks of the docile Irish citizen and Ollie Rehn is on his way to rubber stamp the Irish Governments actions. If they play their cards right there will be no need for the IMF as they will already have achieved the objective of draining Ireland dry.

    And those imcompetent lads understand one thing ‘how to protect their own pocket’ and are more than happy with the incompetent leadership of Brian Cowen and inept financial direction of Brian Lenihan because they keep their soft cosy protected insulated lifestyles while those with no voice are forced into penury.

    Who in their right mind will want to invest in lack of leadership sterile vision so when Ireland returns to the bond markets it will be a very hard sell achieved on exhorbitant interest rates and the ECB very happy to fund Ireland for excessive interest.

    They Irish Nation is now cementing a marginalised society that will give rise to a vacuum of heightened discontent awaiting ignition by radicals who will not stop at throwing paint over an inept politician and will have little time for esoteric tweeting and blogging.

  5. Jemser

    All we own is the debt. The country is on life support and our leaders figure that cutting off life support will fix things.

    • Deco

      Correct. For the best part of a generation we have been encouraged to borrow beyond and “live beyond our means”.

      The predominant Irish cultural mores concerning money have developed over the past 40 years. A big influence on this has been the behaviour of the state, and also the repeated devaluations and money printing episodes of the 1970s and 1980s. Basically, financial prudence was punished and financial recklessness was rewarded. Lenihan is still trying to reward financial recklessness with bailouts.

      The concept of “moral hazard” has been completely eradicated as an intellectual concept. As a result we had a ponzi scheme when we joined the Eurozone. And like all ponzi-schemes it unravelled. And nobody in the political leadership seen this coming. But they know all about it in retrospect…and we are now in a currency system that is too responsible for the childish history of the Irish central bank….no print, baby, print.

      If you seen this coming, or if you in any way sceptical about authority in Ireland, then you were saved. Otherwise, you belived in the BS coming from Pravda, and bought the entire lifestyle concept and got suckered.

      The choice was for every individual to make. If you make the prudent choice you had the ditherer telling you “cribbn an moanen…and sittin…on da fence…is a lost oppertun ity…in fact I don’t know why those peepol don’t go and commit suacide.”

      Those who dissent, from the consensus, tend to survive it flawed decision making……

  6. irishminx

    For weeks now I have read peoples comments on here. I hear “What can we do?” Well yesterday you could have joined the peaceful pumpkin protest at Merrion gate. 60 people turned up to express their horror at the financial crisis! Where were all of you?

    • blueenigma

      In the pub, stupid nation of people

    • irishminx

      “Picking on the poor, while siding with the rich is a sign of weakness, not strength”…..I agree, a loving, compassionate and kind society protects it’s vulnerable. That is what makes any society strong and unconditionally loving.

    • BrianC

      In Donegal and outside my costs to make such a trip. But in a way it highlights the futility of persons without the required credibility to drive the real type of protect required. However, those who did turn up to protest are to be commended for their efforts and actions.

      There is a better way to drive the protest and that is on a public forum in the media and focused demonstration that does not require thousands of people.

      • crossroads

        Re. Pumpkin Protest

        irishminx, I was there but I agree, most people didn’t and won’t get off their arses and stand up for themselves.

        BrianC, what is the better way that ‘does not require thousands of people’? The Govt are considering cuts in every area but are saying that the Croke Park Agreement must stand and it was reported over the weekend that they are not going to touch the old-age pension this time around.


        Because if the Croke Park Agreement gets scrapped the ‘thousands’ of public sector workers will bring the country and government to a complete halt. And the ‘thousands’ of elderly already showed that they were willing to stand up and fight when the government tried to tamper with their Medical Card.

        The only thing the government understands and respects is ‘thousands’ of angry people.

        (Unfortunately, they don’t seen to have any understanding or respect for thousands, millions, billions or any other quantity of Euro.)

        Even the constant pandering in govt policy to what they think the markets want rather than what the country/society/economy needs stems from the fact that the govt only respect those that get in their way. So when the markets protest by demanding a high interest rate, the govt tries to appease them.

        Unfortunately, as per the theme of DMcW’s article above, the govt do not understand what the markets want. The markets want the same things that the country/society/economy needs.

        i.e. a plan for jobs, growth and prosperity.

        • richieot

          Hi Crossroads,

          Thanks also to you for attending – with persistence I am confident that thousands can be gathered. Just got to be more clever about it.
          To quote Sam B
          Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

          Best wishes,


        • BrianC

          Yes if you can mobilise thousands upon thousands of people then that is the ultimate form of protest. The difficulty seems to be marshaling all onto the street.

          The focused approached is a dedicated team to carry out high profile peaceful assaults to create awareness. That requires planning.

        • michaelcoughlan


          The shite being pedalled about what the markets want is just that a load of shite. What this is in fact about is turning Ireland into a debt servicing agency to make sure investors in the bonds of Anglo et al don’t take a massive hit on their ‘investment’. That’s why the policy isn’t aimed at the markets it’s aimed at pleasing fucked of Germans who have us by the goolies and want their pound of flesh. They see it as payback for allowing Hypo and others to operate as they pleased their casino capitalism out of the IFSC with our piss poor regulation. And we all know how much Hypo has cost the Germans.

          • Deco

            Correct. We are paying for “Socialism for the rich”.

            Many years ago there used to be a patronizing advertisement on television with financial employees from various backgrounds in suits, saying the phrase “I work for JP morgan” in so many languages. As a result there were skits produced with poor people in the third world, and each one saying “I work for JP Morgan” in their local dialects.

            Well, we can now create an advertisement with any Irish PAYE taxpayer saying “I work for the following parties, in agreement with the corrupt politicians in Brussels…


      • richieot

        Hi Brian,

        You can’t wait for the messiah.
        What happens here, now, is our responsibilitiy. It is not about doing great things, it is a matter of doing or saying small things with responsibility and courage.
        Not my words but Sister Stanislaus, a person with tons of credibility.
        I organised the event over lunchtimes and coffee breaks as I have a company. I was interviewed on TV and radio and had a letter printed in the Times and Indo and a small feature in the Times. There were people aware of the event but are happy to click their approval but not actually bother to attend.

        If all we need to get people on the street is a celebrity/public figure then god help us all.

        Best wishes,


        • BrianC

          No I would not wait around for a Messiah. But a message on a Cross delivered to the gates of the Dail may attract more attention to create more attention.

          You do not want celebrity can you imagine what Bill Cullen would say to you but the right public figure that is a different matter.

        • Gege Le Beau

          @ Richard – Great things often have small beginnings, if nothing else you can look in the mirror and say I did something.

          I remember one leading academic in the US saying that when the Vietnam war kicked off he couldn’t 5 people in a room at a protest seminar, they practically had to drag people in off the street, he remembers one guy was drunk and snored through the entire thing. It wasn’t easy but look what that seed, and a thousand other little seeds led to.

          I remember in 2005 I organised a talk in a university where I sought to highlight the impact of landmines on children in Southeast Asia (butterfly mines which encourage children to pick them up etc). I booked a room, had to pay 100 euro for a projector, got the executive director of the NGO to fly in etc.

          Of the 25,000 students on campus only 4 showed up, not one academic showed in solidarity, and the rest of those present were family members, 13 people in all, but they were 13 people who counted because they bothered to show.

          Go with the flow, realistic expectations and if you want to do another gig then go for it. Our work has grown to the extent that I heard recently that financial support from Ireland is keeping operations going in one country, something I could never have expected after that apparently ‘disappointing’ night.

    • richieot

      Hi IrishMinx, Thanks again for taking the time and making the effort to attend yesterday. I woke this morning with mixed feelings on the whole event but have come to the conclusion that it’s going to take time to get Irish people to take the step to demonstrate publicly. It is one thing to lend support over the internet, semi anonomously.
      “What can we do?” is one thing to ask, the next is “How can be do it” – that is effect change. The political system and the way parties are set up here is not one that enables swift change.
      I have not given up and will continue to try to open a platform through which we can express our voice.

      On a positive note €500+ was raised for the Jack and Jill Foundation yesterday!

      It was great meeting you yesterday. I hope we can meet again at the next event.


      • Harper66

        Hi Richard,
        I wasn’t at the protest. I was ready to go when events at home transpired against me. I’m a good three hours drive from my house to Merrion Street. I think your being too hard on yourself and on those that post here. You motivated me and 60 others. I wouldn’t see that as failure I would see it as a success.
        The notion of a protest enmass Hollywood style while very appealing is not realistic. It doesn’t account for illness, everyday commitments, the hum drum etc. What you achieved was real. You gave form and a voice to the dissatisfaction of 60 people. Your protest is vital in keeping the discussion going. Just think John Allen posted his radio interview here a few days ago and now your protest. I believe the answer is not one massive protest, Ireland’s population is spread too thin, rather a constant wave of protests. Momentum will gather from that.
        I have attended as many protests as was physically possible in the past two years, and I genuinely regret that I was unable to make the pumpkin protest however I was in attendance for the ICTU protest two years ago where 100,000 estimated turned out. What a pointless exercise that was. If I may say don’t judge your work by the amount that turned out rather by what comes from it…and it is too early to judge that. I am reminded of a quote I read once “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. “

        Well done and be proud. What next?

        • richieot

          Hi Harper,
          I take you comment on board and you’re right I shouldn’t be hard on myself or the other posters on the blog. I will keep going and recognise that it takes time to build momentum. Irish people are not comfortable protesting publicly, it is fair to say. That is not to say they can’t learn to become comfortable with it. The trick will be convincing them that you can protest about the gerneral mess and not just a single issue.
          Brian mentioned that a public figure would lent creedence to any gathering and today I am more disposed to agree. Perhaps a protest with speakers like David McWilliams and Shane Ross and/or other like them would draw numbers and if I can convince them to do so I can organise the logistics of PA system, podium etc – no problem.
          If any of you have thoughts or suggestions or other names to add – please let me know…
          Best wishes,


          • irishminx

            Hi Richard and Harper,

            What to do next? I am attending the Kilkeconomics fest on the 11/11/10, mainly to educate myself. Plus I do have a huge respect for the people I have booked to see, 10 gigs in all and all on economics! This is my annual holiday this year. I am due a tax rebate which is paying for it. (Before anyone comments on my job and salary!).
            I was disappointed with the turn out last Sunday, however, the people there were lovely and I remembered that good things often start small.

            I would like to propose we start a NEW political party called, Shared Vision. The whole concept will be on the shared vision of the members, but especially the public’s vision, it will be based primarily on having a loving, compassionate and kind approach to running the country, with honesty and maturity as it’s ethos. I am writing this and in my head, I can hear the lads here groan…………….If you need to groan, do. I have no desire to judge me or anyone else here.

            This approach on love, compassion and kindness is, I believe the mature way forward for all human beings on our planet, not just our country. WE could lead the way. This approach has not ever been adopted before world wide, so why not do it this way?!?
            There really isn’t anything stopping me from doing it, or you for that matter. Other than apathy!

            My background is in the HSE and social welfare and I have studied psychology and relationship mentoring for 5 years in total.

            Unless, we as a society put people first, we are lost. Socialism and capitalism have shown that they do not work. The austerity measures that our Government have brought in and are bringing in, will only again shrink economic progress in our country.

            I am not an economist, but as I am down all my disposable income, which I can no longer spend and that’s just me, one person! Most of the country are in the same boat as I am. What will further cuts do to us as a nation?!? I dread to think about it. But it won’t be a pretty sight.

            It is never to late to make a difference and I feel strongly that I need to make a difference. Anyone on this site feel as I do? If so, add your name if you too are interested in starting a Shared Vision way of living. By the way, as this is Shared Vision, I can not put a manifesto forward, as it needs to be a Shared Vision manifesto! So can we all help to develope a shared vision for a mature way forward for Ireland and her individuals?

          • richieot

            Hi Irishminx,

            I would be very interested in discussing your suggestion further – this public forum may be of interest though you have travelled a bit recently!
            details here –
            I believe there is a demand for a different option politically but I have no doubt that it will take time.
            First thing is to meet so we will need to exchange contact details. My email is

            Talk soon,


          • irishminx


            just read you mail and the article, as I have work tomorrow and just read the article, it is impossible for me to attend. I will be in Kilkenny from Thursday next for the Kilkeconomics fest.

            I’ve emailed you so as we can stay in touch.

            Again thank you for organising the PPP!



    • To the 60 ..

      Thank you for doing this.
      Hopefully you have ensured that next time it will be 600 and then 6000 and then …

      Never give up the fight.

  7. DarraghD

    Speaking of hotels, if this country was a hotel it would be Fawlty Towers.

    • Deco

      The Irish comcept of management. (Was Basil Fawlty on a FAS course learning management at any stage ? ).

      • Colin

        Fawlty completed his work experience over here. He learned the following;

        1. Bully your staff, get them to fear you.
        2. Don’t compete for business, rig the market.
        3. Do not listen to your customers. Treat them as an inconvenience.
        4. Lie to your customers.
        5. Tell any customer who complains that they were the first to complain, like they are odd for making a complaint.

      • paulmcd

        I reckon Basil was indeed on a FAS course and would have received a first-class pass.

  8. paulmcd

    I think that our deteriorating situation stems from the fact that FF/Green alliance chose in December 2009 to put the greater part of the financial burden on the low and middle income groups – the coping and spending classes – and to minimise the impact on those in the higher and super-rich income levels – the wealth-accumulating classes.

    The wealth-accumulating classes have so much discretionary income that last year’s Budget will have had little or no impact on their life styles. In fact, I am sure that the super rich among them are still gambling away fortunes on stock-market derivatives or losing gazillions of pennies at casinos royales.

    Ordinary people are experiencing shock and awe and are withholding their spending power for fear of the future; they know that FF and even FG, if elected, will be targeting them.

    The velocity of money flow through the economy has slowed considerably with knock-on effects on employment, profits, and IRONICALLY on higher-incomes levels, especially among those in the business community whose fortunes are linked directly to the acts of spending and consumption in the community at large.

    Well-paid professionals will also need to beware. I am sure that those of you reading this will be aware of people who today will think twice about going to the doctor or making a 6-monthly visits to the dentist.

