November 24, 2010

Pouring more cash down banking black hole is theft

Posted in Banks · 381 comments ·

So the Government finally gave up the charade last weekend and asked for help from the IMF and EU. Following a week when everyone, save certain government ministers, seemed to know what was coming, it came as a great relief to the markets when Finance Minister Brian Lenihan made his announcement.

When markets opened on Monday, the crisis was over. Bank shares were up, our bond spreads moved to levels only slightly above German bunds and investors were tripping over themselves to throw money into the Irish economy.

Hang on, that’s not right, is it?

If anything, things in the market have gotten worse. If we ignore the political implosion here and look to the wider European situation for a moment, we can see how little all the ‘will we, won’t we’ agonising that happened here last week actually mattered.

The markets know Ireland’s economy is not going to recover any time soon, and that rolling over our debt is going to do nothing to solve our problems. Furthermore, whatever chance Ireland has of recovery will be extinguished by a four-year austerity plan.

Having made that assessment of our prospects, the market has moved on. Ireland to them is yesterday’s news. Today’s news is Portugal, which announced a worsening deficit yesterday — despite months of austerity measures. (Sound familiar?) Tomorrow’s news will be Spain, the ’800-pound gorilla’ of the peripheral EU states — so-called because of its huge €1.1 trillion economy. Spain had an auction of short-term debt yesterday that failed to sell the expected amount even at higher yields, an exact mirror of Ireland’s experiences in the bond market in September.

But why do market reactions to developments in the Iberian Peninsula matter to us?

First, the problem with Spain is that it is probably too big to save. Neither the EU nor the IMF has the money to bail them out, and it is unlikely Germany would be willing to foot another reunification-sized bill to save their Spanish cousins. As Olli Rehn put it on Monday: “It is essential to stop the financial bushfire concerning Ireland before it becomes a European-wide forest fire.”

For Mr Rehn, it seems it might be too late. In fact, if there was ever a ‘sell’ signal to the markets, it was Olli’s comments.

Secondly, the EU-wide crisis is an opportunity for Ireland.

In ‘Follow the Money’ I explained the domino theory of international relations that led the US into Vietnam. The idea was to stop the spread of communism in Vietnam before the whole region became lost to US influence. That same theory is being applied to the EU’s actions in the peripheral states. They are fighting in Ireland to prevent a national bankruptcy in order for the whole euro project to avoid a similar fate.

How is this an opportunity for us? Let’s look at the numbers. Taking account of sovereign bond redemptions and deficits, Ireland needs about €74bn over the next four years. The banks are getting €90bn of funding from the ECB and another €35bn from the Irish Central Bank. So, to get everyone off the hook, €199bn is needed. We can add that number to the national debt (net of redemptions by 2014 and cash balances) of €76bn and come up with a total of €275bn. Or just over 200pc of GNP.

There is no hope of Ireland ever being able to repay this amount. Nominally, if there is a large growth of inflation in the European and Irish economy, it might be possible, but with tight monetary control from Frankfurt, that is not going to happen.

So we need burden sharing with bank bondholders to reduce the liability the State has encumbered itself with through the mishandling of the bank guarantee. The alternative being presented by the run on Spain is that sovereign default is not only more likely, but should be viewed as being in Ireland’s best interest. Loading up on IMF and EU debt right now — in order to bail out the banks — only makes sense for us if we have no intention of paying the money back.

The European-wide ‘forest fire’ referred to by Olli Rehn will burn through all sovereign debt as weakness in the unbailout-able Spain causes an existential crisis for the euro. We would default because we would have to. It would be chaotic, and it would probably spell the end of the euro.

It could easily be seen as dishonest for Ireland to take on this debt while aware of what is probably coming down the tracks, but considering how distracted our leaders are at the moment about saving their own skins in the upcoming election, there is a good chance they do not know how bad the situation is in southern Europe.

There is also a chance they have not yet figured out the gravity of the threat the Spanish situation poses to the euro project. But the ‘nobody saw this coming’ argument is tired by now, and cannot be allowed as an excuse any more. It is dishonest to fill our boots with IMF and EU money, but the IMF/EU are being equally dishonest about the situation by giving the money to us.

The honest thing to do is to realise what the problem is (the banks) and admit that pouring further cash into those black holes is theft — from either the Irish taxpayer if we pay the loans back or from the IMF/EU if we default on their loans. The honest thing to do is pass a bank resolution which swaps the debt for shares — a debt-equity swap in the banks — and get that €120bn liability off the national and international balance sheet.

Then we can start to sort out the real problems in the Irish economy, and show the IMF the madness that is contained in their latest spin on ‘expansionary fiscal contraction’ which they published on Monday.

David McWilliams performs ‘Outsiders’ at the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny, on Saturday and at the Everyman Theatre, Cork, on Sunday.

  1. uchrisn

    Incidently I should finish the vision after letting the banks fail.
    I would like to see a return to Ireland of the Saints and Scholars.
    The Saints as in the example of Saint Julie Billart. Poor, Paralzed and almost speechless she made 120 long journeys and founded 15 convents. convents So people performing for others without needing money or motivated by it.
    The scholars as the examples of South Korea, with massive percentages of Bachelors and Masters degrees. Say what you like about education but look at how far their economy has come. Recently of the top 50 new inventions in Time magazine we had 1 Irish ‘sugru’ but so many were developed in South Korea.
    A R+D centre of excellence in Medicine and Engineering should be booted as new global challenges include an increasing aging population and renewable energy. Imagine if we put 80billion into these 2 simple things?

    On another point

    Its seems that some politicans think that letting the banks fail and having creditors pay up is in some way shirking our responsiblites or duties.
    The creditors and senior bondholders not paying for the banks losses (they get over 5% interst for taking that risk) are shirking their responsibilities. If they had any integrity they would just say, no need to refund us our bonds, we took a risk and lost our money, and we dont expect a refund from bystanders.

    • Deco

      In Ireland we are have defined modernity as the complete opposite, to the way the South Koreans operate in many regards.

      South Korea was in exactly the same dilemma in 1998, as we are in now. The IMF were in. The South Koreans were absorbing real austerity cuts. And the South Koreans managed to export their way out of the problem.

      The way that they did this, was from hard work, careful deployment of their resources, and none of the sophisticated showing off that is still rampant here. They did it the simple way, the hard way.

      That is not going to happen here. I know by the way that things are sizing up, that it simply will not happen here. There is too much institutional power, and politically powerful vested interests fighting for ‘relevance’ (influence). Our cultural mores make the South Korean approach completely unmentionable, for case that it might undermine our delusions.

      • uchrisn

        Perhaps we could get our embassy staff working on making reports over there and in other countires that were in similar situations. I don’t think they’re that busy on other things and we could make use of their resources.

      • coldblow

        According to Chomsky, following the ‘Asian Crisis’ “In Korea you could get the death penalty for capital flight”.

        See his interview linked in thread to last article.

        • Deco

          It looks like we let Drumm & Drummer slip through, when we should have stopped him :)
          For one thing he would be more eager to co-operate…

        • Gege Le Beau

          This is true, South Koreans were threatented with the death penalty, would have to research to see if it was carried out. They did turn the country around but I still think there is major denial going on in Leinster House, and rest assured, we are not in this together. The Koreans did other things as well, it was not an open market, protectionism enabled them to develop their domestic manufacturing especially in electronics. I agree with the comments made, research should be conducted and presented, it is time we learned from others instead of having arseholes showing up buying property at absurd prices and telling people how to run the world. Humility and a return to genuine values.

    • uchrisn

      A large sovereign bond trader Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of Pimco, which holds investments worth US$1.3 trillion has told the BBC it is unreasonable to expect the Irish taxpayer to bear all the costs of the Irish bailout.

      He said the country needed a broader burden sharing that also involves private creditors.

      Mr El-Erian’s comments were widely believed to have been prompted by concerns that bondholders would be required to take losses on their investments if the country defaulted on debts and that some bond investors now recognise the need for compromise.

      It seems he said this yesterday before the announcement that creditors would share the burden. Interesting. Who is calling the shots..

  2. aodhanc

    Imagine what we could do in Ireland with EUR 74 billion?? At last build a proper transport infrastructure rather than the current 3rd world chaotic and shambolic system that we have:
    No proper metro system in Dublin.
    No rail link from city centre to Dublin airport.
    No light rail in Cork.
    Potholed roads throughout the country.
    Diesel intercity trains while everywhere else in Europe is electric.
    Schools and hospitals which are in serious need of upgrade and proper staffing.

    • Gege Le Beau

      I agree, basic infrastruture should not be something politicians make a deal about, it is a basic requirement for any country that takes itself seriously. I always made the point, amidst all the big talk, an old lady can bring the traffic from Cork to Limerick to a halt as she crosses the street in Buttevant with her shopping, saw it one night as I drove back and thought Celtic Tiger my ass and still Buttevant and Charleville have not been by-passed.

      Broadband is a joke while they are now going to charge us for water while 40% of our supply leaks out through faulty pipes, work it out, I won’t even mention children in prefabricated buildings. Joke.

      • coldblow

        Mention of Buttevant. I was told once by a girl from there that in the ‘good old days’ the gentry would roll into the town in their motorcars, stop outside the shop and sound the horn. The shopkeeper would come out to them and deal with them.

  3. Deco

    Here a Spanish economist compares different unemployment rates, and the relationship between growth in GDP, and growth in unemployment.

