January 8, 2011

If I was Taoiseach... what I would do to save Ireland

Posted in Ireland · 186 comments ·

Strange as it may seem now, the next few years offer the greatest opportunity to change Ireland. It is difficult to see beyond this crisis when many of us are mired in a deep, deep depression, but we can fix this economy and heal this society.

To get out of a crisis, you must first define reality, face up to it and then do something about it.

The reality for Ireland is that one part of the economy — the domestic economy — is broken; meanwhile, the multinational sector is thriving.

The domestic economy is broken because over the past 10 years, people mistook a large overdraft for an economic miracle. The banks fuelled this fantasy by stuffing the economy with foreign money that they borrowed recklessly. We bought land with this money. As long as land rose in value, this masked the deep debt mire we were in. Then the foreigners asked for their money back but the banks didn’t have it because they had lent it all for houses and land.

As the price of houses and land has plummeted, the balance sheet of the nation has imploded with huge debt on one side — the cost of which continues to rise — and collapsing “assets” on the other side, the value of which continues to fall.

We are in a balance-sheet recession. That is reality defined. Many people seem to think that we can re-run the 1980s, reduce the Government’s deficit through austerity and this will solve the problem. It won’t. This is not the 1980s; this is a completely new challenge.

In a balance-sheet recession, the people who have money save and the people in debt try to pay off as much as possible. The saving ratio in Ireland is now 16pc of GDP. The more people save, the less they spend and the more the economy shrinks. Because the banks are broken, the saved money isn’t re-lent to the economy because the banks are afraid to lend and want to build up reserves of cash to fix their broken balance sheet, and so credit in the economy dries up.

The next phase of the balance sheet recession will be mass mortgage default, unless we change policy quickly.

The solution to our problem — a problem of too much debt — is obviously less debt, not more debt. We need to face up to that and do something about it.

This reinvention of Ireland begins and ends with economics. The Government’s message that there is no economic alternative to austerity, governed by the IMF and EU without any proper debt renegotiation is not true. We are pursuing the worst economic policy possible and the rest of the world knows it.

What we need now are policy changes that are rooted in sound economic theory and practice.

The core element of a recovery in Ireland is cutting the link between the banks and the people. The EU/IMF deal is trying to solder the people to the banks with more debt. This is causing panic. The financial markets signalled this week that the likelihood of sovereign default in Ireland is now greater than ever. Here at home, we are experiencing a slow run on the Irish banks as people and companies take their deposits out.

Current policy is failing as evidenced by the sharp rise in unemployment again last month. The Government’s plan, with the IMF and the EU, is making the country yet more fragile.

Before we discuss economics, let’s introduce the word morality because a policy has to be morally right for it to work. Current policy is amoral. The bank debts are not ours; they are the debts of the banks, which were incurred when the banks were private. They are not our debts to pay.

The EU/IMF bailout is not a bailout of Ireland, it is a bailout for British, German and French banks that gambled on the likes of Anglo, AIB and Bank of Ireland — and you pay.

But these debts have nothing to do with the Irish people. The last time I checked there was a harp on my passport not the logo of Anglo.

From an economic perspective, everyone knows that the solution to too much debt is never more debt, it is always less debt. So the first change must be to reduce the debt levels of the State so that it does not default. How do you do this? You cut the banks loose.

The big lie you have been told is that if we preside over a default on Irish bank debt the financial markets will punish us by taking money out of the country.

This is wrong. The opposite will happen. Money will flow into the country as the markets will conclude that the Irish bank crisis is over and it’s time to invest in a country with huge growth potential.

At all costs we must avoid a sovereign default, which would undermine credibility with corporate America. The way we do this is by defaulting on the banks to save the country.

The markets will support this move. Markets want an economy with less debt and some growth potential, not one that is intent on strangling itself with other people’s debts.

Think about this: without the extra debt burden of the banks, the crucial Irish debt/GDP ratio would be 74pc. This is lower than the similar figure for Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Belgium. From such a position, it will be less difficult to address the budget deficit.

The aim of the overall deficit adjustment should be to get back to 2005 levels of spending over time. This will only be credible without the bank debt dragging us down.

Without the bank debt we could go back into the markets and get ourselves financed without too much difficulty. Irish bond yields would fall rapidly. Think about Belgium, a country with a debt/GDP ratio of 123pc. It recently borrowed at a rate of 1.9pc, while we languish at 9pc. If we got rid of the banking legacy, with a debt/GDP ratio of 74pc, who says interest rates wouldn’t fall?

So any change has to start with the banks, the EU and the ECB.

How do we do it?

Step one

We must have a referendum. We start negotiating for the Irish people, not for the banks. We go to the ECB and say we don’t have the money and morally we can’t ask the people to pay for debts that are not their own. To make sure this is not another bluff, the very first thing we should do is follow the democratic example of Iceland and hold a referendum early this year and ask the Irish people whether they want their children to pay for the gambling debts of those people who lent money to the Irish banks in the boom.

The answer will be a resounding ‘No’. We therefore start our new beginning with a government’s position underpinned by the will of the people. No European democrat — whether in the EU Commission in Brussels, the European Parliament or the European Council — could argue with that.

Step two

The process of bank debt renegotiation starts. However, in advance, we make it clear our problem is a European problem. We follow John Hume’s example in the North. One of Hume’s many brilliant moves was to “internationalise” the Northern Ireland question by involving the Americans and the Europeans as well as the Irish and British governments, so that the local becomes international.

We should diplomatically argue that we are seeking a solution for the euro area as a whole, by making common cause with those countries that are likely to experience the same problems as ourselves — Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

Therefore, Ireland would be taking the lead in offering the ECB an exit strategy, which would also be a solution for Ireland. The Department of Foreign Affairs has the talent to create these alliances.

Obviously an alliance of debtor nations in Europe would focus the minds of the ECB, who realise that at the core of the Irish problem is a greater problem for the euro that needs to be solved.

It is important to remember, the ECB has clearly shown that it has no idea how to get out of the European banking mess but it is actively now working on a new approach to banking problems. We should offer it help.

We begin by changing the conversation. We reintroduce into the diplomatic discourse the capitalist premise of “co-responsibility” where both the creditors and the debtors are responsible in a crisis.

At the moment, the Government is rewarding delinquent creditors with open-ended bailouts, while at the same time penalising debtors. That has to change, not least because capitalism is based on mutual risks.

This initiative will appeal to the ECB as it ultimately strengthens Europe’s banking defences for the future.

Step three

Rescind the guarantee. It was due to expire last September and was always supposed to be temporary. It also should have been limited; it should not have covered subordinated debt, which always gets wiped out in a banking crisis. (Subordinated debt is buffer capital that never gets protected which is precisely why it offers higher interest rates in the first place.) The guarantee was required, 28 months ago, to prevent a total bank collapse. This guarantee should not have been open-ended and all-encompassing. It should have copied the Swiss and Swedish model, where those countries lent the credibility of the state to the banks.

Unfortunately, our Government didn’t so much lend the State’s credibility to the banks as give it to them unconditionally.

It was introduced to ensure that Irish banks could get access to financing. Now that they can’t and have been largely nationalised, there is no point in the guarantee. So get rid of it.

People argue that without the guarantee, Irish banks would never again be able to borrow on international markets. Well great. That’s what we want to see. We want a return to deposit-based banking, where banks lend out what they have in deposits. They will then look and behave like utilities, like a water company or ESB. They supply credit to the economy and get paid a fee for it. Getting rid of the guarantee starts that process.

Step four

Close down NAMA immediately. It serves no purpose other than to give the debts of the developers and the banks to the people and we don’t want this. Furthermore, the whole purpose of NAMA was to ensure that the banks remained in private hands; now that they have been largely nationalised, there is no point to NAMA other than to generate fees for professionals. So close it down.

The property market would clear more quickly as a result, which is an added bonus.

Step five

Force all the remaining bondholders of the banks to become shareholders. This is called a debt-for-equity swap, a totally normal practice in capitalism. The bondholders are told that if they were prepared to lend money to the banks, they now should be happy to own them. This is how the US authorities cleared up the Savings and Loans mess — their biggest banking disaster since the Depression. It was also what this newspaper’s owners did last year, when the bondholders of Independent News and Media were forced to become shareholders. This is standard practice.

By forcing the bondholders to take shares, they have a stake in the future of the banks and they can work towards the share price recovering as the banks recover. This way they can get paid at least something eventually.

Step six

Tell the ECB that we don’t have the money to pay back the cash they have stuffed into the Irish banks to keep them alive. The ECB has deposited over €97bn into the Irish banks. In return, the Irish banks have given the ECB all sorts of rubbish collateral, from rolled up land deals to repackaged bundles of home and car loans. So the ECB gave us real money and we gave them IOUs! Whose problem is that?

When you owe the bank €1,000 it is your problem, when you owe it €97,000,000,000 — well you guessed it.

As a central bank, the innovative way to avoid a meltdown in Ireland would be to simply leave the €97bn in the Irish banks and not expect to get it back. This might sound unusual, but this is what the entire banking system is based on — rolling over financing.

Step seven

When the time is right, the €97bn of deposits or some of that sum, should be converted into share capital. This has never been done before, but necessity is the mother of all invention and — at a stroke — the funding and capital position of the Irish banks would be solved, and the ECB would have taken a hit. But that’s what central banks are there for. What part of risk of ‘lender of last resort’, do they not understand? The Irish taxpayer, who is already paying for his and her sins in the recession, should not have to pay twice.

Ultimately, the Irish banking crisis will be paid either by Irish taxpayers, German taxpayers, existing creditors, the ECB or a combination of all four. The Government wants the Irish taxpayer to pay; this is neither financially viable as it will just lead to a default further down the road nor is it morally justifiable as the debts were not the Irish people’s to pay in the first place.

For those who worry that the ECB will react to these initiatives by cutting off euro to Ireland, they should be reminded that the ECB is as unlikely to cut off euro to Ireland as the Federal Reserve would cut off dollars to Texas.

We are involved in creating new financial architecture for Europe and this project will test Europe’s much-reiterated rhetoric about solidarity. It is a test that Europe will pass.

Step eight

We need to prevent mass chaotic mortgage default and offer hope to the 400,000 people in negative equity. For these people — who are largely that generation aged between 25 and 40 — Ireland has become a large debtors’ prison with no payroll. People make mistakes; we all do. We should not be punished indefinitely.

However, others should not have to dig deep to bail them out either as the prudent would then be paying for the profligate.

In order to liberate those trapped in negative equity, I would make all their mortgages “non-recourse” as is the case in the US. This means that they can hand the keys back to the bank and that will be the end of it. The mortgage debt will not follow them about indefinitely.

A related initiative would involve changing our bankruptcy laws to make it much easier for people who have been declared bankrupt to recover in business. We should aim to dramatically reduce the stigma of failure and bankruptcy. After all, we have all had failures and failure is nothing to be ashamed of because it means you tried.

Step nine

Extend the vote to everyone who is an Irish citizen no matter where they live. The Irish diaspora is one of our greatest assets and those of the tribe who are now living abroad should never be cut off from the nation. By allowing them to vote, we bring our policy into line with the rest of Europe and tie these people to home, making it more likely that they come back with their skills and experiences and contribute to the country.

Step ten

Once we have sorted out the banks and the debts of the country in a way that allows the people to believe in the future, we need to put into place industrial policies that will create a New Ireland.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when Ken Whitaker came up with the policy of attracting in foreign investment, no one believed that it could be done. Ireland had no business thinking it could build a pharmaceutical industry, let alone a hi-tech industry. But it happened because the investors saw the logic of the deals that could be done and they have subsequently made handsome profits here.

It is time to reinvent the story again and recapitalise the country. We need to create real jobs, real trading companies and a real economy, not just a new version of the old economy where land and banks create another bubble and the “insiders” in our country siphon off profits.

We are told that we can’t dream of the future because we are bust. We are not bust, our rotten banks are bust. But the world is full of new money and new opportunity.

For example, in the IFSC there is over $800bn of US multinational money on deposit. This cash is there as a result of the amazing success of the multinationals repatriating their profits to Ireland to avail of the 12pc corporate tax rate. But if they want to redistribute these profits to their shareholders they have to pay American corporation tax of 39pc. To avoid this, they just keep all this cash on deposit at the IFSC.

These profits will of course be reinvested in the companies — in various projects, research and ongoing business development around the world. Therefore a certain amount will be risk capital. So why not do a deal with them? Why not offer them a tax incentive to invest even a portion of this money in Irish projects? Just 10pc of this would be $80bn. We could set up companies using the US money combined with Irish labour and our tax system, as well as all the networks the multinationals already have here.

Together, we could build these companies, for let’s say 10 years, and then when the companies (in effect subsidiaries) are strong enough, we would float them on the Irish stock exchange and the US companies could repatriate the money tax-free in dividends to their shareholders. This might prove to be a very interesting initiative for them and for us and one where years of doing business together pays off.

In this way we could build a new Ireland, a Silicon Valley of Europe which might well be financed internally, generating hundreds of thousands of highly paid jobs, with huge upside for the coming generation.

To bolster our position as an attractive international place to do business, we would cut corporation tax not raise it.

There is a way out of this mess. We start with these ten policy changes and keep going to create a world beating, competitive trading economy. The crisis provides us with the chance to overhaul our economy and reinvent our society. We should seize this opportunity now, without fear, and look confidently towards a new future and a New Ireland.

  1. BrianMc


    That’s a great summary of a way forward.
    Simple & rational.

    The politicos must be woken up & be forced to put the options above in the centre of the General Election agenda. Then leave it up to the electorate to decide what happens next.