    In fact I am convinced that, by the time FF have broadened the tax net, the knock-on effect in terms of people withholding their spending will mean that LESS tax will be collected from the upper-income echelons in our society, even if it is collected at a higher rate. Such is the idiocy and incompetence of our Government!

    If the Government did nothing to affect low and middle-income earners and tried instead to restore their confidence and REDUCE their taxes, I would have greater confidence in the exchequer realising an increase in revenues simply from focusing their efforts on those who can afford to pay most, with the added benefit of not having to pay out so much in welfare, as there will be a great many jobs to be saved.

    • paulmcd


      Do you really wish to inflict the NAMA Republic on our cousins in the North.

      The UK Government has decided on 81 billion pounds of cuts over the next 4 years and our 15 billion euros of cuts over the same period equates to 13 billion pounds.

      The UK population is 15 times that of the Irish Republic. Our 13 billion pounds (equivalent) X 15 = 195 billion pounds.


      • paulmcd

        To be more precise the UK would need to be cutting 2.4 times more than the 81 billion amount proposed.

        Monumental incompetence on the part of Irish economic managers!!!

      • Gege Le Beau

        //Do you really wish to inflict the NAMA Republic on our cousins in the North.//

        Think I may apply for economic aslyum to get away from the lunatics in the Republic.

        • paulmcd

          I will be recommending anyone in a position to do so to vote with their feet to be BRITISH. Their unemployment rate is half ours and prospects are better.

          I believe that Cowardly Lenihan may have sold out our economic sovereignty in raising the 30 bn Promissory Note.

          If we threaten DEFAULT we will probably find that Lenny the Liar has us in an ECB stranglehold but for the time being this information is CLASSIFIED.

          Ireland, Default at your peril: you will then be ejected from €; also, you will have to raise your corporate tax rate to a European mean.

          • paulmcd

            Diarmuid Mac Murchadha, All is forgiven.

            It has taken nearly a thousand years, but we now have real traitors who will have completely overshadowed you in the context of an economic history of Ireland to be written in coming decades or the next century by those who will have the benefit of hindsight and full disclosure of information hidden under the Official Secrets act.

            Perhaps surnames like Lenihan and Dukes will disappear in the Ireland of the future like MacMurrough (cf. MacMurphy)has seemingly disappeared, or as the forename Adolf has disappeared among younger Germans.

    • paulmcd

      In case anyone misunderstands me, I would like you all to know that, as a Cavanman by birth and upbringing, I am in favour of a 32-county State, ie, a 32-county Ulster – anything to help dilute the excrement emanating from Kildare Street.

  9. blueenigma

    The Irish are the most spineless people on earth, you will continue to sit back and accept being kicked to the ground repeatedly by these clowns. You are a joke of a nation, and deservedly mocked throughout the sheep!

    • rjs

      Haha what an intelligent comment to make,instead of trash talking why don’t you go and do something synonymous with your level of intelligence like trying to lick your toes.

    • malone

      To Blue Enigma whoever the Fuck you are
      Most people here on this forum offer and put forward some very good comments , some are very intelligent
      Some comments come from people in the know and one can learn a lot from just reading through the comments on this forum.
      The Irish people are not spineless , they stood up for 800 years to the Brits and got rid of them. The Brits at the time had the biggest empire in the world and were bought to their knees by our ” small country”
      They have been conned by the people in power and by the insiders as Mr mcWilliams likes to put it and by the political elite not just in Ireland but in Europe
      who are just after one thing Power
      Yes at the minute they are not like the frenchies who stand up for themselves but the tide is turning and if this crap runs on you will see the Irish people rising and not just 60 as Irish Minx described but in their thousands.
      What the Irish suffer from is a lack of self confidence in themselves and in their country but that is changing.
      The Irish State is a young state , not even 100 years old yet in comparison to other countries which are a lot older. Yes we are finding our feet still to a certain extent and the Ireland of yesterday will not be the Ireland of tomorrow

      But what they need is support and encouragement to go out to protest and not jeered at by a prick like you

      You are not Irish so what are you doing here in Ireland and why do you log in to this website ?
      Basically who the fuck do you think you are just logging in and jeering us ???

      As I said most comments here have some value
      but yours is just to insult us and our country
      Your comment is just mindless , probally like you
      I am very suprised that you can even read.

      So as rjs has said why dont you fuck off back to whatever rathole you crawled out of and stay off this website . We can do without your comments.

    • BrianC

      Well obviously you do not know much about our history but that is ok you are still entitled to your opinion but evidenced by the replies little heed is taken of what you utter.

      But please keep it coming my spine is getting twitchy.

  10. Irish Democrat

    The Irish Economy
    The Irish economy is too small to survive in its present state. With a population of just over 3.6 million (excluding non-nationals), the viability of the Irish Nation itself is in doubt. The primary function of this work is to promote debate, generate ideas, which hopefully will lead to an understanding of a shared vision, a vision of the type of society which the Irish people desire to achieve and which they can begin to believe in. The views expressed in this work are the views of the Author, and may change as a result of debate.
    There is an ongoing war of ideologies as to which is best capitalism or socialism.

    Believe that wages and living standards are derived from successful business enterprise. The profit motive driving the creation of wealth, which in the hands of the successful is considered the most appropriate way to provide for the economic needs of the Nation.
    Believe that businesses are there to provide a standard of living to which the worker aspires, and that all the wealth is generated by the workers and therefore must be taxed and re-distributed to the Citizen by the State.
    Frank @

    • irishminx

      I went into your link and I need to say, I disagree with your views for retribution.

      All of those who have brought our nation to its knees, must be held accountable, those whose incompetence or corruption destroyed our economy, must be brought to Justice. No hiding behind legal technicalities, no profit to be gained through corruption. No hiding place for the Guilty.
      A Judicial Enquiry, Fast paced and powerful, under the direction of the Supreme Court, to establish the cause, the contributors to, and the beneficiaries of the economic collapse. With power to demand redress, confiscate gains, and punish those who caused this affront to the Irish Nation. This court must have the power to act retrospectively.”

      I agree with people being responsible and accountable for their actions and behaviours, however, I feel this needs to be handled with compassion towards those you seek retribution from. Otherwise, we will be no more homourable than them.

  11. Black Cat

    Has anyone read this article?

    “We must keep in mind the feelings of our people, who have a justified desire to see that private investors are also on the hook, and not just taxpayers,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    Its what David has been saying – default and start anew – but is it too late for us as our politicians have already agreed to the bailout?

    • Deco

      I seen it.

      Basically, the German Federal Government is in a position to take a hard line on behalf of German taxpayers against rogue banks and rogue bankers.

      And the EU commision, dependent on German funding will make sure that other countries will take a much more accomodating line, and will sucker the taxpayers with the bill.

      Some of the posters from the No side in last years Lisbon Referendum are now seeming to make a lot of sense.

      But ultimately we spend more money than our efforts deserve as an aggregate level. That is the source of our problem. Now, you can reduce that by eliminating the waste in the state sector, and in private sector oligopolies. But our young people have already decided that this is not going to happen, so they are getting out. That way they will be able to pretend that they are “making it” while the gombeens in control of Irish economic life continue as much before.

  12. Winter

    Why can we not convert the billions of taxpayers’ savings (sitting on deposit in nationalised banks) into government loans and end our dependency on the financial markets?
    Is it possible to increase savings and spending in the economy at the same time?

    During a time of financial crisis, people tend to save whatever disposable income they have. This affects consumer spending, negatively impacting on tax receipts, businesses and employment. Yet it makes sense for people to behave prudently and save at a time of crisis. Right now, this is happening in the Irish economy with over €85 billion in household savings on deposit in Irish bank accounts.
    At the same time, due to the fall in tax receipts, the bank bailouts and increased expenditure because of rising unemployment, the government’s estimated borrowing requirements over the next few years ranges from €20Billion to €25Billion annually. To raise this money, the government looks to the international money markets, selling Irish government bonds. The interest cost on this debt is projected to increase to 19% of tax revenue by 2013. Think about that! Almost 20% of tax revenue will go to pay the interest on government borrowings and to cover this massive interest bill the government has to raise taxes, cut welfare payments and government employee wages. Thus, the downward cycle continues; consumer confidence falls – tax revenue falls – government borrows to bridge the gap between revenue and spending — market confidence wavers – interest bill goes up – taxes go up to pay the higher interest bill — consumer confidence falls, consumer spending falls, etc, etc. All the while, the collective savings of the working middle class of Ireland exceeds government borrowing requirements over the next few years.
    The objective is to find a way to fund all the government’s borrowing requirements from taxpayers savings, creating a formula or a new economic model which perfectly balances the rate of spending and saving within the economy. The benefit to society at the microeconomics and macroeconomic level would be enormous but the big losers in all this would be the banks and international money lenders who enrich themselves from the recycling of money. As it is they simply take our hard earned money and lend it back to us using the government as their promoter, enforcer and collector. Banks would revert to being an instrument of society rather than the people being an instrument of the banks.
    So how can we do it?
    First, AIB and Bank of Ireland need to be fully nationalised. Then, a Special Savings Account Fund would be set up in these banks where taxpayers and small businesses can transfer some of their savings and deposits into. This fund would then provide the government with all it’s borrowing requirements for the day to day running of the state but also for necessary capital projects. In return, the lender (taxpayers) gets tax credits or an increase in their tax-free allowance (depending on the system of taxation in place) in exchange for the small amount of interest they would normally accumulate on their savings, but formulated correctly, they would work out financially better off with an increase in their take home pay than they would from the interest received from their savings. This way of funding the government’s borrowing requirements would also produce massive savings for the government who basically get an interest free loan from the working citizens of the state. For small businesses that also wish to participate by transferring a percentage of their profits into the fund, they too could be repaid by a reduction in employer’s PRSI rate, thus reducing their wage costs and making them more likely to maintain staff levels. I suggest that the tax benefit to businesses be applied to employer’s PRSI and not against profit so as to create incentive to employ.

    The benefits of such a scheme are thus:
    1) The government gets to fund its borrowing requirements into the foreseeable future without having to kowtow to the money markets. We maintain our dignity as a nation, protecting whatever remains of our sovereignty. Without the burden of market demands or the fear of not being able to borrow, the government can begin to make the right decisions for the right reasons. Health, education and social welfare budgets should be monitored and cut if necessary to eliminate waste and fraud in their respective departments but not to pay exorbitant interest rates to the likes of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
    2) The citizens of the state get to invest in the future of the state and in return personally benefit with more money in their pockets from a net wage increase but society at large also benefits by seeing capital projects completed that otherwise would be stalled due to a lack of funds. The change in consumer confidence would be fairly rapid with an immediate increase in take home pay, funded amazingly by one’s own savings, and the sudden loss of fear perpetuated by the financial markets.
    3) By putting more money back into the pockets of workers and starting large capital projects, more money circulates throughout the economy. Consumer confidence increases, consumer spending increases, businesses grow, employers begin to hire again. Tax revenue increases, government borrowing costs disappear, income tax rates fall, consumer confidence grows even more, etc, etc. Having broken the downward cycle, the upward economic cycle begins again.
    4) Small businesses, which are the backbone of the economy, are struggling. Wage costs are always a contentious issue. Employers look to lower them, particularly in a highly competitive and difficult environment, whilst employees look to increase them. To find a way whereby the employee gets an increase in his or her take home pay at no extra cost to the employer has to be good for everyone.
    5) By being able to borrow at zero interest, the government can invest in necessary capital projects. These projects have an immediate affect on the economy by taking the unemployed off the dole queues and putting them back to work. But these projects also secure the future stability of the state by building the infrastructure required for a modern competitive country. Investment in health, education, technology and communication infrastructure are needed now, not investment in Anglo Irish bank.
    6) This simple idea manages to do what every economist will tell you is impossible to do — Increase saving and spending in the economy at the same time. In the system I propose, the more taxpayers save the more government has for investment in the economy. The more taxpayers save, the more they have in actual take home pay at no extra cost to their employer. The more workers have in take home pay the more they have to spend. The incentive to work is created as the direct beneficiaries of the scheme are those working taxpayers who lend their savings to the government in exchange for a higher take home wage. The system could also be designed to include pensioners with savings, whereby if they divert a portion of their savings into the fund, they get an increase in their state pension.
    7) All this is possible without costing the government a cent. In fact it saves money, but with a little creative thinking the economy can be turned around in no time. The cost of all this, for there is always a cost and someone has to carry the burden of it, is paid by the banks and international money lenders who lose the billions in interest they otherwise would have received from Irish taxpayers.

    Anglo Irish Bank should be closed down. Depositors in Anglo should be offered the opportunity of transferring their deposits into AIB or Bank of Ireland, thus maintaining the guarantee on them. This would provide an additional saving for the government from the point of view of recapitalising both AIB and Bank of Ireland. The only excuse the government has for propping up these insolvent institutions is the fear of not being able to borrow on the international money markets or the prohibitive rate of interest that we will be charged if we act in a way that offends the international money lenders. If the government no longer needs to borrow from the international markets, it no longer needs to make decisions that cost the Irish taxpayer dearly just to appease our international lenders. A concern may be the affect this system would have on the banks capital ratio but if the banks are nationalised and thus fully guaranteed by the state along with the transfer of deposits from Anglo into them, this problem can be overcome.

    I believe my suggestion is a way for ordinary working citizens to invest in the future of the state whilst getting something tangible and meaningful in return. The money is there. It is the people’s money sitting in saving/deposit accounts generating a pittance in interest for the saver, benefiting nobody but the banks.

    • uncle fester

      //Why can we not convert the billions of taxpayers’ savings (sitting on deposit in nationalised banks) into government loans and end our dependency on the financial markets?

      Are you trying to start a run on the banks?

      • Winter

        No. I’ll leave that to our politicians

      • suonish

        Hi Fester!
        Smells a bit like Argentina, no? People don’t generally take kindly to having their money stolen. There is already a ‘national solidarity fund’ or something available for those doing it voluntarily. I don’t think it’s doing too well.

    • BrianC


      I cannot see how it is a run on the banks and if it did so what as they are not functioning and in truth bankrupt. So as Winter states nationalise the AIB and BoI. So what’s the worry regards a run on the banks.