    This is something that I have been suspicious about for the past three years. Spain was losing a colossal amount of employment. But the GDP statistics were not taking anything near the same volume of damage. It is easier to ‘modify’ GDP statistics than hide the unemployed. For some reason Brussels seems to be completely blind concerning this…

  4. ouldbegrudger

    It quite obvious that there are multiple and simultaneous talks going on in Dublin right now. The ECB/IMF teams are also having informal talks with the opposition parties. I’d bet that FG/Lab are being told that it is not the place of foreigners to interfere in Irish politics or topple the FF gov. That part of the solution is up to the electorate. It must also be quite obvious, to most, that a technical solution to the debt crisis is being impeded and overshadowed by a constitutional/democratic crisis. It is absolutely the case that the present government are ruling without the consent of the people and are refusing to go. Want’a bet that, come January, the gov. will advance more reasons why democracy can’t be restored until June and so on. I believe that it absolutely critical to end the FF junta immediately even if it temporarily spooks the markets. If we don’t then we lose the Republic and a future government will have even more of a mess in having to unwind yet further damage. The thought that the ECB/IMF going to extend another one-hundred-thousand-million of credit(debt) to this dictatorship fills me with dread.

    • Harper66

      “come January, the gov. will advance more reasons why democracy can’t be restored until June and so on. I believe that it absolutely critical to end the FF junta immediately even if it temporarily spooks the markets.”

      +1. Excellent point. Cowen and FF wont let go of power.They have however managed to make a damp squib of the by-election in Donegal….Cowen,he is harder to get rid of than Rasputin.

      • Gege Le Beau

        “Cowen is harder to get rid of than Rasputin”.

        Haha, had the same thought! The all looked like totally beaten people on the six-one news this evening, faces as long as the Shannon, big boy is bringing to depths they never imagined, they must be wondering who’ll be left. How is it none of them staged a coup?

      • Colin

        I’m glad no one has assassinated him because he’d then get off the hook for all his terrible crimes. I’m sure he knows himself that he’s incompetent, and is not looking forward to his retirement because he has absolutely nothing to offer to anyone in the whole world. Sorry, I forgot, he can trot along to his brother’s pub and sing for anyone who’ll listen to him.

  5. Deco

    Olli Rehn’s Secretary General has stated that the Senior Bondholders of Irish Bank Bond Debt, will have to accept a haircut.

    Therefore we are in a position to negotiate down the price of bailing out the banks.

    This is good news for the taxpayer, and is a very significant sign of progress. Perhaps the EU is realising that the longer this continues, the worse it gets, and therefore they need to cut to the chase and admit that their previous softness for bondholders will have to quit.

    This is good news – provided there can be progress from our side to capitalize on it.

  6. Deco

    Micheal Noonan is back in the entertainment business again…Vintage commentary.

    Now, while Noonan can be very funny, I still cannot take him seriously. It kind of like the face beside the dummies comment is just too much to take in. The comment about dummies could be apply anywhere in the Dail, concerning economic policy in recent years…

    Noonan has a serious responsibility, and I think he might do us all a favour, by giving us a clear description of what FG propose to resolve our state deficits.

  7. Deco

    Regarding sovereignty, the one person who grasps it better than anybody else is Michael O’Leary, who stated that we lost our sovereignty when we started on a borrowing binge.

    And this is exactly what David McW warned us about many years ago.

    Now, we have to figure out a way of reducing the debts, by negotiation, and by generating the economic activity and wealth that will get us out of it. It has been done before by South Korea. And we need to have an honest examination of how they got out of it.

    • Deco

      My point being that Michael O’Leary is telling us that we are responsible for this mess, as a result of our eagerness to borrow and spend.

      For every Seanie Fitz, there were thousands who were queuing up to buy apartments. For every Derek Quinlan, there were hundreds of rich professionals in in South Dublin, who were climbing over each other to borrow money to throw at his high leverage schemes.

      Our compliance was required. We bid up the houses on each other. We drove each other into debt. And to be of an opinion contrary to the mainstream opinion, was a lonely existence. The smartest sophisticates had their Irish Times Property supplement, and they were able to tell you “where property is at”.

      And now the ultimate kick in the teeth to IBEC.

      This is a quote from Channel 4′s finance correspondent.
      “Ryanair’s market cap tonight is nearly three times that of the entire Irish banking system”.

      This is proof that Common sense beats the shite out of sophistication.

      O’Leary himself declared that he learned nothing about management in Trinners. He learned more apparently from running a grocery shop in Rathmines.

      Unfortunately, we still have a lot of people following the sophisticate route instead of the ordinary direct route.

    • Deco

      Paddy Power now has a higher market valuation than any of the Irish banks. Paddy Power 1.4 B, BoI 1.2B.

      Is there a difference between gambling and banking ?

  8. BrianC

    Reading all the comments and links is almost exhausting. The majority of which offer well founded arguements. Unfortunately they are of no consequence because none of the constructive ideas will be implemented.

    It is clear to all that those negotiating on Ireland’s behalf are not up to the intellectual demands of this task. The Green Party and those supporting the government are acting in their own interests and not the National interest. They do not have the courage to tell the lender that it is his problem and not the borrowers. But so many ridiculous excuses are being made it is mind boggling. If I had a very nasty mind I would belief they were being paid off and FF has a very dubious record on such matters.

    Sadly a general election will be tantamount to changing the deck chairs on the Titanic as the new captains will steer the same nonsensical disastrous course. The only chance of changing course is voting in as many independents as possible but not feasible. In any event the Irish political dimension of the matter is a lost cause.

    There is no need for me to discourse on all the ins and outs of the economic arguments as they are all laid out expertly in the above comments and replies.

    However, it is worthwhile drawing attention to the simple fact that the markets do not believe the erroneous economic policies being peddled and applied. They are so baseless it begars belief. So the ingrained economic thinking advocates starving the unemployed back to work in non existent jobs. And a Spanish guru is parked on to RTE to espouse confidence takes time to re-establish and removal of social welfare supports for the swelled umemployed encourages and fosters favourable conditions for growth. RTE almost forces the Irish public to listen to such quack quack economics. Can nobody in RTE stop such infantile economic arguement being without a proper retort refuting such nonsense.

    The simple facts are that the markets want losses to be acknowledged and ‘the powers that be’ want to veil them so the golden circle can secure their positions and when secured ‘structured debt default’(nice wording for ‘losses’ to make them technically acceptable due to their inevitability) will be administered to those on the peripheries of the golden circle and those outside the circle. They tried to socialize all the bad debts/ losses but there were road blocks to achieving this fully primarily because the ECB is underfunded to take the massive hit.

    The financial quagmire is compounded by the fact that many other countries within the Euro Currency are are extremly weak financially and the ECB is scared to death that they are hiding nasty negative surprises. They tried to head of the weakness of the periphery economies and quench them in Ireland.

    The markets will have none of this nonsense and will relentlessly extract the true extent of the losses. The bond markets will not rest in using the penal interest stick until the truth is beaten out of the EU economies and not even the IMF cannot impose its will on the free market expressing its true sentiments in the price of the bonds and resulting yields it believes is correct.

    When the full truth is out then accountabtility will have to be adminstered and the Golden Circle has no intention of assuming any responsibility. Their funds are already in China but some still in Europe and Ireland henc the IMF dictate that the Irish Corporation Tax rate is the type of rate that they favour and support.

    Portugal will collapse as will Spain and Italy will also implode. Can the Euro be rescued? It is beyond my intellect to answer that but given the writing on the wall the Irish negotiators ought to wise up they missed the chance to drive a hard bargain to borrow for as little as possible as default is the inevitable destination of this stupid economic journey. The time has come to stop the nonsense negotiating just do as advised by DMcW give the lenders a simple choice engage in a debt for equity swop and if not palletable then leave the table and stomach the losses.

    • Deco

      We need to get the IMF deal struck, get a plan in place, have a definite financial plan, with definite benchmarks, and definite plance and get ready for when the Spanish Bull gores the ECB…

      and while that mess plays itself out, we need to get our work ethic back at all levels of Irish society. The era of “something for nothing” is over, forever. It needs to be written out of our cultural mores.

  9. Fiction:

    Wed, Dec 1, 2010

    Brussels, Ollie Rehn, EC Commissioner for Economic Affairs:

    “In a radical overhaul of the Irish banking sector,
    AIB, BoI, IL&P, and the EBS will undergo radical restructuring with mergers between AIB and BOI; IL&P and the EBS.

    NAMA will undergo radical restructuring returning assets to the above banks following processing of its loan portfolio.

    Those assets will be managed by the banking sector in a phased liquidation process within an agreed timeframe of not more than three years.

    NAMA itself will merge with the Office of The Regulator and have its budget reduced from current €2.5 billion to €.5 billion. This will result in a reduction of staff with a new regulatory mandate TBA.

    NAMA itself will continue to be overseen by the NTMA. It will be tasked with the wind down of Anglo Irish Bank and INBS.

    Both of these private banks will be subject to a managed wind down with immediate effect. Both banks will be allowed to fail.

    Senior bondholders will be invited to discussions on the terms of a wind down. These terms will match the current ‘hair cut’ applied to developer toxic lending at 58%.

    Negotiations are at an advanced stage.


    Markets on hearing the above news saw shares rise in the nationalised/state majority owned new bank ABOI(Allied Bank of Ireland) and IPLEBS(Irish Permanent LIFE and Educational Building Society)

    Meanwhile market spreads for Irish bonds dived from 9.8% in the morning to reach an astonishing 4.8% in early afternoon.

    No doubt this was spurred on by the news of a major investment in the Irish banking sector by both Chinese and South Korean interests.

    It is also believed both Sweden and UK have invested heavily in Ireland extending loans for infrastructural projects, light rail, broadband and further expansion of the Irish agri food sector.