    IMHO David’s ideas + Constantin Gurgdiev’s manifesto (http://goo.gl/O0lhj) provide the basis for a way out of the mess.
    Please spread the word.


    • Great article and a very MORAL solution for a BANKER. Beside bankers who can justify this monetary system? Is it MORAL for your banker friends to be able to issue credit and charge interest?

      David, where is your idea of a new Punt gone? Would it be more moral to establish a national bank and issue credit at zero percent?

      Your plan is just a good fix for an amoral system.

      • Irish Sheik

        This could solve all our problems, Corrupt politicians like Charlie Haughey, Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern have given away all our oil resources for free with even tax allowances for all costs associated with extracting it, We had what was seen in the developed world as an average deal in place regarding 50% tax, 50% Royalties, all jobs created based in Ireland and Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern gave it all away, this could have been worth billions of euro’s and thousands of jobs. Please, if you have a moment have a look at the link which there are four parts to and draw your own conclusion.


  2. doccer

    This reinvention of Ireland begins and ends with economics but also a large dose of SPATIAL PLANNING. By only looking at the economic value of these “NAMA lands” we will fail to see their social and environmental value. That is a false economy and a product of the liberal economics that got us into this mess. What we need, in fact, is A MAP OF NAMA LANDS. This should be public information and should be used by local and regional authorities to help plan and foster the regeneration of our towns and cities. This will attract the young, talented creative people we need to drive on our multinational and (lets not forget our) indigenous start-up sectors. This is not an expensive solution. It is being done on practically no resources in the Eastern European “shrinking cities” and US “rustbelt” to amazing effect. Make the NAMA lands public information, which it rightfully should be. And put spatial planning at the heart of our emergence into a truly innovative, independent and equal society. Not to do this will be to guarantee our status as a declining backwater for ages to come.

  3. Disappointed in DmcW article, give it 7 out of ten only. Lots of what he says about the banks I agree with, but some aspects of the article 6 — 10 are poorly thought out.

    The question of allowing immigrants to vote is poorly considered.

    Consider the gerrymandering problems that might arise.

    I’d agree with Irish emigrants who havn’t taken out citizenship in another country should be allowed to vote, but only if they bothered to turn up here in person, and a 3-5 yr restriction after leaving our shores, beyond which not allowed. But this could be a very expensive undertaking to enable this.

    We already offer a highly competitive CT tax rate of 12.5%, with corporates like Google getting this down to possibly the Dutch Sandwich of 2.5%. How low can you go? Why would you consider or risk losing the present gains at 12.5% to gamble on
    attracting further business at a lower mark? If anything there is a compelling argument for an increase to at least 18% CT.

    DmcW restricts the number of reforms to 10 and doesn’t mention political, public sector reforms.

    It’s a little naive to think the IFSC can be used as a springboard to generate huge numbers of jobs in Ireland. Jobs in that sector are usually small in number and as in the case of Google you need to
    be highly qualified and have passed 5 interviews, daunting for Joe Plumber.

    But we need tomorrow people like DmcW to come up with ideas for reform and development of Ireland. That is, unless we wish to remain as vassals in a semi corporate holding company run by the banks and invisible hands from abroad!


    • Colin

      Other countries seem to be able to manage the whole give-the-vote-to-our-citizens-abroad without too much difficulty or controversy or corruption, so it can be done if the will is there. Many people left Ireland in Celtic tiger era because they were priced out of the property market. If they had had the vote, we might have got a government which took decisions like implementing the Kenny Report and destroying the ponzi property scam, so I think its hugely important our exiles can affect change.

      • More discussion here. The question is posed, are not Irish citizens living in Ireland not disenfranchised enough?




        But step 9 doesn’t have any detail on what issues are involved in bringing this about or its effect upon our democracy. Similar to France, we could have a minister or 2 elected in and voted in by the diaspora, similar to the way members of the Seanad get elected.

        No vote without taxation is a possibility. Would it be possible for Irish emigrants to retain their citizenship and pay Irish taxes from abroad at concessionary rates?

        More of the legal possibilities of this under international law would be worth exploration.

        Overall, the number of emigrant ratio of perhaps 1:4 to local population could easily overwhelm Irish politics, unlike similar less extreme ratios in other countries.

        • BrianMc

          Emigrants do not lose citizenship.
          Citizenship does not depend on being resident. Basically citizenship is a right for any member of a nation, normally via their genetic/family relationship or it can also be via land/property/material ownership.
          Similarly a resident (taxpayer) may not necessarily be a citizen.


        • Hi cbweb,
          The implementation of a constituency (or a limited number of constituences) representing Irish citizens abroad would be one way of addressing concerns about ratios.
          Encouraged by the fact you are willing to engage in debate on this one, despite your doubts.

      • Gege Le Beau

        Spot on Colin!

    • murray

      I am very disappointed in your view about Irish emigrants and the right to vote offshore. Unfortunately, I am one of the ‘Lost Generation’, I have a Degree and Masters and sadly found myself unemployed and had to emigrate 2 years ago.

      Now, everyday I make it a priority to read the Times, Indo and blogs online from my adopted home overseas. I am well versed up on the Irish depression and have opinions. I feel that I have should the ‘right’ to vote as I love my country very much and miss my family everyday.

      I want and dare I say need to ‘contribute’ to my homeland. I dont wish to feel lost anymore in the wildness of the world. I am Irish and I always wish to be, I didn’t want to leave home, I was force to!

      Your statement “should be allowed to vote, but only if they bothered to turn up here in person,” is quite frankly sad and disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of fellow Irish men and women that have been rejected by their government.

      Where is your sense of patriotism? Where is your sense for the loyalty and love of your fellow country man that is suffering abroad in Exile!!!!

      Would you wish to be in my boots? to look your parents in the eye and say ‘Goodbye’ not knowing when or if you will ever return.

      I think you are naive in your thinking. Yes, the lost folks of Ireland out weigh the locals by 4 to 1. Is this not a crime in itself, that nearly 4 times as many Irish that have been cast aside for the insiders to gladly rub their hands in glee with getting rid another ‘educated and potential trouble maker’.

      How about we swap seats and you can experience the bitter pill of being another castaway / another stat.


      • @Murray/Regan,

        Look guys, anyone forced to emigrate since our crash in 2008, should be allowed to vote. Its been a bitter pill for me to swallow that those arguably most at loss because of the meltdown forced to emigrate, should be disenfranchised.

        However, its one thing to hold a belief like that as I do, and its quite another to analyse the ins and outs, hows, where’s wherefore’s and means to fairly bring about voting for emigrants in whatever is the best form it should eventually take.

        My remarks re David’s no 6 as he lays it down in the raw, “Extend the vote to everyone who is an Irish citizen no matter where they live” is poorly thought out and not up to his usual high standards.
        I’ve advocated, for example, our tax tourists, who avoid tax, should be refused the right to vote.

        So, come up with good proposals that can withstand careful scrutiny and analysis and avoid abuse, I’d be the first to give my support.

        Keep in touch with Ireland and help us out wherever way you can.

        • Plenty of countries have no problem giving their citizens the vote. Why set a date of 2008 on it? There is no way I would have moved back to Ireland after 2000 as you had clearly all gone nuts and were living in a fantasy world. If I’d had a chance to change things then, I would have.

          I suppose the risk is that you have lots of people voting who don’t understand the issue, or who aren’t concerned with the wider consequences of their voting behaviour. Hmmm…

        • Colin

          “Look guys, anyone forced to emigrate since our crash in 2008, should be allowed to vote.” – what a load of horse manure. You need to take a long hard look in the mirror and see what you have become.

          Note: Crash started in 2007. House prices peaked in March 2007. I had to emigrate in 2007 to find work. Thousands who left in 60s sent money home in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and you turn around and tell these people to go f themselves, to but out of Ireland’s affairs? You sound like an elitist who has no history of family members forced to find work abroad, shame on you!

  4. Mother of Three

    David you have a sound plan to get Ireland out of this mess. How do we persuade our politians to follow the plan???? I feel so helpless, here is a way to solve the problems but what I do to work towards this solution???

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Cahill, Fiona Buckley, Alice Charles, jaunaloca, Top Business Tweets and others. Top Business Tweets said: RT @davidmcw: New on the site: If I was Taoiseach… what I would do to save Ireland http://dlvr.it/CwvLR [...]

  6. adamabyss


  7. muchwood

    Well done David. Now how do we get our politicians to listen to you. We live in a Fianna Fail Dictatorship so nothing anyone says seems to matter. They are supported by the Green Party who put their policies before everything, the people, the country, the future of our children so they will not bring this government to an end until it suits them. Lets hope a way can be found to put what you describe into action.

  8. DB4545

    David please run for election as an independent candidate.The country cannot afford to have financial illiterates in power any longer.This also applies to the main opposition parties and the crazy end of the political spectrum. The key FF players are bailing out on almost a daily basis clearly an indication of their fear and cowardice and their instinct to flee rather than face the electorate. These people awarded themselves obscene salaries and pensions and justified their inflated awards on the basis of the “responsible” positions they held. Now when the going gets tough they avoid the electorate and trouser unearned inflated pensions they feel they’re “entitled” to and bail out. We can’t afford this nonsense. It’s time to shout stop. We need a New Deal and your proposals are the only sensible steps I’ve heard so far.

    • Dorothy Jones

      +1 yes

    • jandal

      I can’t find the exact post on Davids Facebook page but about 3 months ago he addressed the request to run as a candidate. I don’t wish to speak on his behalf but… he basically said his specialism is economics and his strengths do not lie in the other responsibilites a TD would need to undertake, e.g. representing constituents re housing, health, transport issues.

      I don’t think David has any desire to be a candidate for the above pragmatic reasons – i.e. its not good use of his strengths and his energies would be dissipated. Perhaps the solution is to vote for a party that commits to utilising him in his area of specialism – economics – and to back off putting pressure on him to become a candidate when really its not the best use of his skills. As George Lee found out, being a TD is no guarantee of being listened to.

      • BiggyWiggy Rogers

        He may not want to stand as a TD, but he could act in an advisory capacity? What about Finance Minister :)!!!

  9. Dorothy Jones


    Yes. There is a vast proportion of the population who want these ideas implemented.

    The issue is how to realise and action the plan.

    Persons who hold office do not grasp these issues.

    Despite your comments about drains, would you consider a position in office in order to bring rationale to the current circus?

    I am speaking out of turn perhaps, but I know that you would have a huge amount of support.

  10. John Q. Public

    Closing down NAMA is all very well but we can’t let any of these toxic assets onto the market as a price collapse would ensue. David, you say ‘the whole purpose of NAMA was to ensure that the banks remained in private hands’and then you say ‘remaining bondholders of the banks to become shareholders’. Is it a good idea to have our banks owned by foreign investment banks? Why do people who emigrate deserve the vote? 50% who live here don’t bother to vote anyway! I read today in the Irish Times about all those who emigrated in the boom “Even during the boom a lot of people, particularly well-qualified graduates, left the country. Not because they had to but because they wanted to,” says Dr James Wickham, director of the employment research centre at Trinity College Dublin. So fuck them, if they have good ideas why don’t they stay here and use them? In step ten you fail to mention the power of public and private sector unions which have made it very difficult for foreign firms to operate here because of wage increase demands. Cost-push inflation ensued for years here as a result.

    • Colin

      Cheap property is a good thing. Overpriced property is a bad thing. NAMA interferes with the market, not allowing it to reach the bottom. This is corrupt and immoral. The insiders are still insisting that people who wish to own their own roof over their head will have to pay a large multiple of their salaries.

      Perhaps Dr Wickham could speak to those husbands and fathers who had to leave their wives and children behind to find work abroad, all around the world. Do these men deserve losing the right to vote because they choose to support their families from abroad rather than draw the dole at home?

    • Harper66

      Have no doubt the only function of Nama was to keep property prices artifically high. High property prices require high wages….and later on in your post you complain about high wages……?

      By the way the Irish Times is rag which is straying further and further away from reality.If your looking for fairy tales may I suggest the Brothers Grimm.(and no I’m not talking about Conor and Brian)

      • John Q. Public

        Cost-push inflation Harper, look it up.

        • Harper66

          A friend of mine once had an electricians over to price some work. When talking over his estimate the electrician mentioned the varying costs of the PNS would affect the final price.My friend was naturally confused by the acronym and was mightly pissed off when he learned all the electrian was talking about was plugs and sockets.

          I mention this story as it illustrates two points.1) a general price rise due to an increase in cost of production. This could be seen as an example of one aspect of cost push inflation. 2) the electrian could be seen as an example of someone using complicated terms to explain something simple.

          Either way I still disagree with your original point.

          • John Q. Public

            The supply of money went up due to many wage increase demands. Wages in factories etc. are a cost of production (detrimental to production as we have seen with Dell). Did you ever hear of ‘too much money chasing too few goods’? I’m just saying there were a lot of Irish people demanding wage increases which led to more credit being made available to these higher earners.

          • @John Q. Public

            Blah, blah, blah, the ‘wage increase demands’, you keep blathering on with this rubbish!

            Who was minding the shop?

            The bartender gave out free drink to anyone who’d accept it!

            Pilot error, don’t blame the passengers!

          • John Q. Public

            So you don’t think public and private sector unions are a problem then? hmmm…
            ‘Don’t blame the passengers’ well nobody puts a gun to your head and says ‘take this 120% 460K mortgage or I will shoot!’. Yes you are right, the banks lent out too much money but people took the money.

    • Pedro Nunez

      Nil aon gombeen mar do gombeen fein!

