April 10, 2012

Bad Day in the BabyBelt

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 99 comments ·

It’s the day of the Easter Bunny – the ancient sign of fertility – and “breeding like rabbits” is exactly what we are up to.

Traditionally, fertility is celebrated around the spring equinox and, given the fecundity of rabbits, they became a symbol of fertility and of Easter.
The census, which came out last week, reveals that fertile is exactly what we Irish are right now.

First the good news: the population is rising rapidly. This is quite an achievement in the light of the huge levels of emigration. The census revealed that the natural increase in the population was more rapid than at any stage since the beginning of this state.

Now, obviously there is always going to be an echo of the last great demographic surge – the generation born around the time Pope John Paul II visited. These Pope’s Children are now having their own children. As they are a commuter generation, catapulted out to the new commuter counties in the credit binge period, the increase seems to be largest in these commuter areas – a place I refer to in my book The Pope’s Children as the Babybelt.

Unambiguously, new babies and population growth are great signs. Young societies are vibrant, creative and buzzing. Old societies, in contrast, tend to be dull and risk-averse.

One way to look at it is that it is a sign of hope. It is a major thumbs up by parents to the future of the country. Given the financial trauma that this generation, possibly more than any other, has suffered in the past five years, it is a wonderful development. One of the most depressing reactions of a country following a major upheaval is that would-be parents are so traumatised they stop having children. They don’t want to bring children into the world because they have given up hope that the country might provide a decent life for the next generation.

We saw such a reaction across the former Soviet bloc after the fall of communism. In eastern Europe, populations fell rapidly in the 1990s and the birth rate stagnated. I spent time in this part of the world in the 1990s and many people I met, and am still in contact with, are childless by choice. For some, it wasn’t so much a view about the future as the reality of the slump in the economy. They simply couldn’t afford to have children and, as state supports for childcare and schooling fell away, the idea of having a child might have seemed irresponsible to some. But for whatever reason – and these are complicated decisions – birth rates fell.

Thus we should rejoice, as the census revelations are much more important for this society than the promissory note or what the ECB thinks of us, or any of the other economic conundrums occupying our minds. But – and there’s always a but -one needs to look at two of the most important indicators in any economy.

The first indicator is the number of people working relative to the total population. The ratio is collapsing. From 1998 to 2007, the ratio rose, meaning more and more working people supporting fewer and fewer dependants. Now that trend has reversed.

The second indicator we need to examine is how wages fare as a share of total income. Here too, the trend is now going the wrong way for working people. Between 2002 and 2008/9, a full 10 per cent of GDP was transferred from profits to wages. Now this is reversing.

Both these developments have significant ramifications for our ability to pay debts and mortgages in the year ahead.

It is hard to remember right now, with all the recrimination that is going on, but the biggest positive of the credit binge period was the extraordinary surge in the number of people at work and the fact that wages went up rapidly. High wages should be the aim of all societies where people work. Otherwise what would be the point?

The ratio of people working to the overall population in Ireland is plummeting. This is very worrying, particularly in an economy where it seems to be the conventional wisdom to suggest that corporation tax can’t – or, at least, ought not to – rise and where the state has difficulty raising a household charge. If the ratio of workers to dependants is falling, it means that income taxes will have to be higher and higher.

Why is this? Well, because fewer and fewer working people are shouldering the burden of more and more dependants, whether they are the young, the old or the unemployed. This is how a country goes bust because it is trying to squeeze more and more out of fewer and fewer pay packets.

The more you try to tax people and keep welfare payments the same, the sooner comes the point where it’s not worth going to work. At the rate at which the ‘workers to dependants’ ratio is deteriorating, we will approach such a tipping point -without question.

The second trend is the fall in wages relative to total income. Income is shared between wages and profits. As wages go up, profits go down and vice versa. We can see that, throughout the credit binge period, wages as a percentage of output kept rising. This put more and more money in people’s pockets.

Now wages are falling relative to profits. But if wages are falling, where will people get the money to pay back their debts? Indeed, if wages are falling and taxes on wages have to rise because the number of dependants is rising, what will happen to the ability and willingness of people with young children to pay back their mortgages, now in negative equity?

This brings me to the recent statements from the banks about mortgage arrears, which are rising rapidly. The above mentioned trend will continue. We know the banks don’t have enough money to cover these ongoing losses, so what will they do? As for the rise in profits, this means that the return on invested capital is higher now in Ireland than it has been for years – but there is no capital because the banks are not lending. The opportunity cost of the credit crunch couldn’t be greater.

As everyone who has young children knows, the weekly household budget rarely survives the impact of a new arrival.

In the end, the choice for many of the Pope’s Children might come down to paying the mortgage or paying for the children’s lunches. I know which I’d choose.

  1. Adam Byrne


  2. Grey Fox

    No doubt David the big bang in residential mortgages is coming and maybe as soon as this year,(I welcome it) with the new baby boom you speak about, the question on my mind is what kind of Ireland are we introducing these little people to, €40,000 in debt the very moment they are born (as reported here recently),what quality of life will they have? they will not know any difference as they will grow up into it, only our reflections on how it used to be will be any indication to them that they did not deserve the raw deal we are perpetuating on them. Great article as usual, hope you wrote this one from the peace and quiet of your now workspace, best of luck.

  3. Economics Teacher

    Interesting article. Rather than see this increase in population as some sign of confidence in the future; it might just be that by the time the census was taken (April 2011) the babies conceived in the boom had already been born. It will be interesting to see how birth rates in the years from April 2011 will pan out.

    It seems fitting that on the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Titanic we should read this article. She sailed out with passengers full of hopes and dreams of the future; similar to an Ireland moving forward full of the hopes of a new generation. It remains to be seen if we meet the same destiny.

    Always enjoy your articles David!

  4. irishminx

    Between the mortgage debt, state pensions, Social Welfare payments & civil & public service pensions/wages soon, there will be no money to finance them!

    Yet we gave away our oil & gas reserves.

    Great country huh!