    Following the mismanagement of the Irish economy and their failure to resolve the banking crisis that led to the intervention of the IMF. FF turn their attention to international affairs:

    Sarah Palin’s North Korean Allies

    North Korean ambassador visits Dail:

    • Don’t tell Jay Leno or Max Keiser of above or our laughing stock will go through the roof again.

      Perhaps the North Koreans and their allies FF and US tea party Sarah Palin should lie low for a few days:)

      • uchrisn

        Well Brian Cowen, Brian Lenihan and Mary Coughlan all come from political dynasties, Finna Fail has had the run of the country for how many years in the last 25?
        So they have somthing in common with North Korea. Our people don’t have as much as an excuse as the poor North Koreans though as they actually voted these guys in.
        Mr. Lenihan reminds me of Bush, in because of his father. Despite clearly not being up to the task, making all sorts of blunders and not at all respected abroad he somehow remains in his position mainly by being a good bluffer at home and having direct phone access to the head of a major TV network.

        • I’d spare the sympathy for ‘poor north koreans’ with their starving population presided over by Kim-Jong IL’s military dictatorship, son of the personality cult figure Kim Il-sung. It’s been threatening nuclear war for years and would appear to be inciting war as we speak with South Korea. I suppose starting a war is one way of reducing your need for food aid through population genocide…It’s people are one of the most brutalised in the world suffering perhaps the worst human rights abuses of any nation.

          • uchrisn

            I was reffering to the general population as the poor North Koreans, as they don’t have the democracy to get rid of their abusive rulers.

          • AndrewGMooney


            you both seem to be a little confused about North Korea. Allow Sarah Palin to explain:

            ‘Sarah Palin took a break from her book tour Wednesday to call into Glenn Beck’s radio show and weigh in on the recent shelling of a South Korean island by the North Korean military. Unfortunately, a verbal slip-up caused her to urge the U.S. to support an unexpected country.

            “But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies. We’re bound to by treaty,” Palin said in her analysis, before being corrected by the show’s co-host. “Yeah,” Palin continued. “And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.”


            Morgan Kelly fears the emergence of a Tea Party type group in Ireland after the implosion takes place. Any nominations for an Irish Tea Party leader? I nominate Mary ‘closer to Boston than Berlin’ Harney.
            She made such a good job of destroying the HSE, surely she can form an alliance with Palin live on The Glenn Beck Show/CNBC

    • Deco

      Obviously we are still nuetral with regard to the Cold War. Nobody tell Jim Mitchell, because he has made it his life’s work to get us into NATO. I wonder does the North Korean ambassador recognize any former members of Democratic Left ?

  10. John Q. Public

    The ECB is accountable to nobody. No audit is ever done on it. Yet it has facilitated flows of funds to other central banks. The whole system has to be tightened up. The ECB loaned to German and French banks to Irish banks to Irish builders for houses and then to Irish people to buy those houses. A typically billy to Joe to Jack scenario. This interdependance is the Achilles’ heel in the system. We would have been better off on our own, out of the EU altogether with our own problems. OUR banks dealing with OUR central bank would have been an easier problem to correct through quantatative easing.
    Not to mention the cost of immigrants. Tens of thousands of them on the dole/subsidised rent/medical cards etc. And they hold many jobs to be fair but why can’t Irish people get these jobs? Laziness?

    • Deco

      The ECB has a lot of questions to answer in connection to the property bubbles in Spain and Ireland, and their insistence on a supportive interest policy to German interests in the middle part of this decade.

      Surprisingly enough, they seem to have nothing to say on the matter.

  11. Hiqutipie

    Lets see: The banks create a housing financial crisis and put themselves in the “Danger Zone” of collapse. 1 part of their portfolio is over-leveraged and vulnerable because of slow economy that is in shock.

    The people who created the mess run to governments for bailouts of the bad debts…Hmmm…Decision…What is better or worse…Indebted banks vs stable governments or stable banks vs bankrupted governments.

    DA governments buy the fear & the private debt that becomes public debt that the citizens have to pay for & not the bankers & funds that bought the securities. I’ll guarantee you the average family wasn’t buying securities… The bailouts saved the bankers & the wealthy who bought the securities while the public pays for it… Something sounds wrong here…On top of that, now those bankers that advised you and you bailed out are now your worse critics as they play with your bond values & credit ratings. Thanks for all your Help Mr.Banker & Mr Moody’s.

    My Question to you Dave: Why didn’t they just move the bad debt off the books and deal with them when the economy got better instead of putting all the burdens on the public & the government? No one is better suited to deal with these debts as those that created them. The crisis is not the debt but a staggering slow economy.

  12. Alan42

    As I see it , the world has run out of money . Well really the West has run out of money . My wife is Chinese ans says everybody should save .

    The ship has sailed and now its Belguim but really everybody is scared of Spain . The Euro is finished . You can’t have a monatery union without a politicl union . The Germans are a very serious race of people and the Spanish are not .

    Spain is a hot country and in hot countries people tend to take things a bit easier . In other words , they can’t be arsed working as it is to hot . So why not enjoy some midday wine and a bit of a nap ? Meanwhile in Germany Gunter is working his ass off and is waiting for the green light to cross a empty road .

    So Ireland leaves the Euro dramatically overnight . Tells Europe to go and hang as our future is with the US and the UK . What to do with the debt ? Like any bankrupt situation the creditors are hanging for a deal . 10 cents in the Euro .

    The IMF are financial nutters . These guys are complete thugs . They care not a jot about Ireland . They only want their wards to play the global capitalist game . Who are their shareholders ?

    Ireland is small and therefore is flexible . This is her thrump card . We are not and never have been Europeans . My Dad still remembers shaking hands with JFK in the early 60′s .

    • Colin


      California has a very similar climate to Spain, so how do you explain all the Silicon Valley start ups and successes? I’m sure factories in Spain do not observe the siesta, its only retail outlets, and only the old fashioned ones at that. Spain does have a very healthy lifestyle and usually tops the table in Europe when it comes to longevity of lifespans of both men and women, so they must be doing something right. On my many visits there, I got the feeling that Spain loves its people and cherishes them. Now contrast that with the way Irish leaders are treating the masses.

      We are opportunists, we’d join as the 51st state of America in a heartbeat if we could!

  13. Alan42

    How can a country take on the private debt of a few banks that got addicted to gambling ? You people are completly off your heads .

    Enough is enough . Here is the reality of it . FF . FG . The Greens / Lab and what not will still recieve their wages pensions and expenses . But you the taxpayer will get screwed . Your children will recieve a poor education and your parents will die for the want of basic medical care . The middle classes will be taxed to death .

    Right now the government are signing you up to years of debt slavery with the IMF . It would be better to take a loan off Tony Soprano than than the IMF .

    I never ever thought that I would say this . But I hope that the IRA march into government buildings and take control .

  14. John Q. Public

    We haven’t said much about our old problem NAMA either. That was a luxury compared to what we have now. We made such a fuss about sinking so much money into Anglo in the form of bonds. A few things need to be cleared up here that I don’t quite understand. There were bonds created by NAMA to give to our banks in exchange for toxic assets, leaving our banks with a debt to NAMA, NAMA in turn owes German+French banks the money our banks originally borrowed,correct? Also, the last I heard, our banks exchanged those new bonds with the ECB for cash, so why don’t our banks have cash? Where is it?

  15. What are WE to blame for?…. Helluva lot!

    Just a quick note, something that struck me as an insight a few hours ago and that was somehow triggered by Martina Devlin article in the Independent.

    First, I guess some people might easily mistake her article as a Pro IMF statement, I rather think it is not a IMF endorsement per se by any stretch of the imagination, but I leave that up to the reader to decide of course.

    Are we to blame for the destruction of wealth and future prospects for the next decade to come?

    I don’t think so!

    But what we are to blame for beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt is a lethargic attitude towards the establishment and politics in general.

    The past two years alone would have had a multitude of opportunities to step up to the plate for the general public to express their discontent, it did not happen. I also blame the so called opposition party, excluding FG here, and their popular leader Eamon Gilmore. I am somewhat convinced, had he called upon the people of Ireland on March 30th.

    From April 5th to June 9th, 238 people signed a petition that I started after this historical day in March where the dail voted on the motion on banking stability and overpaid banksters.–no-bank-guarantee-extension/

    I wish to express a belated THANK YOU for your signature on that purpose, I really appreciate it. Sadly, the numbers did not come to a point where I would have acted, printed them and delivered them to the dail.

    In a european context, what we are witnessing today is a european wide erosion of democracy, and partially we are to be blamed for it because we failed to participate in democracy in all possible ways that were open to us.

    This is what I think we are all to be blamed for.


    • ….I also blame the so called opposition party, excluding FG here, and their popular leader Eamon Gilmore. I am somewhat convinced, had he called upon the people of Ireland on March 30th…. people would have come to the streets!

      • 30th March 2010

        Brian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
        The work done in the past year and a half on Ireland’s public finances has greatly improved the world’s view of Ireland. The cost of borrowing to fund our day-to-day enterprises has reduced markedly and we are now in a position to recover and grow the economy on a more sustainable basis.

        The steps we are taking today will provide certainty to the people from whom we must borrow, certainty among our trading partners and, as the Minister stated, certainty to those who will invest in the country. This certainty will further boost international confidence in the country, our people and the economy and will inevitably smooth our path to recovery. Our actions here today mean that we can now begin to live up to a renewed promise for growth and success in the Irish economy, which is the key objective of Government and one that we are resolved to achieve.

