The moan and groan society
Opus: Moan moan moan blame blame blame. What does it say? Maybe you are born with little motivation or incentive or for that matter a sense of hope. Give me a little Pollyanna please.
Ireland is in crisis – some say the worst crisis since the foundation of the State. The EU-IMF are really angry with us and we are being punished for a recklessness so much so that we must pay the price dearly for our great Celtic Tiger extravagances. The fact is we are bankrupt as a nation state and we cannot meet these debts (and let us say/euros100 bn). What are we the people of the Island of Ireland going to do about this? After all you can rest assured that those who made the millions are gone into exile and provided they invested wisely, which they no doubt did, they have the choice not to return and this applies to their families also.
Wipe the slate clean i.e. apart from the 100 bn euros debt.
Have we any family silver left?
We have our agricultural land which is ours … we have our forestry provided it is not sold off as part of State assets. We have our seas but let us recall that EU has covered the option up to our shores. Have we gold? Some prospectors say yes. Have we silver and while we are talking about it what else have we got? We need a little World War 2 hindsight to ferret out resources that we have. We have infra-structure and yes we have the Luas. While we are at it we must say thank you to the EU for all the NDP funds over the last number of decades since we joined the EU in 1973.
This site started about a Berlin Conference and tourism. Jerry Blake – you jump on the band wagon about nepotism. Tough sh.t. Action, Performance, Creativity, Connectivity, Interaction is the CV that creates the action. Now is a time for action. Are you saying that because someone has a connection with somebody on a state board and knows the person is capable of doing the job that because of the connection that person should be overlooked. Well I say Grow Up. Move with the Times.
Tourism can become our bread and butter, as can agriculture become our source of food and drink (alcohol and otherwise) potential. Baileys at one time brought massive funds to Guinness nearly one tenth of its world profit – why can we not regain this footing? Instead we see Bailey’s slashed in price. Marketing where are you? We need you? This is about reviving some potential within Ireland Inc. Where is that Bailey’s and Ice cocktail?
Stress Test and the banks. People are not stupid … we only have to search into our hearts to dig up case histories of what recession/depressions can do to people, to families and societies. Negative Equity has always existed. Take the UK 1988 when you bought an apartment for £90,000 and within 6 months it was worth £140,000 – what a feel good factor? Then out of the blue interest rates start rising, not once a year but every few weeks and all of sudden your repayments are no longer 700 per months but are 1200 per month. Back then you had trackers also, and endowment insurance type. Outcome; then for lots of people is the same as now. One job is lost, then a second job is lost and all of a sudden you are adding an extra £1200 and increasing to your capital loan amount and yes you have personal crisis, if not disaster. There is a financial cost and a massive social cost. We know this has happened. We know people who have told their story time and time again and we have not listened. Now we need to listen and find some alternatives.
Tourism must work. We may be wrecked due to the Celtic Tiger onslaught but we are not in a scorched earth scenario. We are not Tripoli. We have options. Our people are our best resource. Let us think our way out of the problem as distinct from dwelling on the Past. 2016 is about 100 years since the Proclamation. Surely this is about a value versus cost asset
Jenny : I am most impressed with your article and again it is time for people in Dublin take action on the streets and via the net to demand justice.
Kerb crawling is not acceptable. I once knew a woman in the 1980’s who took such offence to kerb crawlers outside the offices at Fitzwilliam Square that she used her car to ‘shame them’ away.
I live in Dublin 4 and walk ‘a little bit drunkenly particularly at night’ due to head injury. Let me tell you the kerb crawlers exist here.
What concerns me about your area is its proximity to the Phoenix Park. Several years ago I was asked to read a book by a sociologist on Rent boys, it was harrowing. I would suggest that Govt Departments who engage in research for Ministers in this area are aware of the content. Evidently, the Irish politicians continue to file it under denial category.
At all costs children must be protected. You mention Drumcondra and Castleknock, personally I believe kerb crawlers exist everywhere and children are susceptible no matter what location; but some are more susceptible than others.
Minister McDowell must be asked to review this issue. As you say Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world and the economics of supply and demand says there is need.
Public Health intervention is critical. Singapore albeit you say (towards Fascist in approach) at least deal with the issue. We need to register brothels. We need to protect women who are prostitutes, to monitor the HIV possibilities.
