February 7, 2011

Don’t bank on having a job

Posted in Banks · 122 comments ·
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The banks are about to downsize and the fall guy – or gal – will be the ordinary bank worker

Next time you go into a bank, stand back and have a good look around.

What strikes you? Is it the quietness of the place, or the strategically positioned flowerpots? Or is it the ads for mortgages of the thirty-something couple on a beach, smiling to show their perfect teeth?

Or maybe it’s the thick curls of their laughing three year old perched securely on Dad’s shoulders, while the beautiful five year-old girl, head to toe in ‘‘Mini Boden’’, giggles beside Mum?

Look again and maybe you will notice something about the employees. The vast majority are women. Of the 40,000 people who are members of the Irish Bank Officials Association, 70 per cent are women. One in every 28 women employed in Ireland works in a high street bank. This is a phenomenal figure. In fact, one in every 45 people employed in Ireland works in a bank.

In the next twelve months we are going to see an employment bloodbath in the traditional Irish banks as they suffer a major retrenchment. The opening salvoes of this carnage were fired last week by Permanent TSB, when it announced plans to cut 15 per cent of its total staff.

Permanent TSB probably went first because it feels less political pressure to hold off, not having availed of the bank guarantee. However, it is not scaremongering to suggest that a 15 per cent cut across all the banks is likely. On present numbers, this would mean 6,000 people on good salaries with good jobs – and most of them are likely to be women.

In fact,15 per cent is the most benign scenario because the banks have to contract much more to become sustainable again.

In the boom, because so much of the growth came from reckless bank lending, loads of people had to be employed in the banks, which couldn’t ship the cash out of the doors quickly enough. The financial sector grew dramatically.

Just look at the loans to deposits ratio. In a normal banking system, the loans to deposit ratio is 100 per cent. This means that the banks are covering all their loans with an equal amount of deposits and the system is stable. As late as 2004 this was the case in Ireland. Then the bosses of the banks – many of whom are still drawing huge salaries from the same banks – decided to take advantage of the lax regulation, take more risks for more profit and borrow money from wherever they could in order to lend it out in Ireland.

(Don’t forget their bonuses were directly related to the share price of the bank so they had a direct incentive to boost profits and behave recklessly.) Thus began the process of wealth destruction. In mid 2008, lending of the ‘‘domestic Irish credit institutions’’ (as defined by the Central Bank of Ireland) stood at €505 billion. Deposits at these institutions stood at €420 billion.

Currently the loans stand at €390 billion and the deposits stand at €294 billion. So, just using those simple numbers, we can see that the banking sector in Ireland has shrunk by 23 per cent on the lending side and 30 per cent on the deposit side in the last two and half years.

But, of course, there is more. As part of the EU/IMF deal there is considerable pressure on the domestic guaranteed banks to reduce their loan to deposit ratios to close to 100 per cent in the near term. Considering their most recent figures have been in the 160 per cent range, it is obvious that the Irish banks will have to shrink their balance sheets by at least another 35 per cent – and this is making the rather large presumption that there will be no more fall in deposits at those banks in the coming year.

So, banks with rapidly shrinking balance sheets, and whose profits are being decimated will start cutting staff in large numbers very soon. Just judging from the shrinkage that is needed, it would seem that of the 40,000 currently employed it is possible that well over 10,000 will be out of work by year end.

Let’s see what will happen this year. There are only two ways they can do that. The first is to reduce lending dramatically to reduce loans. This is a process called deleveraging and it crushes an economy because it involves a massive reduction of credit in the system. But that is what has to happen to bring the banks back to a sustainable size. The other way you achieve a more manageable and prudent loan to deposit ratio is by increasing deposits. The way you increase deposits is you enter a deposit war where banks increase interest rates to attract in deposits to rebuild their balance sheets.

But once they get into a deposit war, the interest rates of deposits escalate. What does this do? Well it encourages people who are already worried to save. This increases the saving ratio and in so doing takes more money out of the system. But if people are saving and the banks are not lending because they have to curtail lending in order to get their loan to deposit ratios down, what happens?

The money gets stuck in the banking system. The banks, rather than becoming an instrument of credit distribution where your savings become my loans and the economy is lubricated, become the instrument of hoarding. For an economy there is nothing worse than hoarding because it means the economy shrinks from want of credit.

As the banks return to deposit based banking, they don’t need so many employees because there is no business. So they let people go. The way they make a profit in a declining market is to cut costs everywhere and the major cost is the staff.

So as the banks in Ireland return to normality after years of gorging themselves, the average bank worker suffers. This is deeply unfair because the average bank worker didn’t make all the bonuses and the cash in the boom. Unlike their bosses, they weren’t involved in the property syndicates that ultimately destroyed the wealth of the nation but temporarily made some people feel as rich as Croesus.

They didn’t run the treasury departments that blew the banks’ balance sheets by borrowing abroad like drunken sailors. In many cases the ordinary bank worker was a victim of the banks’ short-lived success because they were the ones paying the hugely inflated prices for houses – prices that were inflated by the very banks they worked for!

Like so much else in the past two years, it is the ordinary little guy or in the banks’ case little gal, who suffers.


  1. adamabyss

    How come I saw AIB quoted on the Irish Stock Exhange on the RTE News at One today? I thought they were supposed to be removed from that?

  2. Incident

    Is Rossa White the second most dilusioned man in Ireland (after Bertie of course).

    Todays article in the IT would seem to suggest so.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2011/0207/1224289181975.html

    • Deco

      Even without the exaggeration that he is claiming, we still have far too much debt !!! (and this is something that he avoids).

    • John_stafford@ireland.com

      I’d like to see David’s considered comments on Rossa White’s piece, which strikes me as being poorly structured, incoherent, flabby and unconvincing.

  3. 34m0

    David, suggesting that the average bank worker didn’t benefit from the boom is populist rhetoric. Yes, they didn’t benefit as much as those in the upper echelons in either absolute or percentage terms, but they did still benefit. Without the boom in the banking sector, many of these workers would be paid less, or even have been unemployed. This fact should be acknowledged both in terms of the banking sector, and the economy as a whole.

    • paddyjones

      My heart absolutely bleeds for bank employees, the untouchables , the favoured. The Irsih banking sector grew to 4 times the GDP of the economy. Why should anyone feel sorry for them , DMcW being populist again I would think.
      Bank employees behaved recklessly pure and simple they all conspired to inflate the bubble.
      I went for a mortgage in 1999 and asked for 60k but was offered 100k to go for a bigger house, I didnt go for it as I thought that there was a bubble then.
      Now I keep a small balance in AIB to pay bills etc but my savings are in Holland. Never again will I trust Irish banks.

      • padmeister

        I think the suggestion is not that these people didn’t benefit rather that they will be the ones that will suffer. U think some senior employee who parttook in the reckless lending will walk away with stat redundancy and an inflated mortgage to pay off? Highly doubt that.
        As for the ideas on universal guilt (not yours but a popular theme) I’d like to see anyone else stand up in another job and flat refuse to do what they’re told because they disagree with the practice.
        I work in a investment division of an Irish bank.
        Over 4 years, my net annual salary has increased by less than 6% (from a VERY low base) or decreased when my bonus is removed . I have almost nothing to show for my 4 years by way of savings or anything except on my CV. I have never made a bad investment recommendation and in fact have only ever made money for the bank.
        I assume I also deserve nothing for having tried, successfully in my opinion, to do the right thing consistently?
        And If we’re playing the guilty by association game, I’d like to point out that ALL investments may go up as well as down. So for ANYONE who bought a house, deal with your problems. There might have been pressure from the bank, but nobody put a gun to their heads.