      Nil illegitimi carborundum.

    • marcahe

      Nama another bright idea from this goverment, trying to deal housing bubble bust by reflation.
      Public and Private Unions were only looking for wage increases during the bubble years just so all of its members could get a mortage.
      But the union will still be looking for more money because the cost of house is inflated because of nama, energy cost are going up (carbon tax, peak oil) and high taxs in ireland. Everyone will be looking for money from anywhere.
      As for emigrates having the vote. I have one answer for that: If you to be a Irish national and want to vote, you pay for it. Don’t pay tax to this state to be able to vote. Hand in your irish passport.

      • Colin

        Currently 115 Countries allow their ex-pats to vote. I haven’t heard the clamour from natives in these countries to deny the vote from their ex-pats.

        What about those Irish abroad sending money home? Does that not entitle them to vote? Then those who return on holiday spend a lot of their money here, boosting the local economies around the country. Others help convince foreigners to go on holiday in Ireland, again helping the tourist sector. You also have an export market in everything from Tayto Crisps to Guinness, again boosting the Irish economy.

        Its clear to me now that those who wish to continue to deny the vote to our ex-pats have very little experience of being marginalised either at home or abroad.

  11. Gege Le Beau

    Reposting the comment below as it is related to article. Forgive my cyncism, but we will have more of the same style politicians (political dynasties) and people being appointed across all sectors on the basis of the old boys network and who you know, I expect minimum change (just enough to point to and keep the populace in-check). There is a reason why Google, Facebook and other ventures have not started here, even with all our IT graduates and everything else, it is a risk adverse culture mixed with an element of begrudgery, we are our own worse enemy. I appreciate the article, but for all the talk, lessons have not been learnt, banks are back behaving exactly as before, while a whole bunch of people standing as Labour candidates are former PDs or Fine Gael, while the other parties (FG in particular) offer no real alternative.


    For Ireland 2011 will be the year to end all years, the crisis that commenced in 2007/2008 will finally come home to roost in spectacular fashion and affirm Marx’s line that “all that was once permanent melts away like snow”, businesses and individuals were/are creative and used all kinds of means to survive to now but with the New Year some heavy hitters have been taken out including Celtic bookmakers and now this (Citywest etc, alleged debts of €190 million)http://www.independent.ie/national-news/tycoons-empire-in-ruins-with-debt-of-euro192m-2488666.html, all of which indicates a continued trend.

    Big voices (& seemingly run away opinions) have been taken off the airwaves indicating a kind of energy shift, a political, social and economic awakening from the lotus induced slumber of the ’00’s. In these times it is interesting to see the emergence of the ‘old ways’, a return to community spirit, a searching for values, meaning, while the industry of books explaining what could be summed up in one word: greed, is less inspiring and seems highly opportunistic.

    Among the citizenry, some people talk of karma, one woman said to me 5 years ago that ‘Ireland would get no luck for Shannon’ (stop-over used by countless US troops to get to Iraq and elsewhere), others might be concerned with star alignment or the rumblings in the societal soul, maybe the writer, David McWilliams, will return to the Moral of the Mayan Meltdown and point to the great lessons of history and lives past which are most relevant (Santayana: “those who fail to learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them”). http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2009/06/07/moral-of-the-mayan-meltdown

    The purveyors of the Boston rather than Berlin model are quiet (The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, is reportedly on holidays while nearly 700 people languished on trolleys in hospital corridors because there were no beds available (where is the head of the health service with his salary of €400,000 and performance bonus of €80,000? – the buck stops with no one in Ireland, it is simply pocketed), The Minister of Transport, Noel Dempsey was on holidays during the first major freeze, learned his lesson but that interview with Dermot Ahern about the non-presence of the IMF in Ireland finally saw the end of his career).

    Economic and financial ‘experts’, those highly paid insiders, high priests of the prevailing consensus, have had their talk of ’soft landings’, ‘modest growth’, ‘cooling of the property sector’, exposed (only politicians an bankers have a lower standing to my mind), while unemployment and emigration, the great scourges of Irish history have returned with a vengeance and illustrate, as if we needed such an illustration, who actually suffers during great recessions. Ireland’s international reputation is in the toilet, the IMF have come and gone, the EU did us no favours with their built in profitable interest rates, more money off the backs of our poor, unemployed and disabled.

    Those principally responsible, politicians, the ultimate legislators, aided and abetted by an ineffective opposition whose policies were often worse, a compliant, unquestioning media and the bankers who ultimately were left so unregulated that they sunk the country entirely, are now jumping ship with golden handshakes and pensions beyond most people’s belief. On my return flight this week, the paper I received from the air hostess reported that a certain individual refused to return a €1 million bonus, while the ineffective letters from the Minister of Finance spoke of the impotence of the political system when up against ‘high finance’. The contempt for democracy could not be more stark.

    2011 will see more heavy hitters go down, increase in monopolies/mergers as people seek shelter from the storm, consumption will continue to decline as people naturally chose saving over spending in this uncertain time, while the bailout (which should rightly be called ‘more indebtedness’ something RTE-PRAVDA which is fighting its own rearguard action, will never do), will have to be renegotiated with the future of the Republic depending on the outcome.

    A structured default is one of the options as the debts are simply too enormous for the State to handle, if not Irish society will be de-railed. With default comes an Argentinean style situation, potential societal meltdown hence the capital flight to Switzerland and other countries.

    The Ireland of 2012 will be almost unrecognisable, a new government, a new President after Mc’s two terms that seemed to go on forever (never have I seen a President more silent), a whole plethora of high street businesses gone to the wall and God knows what else while the can FF kicked down the road will have to be confronted.

    2012 could yet be the great coming of age for a country that has gone through so much. Ireland is being forced to grow-up and confront its demons, demons so long covered up by a corrupt business, church and political elite with the not so inconsequential assistance of the so called ‘professions’ that or we face an Easter island style implosion where the last person will turn out the lights on a country that burned brightly but recklessly for 10 or so years.

      • Pedro Nunez

        Peasent class governance for a gombeen ridden people!

        the catholic church was a ‘joy ride’ compared to the abuse meeted out by corrupt, incestous, gombeen governed state.

    • BrianC

      All that you say is very true. Perhaps the truest remark is that we are a risk averse culture hence the predisposition to focus on property at the expense of a mixed balanced economy that promotes manufacturing and agriculture. There is also the fact that politics, so far in Ireland SF being the exception, attracts the most conservative minded people who are of limited ability and oriented to me too yes men rather than innovative creators.

      You are right Ireland needs to grow up and all it has ever done was look to others to build the economy rather than build it themselves using their own intelligence. A sentiment expressed by another which is so true is ‘leave Ireland start a business and be successful you are a hero stay in Ireland and struggle to build a business you are an effing idiot’.

      David makes many good points but sadly there is no avenue in Ireland for them to be routed into action to transport the required change. In previous posts I have pushed my hobby horse on the futility of fractional reserve banking and pointed to the fact that you can make things as complicated as you like but the simple fact remains the more you have borrowed the more it is the lenders problem. There is no way our me too asinine Irish politicians are ever going to grasp that leveraging fact. They are more interested in preserving the status quo protecting their private pockets and doing what they are told borne of habitual obedience they are now set to remain the obedient servants of the ECB. They actually helped pave the road for the EU/ECB to shaft Ireland to favour German French and British banks.

      Brian Cowen is just pure mediocre and never achieved anything of any merit in any ministerial port folio he held. Brian Lenihan has no understanding of economics absolutely none whatsoever. BL barrister of law Brian ought to have remained in the land of academia as it is a pure annoyance every time he defends his course of economic action he avers to the necessity of being able to pay the social welfare bill and public sector hence the prerequisite of securing the support of the ECB rather than build a self sustaining economy forcing accountability on the ECB rather than penalising a Nation for the sins of reckless bankers.

      Dempsey, Ahern, Harney are mere reflection of the rest of the Dail useless. Gilmore is an asinine joke. Kenny is so clueless FG have to closet him on a web site with a new hair do….what a useless twat. James Reilly is nauseating; the very moron who precipitated the health crisis with the ridiculous exorbitant fees in the medical community.

      The President of Ireland has actually done a great service in her unbelievable silence in portraying the true strength of the Presidency of Ireland. There would be no need for a referendum had the President fulfilled her duty to the Irish people and referred the recent finance act to the Supreme Court. It proves the point how useless the office of President is and should be dispensed with immediately. The Irish President is a mere lick ass rubber stamp lacking in executive powers. And the one time a President could have done something McAlese bottled it. MM proved she is of less use than a packet of M&Ms in a pharmacy cabinet pure sugar colour coating dressing on a useless out of tune out of date political system. Can you imagine that Leprechaun Higgins as the President a little man with little ideas a pure ‘nobody’ in a stupid office in a grandiose House in the Park.

      I have to agree with cbweb above regards his remarks stating that giving a vote to all is not a prudent move. No need to reiterate the reasons but believe David is definitely wrong on that count.

      Whilst it looks good to detail ten steps there is little point until the first key step is taken which is force the EU to direct the ECB to crystallize the bank debts exactly where they belong which everyone knows is the banks and not the National Debt which will be the death for all when it kills off the economy. The only way this will happen is if enough independents are elected to the Dail where SF can lead the way but that is most unlikely and in the unlikely event of such the independent TDs would need to be of the same type of moral courage as Sean DB Loftus who put principle before his pocket.

      • Deco

        Concerning the Presidency…they don’t call her McUseless for nothing !!!

        Sean ‘Dublin Bay’ ‘Rockall’ Loftus got squashed by the party machines in the 1980s, though a lot of his voters switched to Tony Gregory and got revenge on the party machines :)))

    • Deco

      I do agree on certain points.

      However, there is a common misconception in Ireland that the Irish are risk averse, and that this is a problem. I speculate that “the Irish are risk Averse” theory is a load of bullshit. The real truth of the matter is that the Irish have been taking far too much risks, have been wasteful, gambling and reckless. Our dominant social and cultural mores today encourage this sort of behaviour and have an aversion to anything that could be considered conservative, careful or even mildly cautious.

      I disagree that the modern Irish are risk averse. The past twenty years have shown that the Irish have become entranced by increasingly risk taking to the point of getting high on risky behaviour and recklessness. And I am not just talking about Irish people bungie jumping in New Zealand, getting drunk and driving around cars in the middle of the night before crashing them, gambling debts, or dabbling in drugs. These themselves are serous problems. But in finance we have experimented with risk to the point of driving ourselves to bankruptcy. Let’s face it – the real problem is that we have tried too much risky decision making, embraced too much risk. The real problems we face, have come about because we are not cautious enough, with regard to many things. This probably shocks some people. This might be the first time you have every seen this sort of comment. Because in modern Ireland, as we have it defined for us, we are being encouraged to see everything assymetrically. The results we are told, do not come as a result of the flawed concepts or delusions that we chase, but as a result of other people in our society not embracing such flawed concepts.

      We have taken far too many risks. The problem is not lack of risk taking. The problems are derived from a different points of reference. There was a lot of easy peasy thinking – and we bought it because we were instructed to believe that lazy thinking and unrestraint equated to modernity (not just an Irish proble – but a problem across the Western World). There was a lemming tendency to follow the other fools before they left us behind (a symptom of the ‘manufacturing of consent). There was an obsession with pride (deliberately pumped up by local vested interests, and CJH realised it’s potential in the 1980s, and copied by numerous others since). There was also a concerted push to exhibit superficial sophistication, as a means for covering up flawed and lazy thinking. And there was also a persistent compelling sense of encouragement provided to embrace risky behaviour and risky decision making.

      The only aversion that I seen was an aversion to ever consider the long term consequences of where it might get us.

      All of these factors are now facing a very stern reckoning. But so far, it seems as if many people, especially those in positions of influence, have chosen to protect the people from the consequences of these strands of intellectual laziness. In this regard, I am reminded of the thinking of James Howard Kunstler, who warned that the people were ripe to be scelped again by some sort of proclaimer who would tell them that they deserved better than to be made deal with the consequences of their own recklessness.

      If only we have not gone down so far on the road to the making caution the persistent object of derision and rebuke in the public discussions of our society. Alas, we have – and we are now wtuck with the consequences !!!!

      • BrianC

        Yes Deco I think you have explained the risk aversion element very well.

        Lazy thinking installed property as the main means to wealth generation in Ireland. This was underpinned by the fact that manufacturing was not exactly a very professional profession. Those in the agricultural community favoured installing their children in the professional classes in the service sectors. Once Ireland imported manufacturing enterprises in from the US manufacturing became somewhat respectable and the IDA became elevated in respectability.

        We really need to understand our history as to why we had no manufacturing industry in Ireland. Too long to go into here. But I accept your point regards being risk averse which is expertly made. The Irish are not risk averse all we have to do is consider those who emigrated and were pioneered new industries.

        The whole NAMA debacle saves the few at the expense of a nation. Property put before sense. The the extent of their intellectual thinking is ‘we support start ups that have eight employees.

        • Deco

          NAMA is a semi-state enterprise with the declared purpose of being a holding area for real estate. The real objective seems to me to hold as much property as possible off the market, so as to acheive the “ofter landing than a hard landing” scenario. Of course this is an open effort to manipulate the market.

          Michael Davitt, declared that the Irish had two weaknesses.
          The first weakness was alcohol.
          The second weakness was choosing the easy option every time there was a decision to be made.