        - No comment! -

  16. The following may be of interest to some and cause disdain to others but have a look anyway!

  17. RTE called in in 1998 –

    The enclosed 4 minute clip was a stand-alone item on an RTE Show called @last TV broadcast in 1998
    Enjoy the basic lesson on the fundamentals of capitalism. I know some people think that anti- capitalists are a bit tree-hugging loony? But maybe this little lesson might soften your stance?

    • StephenKenny

      It’s an argument that’s been going on for centuries – ever since people started to coin money, gold & silver smiths started handing out IOUs, and quickly realised that they could hand out more than they actually had gold and silver to cover.

      It’s worth adding that even if a bank doesn’t engage in fractional reserve lending, and merely lends out it’s deposits, then if everyone tries to withdraw their money, the bank can’t pay as it’s lent it all out. See “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

      It’s also the core argument of the Ron Paul and the Tea Party movement in the US.

      In principle, I’m not sure that it’s fractional reserve lending that’s the problem. It’s not the amount of money in an economy that’s important, it’s the rate of change.

      • Yes Stephen to a great extent I agree with you. However somewhere down deep inside doesn’t the logic seem incredible? For pig iron I picked up a calculator in work today. I tried to punch in our adopted national debt as per our top economists (true figure €200BN) Firstly that number doesn’t go into an office calculator so I settled for 20,000 millions. Then I divided by approx 4 million people population. Guess what? We all owe about €50,000 each in our collective guilt. So my household including my two small kids are in hoc to €200,000 to somebody? Of course I cannot recollect where I put that? Now I sound like a Fianna Failer? And remember that this debt includes babies, unemployed people and pensioners including the ones who may die this winter. The so called 4 year plan forgets to mention this. It forgets to mention that servicing the IMF bailout of just 85Bn will cost 12BN per annum to just to stand still. We take in approx 30BN. So thats like a guy on the dole earning just €200 being asked to cough up €80 every week just to pay interest? Now somebody’s in a parallel universe here? Is it me or the Junta in power at the moment?
        Vive el Junta for they can see a better way!

        • StephenKenny

          Of course you’re right, but the point is that the problem isn’t with the fractional reserve banking system. It’s weird, but it isn’t, in and of itself, a problem.
          I’m getting rather irritated by all this misinformation that’s sloshing around. It’s almost as if it’s being spread by the financial services sector, and regulators.

          The system is quite reasonable. Really, it is. So if the system is OK, then what caused the problem? It’s quite easy really:

          Varying forms of outright fraud, and malinvestment on a scale so vast that the idea that they were ‘mistakes’ is just not credible.

          So would people please just shut up about fractional reserve banking being the problem. Once the few thousands of bankers are safely locked up, we can look at reorganising the system along the lines of the pre-1998 era.

          If someone robs your house, the police don’t say “well, the locks aren’t very good” and help get new ones. First of all you catch the burglars, get the goods back, and then you can look at the locks.

          • BrianC

            Hi Stephen

            Interesting points.

            In a way fractional reserve banking is not the cause it is the vehicle that delivers the crash. Therefore the real cause is the lack of regulation and policing of the system lets say the driver of the vehicle.

            So Hank and his buddies one day come up with the plan print more money. Why did they do that? Was it putting themselves before the needs of the economy? Who can really truly say. But what you can say is that they have little regard for all the other passengers in the vehicle being the economy.

            Now if you do not know the mechanical principles of the vehicle then the ability of the driver is compromised and the more probale a crash will occur.

            So before a driver is appointed the passengers should be sure the driver is fit for purpose and will control the vehicle in a manner that gets all to the end of the journey permitting a change of driver.

            But here is the difficulty. They all think they are great drivers. However, they are inept because none understand how to apply the gears to control the momentum of the vehicle and above all they do not understand simple fact that exponential mathematics does not apply to driving a vehicle.

            So I would agree with you fractional reserve banking is not the core problem it is the ignorance used in applying it hence frb is not a good means to control an economy.

            And the cops never catch the burglars and you never get the goods back. Why would you want such when insurance is applied to sovereignize your loss a mechanism to hid true losses.

          • dwalsh

            Fractional reserve banking IS a problem!
            Quite apart from the ehics of charging people interest on money they create out of thin air (which should be a crime) it inflates and devalues the money in circulation and is thus effectively theft. Every dollar Bernanke conjures out of thin air not only dilutes the value of the dollar in your pocket, it also has a multiplier effect due to fractional reserve practices as it moves through the system. The only people who really benefit from this criminal system are those at the top of the feeding chain.
            The system is completely unreasonable:
            1. It gives a tiny elite the power to create money out of thin air and collect interest on it from the general population by both direct and indirect means.
            2. The wider financial system is designed to be unstable so as to facilitate profiteering through speculation (gambling).

            None of this serves the interest of ordinary working people.
            What we have is a systems failure – not just a few rotten apples.

          • StephenKenny


            Sorry, I disagree. In a well regulated situation, fractional reserve baking is simply a way of getting money into the economy. Sure, the banks make a turn on everything, but are you suggesting that they won’t find some other way to enrich themselves at our expense if we go to debt-free money creation? Just a side point, in a debt-free situation, who’d decide who got the money if banks weren’t used? Civil Servants?

            It comes down to regulation. The massive problems have been known about for many years, and many of us were shouting into the wind about them. Governments changed the rules in favour of the financial sector, and the financial sector became directly government-backed. They were able to take insane risks, ignore all the rules, and just do whatever they liked, and that is exactly what they did.

            The reason it’s all gone to hell is that the key balancing feature was completely removed: RIsk to the financial sector.

            For example, before all the rules changed (late 1990s), Goldman Sachs was a legal partnership. This meant that the partners assets were on the line for every gamble that a Goldman’s trader took. This is ALL their assets. If it went wrong, they could be bankrupted and lose everything – like the Lloyds of London ‘Names’ did a few years ago, and everything meant everything. Unsurprisingly, Goldman’s took far fewer risks than they do now. All parts of the company were carefully regulated by the partners, at least in terms of possible losses (other ‘activities’ are another matter).

            I’m not suggesting that the system shouldn’t be changed, I think it should. Fractional reserve banking is probably not a good idea (but who it is who DOES get to create money is clearly equally important). My point is that it wasn’t the fractional reserve banking system that caused the problem.

            It was a bad regulatory environment (legal, and a political problem) and a lot of bad apples. Where to look for the bodies? Obviously all the banks and brokers, the media, the politicians, the regulatory agencies, local government zoning staff, auditors, property valuers, real estate agents, and the financial part of the legal system.

            Final point. If we hadn’t had fractional reserve banking, are you seriously telling me that the money wouldn’t have been created? The developers wouldn’t have got their hands on it? that there wouldn’t have been the insane bubbles in US, UK, Ireland, and elsewhere? Sure let’s fix it, but it didn’t cause the problems.

          • StephenKenny

            … and I’m going to get down to some serious fractional reserve baking this evening .. it’s the self-raising flour that makes my cakes rise the way they do…..

          • dwalsh

            I think that money should be sovereign. It can be distributed through banks that of course would take a service charge. But for this to be possible government needs first to be returned to the people. At the moment it is in thrall to the Doges of international finance.
            Also, It was the financial sector that engineered the de-regulation through their client politicians; just as it was the bankers that drafted and engineered the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act. As I said before capital has usurped the political order globally.
            You are right that regulation is essential. Unaccountable humans cannot be permitted to wield the kind of power Goldman Sachs does with no restraint. Soros has admitted that hedge funds are potentially — and I would argue are presently being used as – economic weapons of mass destruction.
            The financial sector is a parasitic blight that must be eradicated. In fact it will be in future time. Eventually we will have a rational and humane global civilisation. For now fools like me will cry in the wilderness.

        • @Paul

          Re “It forgets to mention that servicing the IMF bailout of just 85Bn will cost 12BN”

          Nope, the true figure is €4.25 bn per annum at 5%. But we don’t know yet, it could be more. Another one doing the rounds is that money is collateral and may not be drawn down at all!

          The whole exercise was to say to the markets, ‘we arn’t bust, look at all this rescue money’

          The markets were not taken in, ‘in fact with your rescue money, we regard you as more bust than before’

          All this against the backdrop recently of FF saying they were not going to the IMF, their budget and 4 year plan, would turn the markets around. Right, and ‘pigs can fly’

          Bottomline, this is a banking crisis. Banks here need to fail. We need a viable plan based on senior bondholders getting burned. If we don’t get one, we need an Icelandic Plan B.

      • coldblow

        But then people won’t be able to post things like THIS IS THE SECRET THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW!!!

      • BrianC

        Good for you

        Keep on baking

        What u baking

        A money pie

  18. Black Cat

    Is anyone going to the protest on Saturday?

    • Yes indeed, but I’m afraid that amongst the good and the bad there very well may be the ugly. The anger is palpable and I’m not sure if a peaceful protest is entirely possible at the moment? I hope I am wrong on this!

      • Black Cat

        I think it will be worth a few bumps and bruises if it comes to that – I am going with a galway crowd hopefully – one of whom lived through thatchers britian – should feel safer with some mates around – when in Dublin wear nike airs for faster getaways if in danger. There was a thread about it on but it seems to have disappeared – there is a seperate march from the ICTU one planned which is marching on the Dail – they are all bringing whistles and noise makers to drown out the ‘beards’ apparantly

        • Black Cat

          What are good slogans for placards – I was thinking of ‘not my debt’ or ‘sold into debt slavery by FF’
          ‘no to nama’ (might be a bit late for this last one. Any ideas

    • Deco


      This is ICTU performing a show of strength. The union bosses have had their snouts in the trough since CJH invented social partnership. A NED position for everybody at the table in a state quango.