    • That is what I call ‘Schull Sense’…..and you are always close to that Minx

    • molly66

      Yes but watch the government dealing with this in the way they will protect them selves and all there cronies by getting us further into debt,it’s like a hive of bees protecting the queen.
      Till this stops we will never see real change,one example is the court case treasury holdings when the legel teams wanted 700 euros an hour the judge got it down to 490 euros per hour not per day per hour.

  5. Beaver

    Interesting graphs. The ratio of employed I had sensed intuitively over the last few years but the ratio of profits to wages should have struck me too. Note 1/4 of last years births were to ´´New Irish´´ mothers. They´re probably thinking it might be bad here now but you should see what its like where I came from and the fallopian tubes wait for no recession. Consider the logic of all the people giving birth during the famine albeit with zero contraception options. Paddy you´ve never had it so good so make another baby.

  6. Deco

    I am reading the positives from the current trend. And I am also wondering based on what I see, if there might be something else at work.

    Basically, in countries with mediocre social services, as you look into old agge, having a plentiful supply of off-spring increases your chances of being looked after, when you get older.

    Nobody expects the HSE to get their act together, now that the money is being squandered on the banks and NAMA. And even when the HSE had money, the HSE was an incapable operation.

    And maybe also the fact that Irish people like having kids around them. I mean some countries regard them as a nuisance almost-as we see today in Japan.

    There is also the house size issue. Basically, house sizes have increased, therefore the fixed investment is already made. This is evident in the Baby belt.

    In Italy, with jobs hard to get, and apartments small in size, there is a massive problem at the moment, with regard to family size. Even though Italians also like children.

    However, it should also be clear that we are losing a lot of potential mothers who are now in their 20s, who are leaving for Australia, Canada etc… this will hit the system in a few years time. People with mortgages, kids, etc… are less likely to leave. But those with neither are much more likely to follow the jobs market, and leave the country.

    In effect, we have a bulge in the birth rate, and this will be followed by the lull.

    Put it this way.

    Bulge in the housing market, followed by a bulge in the birth rate, followed by a bulge in the school population, followed by a bulge in the bulge in the third level population, followed by the bulge in the jobs market.

    • Colin


      Replace ‘lull’ with ‘cull’ and you have it right.

      The question is, why would you want to have children when you know that unless you become ‘active in a major political party’, they’ll have to leave to find any semblance of a working life abroad.

  7. transitionman

    More Tipping Points
    “Because when we finally reach the limit of our debt, and it becomes clear that the collateral backing that debt is unable to produce enough yield to pay it back, we’ll have a whole new meaning for the term ‘collateral damage.”

  8. Good writing David. Your last two articles and Punk Economics 3 have been lucid and educational. Nice work

    All these little Oisins and Roisins are going to require an education to set them up for the life they face and I mean a proper education. What currently passes for education does not cut it and look where conventional wisdom got some of the parents!

    If the rest of us have to make sacrifices to support them then that’s fine with me because that is the way a civiilised society ought to function. The new generation will spend a large part of their lives paying for the greed and recklessness of recent generations and work to pay for our pensions

    These kids are our future and they need a reason to believe. So do the rest of us

    Children often ask questions that make us think. Like ‘why can’t the people all grow their own food on the land’?

    They should be taught to think creatively before the education system crushes their individuality and turns them into frightened rabbits!

    PS I hope you are enjoying your new office.

  9. Johno

    In the end, the choice for many of the Pope’s Children might come down to paying the mortgage or paying for the children’s lunches. I know which I’d choose.

    I had that choice just before Christmas and after it. My wife took some unpaid leave after her maternity leave ended in October 11 , she took 12 weeks unpaid. We had tried to budget our money so we could afford just been on the one wage for those 12 weeks and we had some savings. But it just didn’t work out. So we had the choice of Santa Clause ( we have a 5 year old as well ) or pay our bills on time. We picked Santa and would never pick anything else.

    We are very lucky that we both have jobs and we only experienced down to one wage for 12 weeks. I don’t know how families can cope if one or both parents are out of work for a long time.

    My wife been back on wages since end of Jan and we are only getting back on top of all bills and arrears now. I have a greater empathy now for anyone going through a hardship.

  10. Colin

    The herd are having children now, competing with each other, again, another version of the suburban arms race where just a few years ago property, decking, motors and the number of foreign holidays you took a year were all indicators of how ‘successful’ you are.

    If individuals want to bring children into the world into poverty, that’s their business, but to expect others to help pay for it, well, then it suddenly becomes everyone’s business.

    I wonder what Freud would make of this latest news, it would probably confirm to him that the Irish ‘herd’ are indeed mad as ever.

    This news makes us look more like a third world country, where birthrates are the highest and emigration is endemic, and the politicians are corrupt.

    • Peter Atkinson

      Yes the Chinese “one child per family” scheme or India’s “sterilization for a transistor radio” scheme comes to mind.Ironically both of these countries are now surging ahead.I think we all know that we are running out of what is fondly known in certain quarters of Dublin as “mickey money”.

      I know a value cannot be put on children but at some stage common sense has to reveal that the country in its current state cannot sustain any further growth in population when people of retirement age are living longer and the working population are shrinking at a rate of knotts.

  11. franta

    Is there any hope for Ireland in near future? Well…
    The last week was quite interesting. I have spent last year by trying to offer solutions to save money and in the same time to improve its quality when the majority of people I had approached did not even bother to reply to me so I asked for help in UK business angel network and the last week when I was having meetings with a new strategic investor from UK (Isn’t it ironic the company comes from Oxford?) and when we more less decided to move our company to Oxford (Another big victory for Irish government plans to create new jobs) our family received rejection letters from all secondary schools we had sent an application form for our oldest son to. Now trust me I do not complain about him not to be admitted when of course I am furious about it but maybe he is not smart enough or good enough or nice enough or fast enough or handsome enough… although wait a minute there was no single point in any of enrolment policies related to his school performance or behavior. The whole process screams corruption and lacks any transparency. Even we sent original application forms together with administration fees to these schools many years ago we were asked recently to send new application forms and more money Did they change also the date when our application was received? The rejection letters were posted just before Easter holidays and there are only 2 weeks to make an appeal when nobody in those schools answers phones. Also the rejection letter does not contain any even the most basic information as how many children were admitted, the final position of our son, the reason of the rejection, how many points he got etc.
    Isn’t it ironic that somebody who grew up in communist totalitarian state would complain about transparency of some process in so called democratic country?
    In my opinion there is no hope for Ireland because the cronyism and corruption is rooted to the very core of Irish society and it is a natural part of everydays’ life from very early age. Nobody seems to want to change this. How extraordinary is to have to know somebody to get a place in right crash otherwise the future of your children is threaten? This is one of the core problems of the current Irish crisis.