    • HTH

      Spot on. I agree this applies to the economy in general. I think David is one of many people suggesting that the ordinary Joe had no responsibility for the economic downturn, and therefore should be insulated from any ill-affects: higher taxes, social welfare cuts, etc.

      However, we do not hear anyone saying the ordinary Joe was not responsible for the boom, and therefore should not have gotten any of the associated benefits: lower taxes, better social welfare, higher public service salaries, etc.

      Likewise we hear a lot of commentary about reckless lending by banks, but what about reckless borrowing by ordinary Joe? People do not want to hear it, but I think ordinary people should take some responsibility for their decisions to buy overpriced property. I include myself in this. I could have rented for longer, but I took the option to buy. Of course there were various pressures and good reasons to do so, but nobody held a gun to my head. It was my call.

      It may seem unfair that people who were not caught in the property bubble also have to pay to fix it, but many of those people will have seen benefits from the same bubble: lower taxes, better social welfare, higher public service salaries, new roads, etc.

      Getting back to this article, David seems to suggest that the bank “bosses” did not buy houses at inflated prices and did not suffer from the bubble bursting, even though they were part of “property syndicates”. This suggests that they all got in and out at the right times. I find that hard to believe.

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David McWilliams, Laura and Jarrod Bromley, Ronan Mooney. Ronan Mooney said: RT @davidmcw: New on the site: Don’t bank on having a job http://dlvr.it/G0G7Z [...]

  5. This may have been posted before but here is David on primetime in 2003 with a few of the “ordinary guys” about to take the housing plunge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ypOqx95qw

    • John_stafford@ireland.com

      Hughes, the economist for iiB, doesn’t come out it looking well.

      • Deco

        Have not heard from that muppet in a long time. He used to have an article every month in the Business Supplement of the Old Schitzo on D’Oliers Street. Does he still do that ? or did he get shafted for reasons of embarrassment caused.

        And whatever happened to the “economist” who would write on the page before him, and the same position on the page, for over a decade – good ol’ Dan McLaughlin. Bullishly Optimistic ??

  6. Black Cat

    What I want to know is that David said TSB didn’t have to get the bank guarantee so does this mean that TSB is a less risky place to deposit money than the other ones that did or are they safer because they are covered by the guarantee – or is the guarantee just a bluff anyway?

  7. “Permanent TSB probably went first because it feels less political pressure to hold off, not having availed of the bank guarantee. ”

    That’s not really correct though ILP/PTSB doesn’t participate in the NAMA scheme nor has it needed any injection of capital (so far – there is a €200m capital raising target for May 2011 but the betting is that ILP will raise that privately).

    The only reason I’m commenting is that PTSB did benefit from the guarantee. And the guarantee is State aid (sure the banks pay 0.25% of guaranteed liabilities but the EC still recognise the banks get a benefit).

    And PTSB which is a recipient of State-aid is hitting 80,000 customers (more than a tenth of all mortgage holders in the State) with a 1% increase in the standard variable rate. And many of these customers can’t switch to another bank because they are in negative equity. So you have PTSB shooting fish in a barrel and the European Commission sitting on its hands watching a State-aided company distort competition.

    • Deco

      Well, Permo just managed to avoid this meltdown so far, as a result of dumb luck. As far as the Irish banking sector and it’s liberal regulation went – which as we now know equated to no regulation, and a stamp of approval to say “everything is fine, don’t worry your little head”….

      Basically the Irish banks had a choice around 2004. Permo was the only one that stayed conservative with regard to the property development sector. But within it’s own patch Permo was shoving super loans all over South Dublin for McMansions.

      The biggest subsidy of all that the banks are benefitting from is the ECB interest rate. It is too low for Germany and Finland, and yet if it was at 0% it would be too high for the PIGS. So we get a Euro compromise.

      While Permo deserve criticism, what really concerns me is the total media silence on what exactly is going on in the BankCentre in Ballsbridge. The bank in question is buying advertising, and in effect buying silence.

    • Dorothy Jones

      @namawinelake
      Thanks for clarity on the point and for the fantastic service you provide with the information on your blog.

      I am curious as to who might answer your question below wrt mortgage comparisons.

      Interesting burger ingredient analogy – I never thought of putting [untreated] lemon rind into the mix, will try this next time….

      Namawinelake Blog 05 Feb 2011
      There is something fundamentally wrong with competition in the Irish mortgage market at present and it should be the NCA and the European Commission that take a lead in addressing distortions by state-aided banks fleecing customers that simply can’t switch. And given that we have an election campaign at present I wonder if any party might take up this issue?

  8. soddit

    Ordinary bank staff have been shafted just as much as the equity holders, plus their managers agreed it was a good idea to keep buying bank shares. I’m not one, but would hate to have to put up with the every friday “sales” review. That short term shit caused the problem. Every CEO for the last 10 years should be stripped of their wealth, they have stripped us of ours. And I don’t think it was pre-planned malice, just sheer incompetence and utter greed. They thought it would go up forever. If I was grading 5 year olds, they’d get a big fat F. And, it was clearly seen coming, regardless of their, and politicians, protests. Dumb and dumber.

  9. Frank Lennon

    Why are the responsible white collar arrogant banking circle thieves who got our nation into this the greatest economic mess in the nations history now not as yet in a clearly visible line up for gaol?

    After a life time of work in support of this country what are my concerns, as an average citizen, as we head into this forthcoming almost hobsons choice election?

    For my part, like thousands of others, mortgage is the big personal issue. Negative equity etc., More help is needed to cushion the ordinary citizen (who did not contribute to the madness in the Banks) from the absolute penal interest rate increases which are coming thick and fast from the very same banking institutions who have already been very significantly bailed out by us. Double whammies! – We have been forced, by our politicians, to pay them handsomely through the front door and now here they are sneaking in the back door and again digging deep into our already emaciated wallets and purses. It is criminal in every sense and must be brought to a halt. Where is the NAMA for average Joe Citizen?

    Nationally, I would see a most urgent need for job creation and support programmes. Incentivise employment. Give employers personal tax breaks to employ more people. Take those same tax breaks away immediately when the employer lets the associated staff go.

    Every effort should be made to re-negotiate the crippling interest rates on the EU / IMF loans. If the aforementioned has to be pursued by pressure from Irish Politicians on a pan European basis so be it. Relentlessly pile on the pressure. If we are not left with sufficient financial resources to invest in stimulating the national economy to grow our way out of our current situation then how can we pay back the Eu / IMF? It’s a no brainer!

    David McWilliams should be recruited by any incoming government, coalition or otherwise as a national economic adviser for a minimum term of five years. David is one of a small talented few economists who has consistently had the insight to see what was actually happening and to forecast a lot of the economic woe , national and otherwise, which is now so bedeviling the lives of every man, woman and child on this tiny island.