      As a matter of conscience I will have nothing to do with ICTU.

      This is another defining crowd moment in modern Irish crowd feeling history. A moment about pride, purpose coming from membership of a large crowd, lots of emotion, no clear thinking, and everybody urging everybody else forward. In other words this is a variant of the same nonsense that preceded all the other disasters in the last two decades.

      The media are behind it. And that to me is an indication that there is some agenda being pursued. The role of the media is to ensure that the lifestyle concept is not interfered with, and that the people will continue to be of the mindset that makes them liable to “support our advertising sponsors”. The agenda is to protect the sacred cow that is the Irish concept of lifestyle. You shall take my lifestyle away from my cold dead fingers to paraphrase Charlton Hesston.

      ICTU are not going to reform anything, because they have had such an amount of influence over the past decade, and they won’t change overnight. Des Geraghty did not see anything wrong with FAS junkets. And neither did Peter McCloone. SIPTU appointees to the Dublin Airport Aurhority were happy to deal with Seanie Fitz, Uncle Bill, and Larry Goodman’s former Accountant from the CJH years.

      Count me out. It is another lemming run. When a crowd is being assembled for anything, reason usually takes a back seat and emotion takes over.

      Basically, we are getting our comeuppance. And we should face up to it.

      Austerity is not a choice – it is an unavoidable result of the fact that we all spent too much, all drank too much, all charged too much, and all beleived too much bullshit. And when we stop we will fix the economy, and end the austerity. We need to get real. And listening to Jack O’Connor (on 130K per annum), Blair Horan, David Begg etc.. is the exact opposite.

      ICTU are helping the people find another bullshit run. Therefore count me out.

  19. Deco

    From the RTE website describing today’s pantomine in Kildare Street.

    { Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny told the Taoiseach that he had the responsibility to change the nation for the better but he had failed. }

    With a General Election around the corner, Kenny is telling Cowen to take responsibility for fixing the country.

    Earlier today, we had Baby Brute saying he would negotiate the reduction in the minimum wage. What message does that send employers or young people hoping to get a start ? When you start a job, you actually cost the company money, until you know what you are doing.

    The best training scheme is real work, not FAS or college. And Baby Brute, who has been a politician for most of his career, seems to be clueless about this. He does not grasp that young people don’t expect to hit the jackpot on day one, but they would do anything for a bit of experience.

    I mean when a young person has a years experience, even if they earned little for the time period, they have reached a point in their professional ability, that they can get to the next level, negotiate a better deal, move jobs, and get ahead.

    Even stranger you have the government almost apologizing for the move, and hinting that the IMF are responsible. And Jack O’Connor’s proxy in the Dail thinks it is a retrograde step, and is against it also. Another turkey.

    No wonder people want the IMF to run the country. They at least, seem to know how to get things functioning. The clowns in charge seem to be involved in a serious of PR stunts.

    This is really elementary stuff. Everybody here was in the same position once.

    Ever get the feeling that the three stooges in charge, are about to pass the baton to the Keystone cops ?

    For some strange reason whatever value was left in the Irish financial sector has completely evapourated since the announcement that there is going to be a general election.

    Maybe they are casting an opinion that what will come next, is worse than what is in charge now. And we have Enda Kenny telling Cowen to fix it, so that he doesn’t have to.

    David, I think that a collection of economists will have to write a letter to the people telling them to stop taking money out of the Irish banks, because soon we will get to the point that the banks will be calling in overdrafts and loans in order to stay liquid – and the fear factor is completely unmitigated. It is going to wreck havoc.

    Colm McCarthy has repeatedly told people that they need to stop panicking, but I don’t know if it is working.

  20. Black Cat

    Any opinions about David Cameron’s motives – heard he made a comment about not wanting the Irish riff raff coming over taking their jobs today – then he’s smiling and offering a loan to his good friends – anything coming from the Tories is suspect imo – is he a lizard underneath his mask?

    • ouldbegrudger

      I’d say its probably a back-door bailout for UK banks. We’ll lend you the money to funnel back to UK banks with exposure to our mess. RBS etc.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Now you are talking ouldbegrudger, spot it, nice little kickback, from taxpayer to banks all in one move, guarantess jobs for Cameron’s offspring in a lucrative sector.

  21. Viva el Junta
    Somewhere down deep inside doesn’t the logic seem incredible? For pig iron I picked up a calculator in work today. I tried to punch in our adopted national debt as per our top economists (true figure €200BN) Firstly that number doesn’t go into an office calculator so I settled for 20,000 millions. Then I divided by approx 4 million people population. Guess what? We all owe about €50,000 each in our collective guilt. So my household including my two small kids are in hoc to €200,000 to somebody? Of course I cannot recollect where I put that? Now I sound like a Fianna Failer? And remember that this debt includes babies, unemployed people and pensioners including the ones who may die this winter. The so called 4 year plan forgets to mention this. It forgets to mention that servicing the IMF bailout of just 85Bn will cost 12BN per annum to just to stand still.(But hurray we’re saving 6BN in year one! and only 3BN in year two! Yippee!)
    We take in approx 30BN. So thats like a guy on the dole earning just €200 being asked to cough up €80 every week just to pay interest? Now somebody’s in a parallel universe here? Is it me or the Junta in power at the moment?

    They even know that the best place for a childrens hospital is in one of the most inaccessible places in the country. Ask any parent of a sick child (who bye the way also owes €50000) and they’ll tell you anywhere but The Mater!

    Remember the line about lying in JFK? – The bigger the better!

    Vive el Junta for they can see a better way!

  22. Apologies! Correction to first figure – I settled for 200,000 millions divided by 4 million!

  23. Rumour just in! At the closing of the polls in Donegal it has emerged that the FF Candidate was found to be bribing voters with tubs of Vaseline!

  24. ouldbegrudger

    Of course, anyone, who’s brain is hurting about all this, could try a fresh perspective at :

  25. Black Cat

    The only positives I can see these days are Merkels and Rehns comments about the bondholders sharing the pain – and the probability that we will ultimately default anyway.

  26. HAC

    MEP, Nigel Farage clearly voices his opinion on behalf of a all Eurosceptics. No matter what your political view his podcasts are truly compelling and worth viewing.

  27. george

    For the importance of our economy we pay our top civil servants the most expensive salaries in Europe. And this fact makes our economy very uncompetitive and life very expensive, and is one of the main factors that brought us to this situation.

    The only way a Government can restore some sort of normality to the economy is to start to cut the EXCESEES AT THE TOP, something that the 4-year plan announced yesterday doesn’t do.

    If approximately they would have cut 20% from salaries between 150.000 and 200.000, and 15% from salaries between 100.000 and 150.000, and 10% from salaries between 80.000 and 100.000, and 5% from salaries under 80.000, and in the same proportion state pensions. And they would have eliminated multiple pensions to politicians, and lump sums, and golden handshakes and the rest. How many billions could we have saved straight away?

    I don’t have any political affiliation but considering the economic situation that this Country is in, up to now the best economic plan was the one presented by Sinn Fein: “Maximum salary in the Public Sector of 100.000, 4 billion from the Pension Fund for job creation, and increases in taxation according to personal wealth”.
    And I’ll be voting for them even if some people say they have no chance in hell to form a Government.
    Who knows…

    I say it again. According to what was published yesterday in the “4 -year economic plan” I think the only national interest that this Government and their paymasters know, is their next cheque in the post.
    And now they are in a terrible hurry to sign up for the bailout, something that David called “theft”.

  28. Land n Gold

    Got this from a friend in UK,

    Banks Banks Banks Banks Banks Banks & more Banks, “Ascent of money” great says it all. Wanna change things ?
    Internet campaign going @ moment ——- withdraw all the monies you have in account in one go by everyone, back to weekly wage packet—– back to basics then see where the bailout comes from.
    Majority are Ermin flecked criminals sitting in various places like the House of Lords or worst still ex CEOs from Goldman Sachs in charge of US Treasury in the past—- Henry Poulson net personal wealth $700 million & the team who were all ex GS employees.

    ‘Tis time for a resurge of the Mutuals, credit unions & friendly societies & governments not to be in the pockets of the financiers, even though they finance their campaigns.
    Was not the ROI Government spending that resulted in the shit—— CDSs incl., the ECB.

    Should the people who took out the incredible opportunities of the bank loans available be held in a moral responsability then the question should be asked ?

    What morals did the banks have?

    Why does everyone have to pay for it?

    Is it fact that your PM is paid more than the
    President of the USA?

    Don’t be fooled by the expression “we’re all in the same boat” you ain’t, so many boats have left Ireland over the centuries ’bout time the Banks & Gov got their fingers out of each others arses.

    Maybe a change of Gov? Won’t change fundamentaly but give a respite for a while & maybe a feel good factor——— how about a Celtic Royal Wedding with a public holiday thrown in during the Cheltenham Gold Cup week, we could all have March & April off, how’s that for boosting the economy.
    Keep smiling

    • george

      “Is it fact that your PM is paid more than the
      President of the USA?”
      YES!!! The country is bankrupt and the political class have created a parallel privileged society.

      Our PM earns basic 220.000 euro and the Spanish one 80.000 (No! I didn’t forget a cero). Our consultants in hospitals 100.000 more than a consultant in Germany or North of Ireland (No! I didn’t add a cero). A Secondary School Principal 40.000 euro more than one in North of Ireland, and have minimum three month holidays because they take “a lot of work home”. Recently an ex member of Parliament (Dail) “pull out” (retire), and got a “lump sum” of more than 200.000 euro, and is going to get a pension of 90.000 euro a year, so as most of politician have their private income, only with their pension they can buy a small apartment for every year they live. The list is endless and we only know half of what is going on behind closed doors. And when the rich don’t want to pay taxes they became exiles, they are here but are kind of invisible people. This is a republic only in name.