  12. Ya’ll,
    completely off topic but I can’t find an answer anywhere:

    My brother is heading to Germany to seek work….I’m wondering is he still aloud claim “job seeker’s allowance” while his looking there?

    Thanks a mill,


    • Adam Byrne

      Yes, he is, my brother did the same when he moved to Dresden last year. I think he got it for 2 months then it’s stopped but I’ll let you know exactly how long in a short while

      • Adam Byrne

        3 months mutton head says now live from Dresden.

        • Adam Byrne

          “You have to register with the arbeits agentur when you arrive here. within 2 weeks or you can’t claim.”


          “needs a u2 form I think.”

          • Thanks Adam… that’s great news. So would he still be receiving “jobs seekers allowance” from Ireland or would he be getting it from Germany?

            Many thanks,


          • Adam Byrne

            I think it would be coming from Ireland, through Germany bureaucratically speaking. All the same really though these days.

            I’m not sure if I agree with all this now though given the conversations below; my eyes have been opened. I think my brother should give back his three months dole to the German state seeing as he was sponging off them. And your brother has no right to be *shock* *horror* crossing ‘sovereign’ (SOVEREIGN!) borders by his own free will looking to better himself (perish the thought!).

            Seriously Josey, good luck to him, I’m sure he’ll make a contribution wherever he goes, just like 99.99999% of all ‘immigrants’ do.

    • C21living

      his = he’s :)

  13. wills

    One reason for increase in birth rates is tis a way to pay the rent.

    On the banks solvency it seems to be strange for the banks to say they’ve no money to lend.

    The banks are flush with cash from NAMA / ECB / Irish govt.

    Monies they have for next to zero and putting to work at higher interest rates too in private investment portfolios rebuilding their capital reserves on the sly and reseting to go again in their fascist ponzi capitalism.

  14. John Q. Public

    Take a look around David. What educated middle-class people do you see having kids? Just about the only people having kids here now are the Africans and the rest of poorly educated immigrants who claim all the social welfare benefits. Cop on to reality, what use will these people be to us in the future?

    • John,

      I take your point if its right. What I will do is see can we get the answer as to who is having the kids in the census and try to tease it out a bit.



      • John Q. Public

        Exactly, a full analysis is needed.

        • Who the hell are you to decide who can and who can’t live in this country after all the help Ireland has had from others over the years and the immigration of masses of Irish into countries the world over since the famine?

          Are you insane?

          Or would you and your creepy friends prefer it if we implanted RFID chips into the wrists of every foreigner landing at Dublin Airport?

          A full analysis. LOL. Please elaborate.

          I am pissing myself laughing and dying to know more.

          Right wing nuts are out in force today

          • redriversix

            Himmler was asked to do a full analysis………..! Over 500 million people claim Irish descent around the world.When the Irish moved to America,their is plenty of evidence to support the fact that “we” were poorly treated and looked down upon and regarded as trash for many years.

            You would think we would have learned how to discuss immigrants with a bit more respect considering at the moment we are flocking to the four corners of the world looking for work and perhaps assistance from Adopted Governments in trying to get established wherever we land………

            My son and daughter will most likely emigrant.I would like to think they will have skills to bring to their “new world” and would be assisted and helped in settling in their new adopted home.

            The World is far from overpopulated,perhaps parts of it are unprofitable which is what the powers that be are more concerned about.

            Thankfully,Babies are born in the best of times and the worst of times. That’s Human nature.I would suggest if most of our parents decided not to have children because of WW2 or the Korean War,the onset of Nuclear weapons or the Cold War.
            This Blog would be a very lonely place……….

            We need more humanity,humility and compassion,these things do not come naturally to many,they have to be practiced on a daily basis.

            It is always easier to start a fight then it is to finish one.

            While we blog , discuss and disagree over Easter holidays,Babies and immigrants,the Troika is still out their quietly working their “magic”

            The IMF have not gone away,you know..So before anyone starts throwing racist opinions about what immigrants have and have not got,make sure you are looking after your own family.If everybody was honest for a day and threw their problems out on the table,we would be very quick in taking our own back………!

            Have a nice day


          • John Q. Public

            Hmm. ask the minister for social welfare why the government wants dole inspectors at Dublin airport!

          • What country did anything for us? Please elaborate….

            Britain tried to exterminate us with the famine, then when we crawled on our empty bellies over to our masters they put up signs “no black, no irish , no dogs”.

            The Yanks were no better, it was only through working the most menial jobs that be bettered ourselves and laid an easier path for those that followed.

            We owe no one any thanks, in fact they owe us if truth be told…but we won’t ask for any favours.

          • stiofanc02

            @Josey J.Q.Public and David McW, The Yanks were actually Italians, English, Chinese,Spanish, former black slaves, who were just getting a footing economically etc etc.
            That was a period where Yanks as you know them today simply didnt exist.
            Everyone was fighting their corner so the Paddy got hammered.
            But as the Jews say “living well is the best revenge”
            Or as I say “revenge is a dish best served ice cold”
            Think the Irish have exacted revenge? I do.
            As for the welfare recipients being any good to us in the future, I think the J.Q.Public’s point is, most will not make the transition from welfare to gainfully employed.
            Also, this is the least likely sect to create any employment either for themselves or anyone else.
            That said, it sounds like he is in the heart of a city somewhere.
            If you look beyond the city and into suburbia, small towns and the countryside, you will see many middle class with two under two.