    Out with cronyism. In with strong insightful leadership from people, politicians or advisers who actually know what they are talking about.

    • Deco

      Why would an incoming government bring in somebody who might have half a clue as to what is going on ? It would only show up their own incompetence.

      Do we want to see David sitting on the same platform while Joan Burton tells us that “we are in a recession because we have run out of money” ?

  10. Deco

    I disagree. We are still avoiding the issue at the centre of the problem – us.

    The Irish concept of lifestyle is bankrupt. It was bankrupt, before we went on the binge. The ’1000mile round trip pissup’, commuting from Carlow to Swords, the state sector employing people who are not fit to work in the private sector and who are in the know, and the ‘plenty more where that came from’ era – all completely unsustainable. Let’s be honest. It is all delusional and based on arrogance.

    Thee Irish concept of management is flawed. Close the IMI and declare IBEC to be a banned organization. Get real. Take the piss out of the culture of decision making in the 19th hole of the Golf Club.

    The media in this country is deceptive, compromised, dishonest and part of the pretence.

    The conditions are perfect for really good novels and writing. But we have not produced a Nobel prize for litreature in 40 years, once you take note of the that Heaney was educated in Derry, and is inspired from there.

    We are actually a society in decline – with McMalls complete with mega carparks and plenty of “beer and circuses” to make us enjoy the trip into the sewer.

    Welcome to the Ireland of Bertie Ahern.

    • gearoid

      mr deco. that is all wonderfully on the button and strong writing, but it does fucking nothing for no one. I’m probably letting fly a little here in the wrong place, but we need to really shift out of “its all completely shit” mode, into “ok, what the fuck are we doing about it.”

      translation. We’ve know for the last 10 years the truth of what you’ve just said. to reapeat it again and again. is wank.

      I don’t mean that in a judgemental way. I mean we all do it. but we need to move on. i want everyone on this goddammed website to start using each post to start sharing solutions, ideas and actions. Wael Ghonim, one of the pro-democracy activist leaders in Cairo was released today after 12 days in detention.

      his first tweet was “freedom is a blessing worth fighting for.”

      The day before his arrest he had posted: “Hey @Gladwell, #Jan25 proved you wrong. Revolution can be a #Facebook event that is liked, shared & tweeted.” (quote of the year, so far)

      my friends, lets start using this technology. I’m a member of about 5 different internet/facebook groups.
      I’m actively involved in a couple more. but i don’t see shit happening.

      • Pedro Nunez

        Einstein said

        “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

        “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”

        “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

  11. Deco

    One of Lenihan’s arguments has been that if we did not look after the bank bondholders that we would have been shut out of the sovereign bond markets.

    And this has been disputed. In fact it has been a big bone of contention.

    Yesterday, I read this.

    http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/aviva-shuns-irish-bonds-2527368.html

    And if we go to here we can see the list that pruports to be the list of anglo Bondholders – and which none of the list members have actually ever denied publicly.

    http://www.politics.ie/economy/140523-anglo-irish-bank-bondholders-revealed.html

    This is an enormous embarrassment for Fianna Fail. In fact it is off the richter scale. It also puts the media in a tricky position. Will the media cover the issue, or will the media take note of “our advertising sponsors”. And there is a lot of advertising revenue involved here.

    IndoNews seems comfortable with telling us. RTE (as usual) think that there are more important things to tell us (like the fact that Blaithnid will no longer be able to take part in RTE’s version of Pop Idol).

    I will be watching over the coming days to see how much coverage this gets. Let’s not forget the said company spent a lot of money on the superficial “green jersey” a while back. Press the Green button and we are all jumping like silly idiots.

  12. Gege Le Beau

    I am amazed the banking cull that is to come hasn’t happened sooner.

    Naturally the banks will ‘retrench’ (appropriate word as you shall see), they have been asset stripping, building up their balance sheets, closing branches and laying off staff (plus increased their interest rates, lest we forget). I am sorry to say it, while banking staff may be nice and friendly they are either wittingly or unwittingly part of an appalling system which was allowed to run largely unregulated, something free marketeers like Friedman, Greenspan and others championed along with their political servants.

    The banking lay offs are but part of a larger tsunami of unemployment which we has expressed itself particularly harshly in Ireland. Unemployment is spiking across the world, the third worldisation of developed countries continues, the gap between rich and poor widens, incomes shrink while the cost of utilities rise. In developing countries continued financial speculation is making food unaffordable hence crises across North Africa and the Middle East (watch for Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America) which in turn is driving up the cost of oil which impacts all aspects of the economy – global, national and local.

    Criminal speculative transactions with no consideration for the impact on humanity, immoral banking practices along with the relentless drive for profits before people are the principal evils in the system, the banking staff are casualties in a war, they are the troops in the capitalist trenches, and just like the Somme, Ypres, Passchendaele, they and the 450,000 unemployed are caught up in something way beyond their control and in some cases, understanding. People should not be surprised.

    • Deco

      The central bankers of the West have been printing money to save the failed speculators. The objective is to create asset inflation in sectors like real estate where there is serious over capacity and where the valuations were all completely absurd. This is a policy framework that is heavily monetarist and is combined with fiscal borrowing which is heavily Keynesian. Both have the same objective, and amount to the same thing – an effort to drive up aggregate demand in the asset market.

      The problem is that both are expensive, pointless, and is now evident creating nothing but problems. They are both also extremely inflationary. They are efforts to punish savers, and reward (speculative) borrowers. The Central Bankers are trying to rescue the people that they misled. But it is driving up inflation, and this is always concentrated in the sectors of the economy where the most bottlenecks occur. Therefore we are having rising oil prices, rising coal prices, rising food prices.

      The problem is debt, and the central bankers are creating as much money as possible to sink into the debt problem. But it is an abject failure. They are abhorent to deflation. But deflation is actually part of the cure. Nobody has the honesty to say this. Deflation is asset prices decreasing to their real intrinsic value. Semi-Ds in Portlaoise are worth half their current value. But nobody will dare say it !!!

      • Gege Le Beau

        Excellent comment in fairness Deco, very tightly laid out. Was having the discussion this morning with someone who wondered aloud why house prices and rents have not come down to affordable levels. The market is being kept artificially high, while property owners and speculators still try to hang on for top prices despite the cuts in salaries, excess supply etc.

        I would love my own home and am sick to my back teeth of renting but I’ll be damned if I get caught for a house at a ludicrous rate as the economy tanks, the rate of mortgage defaults goes through the roof (pardon the pun) and a potential economic implosion grows ever closer as the high street slowly wilts. It is the external debt that I have my eye on, it is such a destabilising force and will go on sucking the blood from the real economy, over time it has to sink Ireland because it is ludicrous to think we can pay off multi-layered debt, would welcome David McWilliams take on this.

        The question on everyone’s lips is where the hell is Ireland headed economically, and people don’t want to hear ‘unchartered waters’, how can people make firm decisions on anything when salaries in private and public sector seem to be in permanent decline yet house prices continue to remain stubbornly high.

        The Banks (ECB etc) and governments are just kicking the can down the road, the 90 billion IMF package keeps the state going for 1.5 years maybe but what then? A jobs stimulus package seems like holding a feather in a storm hoping that it will improve conditions, am I missing something here?