      Cead Mille Failte!!! Welcome to Equaland !!!

      • Deco

        Yes. It is true.

        And McUseless gets even more again.

        We could install two crash test dummies in their place, and monitor to see if the results are better

    • george

      Land n Gold

      And I forgot to mention that our PM on top of the 220.000 euro salary gets 120.000 in expenses, and we pay our MPs very generous expenses as well. We cannot allow them to buy their own underwear, especially now that they have to change it quite often.

      But we pay the director of NAMA something like 500.000 euro a year and probably bonuses and expenses.

      NAMA is our version of NASA.
      Apparently we are developing a sort of spacecraft where all the bad debts of the banks are going to be put, and then its going to be shipped out into space. And by a process that is very difficult to explain and understand, where alchemy plays a big part, NAMA will be able to send a second mission into space to recover the capsule where all the bad debt had been placed. And in return to earth it will be converted into gold nuggets. And only with 1% of it we’ll be enough to pay the 100 billion bailout that the IMF-EU are giving us this weekend, plus interest, plus other bits and pieces. And with the rest we’ll become the richest nation on earth, and don’t have to worry anymore with a “maximum salary”, that is for loosers!!!

  29. seandub

    Mr McWilliams, its time to stop typing. The people of Ireland need you to step up beyond the computer and television studio. Join us on Saturday. You are one of a few who have shown genuine leadership in what is a defining time in our nations history. Please dont let this moment pass by as a commentator. From a fellow economist.

  30. fecks11

    I fear this winter of discontent is about to go up a gear this Saturday. I have been talking with a lot of people who are sickened and outraged with not only our Politicians but our heavy handed Gardai who appear to be randomly attacking protesters for very little reason. If I am pushed , jostled or assaulted at Saturdays protest by Gardai who have been secretly training for the last few weeks I am going to defen my self and maybe a few others should think along the same lines. Its time to come out from behind your keyboards and be counted.

  31. AndrewGMooney

    Hi David. This debate is waaaay too tepid. Time to throw a few metaphorical grenades. You say:’First, the problem with Spain is that it is probably too big to save.’ From banks ‘too big to fail’ to states ‘too big to bail’? Actually, I wouldn’t worry about this too much. The PIIGS have been busy backstabbing each other with their bizarre mantras of ‘Greek is not Ireland is not Portugal is not Greece’, attributing blame, hoping that by pointing to another wee little country that they escape the axe/wrath/abbatoir slaughter of Angela, Nicholas, Ollie, Chopra and ‘The Market’: good luck with that game, lads. “Thanks for playing!” sez Angela, Nicolas and Ollie. Spain, however, is playing a longer game.

    It has tried to balance stimulus and retrenchment. It made provisions to reign in its banks during el boom-boom-bust. Santander is mopping up the detritus of British banking. My Alliance and Leicester card is now re-branded ‘Santander’. Maybe they’ll do the same with Irish banks. Which would be a very good thing as I’ve been saying on this site since the fateful days of Sept/Oct 2008. With it’s trillionaire GDP, Spain, the home of Picasso, Lorca, etc, isn’t going to take any shit from anyone. Nor Italy. Berlusconi is hardly likely to be ‘reasonable’ about all of this, is he? silvio berlusconi fucking a traffic warden:

    There’s a huge difference between ghost estates in damp Ireland and ghost ‘urbanizations’ around La Manga/Malaga. If the emerging wealth of the B.R.I.Cs is sustained then Spain will be able to sell its’ excess sun blessed real estate to Russians instead of to ex-pat Brits, Germans and coachloads of poor Paddy Lasts. The Ruskies have already colonised Chelsea: Moscow-on-the-Thames! Sell Dublin to Abramovic. Or he can swap his sub/senior bonds for ‘development land’. Swap/ sell him the Aviva Stadium, get him to buy a decent Dublin soccier team, etc. Do Russians play golf? Will they play it in the rainy West of Ireland or is that just for the nth generation Yanks? Am I rambling? How remiss of me. So unlike my usual brief salient comments….

    David, you want Ireland out of the Euro. Here’s how you do it. You can’t print punts at any location that won’t be discovered by Ollie Rein’s spies. But there’s no need. All you do is come to an ‘arrangement’ with Cameron/Osborne to use Sterling notes and coins in the morbid interegnum of change.The North of Ireland will have 12.5% Corporate Tax too, so it’ll all be grand. As an interim measure, redenomiating Euro debt to Sterling until the Nua Punt is up and running. Bertie Ahern can probably help with this too. When the Queen arrives in Dublin, she’ll have a truly W.T.F?! moment…LOL! As well as handing her back the deeds and apologising for the state of the place, T-Shock Kenny/Gilmore can also secure an interim solution for the future Irish trading entrepot that you so crave. Whilst the Nua Punt is printed up. Actually Kenny/Gilmore can’t hand the deeds of the Republic back to the Queen Elizardbeast 11 as Brians Clown and Lenihan will have already gift-wrapped and presented them for Angela ‘Physicist’ Merkel and Nicolas ‘temper tantrum in high heels’ Sarkozy. Here’s a more in depth discussion of this ‘chessmate’ move that will wipe the smirk off of Angela and Nicholas’s faces:’Conventional wisdom, the royals and the Republic’

    lyrical-satirical-surrealist-art-terrorist-arch-memeticist-mad-Messiah, etc

    • Deco

      Andrew – some very funny points there.

      Maybe we should sell the K-Club to Abhramovitch ? Throw in Galway United for good measure – managed by Nick Leeson. Maybe Nick Leeson would make a better job of running the banks than the clowns in the K-Club.

      • AndrewGMooney

        Yes, and China needs a European port for its’ emerging Deep Water Navy. Cork? 100 year lease? A European ‘Hong Kong’? Cork would be ideal given its harbour and the Chinese would want it as it gives them control of both the Atlantic seaboards. They will get Athens/Piraeus from the Greeks thus ensuring the Med is also under wraps as part of The Great Game as played by The Middle Kingdom. New American Century? Wolfowitz?

        Iceland is already in Putin’s sights. But does it have a harbour, or just the ex-American air base at Keflavik? Geopolitcal strategies, eh?

        The possibilites are endless. And sad.


        • Deco

          We, even more concerning, we have the Fool of Athlone, Mary O’Rourke, telling us that the Chinese are going to build some sort of trading complex in Athlone. Kind of like WalMart – except run by the Chinese. She even commented “of course there will be some jobs for Athlonians”. It kind of sets the context. She is just another economic dunce who fails to understand how the economics of this sort of scheme usually works out.

          But the Chinese could be in bit of s shock with their plan to flood South East Europe with Chinese toys via Pireaus. The Greeks are fond of going on strike. Beijing will not get it’s money back.

          But Ireland is ‘safe’ for such investments. Our ‘reputation’ in this regard is firmly established. We always give these big finance investors their money back. To the point of being idiotic about it.

          (I even sound like Brian Lenihan now….).

        • ouldbegrudger

          @Deco. Hey hands off the K-Club! That place is reserved for use as a white-collar prison – a sort of celtic version of Club-Fed. “I, hereby, sentence you to play the same 18 holes every day for fifteen years. Next prisoner!”

          • Deco

            I have a suggestion.

            Reopen Spike Island as a purpose built upmarket ‘exclusive to the elite’, “correctional institute” for corrupt officials, fraud criminals, overpaid wasters, etc…

            Turn the surrounds into a golf course, and let them play in winter into a woeful gale….

      • BrianC


        But it is far worse.

        Mind you some believe that the property in Spain is far more merchantable than those in Ireland because of the sunshine.

        They still don’t get it a bit like when Tulips were the bit hit in Holland way way back. A bubble is a bubble no matter the consenus agreed asset (tulips, property or whatever) used to inflate it.

        And when a bubble is burst there is no way to inflate it try as they may as they are trying to do now.

      • Deco

        Greece does not have millions of empty residential units lying idle, making no repayments.

        Greece is a fiscal crisis. Too many people who think that taxation is “optional”. The solution to the Greek problem is to implement a taxation system like the rest of the EU. The problem is that it cannot be done. Nobody in Greece trusts the authorities. There is too much corruption in the Greek state. Therefore there will be no solution. The solution to the Greek problem is allow Greece to leave the Euro, and return to the Drachma.

        Spain does not have this problem. Spain has a different problem. Banks that are not foreclosing on properties that are not making any repayments, a government that is fixing the GDP statistics, and massive unemployment. Spain is simply too big to fail, and too big to bail.

  32. irishminx

    Peaceful candle protest on Sunday 28th November 2010 @ Daunt Square Cork at 4:30pm to protest at Government cuts and request them to resign. All welcome.

    I can’t make the march tomorrow, however, I did go to the silent protest outside the Dail yesterday at noon.

    I’ve organised Sunday’s protest in Cork for all those who are unable to travel to Dublin tomorrow.

    Please inform your Cork firends, thanks.

  33. irishminx

    Correction………….Friends. Oopps!

  34. Dorothy Jones

    Fallout from the ´contagion´ manifesting itself in an almost surreal manner:
    I am working in Spain this week. The local press want to interview us [samll group of irish people] on ´what it is like when the IMF are in´. It feels like the biohazard symbol is etched on one´s forehead.

    • Hahahahaha!

      You could not make it up!

    • irishminx

      Some Spanish media were out side the Dail yesterday, asking the organisers of the silent protest similar questions!

      I hope you are well Dorothy?