          • Adam Byrne

            No country or government is ever going to do anything for you Josey. They are not set up for that. They’ve no intention of helping the common man.

            If you want something for yourself, family or friends you’ve got to take (create, make, whatever) it and share it around as best and as fairly as you possibly can.

          • Adam Byrne

            stiofanc02 : Plenty of ‘immigrants’ come up with creative ideas to try to feed themselves and their families and even though they might struggle to integrate fully given the average age of the parents when they arrive here, you can bet your bottom dollar that their (Irish-born in many cases) children will make a fine contribution to this country (or corner of Earth as I prefer to reference it – countries are fake) in years to come – watch and see.

          • I realise that Adam,
            government are just the biggest gang in town. They legaise theft. All we can do under such a system is look out for ourselves and those we love…as for the poor we should give to them directly not through bureaucratic NGOs that leech 90% of the money to administration and paying off war lords.

            Africa is being kept down by their corrupt governments, IMF, World Bank, BIS and their former colonies….not by the western people. We only wish them the best.

          • stiofanc02

            @Adam Its called “Immingrant Energy”. Often times these folks outdo the locals because they have nothing to loose and everything to gain.
            What I was referring to was the class of lifetime “social welfare lifestyle” folks who know no different and it is a fact these types exist not an assumption.
            Now, wether or not they make up the highest proportion of new births is a matter to be looked into. I dont know.
            I do know that in City areas it can seem as if this is all that exists as these are people on the move.
            Out spending their welfare payments on food and clothes.
            A wise Irishman use to say to me “poor people are spending people”. I took him at his word as he was rich from their spending.
            As for the offspring creating employment? Maybe some will. Others wont.
            I am of the belief that you either come to a country to create wealth or live off of the state. It is probably a larger proportion of wealth creators than not but I dont know the figures. So I stand behind my first comment about those on welfare often staying on welfare and not contributing.

          • Adam Byrne

            I don’t know the figures myself either stiofanc02 but there are plenty of Irish people sponging off the Welfare State too, making no positive contribution to society whatsoever. A lot of them spend all their money on alcohol pissing their own and their children’s futures down the toilet.

      • David you are a silly wee lad sometimes and you have just handed your enemies miles of new rope which I hope they lynch you with. You deserve it you Leeds United Prat. Just when you were doing sterling work you had to choose the red pill and show your capacity for stupidity as all geniuses are prone to do from time to time. Or maybe you were on the plonk or just felt like being a plonker when you wrote this shit?

        After praising your recent work below I am stunned to see this comment and my head is spinning. I am really disappointed wee man and I don’t know what you were thinking when you replied to this racist bullshit. Are you stupid or what man? Where is your class? You really behave like a schoolboy sometimes and after this your credibility is zero in my eyes. If you are an ‘intellectual’ then I am god. What a joke. You are no smarter than guys I went to school with

        I’d like to see your fans come to your defence now because I am sure there are many waiting to join me and take up strong hostile positions against John Q and anyone brave enough to adopts his / her stance

        If you want a real fight carry on. The rabble rousers are in tonight and the tone of the blog is shit and filled with selfishness, silent rage and self hatred. Tonight of all nights there’s gonna be a fight, fight ,fight

        Billy don’t like it living here in this town …

        • dorn

          Speaking of plonk, you don’t by any chance have a brother called Del do you Rodders? But you are right of course, opinions contrary to your own should be censored and denied to all. Arguing against them with actual well formed points is for educated people.

          I’m also glad to see that you are so happy that a not inconsequential percentage of our hard earned tax payer money is given to people simply for having a baby, with some of that no doubt being sent off home to mum and dad in Eastern Europe.

          • John Q. Public

            Don’t bother dorn, this was always a lefty blog, you’ll just be labled a racist like me.

          • Adam Byrne

            I didn’t label you a racist John Q. Public and I don’t believe that you are one, for what it’s worth.

          • Thanks for your feedback ^^^

            I welcome the debate and maybe we can just get to work and perform a ‘Full Analysis’ here and now. No point in waiting for someone else to do it is there? Have you got numbers?

            We are all entitled to free speech and I would rather people say exactly what’s on their minds rather than sit and tug the oul forelocks like most of the Irish do in the workplace, the GAA and at political meetings etc just to avoid rocking the boat. That is how a coward lives his life. In Glasgow such weak characters are known as ‘shite bags’ and in London they are known as ‘bottle merchants’

            We have deep seated racism in Ireland and everyone knows it. If anyone is inclined to dislike foreigners then fine it’s their pidgin but some of us were brought up to believe that all people are equal and we abhor racism in all shapes and forms. I am not going to apologise for that my friend and never will

            We are supposed to be a Catholic nation and one of the basic principles of being a Catholic is that you pay something out of your wages (if you are lucky to be in work) each week to help those who are less fortunate and you don’t moan about it. As RR6 said we need to keep our sense of humanity. Did your dad never tell you to put a penny in the SVP box on a Sunday to help the ‘black babies?’

            God what has happened to the Irish people? How did ye all become so self centred, toxic and full of hatred? I am fast coming to the conclusion (on this blog at least) that ye have lost all your humanity and deserve all ye get. There is no spare love going begging on the emerald isle for sure. The law of Karma will sort you out in time if you don’t lose the arrogance and selfishness

            Or would you prefer it if we abolished taxation altogether and pulled the ladder from those who are less fortunate?

            Already some of ye have came to the fast conclusion that all the new borns DMW was referring to are foreigners. The huge majority of them are most likely as Irish as ham, cabbage and spuds. I bet you a pound to a penny they are

            Among the moaners below we have the old ‘poor old us’ mentality fighting for a ring side seat. Boo hoo. It is all so predictable and pathetic. If this is the level of intellectualism in post celtic tiger Ireland then it is a sad day and not just in the ‘baby belts’ of Kells and Kildare


            This is not a ‘lefty’ blog and never will be. Who are you trying to kid?

            Please explain why it is a left wing blog. This is getting really interesting now

            Yes lads why don’t we do a ‘Full Analysis’ of this blog and what it stands for. Sounds like some people don’t understand this site and are kinda confused

            After all there is no shortage of alternative sites providing top quality news and debate

            Irish Brothers

          • Adam Byrne

            “deep seated racism” is right, – just look how the Travellers are treated here.