        At times like this I look to the markets because they act on the true figures, and they are not touching Ireland, one report even stated that the major fund manager said he wouldn’t come calling till Ireland re-structured, now whether he mean structured default or re-structure the payments under more favourable terms, I have no idea.

  13. Deco

    By the way – we are hearing about banks where the managers in D4 instructed all the staff – whenever they were on a telephone call to ask the customers questions like “Do you want a car loan ? “…or a home improvement loan, or a mortgage, or a lifestyle loan…etc..

    And the staff’s telephone calls were monitored. If the staff were not obeying their orders, they were liable to be brought before their branch manager and questioned concerning their ‘lack of initiative’. Basically, we have seen the hierarchy in some banks pushing the staff to push loans on people. Of course, the must impulsive and financially reckless members of the customer base were the ones who were most likely to take up the loan offers.

    It all seems absurdly idiotic in hindsight. I just wonder what brains behind these schemes are doing currently ? None of them have been sacked, that much is certain.

  14. shucks11

    This attitude drives me mad – the employees you discuss above might not have directly made the disastrous decisions but they certainly benefited much more than most over the last few years.

    The fact that the banks have continued to pay inflated salaries & excessive perks to their employees for the last few years is a national scandal. They have been receiving funding from the taxpayer on one hand and dolling it out to staff who have had less and less to do as the banks business imploded.

    Surely the real sympathy should be reserved for those in the real private sector who have had to deal with the correction over the last couple of years while the banks did nothing to deal with overstaffing while being propped up by the government.

  15. Deco

    Bank stories number 1.

    A significant bank in Ireland was giving lots of loans to developers. Here is a story that was common place at the height of the boom. The developers all had helicopters. The developers would tell the loan executives – “listen that sports even that is on in [ pick the location in the UK or France] -how about we fly you over in the chopper, put you in the corporate box, give you a good time, etc.. and then fly you home again.”

    Then some time later, the executives would go to the said finance house – “I want a loan of 200 Million euro”. The answer they would get in reply would be “no problem”. Documentation was never an issue.

  16. Deco

    Banking in Ireland – Story number 2. Again from the height of the Binge mania – about the time when people were flying to Manhattan to do the shopping, and wanted to let everybody know they were doin it.

    An Irish Finance house decided that it wanted to expand agressively it’s share in Credit cards in Ireland. Six months after the roll out of the plan – targets were not being met. Managers were afraid of their managers etc.. And bonuses would not be met. In fact this was a big plan for the corporate organization, an issue of pride. Therefore branch managers were scared. So this is what they did.

    They sent staff into Dublin Airport distributing Credit Card approval forms to Eastern Europeans landing in Dublin Airport. Many of them just took the application without any idea what it was about, until they read it later. Then they read it. So they got their credit cards, using their rental addresses. And then they went spending. And then…they went home…with all their pressies for the folks back home. And the said financial institution is still trying to get the money back, with lots of people who have “gone missing”.

    As they say, you really could not make it up. And nobody got fired over that either.

    • BnB

      Another story from the Michael Lewis article in Vanity Fair (you’ll see the irony that credit card approval forms were originally given out in Dublin Airport):

      “the short-term parking-lot attendants at Dublin
      Airport noticed that their daily take had
      fallen. The lot appeared full; they couldn’t
      understand it. Then they noticed the cars
      never changed. They phoned the Dublin
      police, who in turn traced the cars to Polish
      construction workers, who had bought them
      with money borrowed from Irish banks. The
      migrant workers had ditched the cars and
      gone home. Rumor has it that a few months
      later the Bank of Ireland sent three collectors
      to Poland to see what they could get back,
      but they had no luck. The Poles were untraceable:
      but for their cars in the short-term
      parking lot, they might never have existed.”

      Maybe the Bank of Ireland should have demanded that the private bad loans be transferred to the Polish state?

      It’s probably unfair to blame the Poles for this scam when Irish emigrants who were at it too ( http://www.independent.ie/national-news/emigrants-abandoning-luxury-cars-at-airport-1530012.html ). Good story all the same.

  17. coldblow

    Good discussion (the same old discussion) here on the pros and cons of relief for those in trouble with mortgage repayments:

    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2011/02/05/fine-gael%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%9cnegative-equity%e2%80%9d-proposal/#comments

    Quote: “We have too many holier than thou people in Ireland and have had that surplus for centuries. Time we came to our senses. There is no gain to be had from crippling people for life.”

    It’s easy for all of us to moralize and so I welcome David’s article. If you are unemployed you are out of work no matter what you did for a living beforehand. In some ways this economics thing is simple and it’s easy to settle into a rigid way of thinking. DMcW takes a look at things from different angles to show that it ain’t that simple.

    Just in case I am coming across as all sweetness and light here, I really don’t see WTF the gender of the bank staff has got to do with it, although David sees fit to raise the issue more than once.

    My own view would be for the banks, and the public service, to reduce the pay of existing workers to enbable surplus staff to be retained during this emergency, until they can be redeployed productively. Extremes of wealth inequality in the rest of the economy should be addressed through taxation. We need to stop this polarization of the country between the well off and the destitute, however it is justified.

  18. I still believe there is something very very big and explosive yet to happen that we have not yet thought about and that is my greatest fear .So much revelations have now passed the denial stage into the open forum .Surprises must be lurking deep in the political and financial undergrowth and there will be no crocodile tears when these are found out.

    Will a change of government reveal this new monster ?Who will find it ?Who will be implicated ? Who will go to jail?

    • Deco

      In the Irish establishment, there is always even bigger scandals brewing than the ones that we have just seen.

      That is why we have so many tribunals – so that we can concentrate on the scandals that have already been revealed, and keep our minds off finding new ones :)

      • We need to prepare ourselves and try to anticipate so we might be in a better position to defend or limit the damage either to ourselves and/or others.We spent a year or so on this site digesting the knowledge we now know and even that did not declare the whole truth we have learned since .So much has happened .The Truth was too long in Denial to be an accepted fact .We were once the media lepers with our independent minds now the populace seem to have caught up with all we have said .This make us ‘infertile’ and ‘redundant’to remain ahead of the pack and soon we may become obsolete in our thoughts and Mc Laughlinn will back on the public media playing his fiddle again .

        We must predict again from the best of all we have said will happen next and we must ‘rethink’ and ‘reshape’ and ‘question’ on everything once more so no trail remains unchecked .

        Some cougar is lurking some snakes are undergrowth some wild monkeys are hiding and someone has a trigger to cause more damage .And some jail wardens are passing political drugs to the players that caused ‘the great change ‘ .Will a change of government make any revelations .Will all new representatives acquiese in the undergrowth of Deception .Do we have a real Inspector Morse to do a proper job or do we have to import another ‘sassanach’ or a ‘german’to weed out the viruses ?

        Our national insular singular inbred childish mindsets have caused us a price that you and I forever will never be able to repay .And does it matter anymore ?

        • irishminx

          What really matters John are family, the people you love in your life. Having food on the table. Paying your bills and making an honest positive contribution to the world we all share. Human beings and the world we inhabit are what really matters.

          Not until the last fish dies, the last tree chopped down, will they, you and me, realise that we can not eat money. An native American once said that, or words to that effect.

          Sleep well.