I lived in Zimbabwe in the early 1990’s and I worked with two nuns who set up one of the first centres in Harare for women and their children with HIV – it was so sad, they had little or no future just people who cared to give them ‘dignity in death’.
In Ireland, our ignorance and denial is astonishing. The documentation, the books of self-revelation life stories exist, the daily news…….yet the denial says don’t hear a childs hidden messages…….a vulnerable person’s near silent plight.
Kerb crawling leaves anyone vulnerable and susceptible. We need to take action. If someone has an addiction to sex and has the money to pay for their need………contain it in an environment suitable……..not venture into a random choice based on kerb crawling……..
An aside comment by my little niece of five recently filled in the line about houses in the Castleknock area, ‘with prostitutes dressed up as lawyers’. Who want’s to spoil the innocence of any child for the mentality of a leery kerb crawler?
It is wakey wakey time for people. The women stood up in the inner city to the drugs in the 1980’s; women again made a stand over pensions via the media several months ago and the relevant Govt. Department had to retreat………..
The ‘Profession circulates money’ but then the denial creates deviance that need not necessarily happen.
Let us open our eyes to the fact that Dublin was the sex capital of Europe i.e. the Monto only over one century ago.
The time has come register brotherl, the ‘Yellow Card’ with thumb print and photo like Singapore.
Michelle always selects a quote from New International book of quotations – Great Women
You hold the Power – Aretha Franklin 1942 (US Singer)
‘Cause a rose is still a rose
Baby, girl, you’re still a flower
He can’t lead you and then take you
Make you and then break you
Baby girl, You hold the power’
‘Opus’ – your views are valid but let us have some hope please.
Walking down Dawson Street yesterday and watching all the taxi cabs waiting for customers – too many and a product of de-regulation in extreme. Passing by the Mansion House, the thought came into mind about the young PSNI policeman who died because a bomb was detonated under his car outside his home. A young man, a Catholic who chose to enter the PSNI, a member of the GAA and most of all an Irish man. A further thought came to mind and that was to ask if the Mansion House had a Book of Condolence for Ronan Kerr, for his family, his friends and fellow officers.
By sheer chance I was introduced to the Lord Mayor Mr. Breen. No: the decision is No Book of Condolence. Why not?
Opus you rightly refer to pomp and glory of the sovereignty that are invited to our shores (and include the entourage for Princess Grace of Monaco’s son and partner). Perhaps it would be more appropriate for the Queen of England to visit after the 2016 commemorations but if we have any regard for the fragile Peace Process surely we in Dublin City must have a Book of Condolence for this brave young Irish man.
Somebody has written about the revival of villages and tourism. If you look up the Lord Mayor of Dublin site this is already an idea that has gained sponsorship and enthusiasm…
21st April, 2011
Liam Flannery is right to highlight this outrageous alleged payment of public finances to those working for people with disabilities.
The country is awash with charities and no transparency, ethics, accountability. The web has distinct advantages but not when it acts as a motivator to pay donations and exploit people and their needs at the same time. Think of a vulnerability category e.g. suicide and there are now a host of websites and you will note on each of them the prominence of the word ‘donation’ and details. What about humanity and contact with no cost? Where is value in this society i.e. meaning the value that is not related to financial costing.
Is there a “Charity” gravy train in motion on this Island of Ireland? Perhaps we have learned same from our EU masters?
Our world today is facing massive social and political upheaval. Aid is destined to places like Libya, to Nigeria, to the Ivory Coast not forgetting Haiti and even Japan. There is an international community relating to this aid: in our case, the EU external aid budget that amounts to euros 12 billion p.a. euros.
You might find it interesting to note that a UK think tank have found that the EU’s aid budget suffers from ‘poor accountability, un-necessary bureaucracy, and most critically, less than half the money spent actually goes to the world’s poorest people’.
What this is saying to people is that we need to question more; we should not be not afraid to ask for value for money exercises and seek transparency and accountability at each tier of the charity chain? Ireland can benefit from this UK research and also can question the efficiency of the EU and its auspices to ensure we are receiving a fair deal for what we contribute to this fund for external aid.