            Having said that, I don’t find it that bad in Ireland, most people are nice and reasonably tolerant / open-minded, if a bit dim in their voting habits and infected with terminal consumerism (but those are different matters). I lived in Hungary for a few years and you’d want to hear what they say about black people over there!

            I also lived in the Caribbean for 10 years – you should see how I was treated out there – barely a negative word spoken to me in a whole decade – great people! They have nothing in Dominica and they are one of the friendliest, happiest, long-living people on Earth.

        • redriversix

          John Q public and Josey

          “did either of you two read what I wrote or were you to hysterical to finish the piece”

          sometimes I wonder……….of course their is S.W Fraud,here and in every Country in the world,not exactly a scoop John Q…………I would also take with a pinch of salt anything ANY minister has to say these days.

          Josey,I was in England during The early eighties,so I know about the “black paddy”references.Does not mean we treat people badly because we were treated badly.

          Shit happens,nobody owes me anything,I did what I had to do to get on and yes,their were menial jobs too,but money is money.

          Even though you may not mean to….your points do come across as racist.

          Surprised at you, Josey


          • RR6,
            I didn’t mean to come across as racist and I don’t think I did. Racism is a mentality of superiority over other tribes…at the end of the day birds of a feather flock together. I’m just critical of the “we emigrated en mass so therefore we should accept mass immigration now shut up Paddy and take it” mentality. Two wrongs don’t make a right as they say and forced emigration is a wrong, I know I grew up with my father abroad many a time and I know the heartache.

            If a country cannot provide for it’s people there is something seriously wrong…Ireland in this case, we have to change that….other countries concerns are exactly that…their concerns. That’s not being uncharitable…I’m all for self help.

            Fraud is part of human nature and so is to err…and I oft err.

    • Adam Byrne

      ‘these people’ will be plenty of ‘use’ to ‘us’ in the future.

      Anyone who doubts the rights of ‘immigrants’ to pursue their dreams all over the world (as tens of millions of Irish people have during the past 200 years +) is terminally myopic.

      Did those Irish people not do anything for the places they ‘immigrated’ to? Are they not the same ‘immigrants’ that we grandiosely like to call the diaspora now – which sounds better as we try to dip their pockets – seeing as we cocked up everything we could have had in this country – oh wait, maybe that was the ‘immigrants’ fault as well – was it?

      ‘Immigrants’ (I even hate the word) have added hard work, enthusiasm, humility, cultural diversity and so much more across criminally (man) made borders, wherever they have struggled to reach – (sometimes under the threat of murder, torture and rape) since time immemorial.

      The occasional problems that ‘immigrants’ cause have been matched to excess by the frequent brutality of host nationals – witness the recent murders of hard-working Polish people – two in Inchicore by screwdriver, one in Newtown Industrial Estate kicked to death, plus the African taxi driver killed in Dublin City Centre – all of these horrible crimes have been committed in the short time since I ‘immigrated’ back to this wonderful country and its open-minded citizens, after I had successfully ‘immigrated’ myself to seven other countries and been (on the most part) wonderfully treated!

      John Q. if you are the voice of the Irish ‘Public’ then this country is in worse a state that I thought possible. You need to ‘cop on’ yourself if you ask me.

      • John Q. Public

        I accept fully that there are good and bad immigrants and emmigrants (the Irish were not all angels in the past either). As I just said to David a full analysis is necessary. Too many came here and never worked. Port Laoise prison has a 60% inmate population that is not Irish born. Look, we could nickpick all night long about the pros and cons of this, many immigrants did the jobs we were too lazy to do but lets take a serious look at exactly who is having the most children.

        • Adam Byrne

          Okay fair enough, information is power I suppose as long as it’s not used to discriminate but I don’t have much faith that it won’t be (I don’t mean on here).

          I didn’t know that about Port Laoise – what’s the breakdown of nationalities in the 60%? Anyone know?

          • C21living


            The Roman Empire collapsed when the majority of its citizens were non-Roman “immigrants” and had no stake in, interest in or knowledge of how to run the whole damn thing.

            The population of Rome fell from 1,000,000 to just 40,000.

            That’s not the only example of inward migration collapsing a civilization, but it’s a good one.

            In Ireland we are not threateded by immigrants into Ireland. But beyond a certain number, we are, obviously! The question is what is that number.

            The Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Germans, etc have every right to worry that if inward migration of people without much of a clue about these countries continues apace, eventual you’ll have an “end of Rome” moment.

            Letting them in is like sipping whiskey. You can assimilate it and enjoy it if you sip. If you guzzle it it’ll kill you. It knocked the Western Roman Empire out cold.

          • Adam Byrne

            I wouldn’t be on for throwing the borders open tomorrow morning either. That would simply be irresponsible.

          • C21living

            Our borders are wide open, anyone from almost all of the 27 EU states can move to Ireland tomorrow.

            Just to diversify even further, we’re taking in people from India, China, Nigeria and the Philippines.

            There is a point at which it becomes to much. The adult discussion to have is, when is enough. 5% of the pop? 10%? 20%.

            Also, would 500K French moving here be the same as 500K Turks, or Brazilians, or Filipinos? Are they “all the same”?

          • John Q. Public

            Adam, what does it matter about the nationalities of the inmates, the point is within a very short space of time the % of non-Irish skyrocketed. We have already been irresponsible by letting so many immigrants in. What exactly happens when these immigrants reproduce? We simply don’t have the money to fund ourselves at present. Roughly 100,000 unemployed people here are not Irish born, how will their kids get jobs? ‘information is power’ you say, well it can get you labelled racist too. No doubt there will be more lefties comparing me to Hitler and Stalin by sundown-yawn!

          • Adam Byrne

            I won’t be labeling you anything John Q. Public. Just as your query on a ‘full analysis’ of ‘immigrant’ child births is a valid one, so is mine on the prisoner populace.

            ‘Cause’ and effect.