          Needless to say the vested interests in Ireland do not have much time for Michael Davitt, as a role model for Irish people – roll a sports or media personality instead !!! In fact Michael Davitt has been either ignored or ridiculed, since the 1970s. He simply did too much damage to the vested interests of the day. He was a simple man, with very simple straightforward ideas, and no superficiality. The antithesis of the hero of the modern present day Ireland.

          Well, we seem to be choosing the easy option. This does not equate to risk aversion. Often the easy option is the riskier. In fact there is nothing riskier than taking the lazy option. And this is what we did when we got money from the ECB.

          We decided to take the risky, but lazy option – property. Contrary to the mantra “as safe as houses” there is nothing safe about property investment. We did the same with regard to the productive sectors like agriculture and manufacturing. The risk-averse investment is to keep plodding away making products or services as before, to stick to the brass tacks, and not to be playing with bank shares or property. The lazy way (but more inherently risky than anybody really admitted) was to chase the “money for nothing” scheming in the property sector).

          Sean Quinn, faced this dilemma. As he said himself “we got greedy”. If he had stayed cautious, and risk averse, then he would have avoided gambling in Anglo CFDs. He would have stayed making stuff for 8% or whatever it was of a margin. But he suddenly felt that there were smarter people than him who were making fat margins. And as richest man in Ireland, he figured he could get their respect. From hanging around with them, it seems he suddenly found the inner gambler. His ego took over, and he started to speculate. He is not alone. There are thousands of people in Ireland who became “passed out” by the “success” of the fast moving property magnates, almost to the point that they slow steady efforts were being made look ridiculous and small. They got into the FIRE economy with it’s high risks, and made massive mistakes.

          Yes, I think that there is something to be learned from all of this. Intellectual laziness is the real problem. It is the deciding factor that has give us the now proven as flawed, mainstream Irish concept of management. This is the concept that we see in the ISEQ listed companies, in IBEC members, and also in the Irish Management Institute.

          The two most successful Irish businessmen of this era run Tullow Oil, and Ryanair. Neither have been part of this mainstream Irish concept of management. Both have been hard working, hard-thinking, blunt, leaders. Both only make the most informed decisions.

          Contrast that with the clowns running the banks, and the clowns that the bankers put in charge of the rest of the ISEQ listing – now they are risk takers !!!

          • MadaboutEire

            Making enormous gambles in the banking sector or on property (by well connected, long standing insiders) is not an example of risks being taken, they were just that, enormous, reckless casino like gambles which people thought were sure bets (more often than not involving people on both sides of the deal).

            ‘Taking a risk’ on something is when a person comes with an idea that requires seed capital, advice, assistance where there is a high possibility of failure, think Facebook, imagine if someone presented that idea to a country enterprise board, would they have got in the door given it tends to support manufacturing/exports?

            Old thinking remains, taking a chance on ‘a pleb’ i.e. poor, no contacts etc that is where risk comes in, and a lot don’t wish to see the status quo changed hence the concentration of a few on the property sector (‘safe as houses’). Few genuine risks were taken during the boom, (construction, paying multinationals to setup and granting 12.5% corporate tax rate etc are hardly risks).

            Where are our own massive IT successes? Few to none, why? because no one took a chance on them initially, that is what I think is being raised.

      • locoloco

        I don’t think evidence of current financial woes provdes evidence as to whether we are risk-adverse or not. What it may demonstrate is a sheep-like herd instinct to conform, without carrying out risk evaluation at all ! If I look at an opportunity/proposal, balance the potential gains against the potential losses, consider other options also, and then make a decision….I can be described as either risk-adverse or risk-tolerant. Most of what we have seen demonstrates fact-adverse, fairy-tale loving, stupidity (or ignorance, which is more forgivable).

  12. Colin

    Excellent article David.

    What you should work on now is getting the ear of Kenny and Noonan and convince them of your arguments. I’ll certainly be asking any candidates who turn up on the doorstep about your 10 step plan.

    • malone

      Colin ,
      I am not that sure if you real meaning is to convince politicans to do something like this but I think you are wasting your time completely and utterly.
      What we need now is a totally new political membership not the corrupt wankers that
      are there now with same same old bollox, ah we in the labour party mandated to get ……… The same old bollox.
      Totally new Blood is whats needed and we need new people and new political parties to go out and run for election and as the appetite is there for new blood now
      or else as David mentioned a Irish default seems increasingly likely , so does the sprectre of revolution. People have had enough !

    • MT25

      I fully agree….we need to question and lobby our candidates. First and foremost on a referendum on private debt.

  13. I’d suggest this point here:

    XI Establish a fact finding committee

    Here members of the public shall be included to establish economical and political links that enabled this heist and the people involved. This is not a witch hunt, however, this shall not be an insider job either, accountability needs to be applied.

    This entire scenario was described many times by David, and he identified it correctly as an Insider vs. Outsider problem that has been cultivated here since decades.

    This here was delivered in April 2010:


    to the people of Iceland, and they started to act upon these findings.

    It is not too late to do the same in Ireland.


  14. ladygee2

    Great article once again, David. If common sense had reigned in this country during the past decade things would not have turned out as bad as they have done.

    It’s true about all of the FF’ers ‘bailing out’. They knew that they were more than likely to lose their seats in the forthcoming General Election and they’re getting out now while ‘the going is good’ with fat pensions, as well!!

    I’ll believe it when I see FF end up with around 20 or so seats in the next Dail!! I hope they get massacred!!! Because they deserve to be totally wiped out, but that won’t happen, because you’ll always have the ‘so called’ FF stalwarts who just keep on believing the bullshit propaganda and spin being spouted by all of the FF T.D’s and Senators.

    If the Irish people really want change to happen all they have to do is think ‘hard’ before they put their 1′s 2′s and 3′s in the boxes on their ballot papers. A vote for Fianna Fail is a vote for more of the same a vote for any one else would be a vote for change. THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT THIS ON THE DAY OF THE GENERAL ELECTION!!!

  15. [...] So without further ado, let me guide you towards David McWilliams latest publication, entitled “If I was Taoiseach… what I would do to save Ireland“. [...]

  16. persilschein

    The amount of political courage it would take to follow the steps above are beyond the average TD funeral goer.
    So the civil service doesn’t have a Whitaker and we are potentially unstable.

    If the universities could get together a platform on which to base a coherent plan, like above, that would give a certain momentum. Invite people who can do stuff. One David McWilliams or Constantin Gurdiev carries voltage, but the lot of them together generates some waves. Not political but practical. Economical. No hot air. But we would all love it if a plan would come together.

  17. wills


    Very comprehensive in solutions and detail. And it can work.

    There is also though a resistance in place in the system which may prevent any of this from becoming a reality.

    A mindset which has it s roots in holding onto power not matter the cost.

  18. malone

    David , nice article

    My approach here would be similar
    1. Cancel all current credit card debt that is owed to the banks and all outstanding credit card in arrears which is at the moment being paid back to the banks by Joe and Mary Soap. This would have the advantage of putting more money in to the ordinary blokes pocket and relieving him of the unnecessary strain which goes with it and giving him a bit more spending power.The banks take the hit with all the credit card debt ; including MBNA
    2. Do the same for private bank loans
    The Banks take the hit.
    3. Cancel all mortages and give a once only ammnesty to home owners that they now own their property because of the current situation. This would get rid of negative equity overnight and would put huge disposable income back in the pockets of Joe and Mary Soap. This in itself would boost the economy tremendously.
    The Banks take the hit.
    4.By now the banks would be near failure point
    5. For buisness loans that are owed to the bank
    carry out a viability study to see which buisness are viable and for those buisnesses cancel all debt that they owe to the banks , this would take a huge burden off their shoulders and hopefully give the buisness a lifeline so that they will thrive.
    Cancel all debt owed by famers as their spending power is nothing to be sneezed at either
    6. Set up Independant Banks and ( whose employeee could never have worked for any of the big banks before) and as you mentioned David transfer deposits from the bad banks to the new good ones and get a viable banking system going.
    7. Set up 3 new banks which are separate to the other new ones and transfer all assets from credit unions which lie in the bad banks to these three new ones. This would have the effect of safeguarding credit union deposits which I believe are in the 100 Bn range. The reason they they are kept seperate from the other ones is that if the banks do get into trouble , this would not cause the credit union banking sector to go belly up.Tis would have the effect of people keepoing their money in the credit unions and know that they are safe and as a result will be encouraged to take out loaan and thereby boost the economy
    8. Impose very strict rules in the new banking sector concerning the loaning of money both for personal banks and and inter bank loans and also for international transactions.
    9 Split the debt that exits now into two parts
    1. the money that was given to the goverment and 2 the money that was given to the banks by the ECB
    10 Renegotiate only the debt owing for money given to the goverment for day to day spending
    11. Appoint a reciever to all the Banks and shut them down
    12. As with any capitalist venture that fails
    all the bond holders and ECB get whats left.
    12 Return the IMF money and politely tell them that their money is not wanted.
    13 Get rid of tax free areas such as the IFSC and the Shannon free Zone
    12 Increase corporation tax from 12.5 % to 16 % for domestic firms and for foreign owned( and foreign takeovers) firms increase it to 18-20 % . These firms are getting away with murder. The profits that are earned by the multinationals are not distributed to their Irish workers.They should pay for the privilege of being able to set up in Ireland.
    13.. Fix a maximum price for land and for houses based on their size alone so that a property bubble could never happen again i.e a house in Galway the same size as a house in Dublin would fetch the same price and acre of land in Dublin would be the same price as in Meath, Tippearary , Cork, Sligo.

    14. Invest in a new water scheme including a network infrastructure replacment and new resevoir building scheme for Dublin in order to start the ball rolling with jobs.
    15. Set up a National Gas & Oil exploration , drilling and distribution company to explore the seas around Ireland and then to sell the gas so as Irish workers and the Irish people benefit from the profits and get rid of the big Oil companies.
    16. Ban the import of Sugar and start up the sugar industry here again.
    17. Get rid of the Bankruptcy laws so firms and people can start afresh.

    The sooner we stop depending on the multinationals for to give us jobs and in particular Corporate America and start up our own home grown industries
    the better. There are now more start up ideas than ever and it is a shame that other countries will benefit from them because of emigration. The Roman Empire was thought of as the empire that would never fall fell, the 1000 year German Reich fell after 8 years and so too will Corporate America but we do not want to be dragged down with it.
    and finally

    Confiscate all the assets of the TD, Solicitors, Bankers,Auctioneers, Property Porn peddlers, Dept of Finance officals , Property Developers and their familys and anybody that had anything to do with the property boom and give them hefty Gaol sentences
    for economic treason.

    Ireland might be a different place then !

  19. wills


    The article provides a blueprint for recovery. A blueprint that can work, if it is tried, giving a chance to work it can work.

    There are those though who do not want it to work cause they will loose more than anyone else in its success. They will loose power. Loose standing. And most importantly loose their guaranteed future income streams.

    They will do what has to be done to ensure their future income streams are preserved.

  20. Pedro Nunez

    If you walk far enough east will you end up walking west,

    we need a leader to the new Jerusalem, no plastic paddies, Maybach driving gougers, closet lurking spoofers, just the real deal honest Irish pragmatist who can call a spade a spade and not BS its a pick/shovel.

    As JohnQPubilc poses the ultimate question; “Even during the boom a lot of people, particularly well-qualified graduates, left the country. Not because they had to but because they wanted to,” says Dr James Wickham, director of the employment research centre at Trinity College Dublin. So fuck them, if they have good ideas why don’t they stay here and use them?”

    John its because we’re still a ‘cute hoor, basterdised post colonial inadequate so called culture’ that has been duped into the FF self serving ‘vision’ for the past 20 yrs.
    Its so the insider class can feed on the talents and ideas of these folk when and if they return and claims them for their gombeen own. And if they don’t the gombeens will tap them for favours if they reach any relevance.

    We have a corrupt and schizophrenic national psyche without vision nor resonance in the 21st C

    • MadaboutEire

      Parnell got lime in his face.

      The leaders of 1916 were spat on.

      Both Davitt and Larkin took their organising and political abilities off elsewhere.

      Critics like Wilde, Joyce and Beckett all wrote from exile.

      What is it about Ireland that drives people out?

  21. CitizenWhy

    Starting point, whatever the solution: The so-called bailout is a doomsday plan condemning Ireland to a perpetually shrinking economy. This is the general consensus of informed analysts in the USA. No one can figure out why an Irish government would do such a thing to its own people.