      It offers a practical way to start decoupling from fractional reserve banking and partially regain sovereignty.

      Very neat idea and definitely would work with the right political will.

      Imagine a bank that actually serves the people and not money.

      For a complete decoupling from excessive interest on loans we need our own currency and issuance control. Unlikely to happen as a gift outside our remit as our true sovereignty now resides in the ECB and into them for hundreds of billions.

      Others in the US advocate a Monetary Reform Act to dispense with fractional reserve banking

      I live in hope – a micro thread of hope.

    • StephenKenny

      You seemed to have missed out the fundamental role of a bank. Banks operate a system nicknamed ’3:6:3′. They borrow at 3%, lend at 6%, and are on the golf course by 3pm. It’s a nickname for obvious reasons.

      When you put money into a bank, you are providing them with the capital to lend out to others. All the government has to do is to inform the banks, via regulation, what proportion of that money must be used to buy government bonds. This is already done for savings such as pension funds.

      The money raised in this way cannot be at 0%, well, I guess it could, but I’m not sure that savers, and future pensioners, would be too keen on getting no growth of their nest egg.

      Even were this done, and savers were happy with 0% growth, the idea that it’s simply ‘win-win’ is wrong. Even for a one person business, money borrowed from somewhere is a liability that, at some point, will have to be repaid. So it is with the government borrowing from the savers: If it’s a 10 year bond, then the government has to pay it back in 10 years time. Sure, that repayment can be made by forcibly selling bonds to someone else in the future, but that is a pretty tidy version of Charles Ponzi’s original scheme, and just kicks the problem down the street.

      All economies are trading economies, and so the problem comes down to this: Every economy has to do stuff, or make stuff, that other people want to buy. One part of the idea of investing in Infrastructure is to make it easier for the production of these traded goods and services (the other part is to provide the whole population with a nicer life).

      Given the current state of things very little of the stuff made in Ireland, Spain, UK, USA, Greece, Portugal etc is wanted by anyone else, or even by it’s own population!

      We know this to be true from the last 10-15 years. A vast amount of money was borrowed and spent, and all we have to show for it is debts – no on-going creation of stuff, or equipment with which to make stuff that anyone wants.

      So sure, we could get hold of low cost loans, but what the markets are saying, and what we all know to be true (from the last 10-15 years of evidence) is that all that would happen is a lot of happy BMW salesmen and real estate agents

      • BrianC

        You can always alter the mechanics of the idea to factor in the required equitable ROI. They could even be structured to factor in risk of loss the lower the risk the lower the return.

        This would provide a supply of funding to those who want to access such and apply the same loan contractual obligations due diligence etc but with true regulation.

        You tweak the tax rates to favour money that is used to stimulate economic activity as opposed to idle money in a bank.

        Yes the manufacturing base has moved to China and the surrounding emerging economies with low cost bases. But even they need to import product the issue is supplying what they need and want as their standard of living improves. There are also other services that such emerging economies require the skill is identifying them.

        Real estate agents and BMW (badly made wagons) salesmen are part of the economic engine with an extraordinary means to filter money back to the Exchequer even if controlled by a bunch of morons.

      • wills


        Good point, but, it is at this point the *national debt* scamarama kicks in.

        The *insiders* punt the future bond repayments tab onto the National debt and keep kicking the can down the road for ever and ever and ever.

        Its a rent seeking the system honed over centuries which cannot fail in its wealth transferring mechanisms while the insiders control the banking system.

      • Winter

        Hi Stephan,
        The problem with bonds is they perpetuate the recycling of money without giving any benefit to the real economy. The real economy as you say produces things, trading goods and services but the international money lenders exist in a parallel economy that manages to produce nothing yet creates massive wealth for it’s members simply by moving money around and charging for doing so. In itself, I have no great difficulty with this. Nobody is ever really forced to borrow and charging interest is “in theory” a good way of deterring people from over borrowing but sovereign debt is different. When it comes to sovereign debt, governments borrow but citizens repay the debt.
        All I’m suggesting is the removal of the middle man in sovereign debt arrangements and a possible way of doing so. Don’t forget we have this incomprehensible situation whereby the state has guaranteed all the deposits of the banks which as far as I can make out means we ourselves have guaranteed to pay back to ourselves our own deposits if we come looking for them. And because of this madness, we end up borrowing of the middle man at 6 or 7% and get about 3.5% for our own money on deposit. There has to be another way!

        • wills


          Interesting comment on bonds and agreed.

          On the *nobody is ever really forced to borrow* I am rolling around the floor laughing.

          How do you consider the blanket coverage of mainstream media in the 2000′s scaring people that house prices will never return to low prices.

          I could go on and laden you with numerous examples of coercive methods applied by those in power to scare the sh!t outta the sheeple to run head first into the bank and buy a debt to get a roof over their head using credit invented out of thin air and charge a usury penny on it but I wont too busy/

          • BrianC

            Well you can always hand it over to


            and let Damon Vrabel do it for you.

          • Winter

            Hi Wills,
            I totally agree but at the end of the day we must take responsibility for the decisions we make. Unless of course we are the elite of society in which case those below our status take responsibility for the bad decisions.
            As for……. “examples of coercive methods applied by those in power to scare the sh!t outta the sheeple to run head first into the bank and buy a debt to get a roof over their head using credit invented out of thin air and charge a usury penny”……… I highly recommend a video called “The Century of Self” which I believe is on google video or youtube.

        • StephenKenny

          Certainly in the US you can buy US bonds directly from the government (there’s even a website I remember seeing).
          I’m not sure that the bond market is really the problem. The question really is what is the chance of not getting the money back from the Irish government/taxpayer? The best people to ask are those who’ve money in the game as they have the strongest incentive to be right.
          The problem that we have now with many markets is that they are so heavily ‘supported’ by various organisations, that they no longer represent even faintly the real situation in their respective parts of the economy,

          That all aside, my realt point is that even with cheap money, it is not at all clear to me that it will actually really help the economy, except as a short term bubble until the borrowed money runs out.

          Then we’re left owing the savers their savings.

    • wills


      Been thinking the very same thing last coupla weeks,.. the first point at the top of your comment.

      The fact that the gov does not do this is a sure indication that the problems we think the gov are supposed to be solving are indeed a stalking horse diverting the average citizens attention away from the real agenda.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hello Winter,

      Your post above is so full of glaring nonsense it beggars belief. I will just pick three instances. No one on planet earth is going to lend capital at a zero interest rate of return. This is why Uncle Fester asked you such an obvious question. Secondly, Even if the citizens decided they wanted to put all their savings into such a scheme there wouldn’t be enough money to solve the problem. And thirdly no one in their RIGHT MIND would lend money to the shower of unmitigated scumbags in charge of this great Republic no matter what the interest rate. Once interest rates on bonds go above 7% its curtains.

      • Winter

        Hi Michael,
        “No one on planet earth is going to lend capital at a zero interest rate of return.”
        I never said taxpayers would lend their hard earned savings to the government for no return. What I am saying is that the lender (taxpayer)gets their return not in the form of an interest payment but as an increase in their take home pay via an adjustment to their tax free allowance. With the correct formula, the return to the lender (taxpayer)would be greater than the 3% interest received (before tax)from a normal deposit account. It would also be more beneficial to the lender as the return on their money would be immediate and tangible. I do admit that it may be difficult to put in place but if the banks are nationalised and Revenue have access to our bank accounts (which they already do), well then there is no reason why these difficulties can not be overcome.

        “Secondly, Even if the citizens decided they wanted to put all their savings into such a scheme there wouldn’t be enough money to solve the problem”.
        There is enough by far. The government borrowing requirements are presently “estimated” at €25Bn a year along with interest payments on the promissory notes used to bail out Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide estimated at €1.5 billion a year. There is over €85 billion (and increasing) in household savings on deposit in Irish bank accounts. Now surely if these householders were offered a way of substituting the paltry interest they receive on their savings for an immediate increase in their take home pay (worth more than they actually get from the interest payment) they would take it. Not everyone of course but just looking at the two figures for the government borrowing requirements versus household deposits and you can see there is certainly enough there.
        “And thirdly no one in their RIGHT MIND would lend money to the shower of unmitigated scumbags in charge of this great Republic no matter what the interest rate”
        You might be right there and I certainly can understand that sentiment but I still think that governing ourselves is a far better option than giving up our sovereignty to the IMF. Sure all you have to do is ask the question “Who are the IMF?” If we really are prepared to let that happen, then you’re absolutely right – it’s curtains.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Winter,

          The 25bn deficit is in currently account spending not in capital investment. Once the money is spent as opposed to invested it is gone.

          • Winter

            Hi Michael,
            I know the €25bn is current account spending – just keeping us afloat, but there is additional funds there to borrow for capital spending if required. But I’m not sure extra funds would be required because the capital spending projects would take lots of workers off the dole queue reducing the €25B. Along with that, and this is probably the most important point of all, if we as a state were no longer beholden to the markets we could negotiate a default on all the non sovereign debt – the banks debt in other words – without fear of retribution. I constantly hear that we can’t default because we wouldn’t be able to borrow again. Well my suggestion of converting taxpayers savings into government loans deals with this problem too

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Winter,

            When people are telling you we can’t default they are lying through their teeth to you to protect their own agenda. What we need is negotiated restructuring which is default in everything except name. In real world capitalism (not the shite we are being pedalled here in Ireland) borrowers an Lenders take the pain when everything goes tits up.

  13. wills


    Another layer of the insiders financial ‘POnzi scheming onion’ is now quite thoroughly peeled away.

    Quite extraordinary all of this. And how remarkable are the revelations one after the next after the next after the next.

    Those who believed Irish society and the economy and its organizing is carried out in accordance with free market principles ought to be reevaluating.

    Those who reckoned on Irish parliamentary democracy holding the line on constitutional values regarding banking as a utility to provide prosperity for all of IRelands citizens into future and a fair allocation of the riches in accordance with free enterprise and rule of law equal for all ought to reflect again on what the hell is going on here?!

    YEAR 2000 ushered in EURO and a CELTIC TIGER economy. A very large cake.

    It ensured common wealth for all of Irelands citizens never before dreamt on.

    And what happened, what did we get, we got a mega POnzi property pyramid scam. Engineered and managed and organized and put in to motion by a crony network of interests across the spectrum of oiks who were situated closest to the property market operational hubs.

    And then we go the meeja and newspapers selling the pyramid scam down the pyramid to the average citizen and the celtic tiger economy went south and the pyramid scheme imploded and the debris is now all over the shop and the insiders are now batting down the hatches and securing their future income streams / future POnzi schemes ready to be re-inflated.

    This is the Ireland we are all living in now.

    A post POnzi property bubble economy whereupon the insiders carry out a rearguard action to ensure their feudal money out of thin air banking system which motors along the property bubbles is kept in place.

    This is why the banks are still here. This is why the banks are maintained and preserved. Because they are the future makers of more property bubble pryramid schemes.

    The banks are the insiders death stars.

  14. McWilliams: Monkey could have done ex-treasury boss’s job
    By Paul O’Brien, Political Correspondent
    Monday, November 01, 2010
    ECONOMIST David McWilliams has launched a stinging attack on the pay and pension received by former National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) boss Michael Somers, saying “a monkey” could have done his job.

    The highly-regarded Dr Somers retired last December after serving since 1990 as chief executive of the NTMA, which manages the national debt.

    Earlier this year, it was reported that Dr Somers’s pay package in the year prior to his retirement had come to circa €1m — consisting of salary of €565,000 and bonus of €403,000.

    He also confirmed to a Sunday newspaper that, upon retirement, he had received a lump-sum payment of €842,000 and a pension worth €265,000 a year.

    Mr McWilliams, speaking during a debate on public service pay and pensions, questioned both the salary and retirement package.

    “There’s no reason for somebody who actually raises money in the monetary union [to] get paid more than €80,000,” he said.

    “The fact that Michael Somers walks away with nearly €1m … he does what junior analysts do in banks. He picks a spot in the yield curve, says: ‘That could be borrowed there.’

    “It’s a job a monkey could do.”

    Mr McWilliams was speaking during the Leviathan Political Cabaret event at the National Concert Hall. The reference to the €80,000 figure was prompted by a member of the audience, who suggested this was the maximum any public servant should be paid.

    Fine Gael senator Paschal Donohoe disagreed with an €80,000 cap. While saying the pay of the Taoiseach, TDs and senators should be cut, he said it would be difficult to attract high-calibre people to run major state agencies for €80,000 a year.

    This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, November 01, 2010

    Read more:

  15. uchrisn

    The budjet cuts will certainly be interesting. As David rightly points out the cuts are being made to pay for the losses of mainly property speculators i.e banks and their investors otherwise known as ‘the bailout’.
    Certainly higher taxes for the higher income earners and a healthy increase to the 200euro taxes for people with 2nd properties would be fairer than making backward steps in health or education.
    On another interesting point, with many of our foreign affairs interests being now served by the EU, perhaps we can close down some of our embassies as the swedish and norwegians have been doing.

  16. ObsessiveMathsFreak

    Hopefully the country will just default sooner rather than later. Then at least we can just get this over with. It’s dragged on for almost three years now with no end in sight to the incompetence, corruption and cronyism.

    The country has to go back to the bond markets in March. The Dail returns from Christmas recess at the end of January. So expect the announcement of default in February, once the Christmas hangovers have passed and the deputies and civil servants have warmed up enough to realize their situation.

    I personally think a default would be the best thing for the country right now. Lets just get it over with and end this farce.

  17. Original-Ed

    David, it now looks like we don’t need the markets as the EU is already in control. We’re only getting make believe optics from Lenihan at this point.
    The deed is done, the government is dead and now, its up to Ollie to break the bad news. He’s already on his way.

    There’s no way the markets would invest in an economy that’s being forced from the outside to comit hari kari.

  18. Gege Le Beau

    The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin – Mark Twain

  19. paulmcd

    David, I commented before on the phenomenon of rolling bankruptcies which will be a contributory factor towards the cost of the banking bailout exceeding, by far, the following official estimates:

    1. the Government worst-case scenario of 50 billion,

    2. the S&P figure of 80 billion

    This week’s paper: GHOST HOTEL in County Louth!!