We are in a tight space now economically, socially, politically and we need to get VALUE FOR MONEY FOR OUR AID SPENDING both in the context of EU external aid and most particularly on the home front. Corruption is insideous and we must stamp it out for a more equal society.
21st April, 2011
We need people like Mr. Martin Coen LLB in this country. Appointments to the Judiciary by a Government in power must be tainted. Now is the time to speak out about such a system that openly and blatantly discriminates. Well done to the Irish Independent and the Irish citizen journalism site for publishing on this matter.
Corruption, we know is rife but little reference has been made via media sources to the Judiciary and corruption. The absence of media coverage begs the question why?
Ireland is a country that faces Easter quite rightly on its knees. The people need to take a stand and seek moral re-alignment in both their conscience and in their actions so that we can address by outspokeness against those who have behaved, acted and financially benefited in an improper and often illegal way. Easter and the symbolic nature ought to invoke a rebirth in attitudes.
Example of an injustice: People must speak out. Today a father of two went to a local post office to get his Dole. He was refused. The person behind the counter with no sense of morality just said the owner said money cannot be paid today. It would be paid next Tuesday. People in the queue added to the man’s plea and by making a stand this attrocity of power of the owner was stopped in its tracks. Is this what privatisation of post offices is really about? Who brought in these silent changes?
Where is the empathy, the compassion, the respect, the due diligence of Social Welfare for a person in receipt of the Dole, a person who may have had no meal for the last two days because his dole money is inadequate to support his wife and children? Shame on us. If this man had not made a stand, he could have been bullied into not receiving what is due to him and being left without funds for the Easter weekend.
23rd April 2011
Reflections of a Judge
by James – Legal profession (retired)
‘It was de Valera personally who offered my uncle the circuit court judgeship and I believe at first he refused, saying, “you had higher positions in your gift and passed me over”. He was given a time limit in which to decide and, principally on the advice – the wise advice – of his wife, he accepted’
What has changed? This offer was at the time when the Irish Free State was formed and at a time when certain alterations occurred in the Free State legal administration. Basically, what happened is that the British system of law was retained, but there were two most important administrative changes made. First: lay magistrates were completely abolished and District Justices were appointed. These were qualified lawyers who received a salary i.e. equivalent in ways to the stipendiary magistrates appointed in England. Magistrates at that time were known as ‘THE GREAT UNPAID’ and needless to say proved to be most unpopular in Ireland. These magistrates were mainly selected from the “Ascendancy class” – the same that provided the grand juries which needless to say were likewise abolished. Second: the Irish legal system established a completely new jurisdiction called the Circuit Courts, each presided over by a Judge.
The expected position that this man was promised was AG but de Valera thought differently and appointed him as the first man in opposition representing FF in the 1928 Senate and later de Valera invited him to be a Circuit Court Judge.
It disturbs and pleases me to read these postings.
Silence invokes a false security that states our Legal System is not above ‘scandal’. Part of its integrity is that we as people and citizens of Ireland grasp and understand the judiciary are part of the Separation of Powers and the constitution. If there is a rot in the in the legal administration then let those who know speak out truthfully and with stoicism.
One final point and comment: What is the greatest function of a Judge? It is surely to deal with crime in an unbiased way.
Do we stand up to scrutiny is the question?
Yes we need to heed the point that the minimum wage applies to the masses but somewhere I read that it is the 1% that are responsible for 25% taxes paid on average to government coffers.
The tribunals in their day have resulted in funds in excess of a 1 billion euros being collected from people willing to shaft their fellow taxpayers and more importantly citizens and no doubt more funds will come from similar sources in the years to come.
However what can we do to shake up our citizens to formulating a vision that will create policies that will favour a more equitable society. We have the “Bail-Out” even though we are unsure as yet as to whether it costs the Irish taxpayer 85 billion / 100 billion euros or even double that. As yet it may be that we the Irish will have to default and if this is the only way forward then we will be writing off debt and becoming a bad debt to the balance sheets of those senior debtors who took the risk in the first place and provided loans to our Treasury.
This is not the first time we have hit serious economic and political crisis since the foundation of the State and more importantly it will not be the last. The circle dictates the psychology and psychology tells us about the peaks and the troughs within the human being and human beings comprise our society.