  22. After watching ‘Song for a Raggy Boy’ earlier my mood has now morphed from melancholy to joy and I am thinking more in terms of ‘The Commements’ rather than ‘Paddy Reilly’

    This sounds like an excellent plan and I will putting these points to the politicians when they come canvasing because it is the most sane and sober solution I’ve heard. No morally and intelectually sound person would find many problems with it. We know there are people in positions of power who are very unreasonable owing to the selfishness of their ways or by having a lower intelligence quotient than their position suggests but under a new game with new rules the best of them could rise to the top quickly and help turn this country around. Ireland is much more adaptable than some people give it credit for and if we all focus on removing this blood sucking leech from our backs then we then we can move onto the next step. If we successfully work the economic problem piece by piece then everything else in our society would be improved. Less obsession with money and property and more focus how we can develop our society to a state where it not the brutal and fear ridden place it is right now

    If the ten points were adopted by any political movement then they would win votes big time because the plan has been thought through and the way it has been presented on this site is logical and to straight to the point. You don’t get invited onto the Max Keiser show, like David McWilliams has done, by being a muppet and that is one good reason why people should take this plan seriously. He has innovative ideas that are practical, do-able and fair

    The plan would place us in a strong negotiating position morally and practically plus give us the chance to show the world what we are really made of. If word of this vision for the Irish Economy is spread then we could get seriously back to business and do more soul searching to root out and get rid of our hangups and weaknesses. The McWilliams Economic Manifesto could be sweet medicine for a people who are fed up to here with the awful taste from the economic and spiritual equivalent of cod liver oil

    If you are a politician reading this then I hope you are using the intelligence god gave you and start thinking and acting like an adult for the future of the nation. If you put your country before your party you will win the respect of young people who will recall your name when you are expired and say that you were someone of quality who did something good and which actually mattered to Ireland. Your actions could help bring back a sense of hope to your demoralised countrymen rather than let them live their lives as a beaten people. Do what the people are asking you because psychologically we are on the operating table and in need of a transfusion of inspiration, hope and a new sense of purpose. There Is No Alternative and the shock therapy you people seem to insist on unleashing on the people of Ireland will not last for much longer because the whole world knows it is an embarrassment that should never be tolerated in any advanced culture

    Something has to give and logic tells us that the even the almighty banking system cannot ride roughshod over a country that voices it’s will with an iron majority and which, in Ireland’s case at least, has a history of not lying back and taking crap lying down. The times are changing fast and we are still here but the longer this game goes on the more resilient some of us are becoming. If any reading politician is still a bit slow on the uptake and since you will currently be thinking up witty and meaningless election slogans for us to laugh at then here is a catchy little number you just might understand : ‘not on this watch’

    • Deco

      I don’t know about Paddy Reilly, but the film “the Commitments” ended in an unreconcilable row, mostly because of too many egos….

      • For gods sake Deco please lighten up man

        As Joey the Lips said to the dreamer at the end what was voted the best Irish film ever the most important thing was that for a time at least the people felt good about themselves because a few people brought Soul to the Irish brothers and stopped them from blowing each other to bits

        No one talks about the ending of the film. They always talk about the music and the characters who are all trying to better their lot in the wastelands of Inner City Dublin. It is a story about hope

        You either get it or you don’t

  23. uchrisn

    These steps are all actually execellent and socially just and would be to the benefit of the majority of Irish people.
    They would be to the detriment of a minority of rich, powerful and influential people inside Ireland and many foreign banks, goverments and investors.
    On the eve before the gaurantee was extended last September Mr. Cowen had meetings with Bill Clinton no less and the German Chamber of commerce.
    Organising a referendum on continuing to fund our banks/NAMA would be a good way to show that Ireland is actually a democracy.

  24. John-Paul O'Driscoll

    These ten steps, which are inspirational, logical, and moral, will not happen without David McWilliams, or others with similar thinking, in position to put them in motion. No one in Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labor, Greens, etc. has the capacity, common sense, or neck to implement such bold and original ideas to serve the interests of the people of Ireland. These ten steps could be combined with the principles, goals, and values being formulated across the country by ‘Claiming Our Future.’ Is it too much to dream of an election that could produce a government that included David McWilliams and 80+ leaders/organizers from ‘Claiming Our Future,’ with the current political parties in opposition?

    • Just because David says they are moral you say they are moral. Did you swallow it all in one bite or did you chew on the article for a while? Reading the comments to this article I see ZERO hope for the peasants.

  25. TracyC

    Seems to me that we do have more power than we first realise, if we harness it. We have people-power. If enough citizens/voters contacted the main opposition parties (who are likely to form the next government) telling them that we won’t vote for them unless they take these ideas on board, then they’d have to listen. And we could rally people power via social media and other avenues such as radio.

    • TracyC

      Sorry, meant also to say that if David himself were to ask people who support his ideas to make that clear, that would have huge impact. Would this be possible?

      This upcoming election is possibly the most pivotal we’ll ever face, and we only get one chance to get it right.

  26. These suggestions all make good logical sense. I think our European Banklords and by proxy French,German and British governments have insisted on our current disastrous policy. These governments do not want their banks taking another major hit through a default on Irish bank debt. So pile it high on to the Irish taxpayer. They are trying to postpone the inevitable default through the the bailout package. It is time for a more radical and possibly risky proposal as outlined in this article while we are still in a position to do something. Continuing as is will essentially weaken our negotiating position so badly that will we will inevitably be unable to influence our own destiny.

  27. [...] has been dreaming of leprechauns in his quest for painless panaceas for his fans. In an article, If I was Taoiseach… what I would do to save Ireland, published in The Irish Independent on Jan 08,2011 and his own website, he outlines 10 steps to [...]

  28. Sunday Times – I am sorry to sidetrack the main issues on this blog but I could not stop .I am just after reading Fitzy’s sleezy mindset and spin-doctoring in an attempt to distance himself from his own center of gravity of a cess pit that he created where he held an official appointed committment to lead a bank that was solvent when he was apointed and take over the top remunerations from it.

    He says ‘I dont feel ashamed…’ Had he been in the British Army he would be and the army would have prosecuted him.His over the top remuneration brought with it ‘Responsibility and Trust ‘. He had none of that and never did . His has been a villan to everyone and himself and his family .How bad can his virus become .He never had luck only spite.

    • Deco

      Amazing. Here we see more of it.

      A massive discount is provided to the idea of “consequences” for recklessness.

      And this is justified by a hardline stance on the spectrum of “pride”. “I don’t feel ashamed”.

      Well, banker (all of them) – you dangerous idiots – you should all feel ashamed, and should resign without pension. Time to live with the consequences !!

  29. Deco

    The problem is “the empire”. By this I mean the EU. Once you join an imperial project, you get to the point that you must become a net contributor in order for the imperial expansion to continue.

    Every imperial concern grows in phases. And before every phase of expansion, the “leadership” and the “beneficiaries” tell the plebs that the empire must “expand or decline”. Moral causes are used as an excuse for expansion, with imaginary consequences (adverse) of not expanding – and with imaginary consequences (pleasant) from expanding the imperial venture.

    However, at some point every imperial concern gets overscaled. And this is the dilemma facing Europe.

    If the Irish want out, then the entire imperial project starts getting questioned – a bit like when the Dutch (who were always enthusiastic for greater co-operation) decided that the EU constitution was not a runner. So, we had a subversion of democracy – but renaming it and circulating it as something a lot more subtle – the Lisbon Treaty. (incidentally guided by those two accomplished liars, Bertie Ahern and Dick Roche). Europe has gone imperial – and we can tell that it has gone imperial, when the project to centralize power becomes the overriding objective that will not bow to any other consideration – including democracy !!! The EU has already crossed the Rubicon in this regard.

    David’s plan might be right for Ireland, but I wager that this is the present day economic equivalent of William Tell telling the ruling governor that he will not bow to the standard of the regime.

    The problem as far as the EU is concerned is that having the Irish people decide what is right for the Irish people is counter to the needs of the Imperial power centre. Watch all of our politicians promise one thing, and then change their mind after the election !!

  30. You have to ask yourself… What society are we developing if we have only a handful of highly paid people, and masses of underpaid or unemployed? – Andy Grove, Intel Senior advisor and Co-Founder –

    I would like to trigger some additional thoughts here.

    The reality of our economy needs to be put into the perspective of a global context. To no surprise we saw the markets reaction last week to the week US job data.

    Our reality is that we live in an outsourced world, where jobs are going to Asia for known reasons. This is happening at a 10 to 1 Ratio.

    Whether Apple, Dell, HP, XBox, Nokia, they all are served by Foxconn a giant Chinese manufacturer that was recently in the news due to employees committing suicide.

    Apple has 25,000 employees in the US, but it is Foxconn’s 250,000 employees in Foxconn that work on iPads, iPhones and the likes. The same ration of 10 to 1 applies already for other high tech companies such as Seagate, Dell etc.

    At the same time we see China’s self esteem and to a degree also economical aggressiveness increase. I wrote about the emerging crisis of rare earth elements a couple of months ago, and China is having a tight grip on these resources now. We need them in high tech products, from LCD’s to the controversial Wind turbines.

    This is the new reality we are confronted with and have to take into account.

    Let aside the fact that our cancerogenic political system requires emergency surgery, chemo therapy is no longer an option, anything less than radical surgery would only guarantee the death of the patient.

    Let aside the fact that a FG party is now circling the skies like vultures, ready to feast on the rotten crops that FF and the Greens have left on the ground.

    Let’s face it, the reality of our global economical situation can not be changed by Irish policy changes or radical surgery. In the Europe of 2011, we are roughly 4 million of 400 million, but where is the Irish European strategy?

    There is no such thing, the people in power here were out of their wits playing the big game.

    They remind me to sheep farmers who sit at the table of an international congress on nuclear physics, and demand a strategic change to nuclear fusion to solve the worlds overpopulation and energy problems.

    Mind you, the real sheep farmers have more wisdom than the whole bunch of our political class all together.

    In Germany we have a new reality of a second class labor market, it can not be better described than as a slave labor market that white washes the unemployment statistics since years.

    Politically, we can observe a strongly emerging fascism in the US as well as in Europe, this I consider the biggest threat to our future. I suggested to enable a fact finding committee as Iceland did.

    I can not over stress the importance of such a committee enough. Why?

    If we do not do that we deprive the people of this nation from learning the lessons, from finding closure, we deprive the people from healing what is injured, the latter being of utmost importance to enable a positive attitude.

    You could compare that with the position and situation of the Vatican during the Hitler regime. Why? Because still, to date the archives are kept closed, kept totally secret, when it comes to the activities or lack of activities of pope Pius XII with regards to the progrome on the jewish people.

    The same strategy is applied now on matters of Irish Banks and NAMA, a ridiculous pseudo inquiry spearheaded by EU interests was performed, that was all.

    No, this is not right, we need to open up wide the vaults in Anglo and the diaries of our politicians, and we need to do that now, because time is against us and plays for them.

    So where in Ireland are the people who take the new realities into account, people who are able and willing to forge new alliances, and most of all make it a priority that families and people are at the center of our society and not Banksters and corrupt politicians who are in the game since decades.

    Yes, Ireland is in a somewhat unique position, and we do have leverage to play with. So what is it going to be? Are we the sucker uppers in a totalitarian EU bureaucracy or are we rather the rebel who will bring forward changes that can benefit not only the Irish but all Europeans at the end?

    Where are people with a vision and the will to put their name to the plate?

    Pointed at another well known economic forum, David Mc Williams writings are certainly providing plenty, of course also highly controversial, but plenty of ideas, and they ooze creativity. It is one aspect of creativity that you have to ditch ideas, and make space for new ideas in that process. So it is a little bit too easy to point the finger and say, yeah, but once he said xyz, and now he says different. So what?

    It is a sign of creativity and also taking new realities into account to be able to ditch older ideas and bring forward new or revised ones.

    They way I like to see it, we are part of a global society, and our role, at least in Europe, in the past was defined by rip off Mc Greevy and the likes, to day THE BERT is still pretty active, and personally involved in selling of irish woodland resources the size of two counties to satisfy EU interests.

    Our role in the future will be defined by the people we choose to represent us.

    Who will it be?

    The same people who agreed to keep a lid on Anglo, Banks and NAMA matters?

    Well, pope Benedict XVI now agreed to use of condoms, only if you have aids that is of course, and not to refuse your duty to reproduce yourself. Right! In the US a democratic congresswoman get’s shot in the head at point blank, and Sarah Palin had a hit list on her website calling for democrats to be shot.

    Clearly, we are at a cross roads, and I would warn everybody in the strongest possible way to be alert, to be very alert, when someone from the political establishment comes up with statements such as: THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!

    At the center of policies in Ireland has to be one thing only, THE PEOPLE living here. It has not been this way since long, at the center was a club of gentleman who saw Ireland as an opportunity to be the hub of fraud and scams, and of course, they all are honorable people, they will always refer to themselves and to their opposing parties as honorable people who have only the best for the country at their mind.

    Yeah…. RIGHT!

    • Deco

      ” where is the Irish European strategy? ”

      Mostly it equates to doing as instructed by Brussels.

      And Brussels takes it’s instructions from all the lobbyists.

      Brussels has no clue what it is doing. Our politicians don’t have an issue with that. They simply sign up and apply for money from somebody else.

    • BrianC


      without truthful accountability there can be no true closure

    • There’s now a new pipeline in place ready to feed Russia’s vast oil and gas supplies straight into China and this means the Chinese don’t need to rely on petro-dollars. They are outplaying the US and and they further intend to increasing their gold bullion reserves from the present 3000 tons to be more in line with Fort Knox’s claimed 8000 tons

      Added to this we have the US meddling on China’s doorstep playing war games to rattle North Korea. This could turn into a flash point that could equal the Suez crisis and it makes one wonder is there truth after all in the prophecy that 2012 will be the year when the humans race finally destroys itself. The American empire is being run an managed for the multinationals and the bankers who are financing them. The power brokers are like crack heads looking for the next high

      I was pleased you mentioned Foxconn Georg as I used to work for such high tech companies and I spent three months in Taiwan where I lived like a lord among natives who were treated like the inmates of a concetration camp. This is one of the reasons why ten years ago I said goodbye to all that and became more of a free thinker like yourself. That experience woke me up and I decided that my conscience would never accept benefitting from such as sham

      I blogged about this a couple of months ago and it might offer all the Apple Fan Boys and Girls and so called Tech’ Journos some food for thought:


    • MadaboutEire

      The warning on the growth of fascism in the US & Europe is the elephant in the room, so it will certainly not be discussed.

      Just got back from the Rising Museum in Warsaw, 250,000 people slaughtered by the Nazi war machine, 80% of the city reduced to rubble.