    This is unbelievable.

    NOT MENTIONED IN ABOVE ARTICLE: Planning permission has been granted for building 2 more hotels in Dundalk – one adjacent to the Race Course and one in the town centre. This happened while the future of the Park Inn was very much in question.

    I am not a professional economist. My estimates as commented upon in previous articles:

    1. Best-case scenario for Anglo ALONE = 60 billion

    2. 12-year costing for Irish banking system = 130+ billion

  20. LKSteve

    “Ghost Hotels” eh?. I am living in Australia so far, far removed from the disaster that has befallen the country. David’s writings help keep me informed of what’s happening. His writings from the coal-face are ‘real’. I no longer look to the indo & rte for their commentary. Instead, I read David’s blog & the blog most popular with my hometown. David was the first one to mention the words ‘ghost estates’. I was thoroughly surprised that these existed as I hadn’t heard about them before. That was about two years ago. Now we have ‘ghost hotels’. I read tonight that Irish bonds are now yielding 7.1%. Shit! I can borrow money cheaper than that myself.
    The euro is a disaster for Ireland. The country needs to exit, stage left.
    How about re-establishing the sovereignty of the country & writing a few iou’s to those holding it’s bonds? A fresh start is needed.
    The politicians & their bureaucrats are just playing for time. They are like the Irish Rugby Team of old who used to get a few points on the board then try & kill the game, run down the clock. Well the rules have changed in Rugby. Negative play is frowned upon & you can end up in the sin bin. Attack is the order of the day. Look what the Aussies, an inferior team to the All Blacks did at the weekend. They attacked & attacked & wore their foe down, winning the game after the clock had passed full-time. This is what Ireland needs, aggression & a game plan. Bugger the bond holders & bugger the Euro. Ireland needs to re-establish sovereignty & a new currency established – A gold standard currency. Everything needs to be re-priced. Labour, land, the lot. The markets will understand. What is the alternative? Being run by the IMF? Who the hell are they? What do they care about the Irish people?
    Someone else on here mentioned jettisoning civil-war era political parties. While ye are about it, jettison their pensions & benefits.
    I would love to return to Ireland to have a few pints with my mates & to stroll the streets of my hometown. I’ve a few bob in the bank & can well afford it but who would want to visit a country that is clearly in such pain? Why would I inflict it upon myself?
    Grow some balls people & turf the gombeen men out. They don’t give a fig for you or your family, they are only protecting their dynasties.

  21. adamabyss


  22. ict

    Bad and all as things may seem at the moment, eventually this crisis will resolve and we, as a people, will have to then decide where our future lies. Long term, whenever that stability arrives, (and eventually it will), we will, as I see it, have four broad options, (none of which seem especially palatable at the moment.)

    1. Try to return to managing our own financial affairs ourselves. Obviously not the most appealing idea in view of the home grown gangsters and imbeciles who have created the current debacle and the population’s regrettable past form of electing such morons.
    (The “1937 constitution” option)

    2. Continue to have our affairs managed by the EU, (i.e. the recently established status quo). Certainly has the attraction of at least having someone in charge who knows what they are doing, but they are culturally and linguistically remote and alien, and almost certainly do not have our interests at heart. In my view we would risk, in the long term, becoming “the Aran islands of Europe” with a chronically overvalued currency, minimal economic activity beyond tourism, maybe what is left of agriculture, a bit of renewable energy I suppose, as well as very basic public services for the few who haven’t emigrated.
    (The “passive, do nothing”, option)

    3. Swallow our pride and renegotiate our relationship with the UK. Admittedly a variant of option 2., but at least they can pick us out on a map, and may even be more likely to at least consider our interests (as the bulk of any of our emigrants are likely to end up in London, and a huge minority, if not a majority of white, “English” have some identifiable Irish ancestry).We could fit nicely into the new devolved Celtic nations set up, being a more detached version of Scotland maybe. They may even allow us to keep the “Republic” title, i.e. we may not actually have to technically rejoin the UK. Indeed, it may only involve returning to 1978 (pre split from sterling) rather than to 1915. Obvious historic barriers may prove insurmountable. Also, any formal move in this direction on our part could, I suppose, have unpredictable consequences for the delicate political balance in the north, (and it would certainly take the wind out of the sails of the Scottish and Welsh nationalists).
    (The “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” option)

    4. Mike Soden’s idea of trying to join the USA. Economically attractive at the moment, but geographically daft, and may present political difficulties even greater than option 3. In the medium to long term the US is likely to decline as much of its strength was only ever founded on its access to cheap petrol (i.e. abundant energy). As that declines, their relative global position will probably also decline. The EU and UK are of course also likely to decline accordingly, (as are we), but one consequence of this forthcoming oil / energy shortage will be that global transport, the ease of which we currently take for granted, will become much more difficult. When this happens, as it inevitably will in the not too distant future, it does not seem sensible to be aligned to a power which is geographically so remote. Especially when more local alliances may available (EU or UK / Celtic). In any case, are the crazed excesses of materialistic capitalism, which seem to define “American values”, not what got us into this mess in the first place? Arguably it seems somewhat perverse to advocate an even greater embrace of this culture as being the solution.
    (The “even more unbridled capitalism” option)

    Maybe there are others possibilities which I haven’t considered.

    Of course our eventual course may well consist of a mixture of all four of the above. Indeed arguably our relationship with the outside world since independence, if not for several centuries before, has consisted of an interplay of a version of these four dimensions; i.e. Isolationism, the Continent, London, the New World. Maybe the debate should not be of an “either or” format, but rather along the lines of what should be the relative strength of each of these four orientations.

    I am also of course assuming that each option would actually be open to us. Such is the current mess, we may not be allowed to manage our affairs again for several generations at least, or the Euro zone might well collapse, the Brits may not want us back and the Yanks might tell us to get lost.

    It may not seem to be of immediate relevance, but I can’t be the only citizen wondering where all this is leading. The sooner we debate where we are going the better.

    • Anglotax

      The Boston option is a generation too late. The Berlin option was taken for the past nigh 40 years and only succeeded in swapping an English taskmaster for a Prussian one.

      If the Eurozone fractures in the immediate future we could always try your option 3 – but perhaps a Kingdom of Ireland, a defacto republic like Canada, Zealand or Australia but with a veneer of monarchy to suit the Northern Irish Brits and reconcile them to an all island government.

      Whatever, we had better plan the what-ifs for when the bond markets stay shut (7.15% will be a low point and probably 10%+ after Xmas) and/or the Euro goes!

  23. GQ

    So here is my simple theory of recovery…,

    The country will not turn a corner until someone very senior, that perhaps might have held a very senior position in the public eye, say in public office(!?!), is arrested and charged by CAB for corruption.

    I know, I konw, you think it’s simplistic…but I believe there is a deep/deep level of hatred (lets not beat around the bush) amougst ‘run-of-the-mill’ Irish who just want to get on with life and do an honest days work without the constant threat of external forces constantly undermining their financial future.


    • Deco

      someone….go from the singular to the plural…

      Some need to be jailed, and the rest need to be sacked without pensions.

      The surprising thing is that there are highly intelligent people in Ireland who are able to take over. Mostly they are working for multinationals – because they are outside of the cliques that dominate the Irish owned companies, and subjected to formal hiring procedures….

      As the old Irish saying goes, “give youth a chance”.

  24. paulmcd

    Irish Gvt 10-year note rate at 7.2% today and rising; was only 6.5% a week ago.

    I have names of funds which are shrting but, when I try to post, they just disappear from my screen.

    • paulmcd

      One of the operators has 60 billion dollars at its disposal for attacking sovereign debt.

      The ECB will not be able to stand up to a concerted onslaught.

      • paulmcd

        Irish-Republic papers are not reporting, to my knowledge; but try googling the topic under a telegraph circulated in belfast.

    • paulmcd

      When % rate is rising it means that the price of the underlying bond is falling because sellers are overwhelming buyers.

    • “have names of funds which are shrting but, when I try to post, they just disappear from my screen.”
      Please explain

      • paulmcd

        When I try to post text containing names of hedgefunds which are shortng irish gvt dbt or the hyperlink relating thereto, it disappears into the ether. am wondering if there is some kind of filter in operation to white-out this information.

        You can discover the information yourself if you google that northern ireland newspaper which I have mentioned and the “short” topic to which I refer.

    • paulmcd


      Wall Street hedge funds are thought to be leading the campaign to “short sell” Irish government bonds, making vast profits in the process.

      US hedge funds Groveland Capital and Corrientes Advisors are thought to have taken major positions against Irish debt.

      Giant €60bn asset-manager Pictet also revealed that it had earlier bet against Irish government bonds. JP Morgan is also thought to have taken a bearish position on Irish debt.

      The International Monetary Fund estimated that up to €3bn of Ireland’s debt was being targeted by speculators through the uses of derivatives.

      This practice is likely to have increased in recent weeks over growing fears that Ireland may default on some of the Anglo debts.

  25. paddyjones

    As an accountant I totally disagree with the DMcW theory. He is a socialist populist, I heard Pat Rabbit make the same argument as DMcW on RTE sunday night, Rabbit said that bondholders want to see growth in the Irish economy rather than austerity.

    To me it is simple accountancy if you spend more than you take in you had better cut your costs. If you borrow to sustain this way of life you will definately end up worst off in the long run.

    The Irish economy is functioning more like a big company which is making losses and borrowing to plug the gap. There are no “complex economical issues” this is DMcW trying to bluff his way into making stupid people believe he is intelligent. He is a populist self obsessed individual.

    Ollie Rehn is a pragmatic German , he will tell the Irish government that they have created a financial mess and he will tell them how to proceed…austerity is the only option.

    If you borrow money you have to pay it back and with interest. That is what the government said when they promised to pay back the bondholders in Anglo for instance.

    DMcW would have us default , leave the Euro and turn us into an economic wasteland.

    I just read his blog to see him become ever more desperate. He constantly tells stupid people exactly what they want to hear completely ignoring the gorrilla in the room ….20 billion deficit and 150 billion national debt.

    • Colin

      You’re wrong on everything, again. You even got Ollie Rehn’s nationality wrong. Perhaps you’ll feel more at home on Alan Dukes’ website.

    • Deco

      The Fat Rabbitte – he was proposing to reduce the PAYE tax rate in the last general election, when he figured that it might get him back into a ministerial merk. Moore McDowell denounced it as Dutch Auction (as in tulipmania) politics. Even Cowen knew more about financial projection than Rabitte, and that says a lot.

      It is also abundantly clear that Rabitte expected the property boom to continue indefinitely in May 2007. That puts him up there with Dan McLaughlin, Austin Hughes and the Estate Agent you would recommend to a freind in terms of his grasp of economic cycles.

    • paulmcd

      Paddy, I do not want us to leave the Euro, but in most respects I agree with David’s analyses.

      The real concern I have is that Cowardly Lenny the Liar’s policies will ultimately mean that we will be ejected from the € AND/OR forced to adopt a much higher corporate tax rate closer to the mean in €uroland.

      Our debts are so high and if you read my previous comments, you will understand why I believe that we will have to DEFAULT.

      Better to DEFAULT sooner rather than throw countless billions into the banking black hole and be forced to DEFAULT AFTERWARDS.

    • michaelcoughlan


      Did your accountancy qualifications come in a lucky bag? “If you borrow money you have to pay it back and with interest”. Really? What about a debt for equity swap, writing off bad debt, defaulting, renegotiating, etc. etc. etc.

    • paulmcd

      You may consider David a socialist, but at least he is arguing in favour of private debt/losses remaining privatised.

      Which course do you favour: free-market consequences of taking on too much debt, OR, a socialistic nationalising of private banking debt?

    • wills


      You are aware that in the right situation with the political will, or, insider pull to do so, a click of a mouse can delete the National Debt in half a second!

    • “He is a socialist populist”
      Last time I checked wikipedia it says he is an admirer of Milton Friedman.
      Make your mind up

    • ict

      I have no ecconomic / buisness training or expertise and I don’t want to stereotype accountants, but is being an accountant perhaps clouding your judgement a bit here. There really is more to how a country or society manages it’s self than just balancing the books.
      Try to stand outside your professional mindset for a while and try to see the bigger picture

    • silentobserver

      Imagine being turned into an economic wasteland. That must be pretty awful. Thank God for the austerity and other measures introduced by government so far- they’re working so well!

  26. Deco

    The strange thing about being in a hotel that is owned by NAMA is that if could be in any county in Ireland. There are that many. I have heard about these hotels that have nominal price of 1 Euro.

    The catch is that you have to take the debt. NAMA is actually going through the banks to find people who still have money to get them to buy these “leisure complexes”. Yes, that’s right NAMA are actually cold calling any remaining big depositholders in the Irish banks to see if they will take these hotels. It is an invasion of personal privacy, and at some point NAMA will be sued – and will lose even more money. Clowns.

  27. Colin

    Excellent article David. The corrupt-decision takers we call our government seem to be determined to ruin this country. No point standing up to them. Just leave and don’t look back in anger. I’m leaving next week, hoping to secure work abroad. I got a TEFL qualification in my back pocket now which I can use as my Plan B. I’M taking THE hard decision, my health and finances will suffer further if I stay here any longer so I must leave for my own benefit.

    I’m not going to stand shoulder to shoulder with the gombeens and gombeen supporters who bled this country dry, bought secondary properties (thus forcing me out of the property market) who are now, as Warren Buffet says, “can be seen to be swimming with no clothes on, now that the tide has gone out”.

  28. petercice

    i think if we want to change politics in this country then we have to look at the start of a new party that is there to serve the middle class/lower paid and unemployed in the country you may think that these groups are far removed from each other but these are the people paying most over this crisis.
    the problem is gaining support for this as i have said before people are so caught up in there own personal problems that they cant look above the line and begin the fight.
    people can forget about help from the unions as they are being passivied by the croke park aggreement so we are only left with the unemployed and students if you can mobilise these sections some how then there is the chance of creating change within the country but i dont think it will happen as there is no leaders or people that will take the mantle and create this movement for the people.
    with the current political parties they are all saying the same lines we cant reduce our pay too much or the lower paid will have too talk about the hyprocrisy of them these are the same ones saying that they are totally different than ff not a hope they are all going with the same views/policies just rehashed a bit.
    i cant travel much at the moment but will be willing to help any group that has a plan to get something going.
    i personally think we could be here in ten years time and saying the same things as far as i can see it is a closed political shop in this country and there is no way that the current set up will want that to change anytime soon.