Cash is King at present. However, the hoarding of cash due to fear is causing the economy to stagnate. This week the news informed us of the ‘plight’ of a man admitted to Accident and Emergency and when examined – his body was wrapped with wads of euro cash totaling over 60,000 euros…this is fear in the raw sense that creates a paranoia and fear to trust. There are people out there afraid to deposit money in banks. Why because for nearly three years now the news is bad and the time is coming when the 2008 granted guarantee may be canceled and the banks are free to party again and who knows we could face another financial crisis? We need the banks to start marketing again. We need them to retrieve the capital flows that left the country over the past 3 years.
What do you do with the Cash? You can stuff it in the mattress, you can buy Gold or Silver, you can take a chance and buy some shares or for that matter you can go a stage further and buy Bitcoin. But there will always be some people who just keep hard cash in a hidden place. The problem with this is that we deflate the economy, we add to the crises in small to medium businesses because nobody buys anything, we facilitate unemployment to those who are mainly represented by the unions which in turn creates unrest via strikes in our public services.
We need a little insight: we need to encourage people to start re-investing in our own banks not (foreign banks), we need to get people spending cash in the economy in small ways i.e. like having coffee with a friends in a local cafe, having a pint with a friend in your local pub, buying Irish products where at all possible. Brown coinage – why not collect it and then make the point of re-circulating same in the cash pool – you can pass it on to charities in your local supermarket, or change it in the bank. Take taxis rather than park in expensive car-parks in town. Then there is the old Punt. It is said that there is a couple of hundred million still to be presented to Central Bank!! Who has it?
Income tax is one source of revenue but another is where the wealth generates tax and we need to balance in our minds eye who generates most and work from there before we engage in militancy. Holidays people still are travelling the world over but why not support Ireland Inc. Northern Ireland has so much to offer visitors from the Republic and vice versa. Break down barriers in communication and explore what the Island of Ireland has to offer.
11th, May 2011
Pensions are to be docked for the next 4 years to raise the near 2 billion euros to fund the back to work schemes. Hard going on the pensioners who worked hard trying to gather enough savings together to provide for their old age. Is it fair? What is the compound value of this penalty to those people who presently contribute to private pension schemes over their life times? Again is this fair? There must be another way to enforce austerity versus a present day levy on people who only want to provide for their old age.
Add to this the scenario from the last Government. Please correct me if I have it wrong. What happens if you are elderly and are admitted to hospital and then into a care home? The state have access to deduct costs from what could be your home if you recover or your Estate if you die? Do we know about this in a knowledgeable sort of way?
Pension funds and equities. The banks used to be the Blue Chips i.e. safe bets for those who wished to take a risk and invest. However, we all now know the reality. The two main Irish banks are now 20 cents approx versis 20 euros + in the days of the Celtic Tiger. Many people have suffered harsh losses. Many pension funds are depleted and today we hear that those who manage the funds of wards of courts have also perished from the blight of the financial markets. Does this mean if say a child was awarded say 1 million due complications at birth that the Wards of Courts who administer this money and invest it are now left with substantially less?
There must be another way of making adjustments to the losses on our overall Balance Sheet going forward.
Today, two people well known to us all i.e. if we watch Vincent Browne TV3, Constantin Gurdgiev and Declan Ganley, have identified a niche in the financial markets and for Ireland this has serious challenges. St. Columbanus, I think is the name. Its aim is to provide access to the Switzerland market for investments. It is a tall order to Irish people who have money in deposit accounts etc (and in the light of the fact that the guarantee period for renewal is imminent). In the absence of any sound reasons to continue investing in Ireland, those of us who didn’t contribute to the massive capital outflows that besieged Ireland are now to be easily enticed to move onwards through a well thought out vehicle and we can be investors in Switzerland. Ireland needs to wake up and start re-structuring their banks and ensuring people who have money are keen to remain in Ireland Inc. with their investments.
Michelle Clarke who signed off on this as Bothered and Bewildered
3rd May, 2011
What has happened especially to the readers of our newspapers on the Island of Ireland?
We hear that O’Reilly the Independent newspaper earns in excess of 1 million euros p.a., and yes the newspapers today are spun on the US coup d’etat and Osama Bin Laden but what about May 3rd being set aside as the day for World Press Freedom and the safeguarding of free speech and democracy. May 3rd surely is worth mentioning in the light of this extreme paradox of events on this day especially.