      Remembering Fascism

  31. Deco

    RTE and the official media are telling us that a government Minister is “on holidays” at the moment. We are getting media coverage that is akin to the media coverage of in the Communist Bloc era, with regard to certain ‘personalities’ in the public realm who take a certain perspective.

    Repeatedly, the media in Ireland is being found out behind a consensus to keep the people in the dark as to what is really going on. This is not the first time, that we seen a coverup, involving the Irish media restraining itself from telling us what is really going on.

    There was a strange silence following on from when a well known feminists became blacklisted by the Irish media after a statement that she uttered on the radio two years ago, concerning a government minister. I was suprised by this, because by the standards of the said feminist – that was a minor and mild statement. She knows herself she made far more controversial statements, and suddenly made a very frank remark, which was hardly new, and since has been absent from the Irish media.

    I am amazed at the stuff that the media in this country defines as unfit for public consumption – in case it might undermine authority. Things that are hardly contoversial, and yet they are deemed too controversial by the Irish media. In particular some problems are deemed dangerous to public credibility in certain figures, and more particularly the agendas that the said individuals are pursuing. In fact, it seems to me to be all about the agenda.

    This is a very common theme, and it has been repeated several times in the past year, on several public figures.

    I think that the Minister should get her priorities in order. This requires that she steps down from a very difficult assignment, for personal reasons.

    • ioseebee

      Hi Deco,

      I agree watching reports on RTE News about how the export figures were increasing & that government predicted figures for tax intake were exceeded or were on target was like watching the big American News Shows. It was cringe-worthy watching it! It;s like they are giving the public an injection of sedatives every 6.00 or 9.00.
      I think it is imperative now that anyone who does know what is actually going on should try and educate as many people as they possibly can. David’s Insiders Show has been an amazing example of how educating people re: deep & boring issues is possible.

      I’ve made a few posts on a relatively new site http://www.generalelection.ie

      I put link on it to David’s Article – I think everyone here should copy and paste link to his article and to any other alternatives where-ever they can.

      I also wrote a message to The Green Party on the http://www.generalelection.ie messageboard…..

      “Message to The Green Party!

      I supported you & defended your abilities and intentions as a real alternative to the status quo of politics in this country, to anyone who would listen. I admired your intentions to be actively involved in changing how this country is run, and believe you have had some success in government. But I cannot defend your actions of supporting Fianna Fail in NAMA, Endless Guarantees of Private Investors Gambles, and placing Private Debt on the Public. I believe the best contribution to this states future is to use your position in government to defend the people of this country and pull out of government today and tell the public that you will not allow them to be slowly mugged for decades!

      This one action of your time in government will be shown in history to be your most honourable, morally correct & finest contribution to the Irish People’s well-being. Educate the people & let the people have their say.

      At the moment it is like a live version of Orwell’s Animal Farm we are watching in our government. It is excruciating to watch the Green Party implode by not following the basic moral tale of that book. Every politician should note seeking power for noble causes can very easily succumb to clinging onto power unintentionally or intentionally to the detriment of those causes. Every politician who is voted in to represent the public, should be ready to relinquish that power vested to them, so that the democracy can be maintained and be a true gift for this country.”

      If you agree with me, feel free to copy & paste this message where ever you want & as often as you like…

      …let’s put the Green Party under as much pressure to the right thing for us all!

      David incidentally I would also support you as a candidate for this election. A Big Challenge for anyone to put themselves in the world of politics, and seek election. At least be assured you would have huge support for volunteers to help go door to door for you…

      Count me in as one of those!

      All the Best!

      • Deco

        For me the defining moment in the involvement of the GP in politics, came when a collection of former GP councillors got well paid jobs on state quangoes. I kind of a soft landing for failed politicians.

        Consequently, I do not waste any time trying to get them to convince me that they are anything other than opportunists on the take…

        • ioseebee

          Like it or not Deco, The Green Party are a political party in power right now, and what they do, or don’t do, to stop the Fianna Fail Property Juggernaut with attached Wrecking Ball at this moment in time matters!
          Currently The Green Party is all we have to work with, and offer the only chink of potential ability to put the brakes on our current runaway debt train…..

          I don’t have any faith in John Gormley at this time either. But I do believe him to have had sincere intentions to do beneficial things for our country & it’s people….. Personally I believe that if he doesn’t pull the plug on this government & allow a real alternative economic strategy to be voted on by people, with each passing day his and his party’s credibility is in tatters! And so it should be!

          All aside I believe the Green party, very naieve maybe,
          have genuinely offered the people an alternative to FF, FG and Labour, & are far less corrupt than any of the other parties, but you’re right Deco they won’t be remembered as anything more than opportunists unless they can find some backbone, & see the wood from the trees so to speak!

          Here’s hoping….

          I think David’s Article offer’s alternatives to a new government, a new economical & political direction… but I think everyone’s forgotten that there still is no election – and the first bail-out payments are being paid right as we speak….

          ….so I think the priority before anything else has to be stopping this government in it’s tracks…. if it mean’s petitioning John Gormley on as big a scale as possible then is that not something you would do?

          Your comment offered no alternative to mine in how to achieve this immediate goal…. how do we stop Lenny at this moment from placing Bills which show such contempt to the people of Ireland?

          • Deco

            Sorry if I am overly cynical. Best of luck with your efforts.

          • ioseebee

            I also e-mailed him the link to David’s Article & these comments…. who know’s? Maybe he will read them maybe he won’t….. maybe there’s something there that could move John Gormley to action,….. maybe not……

            …..worth a try…

            Think it would be useful if everyone who cared about it wrote their own e-mail to them, you don’t have to agree with what I’ve said in my own message to him…

          • ioseebee

            It’s hard not to be cynical Deco, I am equally so. But it is up to those who feel an alternative strategy is necessary to put them under the noses of as many people who do have the positions & power to change the immediate situation.

            David is doing that in various ways. You’re doing it by contributing to this discussion regularly.

            David’s alternatives are being heard by many more people each time he does something, I can’t hope to have the same voice as he has created for himself.

            But in one small way I have tried to put his message in the inbox of John Gormley. I think it would be interesting if he got many more e-mails requesting him to look at his responsibility in our current situation.

            For the same reason I have attended as many street protests as possible, even the trade union ones, despite my cynicism about their role. No-one in government listened yet, but without even trying there is no point..

    • Deco forget RTE. They are the gatekeepers who are employing self proclaimed ‘Socialists’ on 400k a year who profess to be admirers of James Connolly

      They are subliminally flipping the guilt switch at 6pm each evening by piping the sound of the Angelus bell straight into our living rooms

      It’s almost we are all being programmed by another program for which we have no access to the source codes in order to analyse the problem before setting up a master test plan for debugging all the issues in parallel

      Our Media is defective by design and yet they know very well that lots of smart people are looking in and wondering what these people are thinking, who they are protecting and why they are behaving like members of a secret society who have a penchant for adopting terms such as ‘Feral Youths’ to show their lack of tact when referring to those on the very fringes

      I dont see why you are being so coy about the snippet of scandal you have at your fingertips Deco. I wish I new what the big secret was but I guess it is just that the old and trusted Irish version of Omerta at work

  32. ioseebee

    I’ve also e-mailed the above message to John Gormley.

    His e-mail address is freely available on his site.


    Small steps…..

  33. Daniel McConnell points out Lenny Wrong’s (our great dictator) banking bill, “In a very sinister development, hefty sanctions are provided for in the Bill for anyone who publishes the fact that the minister has used the main powers in the Bill or is proposing to do so. Fines of up to €100,000 and prison terms of up to three years are provided for. So, attempts by the media or anyone else to inform people as to what is happening are now punishable by jail or a hefty fine”.

    Ye are all going to jail and have to pay fines of €100,000 each if you write anything about Lenny Wrong’s use of his banking Bill.

  34. Mary Wallace is number 12 to jump ship!

    Quick, we need emergency legislation to turn Dail pensions into real pensions, e.g they represent a fraction of salary and you only get them when you turn 65.

    McUseless and Biffo and Lenny Wrong ministerial salaries and across the public service plus Pravda RTE to be capped at €100,000.

    Expenses to be capped at 60% fraction max current salaries, none of this McUseless €300K expenses rubbish.

    All bank bonuses to be scrapped. All management previous to 2008 to be replaced, fired or demoted.

    Numbers of Td’s reduced, a list system introduced, banning of outside consultant fees for the banks. If the banks can’t run their own banks, fire the management, get someone in permanently who can…

    We need radical changes across the board.

    • +1

      Firings left right and bloody centre you mean

      Just because Son of Haughey has turned Judas by destroying his chosen successor will not cut it. This time there around is no question that shit does indeed stick to Teflon

      Brian Cowan is punch drunk and on the ropes. The next uppercut should do it for him and he will go back to Offaly and try to recover what self respect he has left. It’s nothing personal but it’s time hit the trail Brian

      So far we have 12 twelve Fianna Fail economic traitors scurrying like rats for the exit. Away the lot ye and don’t dare come back

  35. Tim

    Folks, there is only one word used in this article by David that I don’t agree with: “amoral”.

    “Before we discuss economics, let’s introduce the word morality because a policy has to be morally right for it to work. Current policy is AMORAL. The bank debts are not ours; they are the debts of the banks, which were incurred when the banks were private. They are not our debts to pay.”

    In my understanding, “Moral” acknowledges the difference between right and wrong and chooses right; “Amoral” acknowledges neither right nor wrong but does as it pleases; “Immoral” acknowledges the difference between right and wrong and chooses wrong, regardless.

    If David is correct, in saying that the current policy is amoral, we are controlled by complete psychopaths; perhaps so.

    However, I challenge anyone involved to explain why current policy is not morally WRONG and, therefore “immoral”.

    We keep turning corners. Today, we turned another, with the “revelation” via the Irish Sunday Times, from Seanie’s book, “The Fitzpatrick Tapes”, that Cowen knew about the Anglo troubles in March ’08 and had dinner with Anglo top execs two weeks before becoming Taoiseach, played golf with Seanie, etc.

    This is not new; we knew about that back in 2008, so the only reason we keep turning corners is because the establishment-and-mainstream-media in Ireland is like a dog chasing it’s own tail;

    Around and ’round we go!

    This article by David succinctly spells out, yet again, everything that he has been advising for years (in some parts, back to 2003 and earlier), yet the advice is ignored. Whenever I see David, I expect everytime that he will be blue in the face; yet he is not. I admire his tenacity and perseverence as he faces every Groundhog Day.

    “We are where we are” because of tail-chasing. You all remember the FÁS scandals, Harney’s hair and nails, etc., the trolly problems in A&E and now we know where she has been for the past three weeks of the revisited health crisis; she has been on holidays here:



    You know the many other examples yourselves; too numerous to go into.

    How many books (apart from David’s three) have been written explaining the problem? I’ve lost count, even though I’ve read nearly all of them (not the Seanie one yet, of course). Yet I fear that so many people have not enlightened themselves about why and how they are being forced to suffer and pay for the profligacy of others; forced to pay via reduced public services, hospital beds, shortage of doctors and nurses; education cuts with 2000 teachers let go, children in overcrowded classrooms and pre-fabs rented from government cronies at prices higher than the cost of actual solid buildings; our fellow Irish citizens left without water for weeks due to lack of investment in critical infrastructure; job-losses, emigration, pay-cuts, levies, etc., etc…….

    Tail-chasing; the establishment trying to prop-up dead banks and a dead property sector in order to return to the silliness of selling houses to eachother on borrowed money, instead of creating jobs so that Irish people can simply live in Ireland and raise their families without too much worry or hardship.

    The tail-chasing establishment wants to return to having the sheeple chant “Location, location, location” and off we go again on the merry-go-round.

    I say we change that mantra to, “Education, education, education”, stop the tail-chasing by bringing the knaves to book and move on in wisdom, never again allowing the establishment to hoodwink the Irish people, because we will continuously inform ourselves, applying a hermeneutic of suspicion to everything we are fed as spin.

    Thankfully, we have David (chief among others) trying to inform and educate the people in his seemingly tireless fashion.

    • adamabyss

      Nice one Tim.

    • Tim,

      precisely the differentiation of amoral and immoral I stumbled on as well, I did not say anything though, because i was not sure whether it is just a language thing, and I might just split hairs here, or whether my immediate thought of immoral instead of amoral would be accurate.

      Your explanation would be along my lines of thinking as well.

    • Deco


      I suspect that the establishment want us to chase tails, so that we will not be chasing them. Beer and c
      circuses. Celbrities.

      Seanie Fitz has a book. Well….wonders never cease….all proceeds going to pay off his debts no doubt. It will be really interesting to see if he spills any beans on sheehy, fingers and co. I will not be buying it, though. He has already cost enough !!

      • Tim

        Deco, I’m unsure if the book is actually his,vìs à vìs royalties, or the ST journalists’ who interviewed him for it.

        You will be glad to learn that Seanie is quoted in it as describing P. Sneary as having “not very much grey-matter”.

        Who knows? This may be where the insiders begin to roll-over on one-another and start spilling the beans. I know that there are loan managers who have covered their asses by holding multiple paper, digital and audio records of phonecalls and transaction approvals such that, if they get blamed for anything, they will bring the whole house down around the ears of senior bankers, regulators, CB execs, etc.

        We’ll see. Let’s keep at it.

        • ioseebee

          Would be lovely to see them start biting off their own tails, instead of us chasing around after them! Haha!

          Seriously tho Tim & Everyone here, does anyone have any opinion on how much damage is being done just by the very fact that this government is still in power? And what are the possibilities of reversing decisions currently being made!