  29. Great Article David. Right on the money and good to see you back on track
    Anyone out in the Diaspora with money to invest would not touch Ireland right now never mind buy their debts

    It is very hard to take the Irish seriously and you only need to read the Pope’s Children and some of the other post celtic tiger disaster books on the market to realise this. It is a crazy crazy country and I would like to get the hell out

    Investors want to see a country that is grown up and ready for growth. They do not want to see a people who appear to be incapable of looking after their basic finances and who act so irresponsibly. You are also right when you say that Ireland is nothing more than a debt servicing agency where the government acts to enforce debt collection and the economic and political will of people who have nothing to do with this country. That’s the consequences of the globalisation we all know and love so well. The market is laughing at Ireland because they know it is a basket case once again and that our bag men are clueless

    Great to see you sticking up the poor because no-one else seems to be doing it. It is a class war between the elites and everyone else

    Like I said right on the money and completely different from the shite we get fed by the ordinary Irish media. I am now even more convinced than ever that the culture of cronyism in this country is like a cancer that is embedded into the genetic code and is incurable. I just hope that my increasing contempt and loathiing for this place does not replace the easy going feelings I have had for most of my tenure here. It is tempting to say god I loathe them but when you close the door on hope then what is the point of living?

    Would the last one out please remember to switch the lights off.

    Once agin, nice piece of work wee man.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Pauldiv you have some excellent comments, you can add this to your collection. I too am considering my position, another cut in salary makes it too difficult, I love the Irish hills but sadly they do not put food in the belly nor offer much of a future. The shouting down of those with recommendations, the exclusion of the decent & honest, well, it spells things clear enough for me.

      In the meantime, I salute you.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi Gege,

        All jest aside where are you thinking of going?

        • Gege Le Beau

          Currently looking at several options, interesting noises out of one place abroad, a sense of appreciation which I welcome. Early days but thinking that sometimes you just got to take a chance especially when you see everything possible being done here to wreck the country beyond all recognition, it is dispiriting but you can’t afford to waste one’s sweetness on the desert air, life is just too dam short, and the rent is too dam high to echo my friend Jimmy in New York.

          This ‘Leviathan’ is not for turning no matter what the well intentioned and wise do.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Gege,

            It is a pity you are thinking of leaving. There has never been a greater time for well articulated leftwing thinking of the type you subscribe to and unlike the god awful shite which passes for opposition in Dail Eireann. Perhaps you would reconsider? Even if you didn’t consider organising on a political level yourself perhaps you could continue to provoke and cajole people who may decide to take up the gauntlet?



          • persilschein

            wherever you’re going, you should have your vote with you. Would it have kept us straight if we’d given ex-pats the vote sooner?

      • Well thank you Gege.

        The West of Ireland must be one of the most depressing places in the world now.
        There is a howling gale outside tonight and it feels like I am living in the Twilight Zone. A half in half out existence.

        It used to be ok when I was a more carefree spirit who spent lots of time admiring the hills and photographing the scenery but now I am really asking myself one question – what the hell am I doing here? The climate is cold and sadly I can’t relate to Ireland any more now that I have woken up to just how ungovernable and corrupt Ireland is.

        I lived in England many moons ago and always managed to land good well paying electronics positions through my own merits. At job interviews it never entered my head that the situation could be a stich up. If I landed a job interview in Ireland tomorrow this would be the first thing on my mind. It makes me sad that so many people feel that such a culture of cronyism is acceptable – present company excluded of course. It is people like yourself and David who help me to keep my chin up and remind me that there are a lot of genuinely good people in Ireland.

        I have come to the conclusion that my future lies elsewhere. For one thing I want to get away from this cold and rain and downright misery. Luckily I have skills that are industry neutral and portable and no debt so I am in a decent position.
        As Deco said about dissenting I never bought a house here thank god. Why would you buy a house in a region where there is no work and no chance of getting work due to all the cronyism.

        I have always followed my dreams and for a few years life in Ireland was kind of like a dream for me but now the morning has arrived. My new drream is to become self sufficient by earning a living online – by blogging perhaps – and manage my little empire via a laptop while looking out at the pacific or the med. When I get tired from work I will lie back in my sun lounger and think of old Ireland. I can feel it in my water.

        • michaelcoughlan

          just curious,

          How do you make money from blogging?

          • Hi Michael

            Pick a topic which motivates you.
            Find out what people are looking for – Google Keyword Tool.
            Create top notch content original content.
            Show your face to your readers and communicate with them.
            Monetise your blog – Google adsense, amazon, affiliate links etc.
            Advertise something with affordable price points – books etc.

   by Google is free and good for geting started.
            Laypeople can create a smart blog, customise it and monetise it.

            For motivation I suggest
            You will find out what it takes to create a successful blog.
            The rest is down to self-motivation and some hard work.

            I have been reading up on web savvy for a couple of years.
            It takes time so give yourself time.
            I reckon it is worth a shot now and I am going to go for it.

            What is there to lose?
            The most important thing is focus and self discipline.
            Too much white noise and lack of focus is what stops 90% of people
            from getting anywhere in this life.

            Good luck to us all.

  30. paddythepig

    More populist rubbish from David. PaddyJones is right. A government that is spending like a teenybopper on the town with Dadddy’s credit card can’t or shouldn’t cut back it’s spending? Give me a break.

    You cut your cloth to fit.

    The so-called solution of leaving the Euro, devaluation, and printing money is really a euphemism for stealing. It is immoral, and ultimately counter-productive.

    The only way out of this is hard graft. Firstly, massive cuts in numbers and salaries in the public service, get the same output from less input. Secondly, get proven business leaders to lead the way in getting investment into the country. A Michael O’Leary type character for Minister for Transport & Tourism to get people into the country, spending their money. A proven industrialist as Minister for Industry.

    Only then will we be able to afford the health and education services everyone claims to passionately support.

    • Colin

      Hard Graft? From the man against a stimulus? What are the 450,000 (and rising) unemployed folks supposed to be getting their teeth into when there’s no investment coming in because foreign investors know our government is a basketcase.

    • Harper66

      Paddy, you silly boy.

      Immoral? Roddy Molly,Fas, Judges “unable” to take a pay cut, politicians pay, ministerial cars, Fingers Seanie, Drumm and Drummer and one dollar wonder dog, naked cronyism between politicians and business and banks…I could go on.

      The only way to get out of this is through hard graft? If Michael O Leary was running the country? Any more platitudes?

      The problem is at the top. The problem is grossly overpaid politicians, senior civil servants, figures like Alan Dukes being paid a fortune to run a pretend bank. The problem is Anglos debts were never Ireland’s debts. The problem is total corruption within the system to such a point that is impossible to run a business. It is like Chicago during Al Capone’s reign. All this needs to be sorted before anything else can be repaired in this country.

      And you? You blame those who are working for average pay living in terror of further cuts and swallowing all this shit down.

      You’re out of step.

      • Deco

        Chicago today is also very corrupt. A mayor called Daley for 48 of the last 52 years…The Blagovitch scandal….Obama’s Senate seat for sale to the highest bidder…it stinks…and the Irish are running the show…

        Michael O’Leary would actually be a massive improvement. He could go around in his taxi instead of the merc. He would get rid of a lot of bullshit….and would make sure that the country means business. I don’t see anybody of any calibre becomming available. O’Leary would also sack the wasters like Molloy without any entitlements, get rid of the quangoes, cut out this Mussolini style of governance with IBEC and ICTU which is responsible for consensus on every stupid mistake…

        • Harper66

          I think you missed my point RE: Chicago. I’m not overly concerned at the level of corruption in present day Chicago. I mentioned Al Capone as a means of illustrating the type of difficulties small businesses face trying to stay afloat in this country.

          If I recall O Learys taxi was an excess at the time – purchasing a plate just so he could drive in the bus lanes..

          “In 2004 he purchased a taxi plate for his Mercedes-Benz, to enable it to be classified as a taxi so that he could legally make use of Dublin’s bus lanes to speed up his car journeys around the city. [31] A press report suggested that since he was stopped driving his own taxi, he has employed a driver with full PSV licence” Wikipedia.

          I don’t understand this cult of O Leary.

          No arguments from me RE: get rid of the quangoes, cut out this Mussolini style of governance with IBEC and ICTU which is responsible for consensus on every stupid mistake…

          • Deco

            O’Leary’s approach to the buslanes was to take the piss out of the local authorities….I bet the ministerial merks also are entitled to use bus lanes…

            It’s not so much a cult of O’Leary, as much as people admiring O’Leary for choosing route 1 to doing something when in the public sphere it seems almost obligatory, that to get from A to B, you start at A, then go reverse through the whole alphabet and eventually at great cost, and as result of pleasing all of the other letters, you finally find the letter B.

            This is a problem right across the state system. O’Leary knows this, and people praising O’Leary’s apporach often do so to take the p155 out of the establishment….

          • Harper66

            Yes. O leary in his Merc shooting past in the bus lane, lording it over the rest of us.Taking the piss.Exactly the type of person we need more of in the Dail……

            Fair play to O leary as a businessman but please we dont need business men in government, we need statesmen.

            A country is not a company.Citzens are not employees.

      • paddythepig

        The likes of you is a big part of the problem too, with idiotic comments like that.

    • paulmcd

      I no longer believe that leaving the € will be our choice: it is something which may be thrust upon us.

      We have massively incompetent government and I predict that the % rate on irish gvt bonds will be pushing towards 9% within 3 months, if not in as many weeks.

      There are crimes which are being committed today “in the national interest”. The money lost by private financial institutions is GONE mainly due to incompetent management/regulation.


      Let all tribunals end and all investigation of banking executives finish. It is the proposed financial CRIMES OF TODAY AND TOMORROW which are preventable and anyone whose name rhymes with NUKES or, in power, with forename “Brain” should be arrested for defrauding the taxpayer.

  31. george

    I never voted for a Sinn Féin candidate in the past but I voted for candidates of all the other main parties. I didn’t vote in the last election because I realized we’re being sold. I’m so fed up of listening to the empty rhetoric, and for the lack of concrete proposals from the members of Fianna Fáil, the Greens, Fine Gael, and Labour that I’m very glad to see in black and white the economic proposals of Sinn Fein with a clear road map of their “better way”. And it makes a lot of sense to me, especially the following one: “We propose to cap Ministerial salaries at €100,000, TDs at €75,000 and Senators at €60,000. Similarly we call for a cap on the maximum salary in the public service at €100,000.” Why? Because the salaries and pensions in the Public Sector for the Politicians and “top” Civil Servants are the most expensive in Europe and are making this Country uncompetitive in economic terms, and unless we put sound economic foundations we can’t rebuild anything good on top of it.

    Here are the proposals they are very clear to understand, and it’s implicit that we won’t have property tax for all, or water charges.

    Sinn Féin today revealed proposals to cut the budget deficit by over €4.5bn
    and invest in a €2bn jobs stimulus in 2011, also urging the imposition of
    salary caps for public servants including Dáil deputies.

    Launching its pre-Budget submission in Dublin, the party’s finance
    spokesperson Arthur Morgan said the measures would achieve the necessary
    savings while protecting frontline public services and those on low and
    middle incomes.

    The SF plan, entitled ‘There is a Better Way’, outlines a range of taxation
    measures aimed at high earners, the abolition of wastages in public
    spending and the transfer of €7bn from the National Pension Reserve Fund
    for a 3.5 year state-wide investment programme to stimulate the economy and
    create jobs.

    The party said it would introduce a new 48% tax on income in excess of
    €100,000, an income linked wealth tax of 1% on all assets worth more than
    €1m excluding working farmland and increases in Capital Gains Tax, Capital
    Acquisitions Tax and DIRT.

    “We are also calling for the abolition of a number of tax exemptions
    including mortgage interest relief for landlords, property tax reliefs and
    income tax and PRSI exemptions for share options,” Deputy Morgans aid.

    “We propose to cap Ministerial salaries at €100,000, TDs at €75,000 and
    Senators at €60,000. Similarly we call for a cap on the maximum salary in
    the public service at €100,000.

    “All of our revenue raising proposals are aimed at those in our society who
    can afford to pay more and if implemented they would raise €5.266bn,”
    Deputy Morgan said.

    “With this Sinn Féin would put €595m into a financial stimulus plan and use
    the remaining €4.671bn to reduce the deficit.

    “We would then take €7bn from the National Pension Reserve Fund for a three
    and a half year state wide investment programme to stimulate the economy
    and create jobs, €2bn to be spent on shovel ready projects in 2011.

    “We would then reduce the remainder of the deficit through increased
    economic growth generated as a result of our economic stimulus plan,”
    Deputy Morgan said.

    “We are confident that the deficit can be reduced to the stability and
    growth pact level by 2016 in a progressive manner while growing the

    The party said all proposals had been costed and approved by independent

    “Sinn Féin’s proposals are a credible alternative to the cosy consensus for
    cuts which has put our economy in such crisis,” said party president Gerry

    He said the party was providing a better, fairer way to economic recovery.

    • Deco

      Unfortunately, the clowns in Kildare street are mediocre to the point that Sinn Fein look plausible….How would Martin Ferris run the banking system ?

      • george

        Deco the others are talking all day and saying nothing, except if you believe in NAMA, the smart-green economy fairytale, and Fine Gael and Labour’s attitude “we don’t talk about that”.
        Now at least Sinn Féin have a series of concrete measures, and listen even senator Shane Ross was advocating a cap of 100.000 euro for the Public Sector. And the other tax and incentives also make sense. Please yourself, but for me is enough to get my ass off the fence. As a starting point isn’t bad at all… the others are in cuckooland.

        • Deco

          You are correct…they are busy looking for PR stunts and trying to make the comment that will get them on the evening news….sound bite approach to running a country….short sharp comments…but no plan.