          • The Next Act of Betrayal

            Many Jungles in the world are protected areas for humanity .In Dublin many locations for senior civil servants and senior bankers and media mavericks and Irish Politicians are swamps of very very serious Deception that continue undetected and it is only when the ‘time machine ‘ passes that the trigger sets off an event that will become Explosive .Then it is Too Late .

            By then the fatal Damage will have been done and the blame machine begins again and the new government play stage – play and make-it up as they go along faking every wrinkle in their faces that only make a St Bernard dog a suspect .Party politics sets in once more to hold common botoxical faces and the electorate are left hung out to dry and voiceless once more .More jargon talk more tribunals more jingo jinx talk where bananas are made to to grow anywhere you want.Moore street traders will think the government will grow the fruit and vegs in the zoo so they can buy them at discount prices .The animals will become disorientated too .

            IMF/ EU / CIA start humming like the jungle theme Pocahuntus planning a new carve up of the Island of ours .Secrets of economic war plans surface to redeem the debts incured and every county is re-grouped to a new regional provisional map camp with new alliances to various powers .

            Serious Emmergency EU talks have taken place recently and no Irish delegate was present and were deliberately ignored and strategic plans of actions prepared all over the heads of unelected Irish Politicians .Our newly elected representatives and the deposed already know how very far from the tables they really are in EU and how cold their shoulders have become and how very little they really know and somewhere deep down they feel a poisoned chalice will be presented to them .

            More deception lies ahead more youth leave the bleak shores more pain and agony and all this just will not stop .BP oil spill will look like a sink plug hole and we will have lost our new nation as we watch what is left finally smell in decay.

          • irishminx

            Jaysus John,

            That’s a very depressing scenario.
            However, what about the unexpected factor?

            T’is a coming …………

            At least, my hope is on that!

            If not, then we Irish really need to get ourselves a compassionate backbone! And shout STOP to the lying dishonest politicians that occupy Dáil Eireann. The greedy corrupt elite bankers and property developers.

            What baffles me, is why the Irish and that includes me, haven’t shouted STOP to these inhumane humans corrupting Irish society. In my own case, I admit, it is my own lack of confidence. I am a human being, not a politician, everything I say and do is expressed obviously on my face. I don’t know much about the speak of politics, other than, I don’t speak that language. My face would always tell the truth. I’d come out with the truth and therefore, wouldn’t be trusted with sensitive information. I’d spill the beans, if not in words, my face would do it for me.

            Yet, as I sit here in my kitchen in one of the most beautiful parts of our land, writing this, I know I need to do something to stop the decay of not just Ireland but our world.

            At the moment I can give my time every second week. I am a good communicator, especially in the written word. I do have a lot of compassion and I am a hard worker, thanks to my mother! I also have a lot of very different information in my head. I am a fairly good radio presenter too. I will travel, as I’m fecking nomadic anyway!

            So I set a challenge, use my skills. I am also the best cleaner and a very good basic no frills cook! :)

            I am at the service of my country, as my need is to help and assist in any way I can. As long as it is in an honest and just way.

            Now lads, for the record, I need this above board.

            Slainte,

            Trich

          • Hi Trich,
            I am trying to be optimistic .I dont like to find my belt unbutton because I am still enjoying the left overs after xmas or eating the chocolate someone else hid for their rainy day .Every squirill has a bankers mind : ‘they hoard their nuts’.

            You have no idea how easy it is to buy a foreign bank and get one for nothing and make yourself chairman.Its easy .So easy in fact it only takes some acting classes and knowing how to say nothing evertime you talk .There is a rhyme in a rhythm as in a stream and dance .Just do what the people want and tomorrow is another day.
            Just tell me your star sign and I will tell you how you think using your sentence stanzas .The eye is a weak sense and never believe what it sees.It fools us all the time.

          • I never like to see anyone it only proves how ugly the world really is.

          • irishminx

            I thought you’d never ask John…….joking.
            Just remember what my nick is.

            My date of birth……… 9/7/61
            Cork
            3 A.M.

            If you need more info my email address is trich@eircom.net

            Now the floor is yours……..

            I feel honoured, thank you.
            I am quite interested in what you have to say.

          • adamabyss

            You’ll get a good response there Trich. When John did it for me a couple years ago he was bang on the money. And I’m a total rationalist, no belief in astrology (or anything similar) whatsoever but for some reason John is never far off the mark with any of his ‘predictions’. Can’t quite figure it out… Anyway, keep up the good work John.

          • irishminx

            Adam,

            Thanks for that. Lads we need to meet up soon, please.

            All welcome, anyone any suggestions for where and when?

            Trich

          • Trich in a Minx Skirt

            The Lady Wears Prada

            I can see a M Martin in you .The ‘bully instinct’ @ getting what you want prevails all the time.( NICE bully – with a capital ‘N’).Oh Ms Teacher !

            You said:

            ‘What really matters John are family, the people you love in your life. Having food on the table. Paying your bills and making an honest positive contribution to the world we all share. Human beings and the world we inhabit are what really matters’.

            The above gave you away immediately I read it .Its the typical cancer emotional sticky cohesive ‘stay together lads we will get through’.You wear your heart on your sleeve with a slogan like ‘save the world theme’.

            Do you notice why curls do not form part of your hairstyle?Or waves for that matter.Have you ever registered your connection with Myrll Streep in her movies?How does Mama Mia feel? or The Lady wears Prada?

            Did you notice last night when M Martin said words to the effect ‘deep down in your heart and soul you know you believe that ‘ . This is a real Cancer Crab moment.Have you ever telephoned someone and not ask them for anything ?I doubt it.Your siblings would agree too.

            I bet you are a show piece going around to the tables and saying ‘tell me what I want to know ‘ …otherwise you wont leave here alive if I can get my way.’I bloody make sure of that’ you would think .

            Watch your eating and sleeping habits on 17th and 18th and dont blame me when it happens.

          • Trich

            PS : I dont want to make your hairdresser redundant and given that both you and MMartin are from Cork do you notice the striking similarities in both your hairstyles?This begs the question do you both visit the same hairdresser ?I doubt it .Why are both similar? Has Cork air got to do with it?Unlikely .

            I think the proper question to ask is ‘does your hairdresser do it or is it someone else behind you ?This is why I believe your hairdresser only collects the money and something else happens in the salon .The curiosity of the cat sets in at this point.The mirror shows that you are there but who is really behind you?As I said elsewhere on this page the eyes are weak and what you see is not what you get.There is a ‘fith fath’ moment here you see and you dont .You are suffering the illusion of something happening to your hair but it is not the hairdresser that does it .She is really a banker .So next time you visit experience the unknown and….and…stay away from the colourants ( you know why).

          • read – ‘ the devil wears prada’

          • Trich : By the way when you read Davids article today in Irl Ind go to page 43 and watch how Myrll tries to put waves on herself to look like Mgt Thatcher and it shows a pic of a before and an after .
            Mg T is a Libra ( she is related to Mauice Artois on this site ( aka Paul Moriarty )her grandmother came from Adrigole – an O’Sullivan but changed her name when she arrived in Uk to Sellewin.

          • irishminx

            :)) Thanks John,

            But I do have very curly hair!!
            I need my hairdresser to hide the few
            white hairs appearing !! Huge smile on my face here.