          • John Q. Public

            Good stuff Adam, the truth should empower us if we can get to it. Let’s see if David can dig up any more details.

          • 33square

            you all seem to ignore the likelihood that we are hurtling toward a one world government without boundaries other than the the amount of digital currency you possess, i.e. a mega elite and the plebs. you think this “crisis” hasn’t been manufactured for a reason?

            wear your google glass with pride $lav€ : ) enjoy your soylent green, that’s all you’ll be getting for your toil : )

          • Adam Byrne

            A one world government couldn’t be any worse than the pile of shite we have in office right now. Or the piles of shite that have been elected here each and every time over the last 100 years or so.

      • Thank you for posting this

        I replied to this guy above and then read this and you restored my faith

    • The educated middle class will soon be having 1.5 children,like the Germans.
      As for the new “Irish”(Nigerian etc.)plus the (dare I mention it) our own “travelling people”,-the sky is the limit for their fertility.
      Many of them worry not, about providing a future for their children.
      Add the cost of public sector pensions to a continued welfare support system for many of these underprivileged children.
      Many of them will struggle to achieve an education level sufficient to provide them with gainful employment,as educational cutbacks continue,and yet teachers wages are the highest in Europe.
      Their working hours are the shortest.
      The remainder of our population who are likely to be gainfully employed cannot-as David indicates-support this indefinitely
      The centre cannot hold.
      Things must fall apart.
      Mere anarchy is about to be loosed upon the nation of Ireland when the Troika pull the plug..

  15. tony_murphy

    Some good news for a change. Now I hope those having children have enough sense to question all the vaccinations and the mass medication such as fluoride in the water, which allegedly cause serious health issues. Who questions the ruling elite and their motivations?

    • dorn

      You are right. TB and polio are fun, everyone should get the opportunity to have it. In a truly free society, we could all happily sample tres-cool diseases like dyssentry, smallpox and childhood measles.

  16. straboe1

    A good comparison to make is between the birth rate in Germany and ours. In ten years time we will be providing labour to Germany so that they will need somebody to do the work for them. They will be no jobs here, our population will be dropping. Our farmers will be providing the food to feed Europe. Our fish will also be feeding Europe. We will have a small workforce, but only in the tourist industry, looking after the Germany who will be coming over to view our pristine countryside and preserved raised bogs. Basically, because the German establishment obliged to accept the debts owed to German institutions we will in effect no longer own our own country. Did the leaders of the 1916 rising give their lives for this? I for one will be voting in such a way as to stop the foreword march into an unequal Europe

    • Grey Fox

      The leaders of the 1916 rising and others on both sides of the Civil war would be totally dismayed and bewildered by the actions of our governments in particular since 2008, both the Civil War and the War of Independence were fought over two principles Sovereignty and the Oath of allegience to the British Monarch and now we are in a race to give away that Sovereignty which came at such a high price. I fervently believe the only way we can regain Sovereignty lost to date is to refuse to pay the Anglo Promissory Notes, we will at least regain some economic sovereignty, we the people can start this process without sanction from government by voting against the Fiscal Treaty.

  17. george

    Watch Fiorsceal tonight at 10.30 in TG4 where the topic of the program will be overpopulation and overconsumption, and the effect of it on the Planet.
    I don’t see any sense in having a big increase in the population, when not only the economic but the environmental issues, are clearly showing us that we shouldn’t.

    Isn’t enough to have an average of two children per family and plan better for their future, and human civilization, so we can create the conditions that can bring about a graceful and meaningful existence, to all the creatures of the globalise world. Where every human being can have access to the necessary resources that needs to live, and where markets or the economy doesn’t dictate who can or who can’t? Where we can eat healthy food that isn’t force out of the ground by harmful chemicals and industrialized methods of agricultural production? Where we all can live in cities and houses with human dimensions? Where education and health will have a holistic approach? Where we can create the conditions for cooperation instead of competition and eventually war?

    • bonbon

      I often wondered what Genocide is “As Gaeilge”. We know what it is in Hebrew.

      Could you suggest a grammatically correct and historic reference? “An Gorta Mor” is not technically genocide, rather “hunger”, a euphemism for polite circles.

      Culling the 7 billion with more than a billion going hungry because of deliberate policies over decades also needs a nice formulation in Irish, don’t you think? Then TG4 might be able spread the word of WWF founder Prince Philip, Merkel “advisor” Dr. Schellnhuber, Al Gore and a host of “philanthropists” who want to claim native support.

      How touching!

  18. mediator

    Quite a few comments on here with negative viewpoints on children etc… to my mind it seems many have bought into the propaganda from the elites with regard to (over)population.

    Some basic sums
    Current Estimated Population 7 Billion


    Population densities


    Assume a population density like the netherlands of around 400 per square kilometer

    Land mass


    You could fit the whole population of the world into Russia

    If you had all population in one city and that city spread over one fifth of the landmass of the united states you would have 7 billion parcels of land of 600 square metres enough for decent gaff and small garden.

    Remaining land of world could be used for agriculture, aquafarming energy generation etc etc

    Elites want a depopulated world and will deceive, propagandise and employ genocide, war etc to pursue their objectives under the guise of doing good or environmentalism.

    Evil always wears a pretty face.

    • C21living


      Ya big eejit! RE: the Dutch pop. density of 400/km2.

      The Dutch import a massive amount of food from around the world, their ecological footprint is huge per person. The Dutch aren’t growing all the food for their now astonishly nearly 17 million population. Their importing it from industrial farms around the world where the agricultural productivity is based on nitrate fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides which are all oil and natural gas dependent, two resources which are becoming scarcer and more expensive.

      • straboe1

        I strongly object to name calling. We can all have a point of view. Supposing form instance the hot desert areas of the world could be made fertile, then the food production from these areas would help to solve the food problems for the worlds population at present. But this possible solution will only satisfy our capitalist masters if they can profit from it. We all have to realise that the way to solve the worlds problems is through co-operation rather than through greed. Greed is what has us where we are today.