          And they are not serious about reform.

  32. Deco

    I read the headline. The term “obvious death wish”. And this makes me think about the concept called a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.

    About five years ago, I learned that a woman who I thought a lot of at the time was not leaving my life. Then later I found out that that would be permannent. I did feel this as a blow. But I also knew that I was better off that it never came to anything.
    Of course, I was responsible, because I refused to agree to here terms. And she was uncompromising with respect to getting everything on her terms. And I probably had terms too, like the fact that I was careful with the money, and she was from a well-to-do background and never seen money as an issue. I once told her money was sweat, and she looked at me like as if I had two heads. Of course, I was making it clear that I did not fit into the financial mores then prevalent, and now under threat, in Irish society. She also was a green jersey patriot, and I did not beleive in such nonsense. And she made impulsive decisions, whereas I had to calculate and sometimes worry along the way to a decision. But none of these factors undid it.

    Basically, she had a big thing about getting sympathy. Now this can be fairly toxic. Out of self respect I never entertained any of this nonsense. But I let her know that I respected her, and this meant that I did not do sympathy trips. And for this reason things never took off.

    But, I observed something, at an intellectual level. Unknowingly, she was prone to create disasters – but at the end of it there was the consolation of a sympathy-trip. Now, I would fight against failure, and always try to lesson. But she would be looking for the easy option, and the emotional kick and attentionit. She would accentuate any bad event that happened. She would repeat it. And it was very annoying. My instant reaction was to say “what did you do that for ?”. I treated her like an adult. And whereas she was driven by her career, and was all into equality in that regard, she could not be an adult in a relationship. Every disaster, she would try and play it for sympathy. And she would be get distant when she did not get it. I expected her to grow up. I planned to use respect, and eventually get above this.

    But instead she kept returning into the same routine. At precisely the time when I decided to try and do something about this, another woman walked into a room and right at that moment, I decided to not fix it. In life you should be grateful for stuff that does not happen even more than for stuff that does. And to this day, I, and many others who I have met in the intervening years, have been blessed that she walked in at that moment. If that had not occurred, then the writing that I have given over the past two years would never had occurred. I had given up on Ireland at that point. It is very strange how these things happen. The lady who I did end up with, married to an Englishman and is living in London and following the things that matter to her. Strange but she gave up on Ireland, though very proud. Now, in fairness she had her good qaulities also, but the other side of her I could not match with. But when you close the account you have to have everything clear, and make an assessment of the lessons that are to be learned. And then you are ready to move on. And it is really mysterious the way these things work out.

    Now, the term “self-fulfilling prophecy” comes to mind.

    We have been in a self-fulfilling prophecy. We have behaved like the Janitor who wins the lotto. We believed all that self-congratulatory BS, and the pride trip and went on a trajectory to disaster. And we were encouraged all the way by the suckers who were chasing something for nothing. And we entered into an abusive relationship with the Ditherer. The Ditherer never gave us tough love. He always treated us like children, spoiled us, and pressed the emotional buttons. In fact, this is what the lack of leadership amounts to in the Irish system. The concept of tough love is banned. We are slowly being forced to the point where we have to be firm. Because if we don’t we face a growing disaster. And we simply cannot continue, like Lenihan, hoping for the best, and telling ourselves that we are winning. We cannot continue to tell ourselves that the nonsense is viable. We cannot continue with the Tammany Hall state system.

    And did we learn anything ? I don’t think so. In fact, we have opportunists telling us that we don’t have to learn anthing.

    We deserve to be able to keep our pride intact. So that we do not have to learn anything. We need to close the account with the Ditherer. But instead of somebody coming along to get us out of this mess, we have false pals who want to pursue their own agenda.

    And I see Eamonn Gilmore and the Ditherer 2.0. He is a con artist. And he knows how to sucker the Irish people, just like the ditherer from Drumcondra. And I have watched this happening, with a sense of forboding, just like i got this strong sense that Ahern would lead us into a disaster. Gilmore will make it even worse.

    Thankfully, it seems that today’s newpaper headline has sussed out the Ditherer 2.0. Gilmore like Ahern seems to some funny

    finances, as well as taking encouragement in the early years from twisted scoundrels.

    I hope that we get out of these self-fulfilling prophecies, of solutions that make disasters happen, and which consign us to continue on a path of continued delusion and nonsense. We do not need any bailouts, digouts or angryman speeches. All we need is one moment of clarity, to tell us to hold onto our self-respect, and to get out of any nonsense that PR stunt experts and clowns who press the pride button, who lie to us, selling us the promise of the easy life.

    We should know that it does not add up. My sense that Gilmore was a pretender has been proven correct. We need to get out of these repeated cycles of disaster followed by feeling sorry for ourselves and believing in more bailouts. We need to say that responsibility, and self discipline are virtues, instead of having systematic efforts to undermine anybody living by them.

    Of course if any moment of clarity happen, there would be immediate kickback and organized response. And all sorts of diversionary tactics to make sure that the clarity is never there. The price of readjustment is simply to great for people who have great influence on public opinion.

    • Deco

      Dammit, I have made loads of mistakes. Sorry very tired. zzz….Anyway just to say…learn as much as you can about human nature….it will serve you well as you try to steer clear of disasters happening….

    • coldblow

      Yes it is mysterious the way these things work out, but that seems to be just the way it is.

      Some who have read the books of Dorothy Rowe about depression (I’m fortunate to say I don’t have it and I hope I never do) may have noted her observation that couples are invariably composed of an introvert and an extravert (her spelling), even arranged marriages, strange to say. I have confirmed this from my own experience. The concepts of introversion etc seem fairly mainstream and uncontroversial by now, but these humdrum ideas are really quite startling when you give them a few moments thought. I’m always trying to imagine what it’s like to be an extravert, where your external reality is what is really ‘real’ for you. In their universe you accept what surrounds you as a given, there is no need to interrogate it. Therefore, by extension what the crowd says is by definition right, and what ‘everyone’ knows is a simple observation of fact and not something that can be subjected to debate. They are more impetuous, more risk taking (those kids diving off the top board without even looking to see if there is water in the pool are probably extraverts). They want action not words, they don’t care why or how things work so much as want to make them work – see who’s calling for action here, for example.

      Now before any extraverts get exercised about this, I do not intend this as a criticism (which would be absurd – we are not tallking about divisive ideology here). Intraverts are viewed as oddballs, in particular their love of theorizing. The thing is, they complement each other and bring a different perspective to bear on issues. As DMcW has stated here, wisely, it takes all sorts.

      But my guess is that the battle of the sexes is a misunderstanding of the situation which is rather a battle of two utterly different worldviews. Now, talking of theories, this is one of my favourites: if you were to see Ireland as an extravert nation, does a lot of what has happened make more sense to you now? Think of ‘Thierry-gate’ for example. The trouble with theories is that they are nearly always wrong but I flatter myself that this one isn’t…

      • Black Cat

        That is a very interesting theory – Catholocism is very irish and is a routine following of external forms – reciting prayers – dressing up for mass to look good in the eyes of the other mass goers – respecting the external authority of the priest and church – then chasing external symbols of wealth – money, houses,power, cars – GAA is very action/outward orientated – extolling male competiveness/tribalism and aggression. There are Irish people who don’t confrom to the extroverted type but they seem to get sidelined – artists, poets, spiritual types are not valued here.

        • coldblow

          You have it there in the first part of your post, I think, Black Cat. From what I can see external appearances are very important to the extravert as their identity is derived from all that is around them, so image is very important. They have a problem with introspection (whereas with introverts the trouble starts as soon as they engage with the outside world). The extraverts are the ‘people persons’, outward looking, thrill seeking (I believe that it’s some part of the spinal cortex or whatever that needs stimulation – introvert babies on the other hand apparently hate overstimulation). You will seldom see an introvert on Big Brother, and if so he or she will be suffering (eg Germaine Greer).

          The basics are I think uncontroversial and probably mainstream psychology, but I think Rowe’s insight is that each couple contains one of each. I have noticed that too – without exception. There is a technique for finding out your orientation, called laddering. I find it’s usually quite easy to tell, and if you are unsure, then look at the other half. Take Mao for example, look at his widow (from the Gang of Four) and you can see he’s probably extravert (still not sure there though). A good example is Blair and Brown – that one’s obvious (FFS they are like a couple!). That makes half the people here introvert. My fancy tells me that the extravert side has the upper hand over us as a collective. I’m almost certainly wrong, but who knows?

          One odd thing I noticed about them is that it’s usually them who are the rebels at school, the ones who dye the hair and wear the punk gear, who start smoking. And yet at the heart of things they are usually highly conformist and seem to provide the enforcers of whatever form the social mores happen to take. So while they enforce holy liberal values now they were probably doing the same for holy Catholic Ireland a generation ago. That might tie in with what you say about Catholicism. John Waters made the point once that Irish society was superficially pious, which is not the same thing as being devout.

          Health warning: a lot of this is speculation.

          • gerry

            Hi there Cold Blow. I’m one of the ‘some’ whom have read Dorothy Rowe’s books. And I have to say that I always find her books, articles and blogs to be fascinating, insightful and profoundly wise. Her theory on introverts/extroverts and the exercise that she calls ‘laddering’ have given me a deeper understanding about how I experience my ‘self’ and my world. I say ‘my’ because, I think it’s very important to remember when we are dealing with others, that they do not experience the world as I do. The fact is, none of us can experience reality directly but only through our own unique ‘filters’. Rowe’s work goes much more deeply into this than I could even attempt to do here. In the first part of her latest book, Why we Lie (2010), Rowe explains this so well. I’d highly recommend it to all. I’m sure many people on this blog with also find it very interesting as she discusses the psychological reasons why this present government/ governmets in general lied to us (and themselves)about the mess we find ourselves in. She also talks about why the church lied to us and tried to cover up the crimes committed against those who were left in their trust.

            For a flavor of her writing, which also discusses Bertie Ahern and the neoliberal politics of this present government click on this link


          • coldblow

            Hey gerry

            Thanks for the feedback. I throw some of this stuff out there and I had an idea that someone might be reading! I haven’t read the link yet but added it to my favourites. She looks a bit older now – don’t we all. Thanks for the update, her latest book looks ‘relevant’ all right, so I think I’ll invest in it (Like to see what she has to say about the Ditherer). Good summary by the way. The concept of the filter is the thing. This is a long-odds one, but have you ever come across Martin Brofman’s book on eyesight? It’s central there too.

          • gerry

            Had a quick look at Martin Brofman’s site which looks quite interesting. However, I wonder if you’ve misunderstand what I meant by filters? I was referring to how our perceptions are shaped by our previous experiences, particularly the early ‘facilitating environment’ that we develop in as a baby/child and which continues to develop throughout the lifespan.

          • coldblow

            His website is probably misleading – I’ve seen it. His book on eyesight (specifically) however uses vision as a metaphor for your ‘way of being’ and seeks to encourage ways to fix a ‘stuck filter’ which often seems to manifest itself in poor eyesight. He doesn’t go into the formative childhood dimension but it is clearly implied (in my view) in that myopia etc is seen as a result of stress where strong emotions are suppressed and as it were kept at a distance. It seems a bit far-fetched but I think he’s right. I find it interesting that myopes seem to be predominantly introverts and often have rigid world views.

          • gerry

            Thanks Coldblow. It’s an interesting theory. I’m myopic myself and an introvert:)

      • Deco

        I have to say, that I do not see evidence of the introvert-extrovert theory.

        But, my main point of thought here would be the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am concerned that a lot of people in this society are living in a mode of “self-fulfilling prophecy”. I am trying to get to irrational root cause of some of the mistakes that were made in our society over the past three decades. The tendency to make a serious of mistakes from 1972 onwards, (and perhaps earlier), in repeated cycles, and never learn anything. We elected a shyster called Haughey, and then seven years later it is Ahern. We had a binge in the late 70s, followed by another binge starting aroung 1997. We have seen repeated scandals from the banking system. We have seen crime waves fuelled by epidemics of drug abuse. We have euphoria moments like the Eircom shares debacle, the property binge, the commercial property binge, the overseas property syndicate binge, etc… We had the Saipan sage and thousands of Irish people flying to Japan in an act of defiance, even though the whole thing was a sham from the begining, and the same nonsense a few years later outside the French Embassy over Theirry-gate. I mean the same shite seems to happen to us again and again. And we never rationalize it. Instead the media carries us through a drama and it is analyzed superficially, and allowed to become “part of what we are”. In particular you hear the phrase “but, sure….it had to be done”….and then you hear of all the stupidity. It is the essence of the sheepishness that creates all these disasters.

        And it seems that there is not enough rational analysis. Now, my experience was mild, and I was trying to be overcome very little. But, as a society we have an awful lot of nonsense to wash out.

        And our young people, will try to a certain point. And then they will decide that it cannot be fixed. And they will simply give up. In fact that is exactly what they are doing.

        Sorry, about going into pshychological depth here, but an awful lot of what went on in the past three or four decades was psychological. And I think we should try and resolve this. There are lessons to be learned. There might well be an organized effort to avoid any lessons being learned by deliberately ignoring the rational analysis part, and instead concentrating on the drama.

        • coldblow


          I agree with all of your points. I wonder if it will take a century to be able to look back and work out what was going on. Certainly the property euphoria was identical to that portayed in Galbraith’s Great Crash (in particular the selling of Florida real estate). There’s a lot of guilt here and it’s only natural for people to refuse to admit whatever part they played in the whole sorry business.

          I don’t like overcomplicating things but I think the odd phenomena of recent decades are part of a general Western condition which Ireland shared in. My conviction is that this state was massively dysfunctional from birth. I can’t see any way of making sense of things without the historical perspective, and that goes back a long way before Haughey. Have a look at JJ Lee’s History of Ireland.