      • Dorothy Jones

        @Minx, Georg, AndrewGMooney
        Thank you for that and for the article. It appears that what is happening to the Irish / European economy continues to be affected by matters not just within, but outside of, the European sphere of influence. If the issue is one of control, then this feels like we are entering into Darwinian territory: survival of the fittest. It´s like being at the mercy of an impending weather catastrophe, or ´force majeure´, the magnitude of which we can only hazard a guess…

        • irishminx

          I understand that the influence from “without” is very real Dorothy. That is why I feel we, the Irish people, need to do what Iceland did.

          Put the banks into receivership, get our Government out and reform all the institutions here!

          I know it’s radical, but it is for the sake of our survival!

          Give people back their own power.

  35. AndrewGMooney

    Dorothy, they must have read this article:

    ‘A contagious Irish disease?
    The proposed Irish bail-out has not calmed the financial markets. And now their attention is moving on to new victims in the Iberian peninsula ‘

    Financial virus: Fiscal Ebola/Bubonic Plague!

  36. [...] 2. ICTU still goes ahead with the march, and petitions the IMF/EU that there must be a better way… [...]

  37. uchrisn

    The president of Iceland rejected a bill to refund British savers last March. He then called a referendum on the issue, where it was opposed by 93 percent of voters.
    It seems that politicans are living in a bubble or being encouraged by powerfull interests to sell out the public on privates banks losses.
    Could Mary McAleese block bills from the Irish parliment and put them to a referendum. Would be nice if she could and would.

  38. uchrisn

    And if she is able too she must be kicking herself she didn’t do it 2 years ago. The president of Iceland was having a laugh at Ireland today. He is quite right in saying that they are in a much much better position because they decided not to pass the private investors/banks losses onto the public.

    • Gege Le Beau

      He made an incredible stay and put the people first, she didn’t block the guarantee or NAMA. Proof is in the pudding. Need more than a few lit candles now.

  39. uchrisn

    According to todays trading value of Irish debt global banks are currently expected to swallow losses of between £150bn and £230bn on the credit they’ve provided to Ireland (BBC) We have been focusing on the losses for the European banks. However Credit Default Swap sellers (probably including AIG and maybe Goldman) and other funds from the North America to Asia will have to take their losses. The Irish people really need to make sure that the losses for the private banks go onto the shoulders of global money which tried to make a big return off Irish property.

    • ouldbegrudger

      Glad you mentioned CDEs. It is the one thing that is missing from the MSM (Main Stream Media) chatter. Most of the public do not realise that most, probably all, Irish Sovereign and bank bonds are insured. If we default the “bond holders” (read: Hedge and Private Wealth Funds and Commercial Banks) are covered. The insurers(counter parties) are people like Goldman Sucks, BoA, JP Morgan will take a bath but…. they are first in line for the almost unlimited dollar printing underway in New York. The FED will bailout them without missing a beat. The hazard here is that a sufficient knock to derivatives market might spark off a domino effect to crash this facet of the financial economy. It’s worth noting that estimates of this unregulated and under-reported market place the total liabilities at over 650 Trillion Dollars (10 times the GDP of planet Earth). While nobody believes that this would or could be sorted out, even a knock of one percent would hollow-out Wall St. for a generation or two. If you ever hear on the radio that the Sovereign Debt Crisis has become a Derivatives Crisis, know then that time has arrived to stock-up on shot-gun cartridges.

      • ouldbegrudger

        I might add that the above is compelling reason to resist the so-called Cashless Society. If we all become reliant on magic cards, both debit and credit, a crisis such as ours would leave us hopelessly vulnerable to a sudden and total seizure of transaction credit. After all, how can you do a run on a bank if cash and payment methods are all electronic.

    • AndrewGMooney


      Iceland has played a very clever, complex ‘long game’ whether by accident or design. It all began with people banging saucepans in protest!

      ‘The UK and Dutch governments would still recover all the money owed under the proposed new deal, but there is increasing confidence about Iceland’s ability to cover most of the cost through asset sales by Landsbanki, the bankrupt lender that owned Icesave. This would reduce the burden on public finances. Such a deal could face a legal challenge from Landsbanki’s international creditors, who are unhappy Iceland has given priority to the UK and Dutch claims on the bank’s assets. Foreign creditors look likely to recover little or nothing from Landsbanki after the Icesave debt has been repaid, leading some to threaten a court challenge….The UK and Dutch governments reimbursed their own citizens who lost money in the bank — but only after securing a commitment that Reykjavik would eventually foot the bill.’

      So, if I understand correctly: Iceland is prioritising debt to other sovereign nations, telling the dreaded international bondholders to drop dead. It is liable for some but not all of the Icesave funds given the EEA/EC agreements in place at the time of Icesave’s collapse. I assume they will now agree voluntarily to repay UK/Netherlands the full amount to keep open the option of EU/Euro membership for the future? Smart country with a population no greater than Coventry in England!

      Max Keiser calls bankers / IMF ‘terrorists’ on Russia Today TV, courtesy of my favourite Limerick blog collective:

      Gordon Brown, allegedly, called Iceland ‘financial terrorists’. [He didn't, he just used a clumsily titled piece of legislation to raise the heat].

      In Ireland it seems the bankster/government cliques may well have been one and the same. Angela Merkel is clumsily trying to assert the dominance of the ‘political sovereign’ over footloose financial bondholders. Problem is, she’s a clumsy elephant and stormed into the ‘market’ causing a panic which has crushed Ireland!

      blog post by Sigrún Davíðsdóttir:


      ps: David, Max Keiser for Kilkenomics 2011? He’d certainly put on a good show!

      • Re: “Problem is, she’s a clumsy elephant and stormed into the ‘market’ causing a panic which has crushed Ireland!”

        Angela’s remarks are not at all clumsy. She’s made the call the only way to save euro is to burn bondholders.

        Our own bond spreads were going turbo of their own accord helped by our €6 bn evisceration of our economy.

        Guess what, word is ‘senior debt’ is now on agenda for our ‘negotiators’ previously more accustomed to selling out citizens.

        Thank you, Angela, for standing up to a tide of rubbish presented to us by our cowardly leaders in league with our banxters and mitshpoke cronies!

        • AndrewGMooney

          @cbweb, I can understand your perspective but…..

          Angela acts in the interests of Germany, not Ireland. Her revulsion at ‘bond-aid for bondholders’ is to assuage German fears of entering a ‘debt union’.

          Ireland is, what, 1% of total EU GDP? Germany doesn’t care about Ireland other than forcing Irish taxpayers to bail out silly German banks who went crazy in the Wild West casinos of the IFSC. Ditto Camerons’ offer of a loan to a ‘friend in need’. Patronising guff. British banks went bonkers lending to Ireland but don’t want to suffer any losses, which is unrealistic to say the least.

          When ECB fanatics like Axel Weber start demanding interest rates rise next year to damp down unusual German spending patterns: Ireland will be shafted yet again. Mortgage rates are mostly variable. How will people who have had to take wage cuts/tax increases cope with this? Deflation plus rising interest rates = catastrophe for a whole swathe of the Irish population.

          If Angela wanted to burn bondholders to help Ireland she could have canvassed for a united EU/EZ strategy on that basis. She could have done this in the spring for Greece. She didn’t because she’s not interested in genuine European solidarity once it threatens Germany in general and her domestic electioneering in particular.

          I agree bondholders should have their pubic hair singed with a hot poker. It’s called capitalism.

          Germany is enjoying an export boom as the peripheral countries in distress like Ireland and Greece are ensuring a cheap Euro for German producers. This is generating a surge in internal German consumer demand. Lucky Germany? The luck of the Irish appears to have been exported to Berlin:


          • @andrew

            Interesting points. However, I was not arguing that Merkel was a friend of Ireland but that I believed there was a convergence of interests re ‘burning bondholders’

            However, you make the very well made point that the ‘export boom’ in Germany in ensuring a cheap euro for German producers may indeed be making her do a rethink.

            Roasting the Irish Pig may indeed now be seen to be
            more in German interests than burning the bondholders of France and Germany.

            At 6.7% over 9 yrs compared to Greece 5.2% over 3 years, and every penny of Senior Debt to be paid back, which will lead to a default situation anyway here, its time we took a leaf from Iceland, and got the heck out!

            You may be interested in the following from Max Keiser from March of this year on Rigged Market capitalism, especially the part on Peek A Boo Lehman’s accounting, to remind us who the bailout is bailing out, DmcW appears in second half!

            We are facing a government betrayal of Irish citizens of treasonous proportions.


          • irishminx

            @cbweb “We are facing a government betrayal of Irish citizens of treasonous proportions”.

            I agree!

    • Krugman I believe referred to our austerity response to meltdown as ‘more than a crime, it was a mistake’.

      I should point out we may misinterpret those remarks as here we are far more tolerant of mistakes than elsewhere.

      For us, mistakes can be even an excuse for crime!

      The principle of ‘the book stops here’ or ‘accountability’ often doesn’t even apply.

      At its worst, this is typical of a value structure corrupted by elitism, cronyism, nepotism or ‘who you know, rather than what you know’ without respect for merit or the valuing of talent.

      Traditionally we’ve regarded people with those qualities as subversive. Some of our greatest writers were forced to flee having failed the status quo.

      Anyway, time for a change:)

  40. AndrewGMooney

    On the ‘leak’ in Irish Times today about bondholders being immolated, Dan O’Brien fears Armageddon!

    Complex, nuanced reportage as always from RTE *rollseyes*:

    ‘What losses for lenders to Irish banks?’