        • bonbon

          Transaqua, the project to diver the Congo and re-green Chad is on the table since the ’60′s, and now in the French Presidential Campaign even when originally Italian. NAWAPA 21 to green the Great american Desert is now back on the table.
          Russia has plans to refill Aral since Sovit times, and China is the furthest with Move-water-north for the Gobi.

          All of this costs trivially less than the LTRO of just the last 3 months!

          Genocidalists will evade this, especially financial fellow travellers.

      • mediator


        Ya bigger eejit

        would you do me a favour and don’t make the usual 1st undergraduate mistake and fail to read to the end.

        If the worlds total population could fit into Russia easily the rest of the world could be used to produce food etc – it was an example

        Also if world was one big city ie in less than half the usa the rest of world could be used for food – energy generation etc depending on best use of land
        ie desert for solar
        water for fishing and aquaculture
        fertile land for agriculture


        • straboe1

          You don’t know me, how therefore can you know if I’m an eejit or not. What is obvious from your comments is that you are attempting to boost your own ego by trying to belittle others, how sad. Try to refrain from this childish behaviour and you may feel better as a result.

          • Adam Byrne

            Kill the name-calling lads and lassies.

          • stiofanc02

            I didnt see anyone calling staboe 1 anything.
            Minding your own business is a good way to do things and let the boys fight it out.
            We dont need more nanny’s in Ireland at the moment.
            Enough of them trying to tell you how to drink,smoke etc.etc.
            Pretty soon they will be telling you how to fornicate.

          • Adam Byrne

            Go forth and multiply stiofanc02! That’s how!

            Nah, just kidding man, haha.

    • The Jury is out on that one. Some argue that at the present rates of consumption a reasonable standard of living for everybody is not possible. Certainly its hard to imagine that with the current political structures this could become a reality, but stranger things have happened.

      However it is extremely disingenuous to say that the overpopulation argument is one that is propagated exclusively by the “Elites”, whatever that is supposed to mean.

      p.s. I’ve been to the Netherlands many times, I certainly don’t fancy living there, they have no countryside or open spaces, and their beer is terrible…

      • bonbon

        And do not get sick – there is active euthanasia going on, very similar to the Liverpool Life Pathways.
        Obamacare and the IPAB are in the same path.

        And the “elites” propounding population reduction are indeed well known. It seems TG4 is kow-towing to them.

        After all subjects like to be heard saying acceptable things – the elites might approve.

  19. Peter Atkinson

    I posted earlier on not with a negative view on children rather than to point out what the ruling classes can encourage when they feel threatened.

    Remember what appears fictional today can become the norm over night.Yes the thought of the housing boom going bust along with the establishment banks would have been laughed out of the water back in 2007.

    Just remember when the shit hits the fan its every man woman and child for themselves.Its a normal human reaction to survival.Its not a pretty concept but its a fact.A bit like the last hour on the Titanic before it sank. First it was the denial that it would sink.Next came the orderly evacuation of children and women.Then came the blind panic near the end and guess what, the toffs in 1st class had the inside track and little or nobody survived in steerage.

    Ironic that we are about to “celebrate” the centenary of the sinking of this once fine vessel.Maybe we will be looking back, present company excepted, in another 100 years at another fine vessel that people said would never sink, the BS (bull shit) Ireland.

  20. AndrewGMooney

    David, a subtly provocative piece, very skilful writing. Under the guise of an ‘innocent celebration’ you assemble together numerous sticks of dynamite, light the blue touchpaper and scarper……..John Q Public is blunt but right to interrogate and unpack what this actually might means. It could mean anything – depending on your point of view.

    ‘Confirmation Bias’: we see what we want to see in statistics. There is no ‘objective’ or ‘factual’ interpretation of a census. It means different things to different people.


    ‘Unambiguously, new babies and population growth are great signs. Young societies are vibrant, creative and buzzing. Old societies, in contrast, tend to be dull and risk-averse.’

    Context! Context!
    Haiti has new babies and population growth and is no doubt vibrant, creative and buzzing. It is vibrant- but do vibrations of fear, pain and despair outweigh those of joy and optimism? Haiti has been endlessly creative in new forms of environmental chaos and is buzzing with the evil thrum/hum of bad voodoo child abuse/slavery (restavec).

    Logically, context is everything, otherwise the proposition that more and more children are ‘unambiguously great signs’ could be used to justify a ban on contraception, abortion and usher in a return to a Papal Theocracyand their ‘innovative’ approaches to child welfare. You obviously don’t mean this, you mean something else, but what?

    What goggles are you wearing as you read the census? What is your ‘confirmation bias’, David?

    What is the underlying Weltanschaung informing your analysis of the Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft animating the Zeitgeist of post-collapse Ireland, stripped of its’ recent Wirtschaftswunder? [ Do i win a 'pseuds' corner' prize for the that sentence? After all, there's going to be a lot more German thought and culture shaping Ireland in the months and years to come.....]

    After the hubris, nemesis and tragedy of the ‘boomiest boom’, how should Enda navigate the ship of state between the Scylla and Charybdis of further demand destruction deflation and renewed emmigration whilst still allowing catharsis? [Another prize please. Lots of Greek words in that sentence. There may be more of Greek thought and culture shaping Ireland in the months and years to come..... sadly]

    When you say ‘unambiguously, new babies and population growth are great signs’, I assume you are not wearing a Julian Simon t-shirt? 80 billion babies! ‘The Ultimate Resource’ etc….

    To accept this ‘Credible Cornucopian’ scenario, there are many questions to ask : where do you envisage a renewed Irish Wirtschaftswunder emerging from? What energy will power it?
    What mix of industries and services do you see as emerging from the ruins? Do you retain faith in finance and technology to reinvigorate the Babybelt with more commuter jobs? Are you positing a neoclassical growth model, if so, where does capital formation come from? Savings whilst servicing the debt burden? We need more macroeconomic wonk!

    Speak to us, our trusted economic oracle! How do you read the runes, the portents, what do the Muses say?

    Someone better put a stop to NAMA, those ‘ghost estates’ will be needed. Someone needs to tell Morgan Kelly the demolition plans need to be put on hold.