          Re rational analysis. If you go to Germany, for example, there is a reason for everything that is done. You find yourself saying to yourself: yes, this is what it was like when I was younger (I’m from England). Of course, look what happened to them when the rationality broke down. It was here too once. I remember as a boy coming over regularly to Co. Roscommon on holiday and issues were discussed in a way which seems to have now disappeared. Interestingly, John Waters in his Jiving at the Crossroads recalls his father picking up locals in his postal van around Castlerea and Loughlynn (same part of the country as it happens – my father had worked in the same post office before he emigrated) and the same type of reasoned discussion, political and social, took place – and they all shared a common distaste for the crap coming out of RTE! I can’t make sense of this in any comprehensive way, and probably never will, but I can lay my finger on certain odd elements of what has happened and what is happening. But the Ireland of yesteryear had something very wrong with it all the same and you can’t use it (taken as a whole) as a standard against which to measure today’s mess.

          As I’m here, just one final thing that’s occurred to me of late. You remember all those people who marched against the Iraq war, all straight faces and high moral indignation? Not in my name. Where have they all got to now?

  33. Deco

    Actually, correction in second paragraph…should read “leaving” and not read “not leaving”…I hope I did not make any other mistakes.

  34. paulmcd

    REMINDER on lies relating to subordinated bonds

    Irish SUBORDINATED 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, that is, AT A PREMIUM and our government is planning to spend 300 million euros in the near future on such an operation for ANGLO.

    Any value above zero attached to subordinated bonds is based on the assumption that the Irish Government would act against taxpayers’ interests and continue to pay coupons, something the UK Government refused to do, as in the case of Bradford & Bingley.

    There are speculators also who have been trading on the assumption that Brian Lenihan will do what no other Finance Minister would do: Bailout SUBORDINATED bondholders, with no mandate from Irish taxpayers to do so.

    You will note that Peter Mathews, at the hyperlink above 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. This is an extremely serious matter and 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 have, I presume, 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 our politicians

    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.


    • Deco

      I have heard many times concerning the Anglo Bailout, and about how we must meet our international obligations.

      But the issue to the people in a Referendum. Basically, that means that the issue is superceded legally. Provided of course the Constitution is still the basis of Irish Law. I know that the politicians have been doing their bit to prevent that in recent years. And we know that they are not keen on Referendums either…

  35. Gege Le Beau

    Comments slowly drawing to a close
    Articles losing meaning
    As we await the axe to fall
    And all to change.

    Year zero is almost upon us
    But then,
    It had to be like this
    Now didn’t it.

    • paulmcd

      No, it didn’t!

      • Gege Le Beau

        Disaster/Casino capitalism……every twenty years like clockwork, boom and bust, boom and bust.

        • paulmcd

          But in Ireland the bust gets bustier!

        • StephenKenny

          This bust is not like a run-of-the-mill business cycle downturn. Every economy, however it’s run, has cycles of growth and contraction. This one is far more serious than anything that’s happened during my lifetime – and I’m quite old.

          As has been pointed out ad nauseam, this one will be more akin to the 1930s. For the last 10-15 (some say 40) years our standard of living has risen, mainly, by simply borrowing more and more money every year.

          Chronic maladministration by the regulatory sector has led to chronic mal investment by financial sector. The economy is, structurally, almost akin to a walking corpse.

          The economic problem is that everyone’s standard of living is simply unaffordable. The political problem is how to get those standard’s of living down to an affordable level.

          One symptom of this has been the incredibly unwise vast increase in income disparities, and wealth accumulation, which in the US & UK have reached levels not seen since the days that Jane Austin wrote about.

          It is absolutely, 100%, inevitable, that this will sort itself out. It can either be done with an eye to the future (I favour the Sputnik model – I’ve seen nothing yet that promises a better result, but am open to suggestions), or we can pretend that fiddling with financial levers can fix it.

          There are things we can do that will ameliorate it at a national level, and there are things that we can do that will make it a very great deal worse for everyone.

          But this is not like anything any of us have seen before, so just dismissing it as ‘Casino Capitalism .. 20 years boom and bust…, blah blah’ is misleading, and now is a time to bring as much clarity as we can – we all know where false hopes can lead.

          • Well put Stephen.
            I think It will be sorted one day but I fear that right now the world is like an express train heading for the buffers. Max Keiser on Sky channel (Tue and Thu) 512 has some interesting euphemisms to describe the people who are pulling the levers of the system. There is scandal all around us and the hedge fund managers are getting richer while sovereign nations are being hijacked by people who are mentally ill with power and greed.
            The world is getting crazier by the week and the fear-ometer creaed by the media is being ratcheted up to such levels that it is making people infantile.
            The Irish have lost their sovereignty and are now owned by people outside of these shores. Our politicians are bought and paid for and american politicians have ensured that government policy over there is a concept that is for sale at the right price.

          • coldblow


            What’s the Sputnik model?

  36. george

    It’s clear to me (at least) that the guys in Kildare
    St. running the most expensive circus in the world, and others in the Public Sector, are getting privileges that the rest of the population are not getting.
    This is making Ireland in economic terms very uncompetitive. And all those extra millions that we are overpaying to them should be put in providing
    social services and basic infrastructure for the well being of Society. If that is not done first we have not a hope in the world. And the delusional estate of mind that brought us from the boom to this moral and
    economic catastrophe, is going to destroy for this Country any dreams or hopes of building a just and coherent society.
    Or any adult person here believes that NAMA or the Croke Park Agreement is going to save us???

    No low paid Public Sector worker should loose their jobs if economic common sense is applied. And mortgages for family homes only, should be readjusted
    to the actual value of property. The problem here is that the politicians, and some civil servants, in Public Institutions and professionals in State and Semi-State companies, and Quangos are getting more money from the State than in any other European Country.

    For God sake!!! In the 9 o’clock news tonight they were talking about managers in the HSE earning 120.000 euro, almost the same as the Prime Minister of Sweden, a country with better infrastructure, social services, industrial capacity, and a better trade balance. More than an Irish entrepreneur giving employment to people, producing goods, risking all their family assets, unable to take more than a week holidays in the whole year, while others in the Public Sector are getting exorbitant salaries and pensions, and three month holidays, served on a silver tray thanks to the sacrifices made by others.
    Somebody should do a proper research about it and bring it to the public domain, and then we should have a public debate about it. And remember that we are a bankrupt country that thought was going to save the world, and is announcing the promise land of the smart economy, while the waiting lists in our hospitals keeps growing and growing, and also the interest we pay for the money we borrow!!! How smart is it???

    During the Boom and while the Banks were implementing a Pyramid skim with another name, we where told by the politicians that if we pay peanuts we were going to get monkeys. So we didn’t and look what we’ve got!!!

    It’s said that democracy is the will of the people. But if people don’t have the will to demand changes nothing will change, democracy becomes an empty word, and the people the victims of their own stupidity.

    • Deco

      { managers in the HSE earning 120.000 euro }.

      Yes. And even worse. Have you any ideas how many people there are in the HSE who hold management titles, often with no staff to manage ?

      A joint FAS/Basil Fawlty approach to management.

    • juniorjb

      On the other hand you run the risk of playing into the hands of the FF bullshit machine if you think high wages are the main reason we are apparently uncompetitive. This is the party line at the moment and the FF rank and file are spouting it at every opportunity. Excessive wages are a problem but you cannot isolate economic factors in such a way. Note for example the drag created by high property prices and exorbitant rents and leases – I have met a number of individuals lately who have literally shut up shop on the back of excessive rents. Despite recent events, many rents remain stubbornly high. Of course, FF don’t mention this as a problem. Wonder why that is?

      • Deco

        NAMA is designed as an intervention in the commercial property market device.

        Why isn’t sumo Harney doing something about this manipulation of the free market ? the oversupply sould drive down rental costs.

        Another serious cost is the local authority rates system. We have businesses in retail which are selling nothing, and they pay local authority rates in return for nothing from the local authority. This is another load of nonsense. People have been laid off as a result with many businesses now relying on family members to provide staffing cover. Often not knowing when they will get paid, or getting access to trade prices from wholesalers in return for work.

        In return for rates, we see councillors on fact finding missions to Florida.

    • coldblow

      “Somebody should do proper research about it and bring it to the public domain, and then we should have a public debate about it.”

      That would appear to be a reasonable proposal. But I doubt it is implemented anywhere in the world, least of all in Ireland. Here, the procedure is more akin to medieval trial by ordeal: if the accused sinks under the water and drowns he is innocent etc. (The Simpsons did a good take on this in their Salem witch-burning episode: “Ok, here’s the due process…”)

      One example that remains stuck in my memory is of a Late Late of the early 90s featuring an Englishman who had written a book bewailing the lot of unmarried fathers who couldn’t get access to their children etc. The panel went for him (the Cruiser announced that his suffragette aunt would not have tolerated such nonsense), Gaybo was less than avuncular on this occasion, the studio audience seethed and the bottom-of-the-screen phone-in comments were more or less demanding crucifixion! It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if not a soul remembers this apart from myself.

      So maybe it’s as well we don’t get as far as public ‘debate’. But usually it doesn’t get as far as public debate. Here’s Crotty’s experience:

      “The Irish establishment, more durable than the walls of Jericho, did not crumble when Irish Agricultural Production was published. Indeed, apart from the odd, mainly favourable notice in obscure journals, Ireland and the world proceeded after the book’s publication precisely as they had done before. Academic argument, however cogent, impinges little, if at all, on the course of events.”

  37. LKSteve

    Good post George.
    Sounds like you are sick to your guts at what’s going on.
    Listen mate. Managers in the HSE earning 120.000 euro certainly are a component of what is wrong in Ireland. Unfortunately, the situation in the country’s state owned enterprises will not change dramatically any time soon. What’s going on there is that the lunatics are running the asylum. You’ve got a bunch of kids let loose in a sweet shop & they are stuffing their faces for all they are worth. They are only taking the lead of our esteemed government ministers.
    Maybe we do need the IMF.

  38. lff12

    I’ll bet you didn’t pay 1 euro for the room.

    For me that is the crux. Not the ghost rooms, hotels, estates or businesses. Its the fact that in the midst of a recession, I cannot find a decent hotel room cheaper than 70 euro a night in Cork and that lowly B&Bs charge almost as much. Its the fact that I live in a box room in my parents because frankly, I’ve thrown 30k in 10 years at greedy landlords and I’m damned if I’m going to hand 750 euro plus a month over to Mrs Scrooge for a grubby magnolia studio without parking.

    What I don’t understand is despite the vast oversupply in property related markets in Ireland, the end user is frequently still being price gouged. Please can somebody explain to me why it is better to have a ghost estate of empty housing than it is to rent at AFFORDABLE rents that relate to real world wages, or empty hotels that are so because they charge New York prices in Portlaois.

    • Colin

      This is a good starting point. All single people should stop paying rent and move back in with mum and dad if there’s room and a welcome. Squeeze the landlords! Don’t listen to the “I’m an adult, get me out of here” propaganda. Save your rent for emigrating in a few months time.

    • StephenKenny

      It’s quite straightforward really. It’s all about the state not wanting the banks to value their assets accurately.
      Were it done, there is a very simple chain of events that would lead to a very nasty situation for everyone. The small fact that it is inevitable, seems to concern no one who is in an position of authority.

      It goes like this: At the moment, each ghost estate property is valued at, say, €300k. So assuming that it was built with borrowed money, there is €300k asset on some bank’s balance sheet. That €300k asset is therefore balancing €300k of liabilities that the bank has (e.g. €300k of deposits).

      That asset is underpinned by the business plan presented to the bank by the developer when applying for the loan in the first place, that says that they can achieve a rental of €xxx, or a sale value of €yyy. The same applies to hotels built with a loan: As long as the room rate is high enough, then it can be argued that the loan is essentially performing, and that, given a year or two for the market to pick up, the borrower will be able to repay the loan.

      So as long as they believe in these values, the bank can, sort of, persuade themselves that the asset on their books is still valued at whatever they say they are. To believe in these values, it’s good to see evidence of them, thus the absurd prices being charged for rent and hotel rooms. The developers/owners are, in reality, so broke that any money that comes in is, of itself, meaningless, but valuable when used an indicator of the potential value of the property.

      Were they to cut the prices (i.e. were it a free market), then the value of the asset on the bank’s books could immediately be calculated, and three things would happen:
      Firstly, the developer would immediately be insolvent, and it’s illegal to trade when knowingly insolvent, so the banks would have to foreclose.
      Secondly, the value of assets on the bank’s balance sheet would collapse, meaning that the bank would now be insolvent.
      Thirdly, since the property loans is such a huge part of the economy, and these loans make up such a vast proportion of GDP, no one would be able to bail out such a mess, and the government would default.

      This has also been happening, officially, in the US and UK for over three years now, and it’s been nicknamed ‘extend and pretend’, because you’re extending the life of a business (or asset, or economy) by pretending that it’s assets are worth more than they are.

      This brings us to the importance of business cycles in all this. What everyone is hoping, and doing, is saying that this is just a normal business cycle recession. We have many example of such cycles, so it is reasonable for a business to say

      “Look, things are pretty bad now, but look at this graph of business cycles over the past 50 years, and you’ll see that if you lend us €zzz over X years today, then the cycle will have picked up, our property will be worth what we say, and we’ll be able to repay the loan”.

      Without this fantasy accounting, most of the world’s developed economies would be in a deep depression. The problem is this is not a normal business-cycle recession, this is debt based, and there really is no easy way out.

      There are clearly a lot of possible policy options, and possibilities, but I’ve already rather over done my 10 lines.

    • coldblow

      I have started staying above my old local when I travel up to Dublin. In January 2008 they were still charging €70 per night (I just checked it in my diary) for a single room. That then went down to 50 and now it’s 30. Needless to say I’ve only been stayin there since the prices fell. I was recenly chatting in the bar to a woman who said that you can get rooms for less than 30, but of course the trouble with these stories is when you go looking for specifics there’s always a lack of tangible detail.

      There is a small hotel directly outside my window at work. In two years I have hardly seen anyone coming or going.

      There was a well-known hotel on the outskirts of Port Laoise which was demolished in recent years to make way for a new hotel plus other ‘development’ (presumably housing). I understand the new hotel has in turn closed down. There’s no obvious sense in all of this though I’m sure it makes sense to somebody.