            I saw that pic of Streep and Mrs T.
            Trust me my hair is very curly!!
            But this you know now!! :))

            Thanks a million.

            Warm hugs and not sticky one’s :)

            Trich

          • Trich – Its like this you dont expect me to say that a black lady has straight hair because usually theirs is always curly.So in your case due to your very good stunning scandanavian good looks that would make a shame on Rachel Allen its not possible to say your hair is straight due to your inbred genetics.I took you as a random Irish and it did not work.So I made the wrong comparissons.Otherwise there is no change.

            And for the rest in the room ….take her up on a meeting SOON she wont let you down and will be a fantastic Chairman of the real life bloggers.

    • John_stafford@ireland.com

      Yes, there is something very very big and explosive yet to happen that they have not yet thought about, and we should be afraid. That thing is Peak Oil.
      See my comments on nuclear, below.

    • irishminx

      John,

      There’s a rogue with a glint in his eye that is you! :)

      I’d love to meet up with the guys and girls here.

      But the question is, would you join us John?

      Minx! :))

  19. The Irish Banking Federation have a lot to answer for and for contributing to the loss of jobs .Why were they in denial?

  20. Black Cat

    The big explosive thing that has yet to happen that I am worried about is runaway climate change
    http://wakeupfreakout.org/film/tipping.html
    - this issue is far more important that economies and growth from what I am reading in scientific environmental articles – the wellbeing of future generations depends on changing the accustomed model of economic growth at any cost to the environment. Would like to see an article from Daivd about reconciling these issues – concern about the economy is detracting from the pressing issue of climate change – scientists are saying there is less than 10 years to stop runaway climate change but with all the focus on money, economies and growth people aren’t paying enough attention what’s really important -
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/feb/04/extreme-weather-global-food-crisis?INTCMP=SRCH
    this guy says we are one bad harvest away from a global food crisis which is increasingly likely due to climate change with 2012 predicted to be a bad year, – what will money be worth in these future scenarios I wonder? Saudia Arabia and other countries which can’t provide their own food are already grabbing land in Africa that holds water which is depriving poor people living downstream.
    Beautiful free film about the challenges facing our environment and our planet here for anyone interested – has some of the most stunning footage I have ever seen.
    http://www.youtube.com/homeproject#p/a/f/0/jqxENMKaeCU

    Hope I’ve not annoyed ye all with my rant but I don’t have much to contribute economy wise – it just seems to me that the economies of the future will be based on something more essential than money.
    Any politician who comes knocking on my door will be asked what they are doing for the environment above anything else.

    • coldblow

      Stephen

      By the way, that book about Blair’s Britain you recommended (Fantasy Island) was excellent. (I couldn’t get hold of the earlier one.)

  21. BnB

    I am convinced that if 90% of the banking industry disappeared the world economy could still function perfectly well or even better. I don’t have any data to back that up but that’s the only conclusion from observing the banks behaviour over the past decade. Nearly all of it is just a three card trick, moving everybody’s savings and loans around and diverting as much as possible into the hands of the bankers without people noticing.

    The remaining productive 10% is just a commodity business and most of that has been automated and computerised for many years now. The most important job in banking that’s still carried out by humans is probably in filling the ATMs, and a lot of that isn’t even done in bank branches.

    I’m sorry for the bank workers losing their jobs but the truth is that most of them are part of a system that doesn’t serve any useful purpose.

  22. irishminx

    I have two things to say from reading your article, I enjoyed your view David.

    One. If 10,000 more people become unemployed, then that increases the burden on the state via job seekers benefit and twelve months later a means tested payment of job seekers allowance.

    Also if these banking ladies are single with a mortgage or with an unemployed husband, they will also need to seek a Mortgage interest supplement, but only on the first mortgage! (If they re-mortgaged, she/he/they carry that debt burden themselves).

    Two. I cam across this site today for anyone in trouble with their homes.

    http://saveyourhome.ie/

    I heard it was an excellent site.

    BTW, I read on this site recently someone giving out about the service they received from Dept. Social Protection. I would like to apologise for that, even though I do not work for DSP ………….yet!

    I find ill treatment of any human being unacceptable. However, may I give you a tip, which I learned, Everything every body says, does, feels and thinks IS 100% about them. So if another body tries to project their ill inner feeling upon you, see it as just that. And happily hand it back to where it rightfully belongs. :)

  23. zohan

    fianna fail allowed the banks to overstretch because they failed to regulate them and and they all had their dirty little fingers in the property pie.They now desert the sinking ship but should have been made to walk the plank !Disband the party and cancel all payments and pensions to them immediately.Thanks to the fuckers we now have,
    NO JOBS
    NO HEALTH SERVICE
    NO PROPER MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
    NO TOURISTS
    NEGATIVE EQUITY
    NO SALT
    NO ROADSWEEPERS
    NAMA
    IMF

    We need real help and we need it now WTF can we do

    • Deco

      Correction there Zohan – the entire Irish establishment allowed the banks to overstretch…none of them seen it coming. And substantial parts of the media whipped up the frenzy with bumper Property Supplements, property porn programs on TV like “Househunters in the Sun” and “news coverage”…

  24. Deco

    I reckon this chap was asking Jack O’Connor or maybe the Democratic Party of the USA for advice on what to do…..

    http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/mubarak-seeks-support-with-pay-rise-for-state-employees-492579.html

    Has M H Mubarak been reading the work of J M Keynes….or maybe he was studying the policies of Bertie Ahern ?

    Next thing we will find out, the Egyptian version of the FAI will be building a big circus maximus complex for the mass to find entertainment.

  25. SeanL

    Not often that I read an article by David that lends support to the blanket banking guarantee of 2008 but this one does!
    David states that the rapid shrinking of the balance sheet now required will result in 10,000 job losses. However how many of the 50,000 bank employees would have had a job at all in 2009 if their employers were let go to the wall?
    We can never know how many direct and indirect banking job losses there would have been if no guarantee were given in Sept 2008 and there are many who say that another 30,000-40,000 ‘bankers’ on the dole queues would be just desserts!

  26. Harper66

    http://www.politics.ie/media/150443-pat-kennys-business-partnership-dunne-bradshaw-quinlan.html

    Thanks to a poster at politics.ie – Pat Kennys business deals with Nama developers, Dunne Bradshaw and Quinlan.

  27. coldblow

    A sentence (“It seems that Ireland…” in the middle of this a recent post from irisheconomy.ie says what I’ve been thinking for a long time now:

    “20. Keith Cunneen Says:
    February 5th, 2011 at 4:38 pm
    Our elite are too dependent on foregin credit – they want their bank accounts to remain in Euros and that pretty much sums up our predicament.
    Iceland was blessed with a collapsed Krona so therefore most sections of society including the middle class has nothing left to lose.
    You have to be at least serious about rejecting the Euro as that is the basis of their power – without that you have no negotiating postion.
    It seems that Ireland is governed by a section of people who deposited money from bank credit and not people who owe bank debt – the huge distortions and failures in the domestic economy is primarily due to this one fact.
    I am in favour of hard money but hard currency simply destroys all activity.
    The masters of the Euro have two options – destroy the periphery to feed a yield on overvalued debt much like Volcker did to the US to save the dollar or recognize reality on a new Euro balance sheet.
    As long as there is no coherent resistance bankers will nearly always endeavor to keep the value of paper alive and kill production.”

    http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2011/02/05/on-renegotiation-of-the-eu-imf-deal/

  28. SLICKMICK

    I know a BOI branch manager who cleard 200k oper annum during the boom.Even though a large proportion of the lending he approved has gone awol, he still retains his cushy job.His dim son is deputy manager of another branch !!!! Both are up to their eyes in debt.Gobshites ruining the asylum.