          I’ve never seen anything like the way this government has twisted & turned out of holding this election, and by-elections. Feel like we no longer live in a democracy, wonder if I ever did now, and believe we’re this government is behaving in a dictatorial way on behalf of the EU and their interests….. think of the referendums, think of how they have held onto power to ensure the will of the E.C.B. and IMF has being carried out.

          In another country if you changed the names of the main players, there would be a call to oust this government ‘to save democracy’.

          We’ve known it to happen in other countries, puppet democracy’s as it suits those in power, bringing down regimes & installing new ones to suit the West’s whim…

          Just to add what do ye think of the U.S. congress having to raise their debt ceiling or default… does it matter what Ireland does when the U.S. of Dire Straits, is also an economic house built on sand?

        • I know that there are loan managers who have covered their asses by holding multiple paper, digital and audio records of phonecalls and transaction approvals such that, if they get blamed for anything, they will bring the whole house down around the ears of senior bankers, regulators, CB execs, etc.

          Well… if that is so…. what the Hell are they waiting for?

          • Tim

            Georg R. Baumann, apparently they are waiting for at least one of three things to happen: 1)They, themselves, are arrested/investigated for criminal negligence/fraudulent trading; then they produce the evidence to blame seniors instead. 2)A “whistle-blowers’ Charter” that will protect them fully upon disclosure. 3)It all blows-over and their records are no longer required as insurance of their own safety.

            The government, of course, could sort out no. 2 very quickly if the political will existed. It doesn’t seem to.

            Wonder why not? Hmmmmmm….

          • I’d say to them, feed WikiLeaks with your informations.

    • Actually, I agree with DmcW’s use of the word ‘amoral’ rather than ‘immoral’. ‘Immoral’ personalises the meaning and makes someone accountable. ‘Amoral’ takes a human person out of the system and defines what is happening as something that has no moral reference whatsoever, it doesn’t care about morals. John Bruton, INFC chairperson croney, made the point recently, that government was run not by ministers, but by the civil service.

      Consider Lenny Wrong’s total lack of knowledge of economics. So his Finance brief is a bit of a challenge.

      Problem quickly solved by following to the letter what Seanie and the bankers and the DoF tell him. Problem is, the DoF is fit for the 1940′s rather than the 2011 oiled machine it needs to be. So collective mess ensues, same one that got us into the mess.

      But morality does not enter into it. This is automatic pilot with process and systems failures that go back into the distant past of croneyism, corruption and seedy shenanigans and incompetence.

      Lenny Wrong couldn’t land an economic plane manually no matter how much he tries. He’s a political stooge and puppet who has even less of a clue about the economy than someone begging on O Connell Bridge.

      That’s why we have the IMF and we’re chasing default!

  36. Horses in Dublin

    You might want to watch that, while the five minutes report is in german, the pictures speak a language everyone will understand.

    Warning! Graphic pictures!

    During the boom, horses became a trend and status symbol, today, according o Liam Kinsella in this report, it is not unreasonable to speak of approx. 20,000 horse around Dublin alone to be in such conditions.

    Personally, I am speechless. :(


    • ioseebee

      Took a look at that video Georg. Makes for depressing watching doesn’t it…..it’s one of the saddest things about the whole bubble, it created such want at every level of society that we are stuck with some really horrible social fall-outs, this being one of them…

      ….how embarrassing is it that around the world on youtube ‘the rubber bandits’ are now showing off some of the lovely cultural phenomena of the Celtic Tiger in there video for ‘I’ve a horse outside’. That video would be funny but I find it kind of sad…and the rush to wear the t-shirts as can be found in Tower Records, ….I think many people really don’t get that the joke’s on them in this case….

    • BrianC

      A rather upsetting depiction of Ireland but welcome to Ireland and somewhat symbolic of how the Irish politicians treat their electorate. I would like to know what take the Rubberbandits would make on this video.

  37. Our Taoiseach is a traitor, he has done everything a traitor should do, why should we expect anything differnet from him and the other political puppets (FG, Greens, Labour etc )in the future?

    • Gege Le Beau

      Fitzpatrick spilling the beans may be the final nail, Cowen is tainted with the mother of all toxic banks. Interesting week ahead.

  38. ioseebee

    Hi everyone, i’ve been following David’s Article’s for a long time now & reading as many of your enlightening comments as possible. I’m no real economics expert, I have as much as possible tried to make a stable living despite what the government has thrown at us here for last 10…..I’m currently operating as a sole trader for last 1.5 yrs, & as a result I’m just keeping things ticking over at the moment without resorting to dole queue. Have had to after in 2008 the company I worked for 4 years went over the cliff left by the governments’ bubbleconomics. I didn’t buy a house, when I could have got one of those insane 100% mortgages for an equally insanely priced house. I have a 14 yr old car that I repair, basically I like a sustainable living within my means. That has made me make decision’s based on how I felt about the unreality of the Celtic Tiger, & now allows me to survive without owning any bank a penny.

    Until the current government’s last trick came around like a tail whipping around behind it & now has me paying taxes to pay for the lack of foresight & sustainable thought by anyone who was in charge of our political & economic well-being as a country..

    As such I’m wondering the following….

    …. does anyone have any opinion on how much damage is being done on top of that done already, – right now – day to day – as this government is remains in power?

    Is their any possibility of challenging the bail-out & guarantees constitutionally?

    Is it just inevitable FG will replace the existing cronies?

    And what are the possibilities of reversing decisions recently made (& currently being made) if SOMEHOW some new politicians were to have David’s alternative approach in mind?

    • http://bit.ly/fhsJWD

      bailout only buys time while Honahan toys with an insurance deal against any further losses!

      Another speech recently he scammed the problem with the banks was nothing compared to the fiscal deficit, only one eight that problem!

      What he didn’t tell was that he wasn’t comparing like for like. He was talking about current debt servicing costs the taxpayer is paying for the banks, €3 bn, anyone got the precise figure?

      How many extra taxes raised from the lowly paid, or provision of schools, hospitals, annually, would that buy!

      DuHHH, he’s now looking into some scheme it seems to me very similar to Alistair Darling’s insurance scheme back in 2009 that protected British taxpayers against future losses:


      Bit feckin late now, isn’t it?

      But he isn’t up for the debt for equity swap or smart shared collateral and loss absorbing shares of the Brits methods they used to refloat their banks.

      Shove it onto taxpayers is the only method these gombeens know!

      • ioseebee

        Thanks cbweb! That gives an idea of where it’s going next…..these brand new catch-all bank insurance schemes stink to high heaven

        The UK are following the same path as our government towards this end it seems….


        This is like the next chapter in an endless delusion…..the Emperor’s New Clothes comes to mind……let’s show all those lovely wordwide investors (the markets) that we’ve got a brand new way of saying we’ll look after all the banks debts if they default…just don’t ask us to actually do that…..it’s the same crap….different dressing!

        • ioseebee

          First few lines of that article above……

          ‘UK takes a gamble on bank insurance

          By Peter Thal Larsen in London

          Published: January 18 2009 19:10 | Last updated: January 18 2009 19:10

          The British government is about to write a huge insurance contract for the banking sector. For ministers, the gamble is that their willingness to protect banks against big losses will in itself make it less likely the insurance will ever be needed.’

          • ioseebee

            Sound familiar?

          • Deco

            Beware the stuff that is categorized as “off balance sheet”. The NTMA is doing it. Madrid is doing it. Athens is doing it. And now WestMinster is doing it. And it is very very dangerous.

            The RBoS bailout was a fatefull step that basically strapped the fortunes of the British taxpayer to a bank with lots of mystery areas…..As regards, Ireland, the part of the export economy that employs the most people is focussed on Britain.

            Therefore with 460 thousand on the dole, we are in no way prepared for taking any collateral damage from more problems in Britain.

            Let’s hope the British get this fixed, fast and without too much cost.

  39. DMcW is advancing a solution which is most likely to work with least hurt to the people (but not none). What has happened may have been done in our name but it was never in our interests as a people.

    DMcW solution keeps faith with the (probable) general population’s view of sticking with the capitalist model but using world precedents to inform us how to tackle economic collapse without ending up in an economic desert like Japan or Argentina.

    It takes the options of separating sovereign and banking debt; allows the bond-holders less favourable options but not none at all; allows the ECB a less favourable option but not none either; and has a solution to lifting the gloom of interminable unmanageable debt from domestic mortgage holders without letting them off entirely for getting in over their heads.

    What is required to go with this sort of approach to the economic crisis is an equally fundamental political change in favour of the interests of the people as against those of vested interests. In the formation of The People’s Convention (http://www.CPPC.ie) we have created a solution through which the people of this country can empower themselves so that such economic and other solutions can be actioned.

    It begins with the people selecting candidates whom we might wish to represent us; continues with mandating them on every issue (in principal) after they are elected; and institutes a system of check up and a system of recall.

    The only fundamental constitutional reform being proposed immediately after the election is restoring to the Irish constitution the principal of citizens’ initiative and binding referendum, along with giving voting rights to all those over 16 years of age and the principle of recall of our representatives by a constituency wide vote/referendum should the people so decide it is warranted in any given case.

    Reading Shane Ross/Nick Webb and other exposes of the 1000 or so quangos that we are drowning in, it is clear that an overhaul of the out of control State sector, the so-called social partnership sweetheart deals and the cheek by jowl relationship of the political parties/bankers/auditors/realtors/state madarins/developers and others which benefited no-one except the elite in this country and in Europe is desperately needed.

    However, the most critical reform required, besides the people empowering themselves by populating the Dail with their (own) people’s representatives – not political parties – is the creation of a system of checkup by the people themselves of the State bodies and institutions. All economic and other reforms (more a realignment as proposed by DMcW and others) is doomed to future corruption unless there is created a system of checkup from below.

    Such a system of check-up must be performed by citizens as an honour and duty without pay because those we paid vast sums to carry out the system of check up – central bank, financial and another regulators – have all ended up complicit in the rape of the country and mortgaging of our birthright.

    DMcW is right there is no better time to sort it out – it requires political reform but we do not have to wait on our tormentors in Dail Eireann to bring it about with their sheaf of ‘reforms’ a la the ‘Labour’ party’s 140 proposals document. We can do it ourselves IN THIS ELECTION and David McWilliams and others can inform the discussion in the preparation of solutions by a new people’s Dail.

    This requires only one reform and it is that we, the electorate, through The People’s Convention, act differently and take our destiny in our own hands. In this way we will absolutely have something to pass onto our children as against two generations of debt which we did not generate.

    http://www.cppc.ie – An Chomhdhail Phobail I The People’s Convention

    • Deco

      Japan is not an economic desert. Japan did two things badly wrong. It let interest rates get too cheap in the 1980s. And it followed this with too many stimulus programs in the past two decades. The result is that there is massive public debt in Japan. There is a way out for Japan – “print-baby-print”. Eventually that is what Japan may well do. But, several times in history the west has completely underestimated Japan. It becomes a sort of a recurring pattern.

      Argentina has been a serial underperformer since Peron decided that you could buy power with the people’s own money.

      The ILP’s reform strategy is an assymetric reform strategy – it is beholden to SIPTU, and effort to move the rest of ICTU away from FF to vote ILP. It is a case of same difference. Basically, Gilmore’s tactics will come to a reinforcement of previous moves by Bertie Ahern.

      You are correct concerning the quangoes. There are too many, and they are not needed. We have the state providing for every eventuality, and 700 people on trolleys. It is a case of too much bureacracy, and not enough direct impact where it matters. The system is gargantuan and inefficient, with loads of little empires, little emperors and chronic disasters in the direct provision of services.

      We have a system of check up – the upper house – the Seanad. It was designated to provide practical input into the process. However, what has occurred is that the local authority councillors have repeatedly behaved in a unconstitutional manner, ignoring their explictly provided remit – electing rejected losers from the Dail elections in as senators.

      We have local authority councillors are ignoring the constitution. we have a majority of Dail deputies ignoring the constitution. And McUseless ignores the constitution, and signs in acts that are in contravention of the Constitution. Basically, you get to the point where the lawmakers themselves regard the law as optional.

      It does not matter what system you design – because amateurism, taking short-cuts, lying, and ineptitude are rife. The solution, as you imply is a complete replacement of the inept individuals populating the system, in the hope that something better might come about.

      The one thing that definitely needs to change is the culture with regard to authority.

      Kicking IBEC and ICTU out of the process of government would be a definite step in the right direction. I would be very sceptical of any “reform” that amounts to including them even more than presently occurs. Their involvement is a subversion of democracy. I repeate “who voted for IBEC” to be part of the running of the country ? By populating all these quangoes they have in effect ensured that it does not matter who is elected to the Dail. They are entrenched in the civil service. There is something ridiculous and absurd about people who claim the greatness of the private sector, shoving to get themselves into positions on state institutions – kind of like as if they don’t really beleive their own guff. Of course really it is about getting their “snouts in the trough”.

    • Comparisons with Japan are instructive when one looks at the political system, in particular the power of the Civil Service, and the almost carbon copy of the Japanese Government’s response to the banking crisis of 1989. There the comparisons end. Japan has always been able to finance itself, even through 20 years of mismanagement, and it also has some of the worlds largest corporations and for most of that period was still the worlds second largest economy.

      Japan has options that Ireland doesn’t have, and its by no means an economic wasteland. Japan’s number one problem, exacerbated by its banking crisis is this:


      The Capitalist growth model can work in Ireland, at least for a while. As our host has pointed out in the past, growth cannot be infinite. Japan is a demonstration of the future for the rest of the world of a country that has hit and maybe exceeded its population carrying capacity.