    • Black Cat

      I have been wondering that too and can only conclude that it would put private landlords out of pocket and FF don’t want that. They are planning on taking the houses on long leases and giving them to people on the list for the duration of the lease – when the period is up the homes still belong to the landlord – so the speculators get to keep their property – they get subsidised to do so by the council and the residents never have the chance to buy or own the house – its disgraceful. In our village a landlord who has six houses he can’t sell is going into the scheme – he will probably pick up E150 per week for each house from the council and all the people on the list will get shafted as they won’t build any real council houses for them.

      • Black Cat

        I am waiting for the collapse of the rental market but I think this scheme is designed to prop it up. I am sick of being squeezed by tax dodging landlords. My sister got an apt in cork for E650 per month and the previous resident paid E300 more than that for it so the rent has gone down but not nearly far enough.

  39. george

    LKSteve thanks!

    I don’t want the IMF either, nor Property Tax for homes, or water charges!!!
    Nestor Kirchner the deceased ex president of Argentina kicked them out of the country and told them they were not going to be dinning in the best hotels in Buenos Aires while telling him to increase the taxes and cut the services to the Argentenean people. And he also save the country more than 50 billion dollars that bond holders were demanding. And “put” in the Central Bank of Argentina a record of more than 50 billion dollars in reserves. He had more backbone than most of our overpaid Dail members put together, that laugh at our faces when they say to us that they do it as a sacrifice for the good of the Country, and not for what they can get out of it. And are selling us with our hands tight to the backs, to the Banks.
    Welcome to Equaland, were even the Greens voted for NAMA!!!

    Now at least Sinn Féin have a series of concrete measures, and even senator Shane Ross was advocating a cap of 100.000 euro for the Public Sector. And the other taxes and incentives also make sense, even for business people. For me it is good enough to get my ass off the fence. As a starting point isn’t bad at all… the others are in cuckooland waiting for property to increase in value, so they can have another benchmarking exercise, “for the good of the country”, because as we were told before, otherwise we get monkeys.

    It’s time for our monkeys go on a diet!!!

    • Hi Guys,Great articel by DMW, just a side comment on the after comments by readers. Its more effective to keep them short and to the point, good english is about using the minnimium amount of words to get your point accross. I would say keep to a maximum of 10 lines,no more as chances are nobody will read beyond 10 lines on a comment Somehow its easier to skip along and read the short ones. Some good comments above though.

      • StephenKenny

        I suspect that you are right.
        For myself, one reason that I pay so little attention to the national newspapers ,TV, or radio, is precisely this line of reasoning. I prefer the longer comments, for all the obvious reasons.

      • Good point. If using more than 10 lines then break your text out into paragraphs with a space between each. Web Readability 101.

    • Deco

      You can put them on a diet….but they will still behave like a collection of chimps….making noises…and seeking attention.

      Better idea. Sack them. In fact the entire public sector above the rank of lowest operative rank, should be sacked. Then rehire those that actually have an ability, a competence, and a sense of duty about what is involved in their work. Cronyism has been rampant. It has destroyed the entire system. And it is impossible to remove. Those that actually do a days work have nothing to fear. There is too much accomodation given to wasters. And it comes from the political party system, and the sports club networks.

    • Black Cat

      I can’t consider Sinn Feinn as long as Martin Ferris and Gerry Adams are involved. A person that ordered ordinary people taken from their homes and communities and shot and another who collected Garda Mc Cabes killer from prison.

  40. paul

    Blueenigma has a point,where is all the anger?..steaming off in blogs that cowen etc don’t read or care about is all well and fine, but this time next year will anything have changed?
    Where is our Irish tea party???
    Huffing and puffing won’t blow the house down!
    There should be thousands on the streets protesting anglo alone,never mind everything else!

  41. Death Wish is Alive with Wishes :

    Confucius says : ‘act a little stupid accomplish everything by doing nothing’.
    ‘maybe no contribution is the true contribution’.

    ‘ the weak survive , the mild persist’, ‘nothing is softer than water , then be like water it is beyond time and space’.

    • BrianC

      Hi John

      Enjoyed the link.

      The yellow ‘peril’ has awoken is business savy and controls its domestic economy with a vice like grip and the Chinese save on average 40% of their income they don’t do health service but intend rolling out a new health service card to 800 million over the next few years presently the split is some 40% are urban dwellers the remaining 60% live on the land and in the next 20 years this will be reversed where an economy centered with more urban dwellers lead less subsistance type lives requiring higher technical infrastructure support, have severe shortages of water and the train of opportunity is still in the train station but about to leave and Irish industry is still on Euro and US platforms and last Jan when in Brussels chasing a technology which the scientist wanted to place in Ireland the Irish Govt just dismissed the man as a fringe lunatic but the Chinese supported the technology and the scientist was telling me that China has revolutionary technology for energy and flight which will be introduced in the next few years when the time is right. And the Chinese are in the process of giving Tim Geithner a few lessons in economics and are not happy with the stance of the US regards the value of the dollar and on and on and on. They made it quite plain that there is no way that they would devalue their currency because the majority of their companies are on very slim margins and to revalue would send millions back to the land and China intends being No. 1 and will achieve this shortly hence all the banks in the world are reposition to avail of the opportunities in the Far East. So what do the Chinese want what is the price who owns the core capital do theY favour the moronic economics of the West or do they believe in freedom of the individual their choice is simple fall in line with the West and hand power over to the banking aristocracy or remain ‘Independent China’and serve their people via their centralised political structure which on the face of it looks corrupt but they have signaled their intent via their actions in Africa side stepping and ignoring the West and now they are piling into Europe purchasing infrastructure control and building economic political power to influence decisions which they could do with a sledge hamer but prefer precision chiseling. The contract for road builing in the article was very interesting Europe and America combined are no match for China and the Chinese intend telling the US via the Euro who is the real boss.

  42. Deco

    “Be with AIB”. The bank you would recommend to a freind. I assume TCD Finance head, Prof. Brian Lucey is fuming as he reads this. Prof Lucey has been lambasting Ireland’s biggest bank for months.

    Perhaps John Allen might also have an opinion.

    Apart from that AIB have been strangely silent in recent months. They have this ability to go silent when there is bad news in circulation. Hoping that the bad news can go away. This is a company that still controlls significant chunks of other ISEQ listed companies.

    The Irish concept of management has been found inadequate. Again.

    At this stage AIB has a lower value than Permo. Maybe Permo should takeover AIB instead of the joke that is the EBS ? In all probability even the Uncle Alberts in Permo know better.

    This is getting very serious indeed. Unlike Anglo, Nepoto or the Eijets Building society, AIB is of “systemic risk”. And we have ued up our fuel ration trying to resusitate those three stooges.

    • Deco : what are your views on what I said on radio ?Do you agree?

      • Deco

        John. I have limited encounters with AIB. A deposit account that promised a certain interest rate, and it turned out to be worth less than the the charges they were putting on it.

        I remember a slagging match with a NIB employee in which he got very annoyed and started telling me all the bad things about AIB. This was before Ruairi Quinn’s brother told us on Prime Time, that AIB would be able to make enough profits (by squeezing customers here) to pay for the Ruznak debacle in the US. I suppose you could term that as “reassuring the markets”. It takes a lot of arrogance to go on like that. Ex-AIB staff working for NIB were spreading rumours about their previous employer, and it was doing the rounds inside NIB.

        I agree with you. You have did your own analysis, and you made very astute observations of the amateurism, the cover-ups and the arrogance. Minor encounters with another prominent financial institution made me realise that what they sell you as their image is not consistent with what they are beneath. They are a bit schitzo, with a studious serious element at one end, and an alpha-male-sports-club-backslapping-”here4delaffs”-slacker-joker-clown element.

        Having read “The bankers” by Senator Shane Ross, I am convinced that the entire banking sector in Ireland is just as bad, and in many cases much worse.

        I got a flyer in my door from an insurance firm, claiming to be the most trusted name in the Irish financial sector. It quoted survey results. I cannot argue with this. I find this hilarious, because the firm involved are peripheral and barely known. It is like winning a one horse race :)

        It has got to the stage that in Irish financial circles (including all these investement syndicates like that fo Mr. Swiss cheese) that all the reputations that have been earned are bad ones.

        If only the authorities had taken your points seriously in the 1990s we might have not got into this mess.

  43. Deco

    Well, this will come as a blow to the Irish concept of pride….green jersey, boozed up loser culture, I expect a bailout for my incompetence, and jobs for my pals…

    The writers have a point. Any chance of a more professional and more integrity based approach to economic practices in both private and public sector. I suppose there is so much subprime intellectual shite that has to be thrown out, that this is not yet possible….

  44. Gege Le Beau

    It’s either the Republic of Ireland where the economy serves the people or it is Ireland Inc where the people serve the economy.

    The former is worth fighting for, the latter worth fighting against.

  45. Deco

    Another by-election.

    I wonder will Cowen and Gormless be shoving this out for 18 months as well….

  46. Hi folks, I’d great fun on trip to Lviv, arrived back last night, one of the students has a write up on his experiences in IT today.

    So, David’s article, no dissenters to it on this site, the Groucho Marx spin of getting the donkey to run the Grand NAtional by piling more stones weight onto its back, we see it for waht it is, just another of the incompetent fail work of the GOM gang, they’re rafting it upriver at the moment.

    Trouble is the current is getting stronger now and the raft is getting pulled closer and closer to the waterfall.

    Time to put on the life jackets. Daft, isn’t it?

    • Dunno about that Colm.
      It’s good to see some more people joining the discussion but after 2/3 years listening, learning and realising the depth of the problems, methinks tis time we who have skin on the game to promote positivity.
      Doubtless we are proved correct and the country has now actualised into what was foreseen thus tis time to look forward for the good of those who have just seen the light??
      One can only call a Donkey an Ass in so many ways so perhaps we can now refocus, since we were right(and backed up by none so inglorious as DMcW and Dr Gurdgiev), to refocus on Spatial Positivity. Or the very difficult attempt to help those who are struggling to realise that the whole EU can exist on 104Bn per annum whilst the Irish banks have to borrow 63Bn last month to stay afloat.
      We will get out of this.
      Of that I’m sure, though it will be very sore for the vast majority in the short term.
      It will also take regime change, which is already underway though the major players have to shade their hands for the moment.
      Patience is a virtue, as is discretion.
      The State is under threat and , in my humble opinion, caution should be the watchword.
      See ye all in Kilkenny.

  47. Colin


    This is a good starting point. All single people should stop paying rent and move back in with mum and dad if there’s room and a welcome. Squeeze the landlords! Don’t listen to the “I’m an adult, get me out of here” propaganda. Save your rent for emigrating in a few months time.

  48. Pete

    1 Euro?

    Did the new owners take on the old debt or is the risk that there are no customers for the hotel at present (or ever)?

    What we need is a website where buyers can advertise their offers and see if any desperate owners come to them.

    Oh wait, there is one. I’ll shamelessly plug the site that I finished yesterday which allows just that:

  49. petercice

    the spread on irish bonds is rising again today so it really goes to show that we are not going to be better off with this savage budget coming up.
    before anyone says that we need to cut spending i do understand this as it is simple that we are over spending but what gets me so mad is that its purely focused on the lower paid/sick/unemployed the very people who are felling the most of this recession im mean depression that we are in.
    lets not fool ourselves none of the major parties are going to tackle the higher earners in this country as they are part of this bracket themselves so fool anyone that thinks ff/fg/greens/labour will provide the change needed for the vast majority in the country.
    i had a look at a hotel site this morning and the prices these empty hotels are charging is mad how do they think people are going to pay for there rooms just because that was the price before the fall of this country.
    they should be selling rooms at knock down prices to fill the place and get cashflow going through the bars ect its basic business sense but what do we expect from the people in this country that control things.
    i have ideas about some business that i could set up but these take money and because of the situation i am in there is no bank going to fund me to get them going and there are alot of jobs that can be created out of them. were is the government garantee scheme like the uk for new start ups not a think happening to help people that can really kick start the country back to growth.
    sorry now i am going to take my tablets and calm down for a while

    • BrianC

      Hi Daithi

      Many thanks.

      The list makes for a fascinating read. The hand of Axel Weber is finally revealed with a little less than 25% of the list being German entities Ireland is evidently being forced to protect German interests and they are sending a Finnish highly cultured ‘Gentleman’ to rubber stamp the Deutsche Bundesbank and cohorts demands.

      Years ago David explained how industrious the Germans were at operating their economy and diligently saving and we were borrowing their money. It is a pity the great German nation did not do the ordinary Irish citizen a favour and lend in a more prudent cautious manner and apply the rule of character capacity and collateral to safe guard the interests of all. Would they have lent in such a reckless wanton fashion to their own industry. I sincerely doubt it. But now they are hiding behind anonymnity to collect their pound of flesh and our government is happy to oblige with the knife but loathe to start with themselves.

      And now we know some of the true paymasters.

      • wills

        Maybe they where mislead perhaps!

      • michaelcoughlan


        And look who winds up on a new international trade group; “Suds”. Considering his track record in recent times of being associated with one fucked up organisation after another (GSucks 550m dollar fine for betting against its own dodgy products, AIB nationalised, RBS nationalised, Formerly AIB 750m dollars blown on the Rusnak affair, BP share value halved after the rig blew up in the gulf due to alleged safety practice violations) it will be very interesting to see if the pattern repeats itself.

        Come to think of it he is also associated with Ireland which is totally and utterly fucked up altogether and he suggests we shouldn’t force the bondholders to take a hit when the link on a previous post suggests that GSucks are holders of such bonds. Ireland or GSucks Peter?

        Didn’t Einstein say something about madness is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

        Maybe these guys make more money and a better return on capital fucking things up and it is us who can’t see the wood for the trees because there seems to be no stopping such monumental failure.

    • Deco

      Thanks for the link.

      It seems that the media in Ireland have decided that to publish such information would be something that they are above. We always get a high minded excuse for not telling people what is really going on.

      And from a more pragmatic viewpoint, our advertising sponsors might pull their advertising spend.

      I think I know the real reason. “Let’s not offend our advertising sponsors….”.

    • Link summary –

      The bond holders being protected, in every nation, on the advice of the banks and financial class, are THE BANKS AND THE WEALTHIEST OF THE FINANCIAL CLASS.

      THEY are screwing YOU!

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