  29. uchrisn

    David is right that there were plenty of people hired in the banks the same as construction during the boom years. As boom years are not sustainable those are not really real sustainable jobs.
    As with the construction sector these peoples choices are to
    1. Retrain
    2. Find another job
    3. Set up their own business with the pay off money
    4. Emigrate
    They will need the proper support to do these things.
    Their skills are no longer needed in the Irish banking/construction sector in the medium term, they need to think hard about what other skills they can offer to Irish society or the world society.
    Ireland has exported many people who have done much selfless work in other countries, a great examples are the nuns and priests I have met in developing countries. Personally I think these people should think about what they can offer society without paying too much attention on what they can get out of it.

    • Colin

      1. Retrain as what?

      2. Another job doing what exactly? Serving Happy Meals?

      3. Set up a business offering exactly what to exactly who? Hundreds of businesses are closing every month, what makes you think a rookie can make a go of being in business in a climate of high rents, high rates and high overheads.

      4. Emigrate where? Many of those in the construction sector are over 30 so they can’t go on a working holiday jaunt, don’t have fluency in a foreign language and might have a wife and kids so can you please advise where these people should emigrate to?

  30. John Q. Public

    It could be argued that we would be in this mess anyway if there were no debt crises. If there were enough houses built to meet demand then the building trade would have slowed right down anyway leaving damn all tax and vat flowing into the government. We would still have a predicament in many ways.

  31. Colin

    A poor article David. Why do you advocate protecting bank employees and more significantly female employees? What about civil engineering contractors who have had to let go thousands of engineers, technicians, carpenters etc…. who happen to be mostly male? These people have been suffering since 2008 and they didn’t cause the banking crisis either.

    I’m sure you’re aware that we wouldn’t have had as big a property boom if we had less women in the workforce, i.e. the rise in double income couples/families correlates with increased property prices.

  32. Philip

    I think the article while interesting hints at a much bigger issue facing the country…an inevitable banking collapse with no retail banking and no immediate means of conducting business for most of us.

    0) The EU banks are bust.
    1) We have been prevented from letting banks fold in Ireland to prop up the EU banking system.
    2) to get better terms on the bailout needed for `1) we are asked to harmonised our tax.
    3) if we harmonise taxes we will be utterly unable to support the bailout terms even at the new level as we will have killed off all the FDI
    4) negotiations are going to be either we harmonise taxes or leave EU and Euro. That will lead to 0) as contagion restarts – this will not be allowed to happen – so a debt forgivness of some sort in some manner will be brokered. Euro Crash will result, but banking may stay stable.
    5) mass bank sale in 12 to 18 months time. new rules, slightly altered tax system, a bit of a singeing here and there. But differential Corporate tax rates remain as is.
    At least we might just stop the jobs collapse and maybe a new banking regime may come about. The alternative is we leave Europe and the Euro watch the rest of it collapse.

    In the end, Merkel is trying to keep the electorate in Germany happy. Pity they do not realise that their stupid bankers trying to make a killing using their money is what caused all of this anyway with the ECB in Watch.

  33. Crematorium will heat Public Swimming Pool

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Redditch-Plans-To-Heat-A-Public-Swimming-Pool-With-Heat-From-Adjacent-Crematorium-Get-The-Go-Ahead/Article/201102215925892?lpos=UK_News_Second_Home_Page_Article_Teaser_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15925892_Redditch%3A_Plans_To_Heat_A_Public_Swimming_Pool_With_Heat_From_Adjacent_Crematorium_Get_The_Go_Ahead

    How the dead will give life back !Does this mean there is life after death ?Imagine dying and ending up in a swimming pool !Maybe if you stay there long enough you could complete a course and become a lifeguard.

    There is something aching in the above heading .Imagine Anglo Irish Bank has a house for everyone in the audiance !All you do is Text what word should come after Berti …….and send it David Krook Drummer a hard knocker from The Bronx .

    Imagine a wheel of fortune then you do not need any job .Heat from the Dead brings back life ! How many died in the bitter cold freezing snow over xmas?Thats not the same .Does playing chess in the unemployment exchange make a duck quack and a load of foie de gras for the bankers?

    Imagine swimming in the pool with your head down and wondering where the dead are !Would you win a race doing that?

  34. susan redmond

    from someone who has worked in the past in Bank of Ireland as a bank employee, I saw first-hand what you refer to as the lower echelons of the bank – the ordinary bank employee. They DID benefit from the bank’s; the got bank mortgage and loans at a good rate to buy their houses and be well assured most of them bought them at the right time. They don’t pay fees and charges either and get preferential treatment. To me the whole banking system was just there for the benefit of all employees banking purposes from the very top to the bottom. They chose to ignore what was going on “upstairs” with higher management and turned a blind eye to it. They were definitely aware of what was going on. I walked away from the banking system. The ordinary employee in the bank chose to work through it in the hope that the corruption would never be exposed. The ordinary employee used the banking system just as much as the higher management – it worked it’s way down through all levels!

  35. adamabyss

    Well that says it all for me. What susan redmond is implying is that everyone has blood on their hands. If I hadn’t been away from 1989 – 2010 earning an honest living elsewhere and working my nuts off then I would probably have it on my own hands too. Of course I’m not assigning responsibility (or blame) to anyone and everyone but a lot of Irish people would want to hold their hands up honestly and take responsibility for digging themselves into the shit hole(s) where they now find themselves. Why did nobody shout stop? Greed, that’s why.

    • Colin

      adamabyss,

      Hold it a while now, while I accept what susan redmond says about the banks, that does not mean everyone, it just means everyone in the banking industry. That’s why I posted earlier on that it was a poor article. Banks are responsible for this mess we’re in and you have 0 people made redundant as a result of this. Now look at civil engineering industry, which is not responsible for the mess we’re in, and yet the job losses have been enormous and some self employed people can’t even get paid for work done. Please explain to me how this is fair.

      And for the record I never bought property and I won’t even consider it until property falls another 20% from peak.

    • coldblow

      “Why did nobody shout stop?”

      That’s still the big question (or one of them).

      Let’s have a quick off the top of the head trawl:

      1 Mass psychological delusion. Galbraith in the Gt Crash refers to it, and to the Florida property boom before it (where sites were sold for houses that were so inappropriate (if that’s not too strong a word (!))that they were never going to get built). Ireland would seem ripe for that kind of thing, cf Hand of Henri hysteria. Mind you, GB had their Diana moment, Germany their Adolf infatuation etc etc. But the herd instinct seems to be strong here whatever about elsewhere. What would have happened to Henri in the dressing room after the game if he’d owned up? The Irish would know the answer to that if anyone does (see ‘stupidity’ below).