    ‘Ireland: Haircut, sir? 15% off? “Euro-banks set to lose €bns’

    I don’t know. I promise myself ‘no more commenting on DMcW’s incendiary articles. Not good for the ol blood pressure’. But economics is not only the new rock’n'roll, stand-up comedy: it’s worse than crack cocaine once you allow it into your brain. I wish I’d stuck to literature and philosopy.

    • @AndrewGMooney and posters,

      Keep up the good work, you are using the grey matter to shine a light on dark events. This is important.

    • I disagree with Dan O’Briens’s analysis:

      “If Ireland (and Greece) are forced to default, better that it happens after the financial system has been restabilised, reformed and restructured so that it can absorb the losses without the risk of meltdown.”

      What Dan fails to appreciate is that the only way to stabilise our financial system with restructure and reform so that it can absorb the losses without the risk of meltdown, is by burning bondholders.

      The IMF/Klaus Regling rescue fund is based on the following premise, the facts are quite stark:

      €85 bn at 5% per annum (nb not 6.7%) can only work
      if inflation is at 3% per annum and growth is at least 2%. Otherwise, the ‘rescue’ is a stranglehold on the economy that will suffocate it.

      Suppose the money is collateral that is not drawn down? One answer is that the Pension Reserve Fund is used to pump money into the banks.

      But the approx total debt exposure of the state is somewhere between €200 bn – €350 bn depending on differing scenarios.

      Total amount in pension reserve fund is approx €24 bn

      Unless someone can provide me with figures to the contrary, the most the pension reserve fund can do is provide interim cover for debt repayments over a small number of years.

      This can only delay default and we would be in a potentially worse situation than we are in now.

      Basically, if reform and restructure does not include allowing Anglo and INBS to fail with writedown of senior debt, then we are in a catastrophic situation.

      The Irish economy with no hope of ever getting out of a debt spiral will see Ireland’s economy driven downward until it is destroyed.

      You think waiting times in the A&E were long, just wait and see…………..!

      • If bondholders take a hit now, the eurozone could absorb the shock, the worst could be a devaluation of the euro with some sort of TARP fund further bolstering the current €750 bn set aside, this might even require quantitive easing or ECB printing more money.

        If they don’t, this will crush our economy. But it will also cause the implosion of the euro itself that will happen in a far more damaging and uncontrolled way.

        Unfortunately, our team of negotiators are used to selling out Irish citizens in favour of senior bondholders. They’ve done this before and its likely they will do this again! Michael Somers, Matthew Elderfied and Honahan have spent the last year stress testing our banks and giving us the all clear, supporting NAMA, and generally making a disaster of our banking policy. In fact, they’ve poured scorn on the burning of bondholders.

        On their record to date, we should be firing them. Instead, we’ve promoted them to negotiate an €85 bn loan for us from the IMF and Klaus Regling and EFSF
        to pay for their mistakes.

        Citizens get to pay for their mistakes and the mistakes of private banks run corruptly with the help of political cronies.

  41. John Q. Public

    AndrewGMooney, isn’t it better to be addicted to truth and reality than gobbledygook? Its better to be sceptical but not so much that you let nothing into your head, and you should remain open-minded but not so much that you let your brains fall out onto the floor which is what we did for 10 years. And you learn something new every day. For instance did you know that we are more dependant on foreign deposits into our banks than our own deposits? Found it here:

    • AndrewGMooney


      yes truth and reality are better than delusion and gobbledygook even if it causes a migraine.

      addicted Irish banks/foreign deposits: that’s a really good article by Hennigan’s crew. Great interactive map. it was a massive failure of oversight/regulation that did it for Ireland and others (UK especially). although I think Mary Harney recently said that the correct regulation framework was in place but Neary and friends chose not to implement it. ‘light touch’ Neary never laid a finger on ‘fingers’ Fingleton or Seanie Fitz/Drumm.

      Here’s a good take on the Euro challenges with a great European family photo at the end of article showing Germany crapping on everyone else:

  42. Tull McAdoo

    I think we may be forgetting our manners, after all Mr. Chopra is only here to help. So as the self-appointed DJ on this forum, I would like to dedicate this to all our newly arrived friends from the IMF…
    It is indeed time to …….

    “Ring out the old,
    Bring in the new,
    If your with me,
    This year will be,
    The Perfect year.”

    It is nice to know that the IMF shares old DEV’S vision of Ireland.
    So hope you all like the video ,
    And take it away to the dulcet tones of the beautiful Dina Carroll……………….

  43. ouldbegrudger

    Well, i’m off to Dublin in morning. I plan to drop in on the Carroll/Begg dog&pony show to have a look but I plan to turn right at O’Connell Bridge and skip the faux-lefty speeches at the Spike. I never did have much truck with Citizen Smith and his ilk. I think i’ll saunter up Kildare St. and see if the Brians could use some advice. I suppose you call me the right-wing splinter march…..

  44. ouldbegrudger

    I’ll just paste a couple of paragraphs : the full text may be found here :

    “For the ordinary citizen a populist civilization based upon a healthy culture and a sound political organization is the standard for a sane society. What reasonable and thoughtful person would attest that such a model actually exists today? An Existential approach to confront the delusional disease of accepting political oppression is necessary therapy to rest our civic health as a nation. Defending a failed political structure of self-destructive policies is the very definition of insanity.

    In the recesses of the brain is a rudder for moral conduct. It is called a conscience. Right and wrong is known and ethical actions are real and can and should be observed. Any linkage that equates a duty to accept destructive public policies as necessary and legitimate is habitually deranged. Community denial of reality is a prime objective of the State. The psychology of individual adherence of dehumanising rule is based upon illusion and the threat of pain. Defence of decadent government is immoral. Denial is not a lasting defence mechanism. And defending the indefensible is pure lunacy. Take the Existential therapy and cure yourself of your government addiction.

    SARTRE — February 13, 2006″

  45. Colin


    Great article again.

    You say “The markets know Ireland’s economy is not going to recover any time soon, and that rolling over our debt is going to do nothing to solve our problems. Furthermore, whatever chance Ireland has of recovery will be extinguished by a four-year austerity plan.”

    This then begs the question, why is austerity being seen as “the only game in town”, by that I mean by FF, FG, Labour & Greens? Sinn Fein and the new Left Alliance seem to be the only Political Parties willing to challenge the austerity consensus. I’ll certainly be giving them my vote in the January election. I never thought I’d say that 3 years ago, but events dear boy, events.

    • StephenKenny

      I don’t think that austerity is seen as ‘the only game in town’, because, contrary to the chatterings of the chattering classes, it isn’t a ‘policy option’. It’s just inevitable. The gap between government income and government expenditure is, unfortunately, far too great to be closed by taxing the rich and limiting top incomes.

      I quite understand your problem, and I’m sure many people are asking themselves the same question: Who to vote for.

      From my own standpoint, it’s very, very, clear: There is no one worth voting for. The published policies of all the parties I’ve seen will do far, far, more harm than good.

      On the premis that we should vote, the next question is “Who’s’ the least worst?” i.e. who will do the least harm. Since the election isn’t today, I don’t have to decide today. Time will tell.

      • You do not have enough evidence to verify you will not vote FF next time round?

        Of course, not to be a complete fool, maybe you are doing quite well under them!

        There again I was surprised “Fianna Fáil Senator Brian O’Domhnaill, who has seen the party’s vote collapse by over 60% since the last General Election with his 7,354 votes.” managed to get over 7000 votes. Extraordinary.

  46. Deco

    Finally, somebody said something which badly needs to be said about the Union bosses.

    We will see three shysters stand up today and make speeches about how unhappy they are at the current situation, and about how it is necessary to fight deflation. They were all great admirers of the Drumcondra Ditherer. They all did what they could to increase inflation and borrowing. For every scheme was instituted, they wanted another, and then another.

    The cute hoors are responsible for our uncompetitive position and they encouraged and endorsed every spending increase by the state sector during the binge era.

    There is one thing worse than Cowen in control – having Bertie Ahern still in control.

  47. michaelcoughlan

    Hi Suds, me again. It seems the Anglo bondholder lists is in the public domain and low and behold look who is on the list! Guess who is going to take a hit when Minister Lenihan springs the bank bondholder default trap Suds?

    I would like to dedicate the following to you;

    Oompa Loompa doompadee doo,
    G-Sucks yet again in the doo doo,
    Oompa Loompa doompadah dee,
    a bonus all ‘round with company fees.

    G-Sucks yet again rewarding failure.

    Considering the above Einstein was bang on about Parallel universes even more bang on than the big bang or banging on about head bangers in banking banging on about new paradigms or banging secretaries or banging on to government ministers about runs on banks run by head bangers banging on about the failure of Lehman’s. (I’m gonna stop now because my head aches).

    Meanwhile back in the real universe for those of you who may be a bit disillusioned with what is going on it is sometimes worth remembering the great nation and country Ireland really is. For those of you who haven’t seen the new ad for the new terminal at Dublin airport please look at the following link.
    To this can be added;

    We were the first country in the world to free ourselves from British misrule,

    We don’t have the stain of starting world wars or gas chambers on our conscience,

    In a world which aborted 45million foetuses every year Ireland is the safest country in the world to conceive a child, enjoy a pregnancy, and give birth.

    A whole plethora of Inventions;

    And it is finally worth remembering the remark made by of all people Cromwell when encountering resistance in Ireland in Kilkenny which has some of the most productive farmland in the WHOLE World,


  48. John Q. Public

    ouldbegrudger, those Citizen Smith types you refer to are usually assholes. These are the people who are part of the problem, union types who have demanded wage increases for years, borrowers who got themselves into trouble. It is ok for them to be imprudent but not the banks? Give me a break!

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