      Comparing Ireland to other countries is useful but it always has its limits. I’m in broad agreement with what you say, but what is also required is (1) a series of strategic goals for the country and most importantly (2) smart and pragmatic people at the helm to implement the strategy.

  40. mully

    I’ve been reading the above comments and David’s article if he was Taoiseach, and I have to say he has some very good points and ideas worth looking at particularly point 3,4 and 5. However i can see him and the other comment posters here talking about the exact same stuff next year and possibly the year after again. Do you really think any of the current parties are going to take these ideas and run with them? Not a hope, primarily because they don’t understand and secondly because they’re too afraid of the EU buddies and what could happen to them and their relationships in Europe, remember they’re all part of various groupings now EU wide. As for running a candidate to get this message out all I say on that is 2 words George Lee.
    I believe the country needs a new party, with new innovative ideas like above on Economics but covering a range of areas e.g. the health sector which is nearly at breaking point, trade unions, the public sector and so on. Only with numbers can anything be achieved, I agree with one contributer who said the nation is ripe for dramatic change away from all this old school politics and political dynasties.
    Actions speak louder than words and a new party with some strong figure heads to lead the way would gain substantial support, but then again many of the names that come to mind have relatively good positions sitting on the other side as critics and may not have the resolve to take the leap!

    • Gege Le Beau

      Even a new party would come to be dominated by the ‘you-know-who-gang’.

      Look at that pro-European movement NGO in Ireland, they are quick to get blanket coverage in the media, appear on Frontline speaking about the virutes of the EU and the fact we are not all killing each other. Have they commented on the 3.5% pure profit the EU are making off the Irish bailout? Pure extortion at the worst possible time for the country.

      There are good reasons why people in the past and present are taking the plane out of here, because they know nothing is going to change, what is most frustrating is that there is no shortage of good ideas, ideas and suggestions which will never be implemented. I may well join those exiting this failed state and I sure as hell won’t want someone going on about the great diaspora 20 years from now.

      • mully

        I partially agree with your comment about ‘the you know who gang’ but if nobody attempts change we are all as well to do what you suggested and jump on a plane out of here (well anybody who gives a s**t about this country anyway!)
        As for the gang jumping on the band wagon that’s why I said you need a few strong leaders to lead and not get bogged down by clowns and me-feiners who you probably will get your fair share off. Even if a party wasn’t ultimately successful it might garnish enough support to make the other muppets take some note.
        This country has produced and is still producing many fine people but because of all the ills in this system many are dis-enfranchised and feel the only alternative is to leave. Its a shame for the government that only viable policy they can follow to reduce unemployment figures is to chase a few hundred thousand of our young, brightest brains out of the country. Replay of a similar policy followed in the past when things get tough. Ask any of the eighties children and you’ll find many of them emigrated for necessity because the gov didn’t have any alternative strategy to use. Fortunately many returned during the tiger years and greatly enriched this country once again.
        People are now so dis-illusioned with the state of our affairs that many just blank it and hope it goes away. People are fed up with the old speil of the current parties and want change. The only alterantive voice out there at present seems to be SF and people are so desperate they’re supporting their policies (God forbid if we need these boys to sort the country out!)
        Anyway enough ranting from me -Either we seek change or accept incompetence.

    • mishco

      There are several wannabe Taoiseachs on this site. Any one of them could do a better job than our present clowenish imcumbent. And now we even have a manifesto from David, but still no new party. All dressed up with nowhere to go.

      I take the point someone made about DMcW perhaps not wishing to dissipate his energies by standing for TD. And who am I to tell someone else whom I greatly respect what to do? But surely all these lawyers and teachers who did take the plunge and ended up as Ministers have dissipated the nation’s piggy-bank as well as (?) their energies. Would David really be dissipating his energy as Minister of Finance? Did Noel Browne dissipate his energies as Minister for Health? Maybe, but if he did, it was not in vain.

      As you say, mully, I fear “many of the names that come to mind have relatively good positions sitting on the other side as critics and may not have the resolve to take the leap”. If this is true then we are just watching a charade as they go through the motions to earn a quick buck.

      I hope they prove me wrong. For crying out loud, isn’t David an economist? Isn’t the problem the economy, stupid? Don’t people want a competent economist (and of course there are others) to sort out the mess by getting their hands dirty and running for office?

      I do wish I could do more than rant on this site. At the moment I’m still one of the disenfranchised diaspora. But I’d vote for David and his ilk in a flash if I could.

      There’s still time, but if these critics, whom I still greatly respect, don’t start walking the walk by standing for office, then I’m outta here!

    • BiggyWiggy Rogers

      That’s why we need a NEW PARTY – Contact people you think will be good representatives and petition them to start a party that performs its primary duty of looking after its citizens first and foremost !!! Check out Shane Ross for instance.. http://www.shane-ross.ie/ he has the experience and is saying the right things…

  41. vincent

    Check out “Mathematically Perfected Economy”

    • BrianC

      Hi Vincent

      I checked out MPE and Mike Montagne is one very interesting intellect. Makes a lot of sense and proves the point that Fractional Reserve Banking does not work could never work and will never work save serve the interests of those who control the Federal Reserve.

      As you know many of the contributors give direction to great sites for information.

      You may be interested in these other links


      and a great site for educating yourself is


      Sal Khan is very much a natural type of teacher

      Many thanks for the info on MPE.

      So what do you think Cowen and Seanie were chatting about as they traversed the greens to the 19th hole. I have to admit I abhor golf with a passion. I keep trying to explain to people it is not a sport but a discipline for people who have too much time on their hands. Well that is my personal opinion.

  42. David,

    This is a good list of the triage required immediately. In order to avoid a lost generation more substantial action is required.

    Many have commented about Lenihan’s lack of economic knowledge. I think is a lesser matter. We should acknowledge that politicians are generalists, facilitators, and expecting them to be experts is far too ambitious as well as impractical. Whats more of a concern is that there isn’t a single trained and experienced economist in Lenihan’s bit of the ‘permanent government’, the Department of Finance, and this will remain the case if Noonan, Bruton or Burton occupy the position that will be vacated by Lenihan in a few weeks.

    All this talk of new parties and new people in power etc is rather pointless unless there is substantial reform within the Civil Service to make it a meritocratic organisation, including (in my view) publishing accounts in full and in detail, and having regular performance reviews linked to salary increments, and proper professional development to encourage the most able to assume the most responsibility.

    Lots of plans and ideas floating about, and like I have said here a lot recently, none if it means much unless people are actually going to challenge politicians to implement them. Again:


    Without reform of the system of government, including the Civil Service, we’re just going to go around the same loop every generation, as we have done since the foundation of the state.

  43. Tull McAdoo

    So the good news is that Mary Geoghegan nee Harney nee Mary Antoinette has returned from her three weeks down in Torremolinos, Herself and the Bull bought a “time share” between them. Nice studio with balcony. Its all this bloody austerity that is forcing them to cut their cloths so to speak. Have a read of this if ye don’t believe me, and just remember brown paper bags are good for……..


    Oh yea and while the brown paper bags are out here’s a piece from Neil Callnan over at the Trib. Just remind me again all ye people who were pontificating about “moral hazards” and all that other shite here on this site. The developers are going to walk with debt forgiveness . “Pay what ye can lads and we will draw a line under the fucker, wink wink”.


    How can all this come about Tull I hear ye ask????? Its simple and here is a crash course on how the Banks do up their accounts from our very own expert on Banking Mr. Patrick Honohan, who describes at the end of clip 1 and the beginning of clip 2 the latest fiddle known as “Egyptian Accounting” better known in the trade as UPSIDE ACCOUNTING………….Ireland Mother Ireland is there no one to defend your honour……


    • Dunno who you are, Tull me old son, but you’ve got a finger on the pulse of the projectile vomiting that passes for political comment in this country.
      I’ll meet you over the mountain for a mead or two one of these days……………..

    • Good focus there on Honahan. Surely with the advent of the IMF, deteriorating rating agency results, disappearing deposits, 5.8% crap IMF deal, mounting losses with NAMA and the banks, its time for Honahan to take the Ipswich/Roy Keane route and resign!

      • ps thx for the videos

        I get the impression, Honan, rather than being a referee sorting out a broken down banking game, instead is sitting on the fence, looking on.

        In one segment, on the subject of Capital,Honan remarks nobody knows how much true capital the banks have?

        On the subject of the IMF €24 bn IMF net expected taxpayer losses, getting up to 15-16% in net fiscal costs, (did not the IMF jump that figure to €34.5 bn) he says he had correspondence “with my old pal David Grey”(IMF) who did these numbers, unfortunately he has not been able to fully explain the assumptions based on his (IMF) estimates, but its based on credit default swaps on Irish debt sometime in November, he can’t really figure out what market assumptions these are based upon, we still could get away with net zero cost, huge range of uncertainty..

        So David Grey won’t tell/explain to him the figures used to project the net loss to Irish taxpayers, other than to say, its something to do with Credit Default Swaps….

        Honahan, your fired! If you can’t find out from the IMF what their €24 or €34.5 bn projected losses are based upon and explain what the actual CDS exposure of the Irish banking system is, then, get a job in Egypt selling camels instead!

        There is possibly some unreported OTC Over The Counter CDS dealings the Irish banks have delved in that needs to be accounted for.

        Honan is going with the flow betting on the economy to lift and get money/profit working for the banks again in the hope this along with rising property prices will fix the banks.

        He’s failed to deliver and judging by his CDS remarks, he’s making it up as he goes along, is clearly out of his depth, banks, our fiscal deficit, are getting worse not better under his winging it.

        Note CDS according to David Grey could mean hidden losses not accounted for by Honan. CDS contracts are notoriously obscure and difficult to pin down. They could also mean CDS purchase to consolidate the losses already in the bank. Honan, one way or the other, by his remarks, is clueless is either scenario!!

        We need Morgan Kelly, David Mc Williams, among others, including Joe Stiglitz and Joe Krugman, to fix our banking system with a debt for equity swap with Uruguayan or similar resolution.

        Honahan is making matters worse!

        • MadaboutEire

          The British chancellor of the Exchequer was skiing in the Apls (tough introducing austerity) while Cameron was trying to get to Thailand, don’t think that trip worked out though.

          Just elites doing what they do. Harney exposed but what does it change, any other self-respecting Minister would have resigned. Dempsey was in Malta during last years freeze.

          • Deco

            Well, as we have seen in the past, when a British politician has a good time on the tax payers money, the British politician is ousted out of office.

            In Ireland, the politician waits for the storm to blow over, and then it is back to business as normal.

            The Brits have less tolerance for the level of abuse of expenses that we seem to have. Though, it has to said, that we are improving slightly.

    • Deco

      Officially, Harney might have been “on holidays” but I heard something very different concerning her recent non-appearance. She is in no position to be in control of the most second most expensive ministry of the government.

      I think that she should stand down, because she needs to get out of it, for her own sake and well being. Some sort of misguided sense of self importance is not going to remedy the problems faced by the HSE. Harney herself spent her entire career in politics, and needs to consider trying something where she might actually be able to do properly. This debacle of an expensive resort is completely missing the point of the minister not being able to cope with the political machinations at work in the HSE.

      There are serious problems in this country. A little bit of honesty about these, by senior government figures, and the media, might do the entire society a lot of good. All that is happening is that a serious problem in the institutional HSE is being covered up once again. It is now becomming clear that the HSE is unreformable.

      I have observed concerning the exercise of power in Ireland, that often the agenda is more important than the truth, let alone the individuals involved. This instructs me that often politicians are merely proxies for particular agendas set by powerful vested interests. A case of expediency being more important than the people’s right to know. You can’t trust democracy to the plebs – because you never know what they might do !!!

      Basically, the media will boost circulation with coverage of Harney’s resort, and this makes great media stories. The real life soap operas and ongoing political machinations inside the HSE are not fit for public digestion however. They would tell us too much about the exercise of power in the state system. IBEC and ICTU are in charge. Harney is most loyal IBEC advocate at the cabinet table, and cannot be moved – even if it were clearly in the interest of Harney herself !!!

      • BiggyWiggy Rogers

        Agree wholeheartedly.

        There was a great docu on recently about Britain and its imbalanced public/private sector (their public sector at this stage is a good deal larger than the private sector.. and the public sector are ultimately tax consumers, they do not create any wealth but rely on taxing the private sector to fund)…

        They made a very valid point that all state owned bodies are pretty much rubbish, big consuming money drains with nobody being accountable – As exampled by the HSE/NHS.

        Most of Europe (such as Germany and France) have a system of private hospitals that work off compulsory health insurance for every person (BUT if you are poor, the Government pay for your health insurance) This seems to work a darned site better than the HSE/NHS model. The hospitals are run efficiently, they’ve top notch facilities, you get seen on time and they are profitable.

        It’s time to look at things differently.

        • locoloco

          Steady on, before you tar all public service with the same brush. Have you used the NHS. It has been over a 40 year period a fine organisation, providing universal health care to a large nation, at almost no direct cost. OK, there is more discord in recent years due to the efforts of right-wingers to split it up (into profit-centered trusts), but in my experience, when the brits complain about it, they are talking from a standard so far above our HSE it would make your eyes water.
          For example, this week there is concern about consultants earning up to £100k overtime, on top of their £90k basic. Our consultants earn €214 basic, and don’t do half as much work as their UK colleagues (that last comparison cmes from two indian friends who were working here, and now work over there. They get paid less, but feel rewarded more because they system is so well organisaed and they feel so “busy” in a positive sense)

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