      2 Nobody with any powere wanted to point out that it was a bubble as they would get the blame. (Galbraith again) If our bubble had popped in, say, 2004 there would be plenty to say that it was going to last forever and whoever ended it (eg McCreevey) would be vilified for eternity.

      3 Greed of course as some (probably relatively few) got very rich out of it.

      4 Stupidity: Irish media, all the stuff Deco highlights, reluctance to exercise critical faculties(see ‘herd instinct above). As I mention before: compare and contrast the Beeb’s University Challenge with RTE’s Challenging Times. (Tied in with a know-all streak that makes people reluctant to admit they could be wrong.)

      5 Govt: etc etc

      6 Institutional failure: Crotty saw the state as a means of exploiting the country by the elite (though I don’t think he used that word – he’d boild it down to property owners in the end). Our ‘world class’ regulatory system wasn’t quite up to scratch.

      7 Collusion by more or less everyone in the financial services sector, surely? If anyone knew they did, and if the street dogs knew then ergo so did they, but rather more so.

      8 Ignorance of history and economic history. I came to Ireland in 1987 just before the English property bubble burst. It helps in all public discussion if you can remember what happened before two days ago. Tied in with the phenomenon that everyone else across the world (ie GB and US) was doing it so it had to be ok for us too (‘extravert’ mode of thinking?).

      9 Selfishness too probably: I would imagine some saw what was coming but went along with it so that they could in the meantime get themselves into a secure position to weather the storm when it finally broke. No point sounding the alarm until you have already got yourself into one of the lifeboats. Not saying this happened, but there’s a logic there. When you think about anyone who saw what was coming and sold a house near the top with a view to renting for a while knew they were landing some serious negative equit on some poor sap.

      10 Belief in magic – it had to burst but maybe if you kept your fingers crossed it wouldn’t happen. (Just wanted to get to no. 10)

      Just off the top of the head, as I said. I’m sure there were other reasons too.

      By the way, “Nobody Shouted Stop” (originally “Death of an Irish Town”) is the name of a book by the Mayo journalist John Healy about the demise of Charlestown (“a town founded on spite”) and by extension of rural Ireland in general. I don’t know what happened to Healy as a result though I know he was tarnished in a sordid smear campaign when he was at school (“Nineteen Acres”) so independent thinking was possibly part of his character and people didn’t like it.

  36. adamabyss

    Nah, didn’t mean everyone Colin. Tried to qualify that but just didn’t bother taking out the first ‘everyone’ in my post. You were right not to buy; if I was you I wouldn’t bother – ever. Unless they are giving away the bloody houses. It isn’t fair. I would expect a lot of people to lose their jobs in banks soon. Personally I think they should set up a whole new, untainted banking organisation/brand, with initial support from the government, and forcibly close or merge the other ones.

  37. Versailles – the corridors of power are rather very busy today in Paris and Sarky has Merkel beside him a lot lately and they have placed their differences aside for now .What unites them both is their common enemy Irl .Yes thats US . We have united the enemies of the last WW11 .Even the collaborators and the resistents are playing boules together .Thats unheard of.Even watching them I can see that they cheating in that game anyway so they dont care.

    Les Securite Fiscale Irlandaise is a top secret document currently in the Charlemaigne Exedra and away from the prying eyes of the political picadillos.Our fate has been written in the garden under the sun and the music begins in a few weeks time.

  38. [b]The ‘Debate’…stage managed?[/b]

    Did Martin and Gilmore see the questions before the Debate took place?

  39. Ollie

    HI all,
    I’ve been reading this site for nearly four years now and I want to say thank-you to you David for always striving to bring the truth to the people. At the moment the people need the truth more than ever if they are to choose wisely in the coming election.

    Can David, or any of the other well-informed commentators here, please provide some basic figures (backed up) to clarify for the people (including me) where the FF, FG and ILP plans will leave us.

    We the people need to know the following:

    1. How much will we owe after all the borrowing
    2. What is the suspected (when we roll over debt will the rate increase?) amount of interest in repayments i.e. how many billions per anum in interest
    3.What is our annual income as a nation going to be after all the cuts etc. trickle through
    4. What will be left of that income after interest payments

    There are many other worthy points that are being made and need to be made, but at the moment I believe that this basic information is not known by the people.
    I believe we are going to be very poor.
    Can someone tell us how poor please?
    Thanks,
    Ollie

    • paddythepig

      Hi Ollie,

      Q1 : Answer is indeterminate, as we don’t know how much we will have to draw down to capitalise the banks, or even if this policy will continue to be pursued. The new government will determine the fiscal borrowing, and fiscal borrowing will depend on how quickly the fiscal imbalance will be addressed, and also the performance of the economy, both currently indeterminate.

      Q2 : Repayments on the indeterminate total will be interest only for the forseeable future. Read somewhere recently this will be 20% of tax take, circa 7 or 8 billion per annum. Seems as good a guess as any.

      3. Indeterminate. Depends on the innovation within the economy. Depends on growth in export sector, which ultimately feeds all other sectors. Anyone who claims to know this figure are either guessing, or lying.

      4. Depends on income which is indeterminate, and interest rates, also indeterminate.

      Sorry I can’t be more precise, but I believe in this scenario, precision is the enemy. The key to recovery in the real economy is innovation, competitiveness, export growth, as well as increases in productivity in state sectors. The banking black hole is dependent on the ability of the real economy to service the existing loans and thereby rebuild their balance sheets ; the worse the performance in the real economy the more bad debts there will be.

      • Ollie

        Thanks Paddy,
        Was wondering if anyone can give a ballpark on the borrowing figure. How much already + deficit for next few years + known banks etc.
        Cheers,
        Ollie

  40. stiofanc02

    Enda Kenny may have been duped. I think Cowen and his last couple of speaches featuring the Irish language tugged on the heart strings of the diehards. When Kenny said he will not make it a compulsory subject in the leaving, was this well flagged or known by a FF mole? Many in the Gaeltachts who may have beeen on the fence are heading back to FF as far as I can tell. Disaster! Even though I dont hold out any hope for The golden haired boy Enda anyway. just a thought.

  41. Poor show.

    It’s stretching things when you hint at feeling sorry for bank workers. They are finding out that they are prisoners of the system they worshipped and that their goose is cooked

    Attempting to appeal to bank workers shows us just how conservative, middle of the road and vanilla this place really is. Talk about being out of step. Jees. They will have to do what everyone else has to do – retrain for a new career. Send them all on fas courses

    Meanwhile back in the real world people are rioting because they cant afford food. They are also giving us a lesson in exercising real backbone. Ireland, it’s commentators and it’s commentariat are spineless and only care about money and being seen to be politically correct

    With half a million on the dole you are missing out on a huge readership by being too conservative

  42. Dorothy Jones

    The information below may be of interest to posters and it is free. I am not back in Dublin until late afternoon on Saturday.

    The Market Studios, Corner of Halston St & Mary’s Lane, Dublin 7 through the city centre ending at the docklands.

    Meeting at The Market Studios off Capel st at 1pm. Then off at once into the city to search for the many buildings which have been secretly pushed through the revolving doors of the toxic banks colossal vault of deeds. Free lunchtime guided tour that promises a thoughtful yet playful search for meaning in the wake of Ireland’s nervous breakdown.
    Please rsvp to sallybruhaha@gmail.com

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