    • Dorothy Jones

      Well, here’s a good indication of NAMA’s priorities: Of the 29 ‘Ghost Estates’ identified in its ownershiop, they have allocated a MERE €3 MILLION!!!!!!, not per estate, but for the whole lot of them. Now you don’t have to be a surveyor to see that this is absolutley ludicrous. The scanadal that is NAMA, the bloated creature in the wilderness with no natural enemies, just bubbling away until such time as it becomes the next scandal. Well, anyone who reads NAMA wine lake blog, knows that the argumant cannot be made that ‘we just didn’t know’.

      ….But why not just move into a NAMA house? William Tuohy did. It’s covered in Oct 15 2011 on the nwl blog.
      [[Fancy a NAMA house? Just pick an empty one, move in and claim squatter’s rights. No negative equity mortgage required.]]

      What about a guerilla style occupation of some of these ghost estates? If I was twenty years younger, that’s exactly what I’d do with a group of others? Why not? ???

    • Mooney,

      I am going to disappoint you (yet again) and tell you that my enthusiasm for children is purely emotional; I love them, always have and always will. I remember my own when they were babies and how happy I was just to look at them. This explains my – very rational – joy and that of the people who have gone before us.

      The analytical part of the ratio of workers to dependends and the ratio of wages ot profits is straightforward and really quite dull.

      Deploying the language of Mendelsshon is apt on this subject as he is my guide to most things human.


      • AndrewGMooney

        David, thank you for sharing those personal reflections.

        Whipps Cross Hospital. London. 14th February 1995.

        ‘When I saw our baby, I was frightened.
        Glad to be frightened.
        Those little eyes: they are just like flashes of lightning,
        flashes of love.
        Now it’s understood: this battle, with all my might,
        I’ll keep fighting.

        When I held our baby: trusting, inviting-
        a flame ignited.
        Those little eyes: they are just like flashes of lightning,
        flashes of love.
        Now it’s understood: G*d. Love: endlessly igniting.’

        See baby dance. See baby dance. See our baby dance.
        G*d has sent a new vessel to hold the spirit of the dance.

        Words & music copyright: Andrew G Mooney 11.09.1960.
        Birmingham. Eng-Eire-Land.
        Mendelssohn in Birmingham:

        ‘After early rehearsals in London, a special train brought Mendelssohn and his entourage, the orchestra, the London choral contingent, and the press, to Birmingham, for an extra rehearsal and then the premiere.
        Apparently 5,000 were in the audience, squashed onto benches, the ladies’ crinolines highly crushed in the process. There was only one toilet, allegedly, to cater for such a potentially vast amount of calls of nature.
        Yet eight numbers had to be encored, and as The Times wrote next day:
        “The last note of Elijah was drowned in a long-continued volley of plaudits, vociferous and deafening. It was as though enthusiasm, long checked, had suddenly burst its bounds and filled the air with shouts of exultation.
        “Mendelssohn, evidently overpowered, bowed in acknowledgement and quietly descended from his position in the conductor’s rostrum; but he was compelled to appear again, amidst renewed cheers and huzzas. Never was there a more thorough and speedy triumph.”
        And Mendelssohn wrote to his brother: “No work of mine ever went so admirably the first time of execution, or was received with such enthusiasm by both the musicians and the audience, as this oratorio.
        “A young English tenor (Charles Lockey) sang the last air so beautifully that I was obliged to collect all my energies so as not to be affected, and to continue beating time steadily.”
        To Joseph Moore Mendelssohn wrote: “Indeed, the first performance of my Elijah exceeded all the wishes which a composer may feel at such an important moment, and the evident goodwill of all the artists in the orchestra, as well as the kindness with which the audience received the work, will be as long as I live a source of grateful recollection.”



  21. mishco

    Maybe we can support more people if they alter their lifestyles drastically, but I for one find this article a bit myopic. David Attenborough tells it like it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwBgNF_4g7Q

    • Attenborugh is a member of the “optimum population trust”….if he thinks there’s too many people in the world then what is he waiting for????

      • bonbon

        There are a few of them who want to cull “the herd”. Mostly knighted for their untiring efforts. This goes back to Darwin’s grandson, the eugenics society (economist Maynard Keynes being the treasurer).

        Genocidal economics, environmentalism, bio-ethanol (burning food), solar and windy nonsense.

        It is amazing that An Gorta Mor is still called a “famine” by the same who push the ESM.

  22. Deco

    Well, I have to admit, I always thought that the Ethanol project in the US, as a means of keeping down gasoline prices was absolute bonkers.

    But now, I am wondering if there is even worse on the way.


    • bonbon

      Obama is THE problem. The biggest cattle cull because of weather in the US is underway. And now cow farts are supposed to run an industrial economy?

      Obama has systematically killed all nuclear research he could. LLNL has success with the NIF now, and Obama will go after it.

      Obama is a Green economic hitman at work with a finger on the largest submarine thermonuclear arsenal to force Russia and China to cooperate.

    • bonbon

      Have you heard of the EU E10 biofuel fiasco in Germany? Trying to outdo the master.

  23. molly66

    This country is running out money so what will this government do borrow to pay them selves and there cronies,fat cat wages and fat cat pensions.look after your own family yes but what happens when the cost to live here is just out of reach,will we than stand up and be counted,or be trampled into the ground.

  24. george

    I wonder how many people would think that David Attenborough , by saying without trying to coerce or stigmatise anyone, that an increase in world population, with the effect that it is going to have in social structures, resources, the environment, and natural habitats, (where plants and creatures unknown to human beings are already disappearing to give way to more areas for food production and the extraction of raw materials, and with it also we are loosing all the many possibilities that these have to offer us), inevitably is going to increase injustice and suffering, and because of it, he is for genocide or is against children and humanity?

    Well I rather support the concept of humanity that David Attenborough has, than the notion of other people, even if that means that one is going to be called this or the other. Anyway didn’t the same happen to Galileo and others! Isn’t that what happened to David McWilliams and few other annalists, when they were trying to persuade people and politicians, that perpetual growth in a limited system is unsustainable, and that the bubble was going to explode!

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