Show me the money or follow the money are about the root causes and impact of corruption. Transparency International press release today makes excellent reading. It challenges its readers to review what corruption means and emphasizes how it ‘ruins lives’ and urges people to ‘Fight Back’. Here is the challenge for the sinking abyss of the Irish economy. We are aware that the Europeans and the IMF have valued us at rock bottom economically but we must have some investigative journalists out there who can find answers to where the capital flows took flight to back in 2007 (the CAB, fraud squad, the DPP etc. appear to need some assistance).
We know that recently as in the last few months 16.5 billion euros approximately left the Bank of Ireland as more people became less certain of being sufficiently nationalistic to keep their monies in our economy. We know that at the time of the Guarantee 2008, Anglo Irish had funds in excess of 100 billion euros. Where did these Euros go to? Logically we know that those who had shares in Anglo saw their holdings devalued to nothing but what about those who had funds in excess of the 100,000 euros guarantee cover – their euros are not devalued, diminished – but they may be overseas in safe havens.
The Financial Times today (front page) is reporting that Billions of Sterling pounds held in Swiss Bank accounts are now to be subject to UK tax at 50%. So what about Ireland? Have we made similar changes to the powers of the Revenue in Ireland so that we can access details as to who holds accounts in Switzerland and then charge them tax and note at a higher rate? Maybe our neighbour would negotiate on our part for a similar concession from the Swiss bankers?
Article 19 : Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:
and to seek receive and impart information through any media and regardless of frontiers’
Media is essential to maintain a system of Governance as reported by Transparency International today May 3rd 2011. For Citizen Journalism contributors this may be of significant interest: TI makes specific reference to Citizen Journalism and Social Media. This is about an interaction between the media and civil society groups with the objective of being a watchdog and working for the Public Good. The theme of this day is about 21st century media. Interestingly, it states:
Keep up the good work ‘citizen journalists’ and those in the social media as a source of grassroots citizen journalism but as for the newspapers, Ireland could do with more of the philosophy of investigative journalism with particular emphasis relating to the Public Good.
TV3 Vincent Browne and four different panelists with different consensus as to what we Ireland Inc. as distinct from the Ireland of Ireland, owe? The fact is: Austerity is now in the driving seat and the passengers can either attempt to take the wheel, or become proactive or just sit around bleeting about how bad things are and that there is no hope and that it is far worse than the 1980’s or for that matter far worse than the 1950’s when so many had yet again to emigrate. At this stage we might as well add in the 1930’s when we owed the Annuities to the former Colonial Master but decided to renege and take their rebuff of tarriffs/subsidies on the chin. This was known as the Economic War and to this day there are die hards who still blame De Valera and his team for the poverty from the 1930’s and into the 1950’s.
The point is markets are supposed to have no memory, they tend not be predictable; the unforeseen must be factored in, and then lets add some philosophy and add in the touch and power of mysteries. As an example in the 1980’s – Ireland produced the ‘moving holy statutes’ and today who knows if it was real or not but they sure gathered attention in the media and for that matter in the lives of many people. This time we have the arrival of President Bush, Prime Minister David Cameron and no less Queen Elizabeth. Who would ever have envisaged this in the hideous 1980’s of dire unemployment, high debt and no economic growth. At least, we are in a position now to be the proper Host Country to such prestigious guests. There has to be a spin off in Tourism and for all the people interested in such pageants there will be a creative burst of genius and who knows some ideas that might kickstart the economy. Todays radio spoke of a man who was made redundant from the motor industry…he did some thinking and he came up with a brilliant idea. Spokes repairs, yes he saw the potential of the bicycle market and he is back in a business that has ever increasing demand.
People (and include our diaspora) are the grassroots of an economy. Conversation spurs on initiative, sharing, opportunities. Personally, I believe that the loss of our traditional pubs has had a negative impact. The time is here for pubs to attract back their old customers and blend in with the new and younger people. Twitter, the internet create the linkages but what the pubs need to do is to build on this and encourage people to regain ground and our old pub culture. Instead of cards – why not access twitter and chat on topics and try and create ideas. For the pubs to work it is time for the drinks companies like Diageo to reduce price. Our towns; our villages, our communities within our cities are dying. Do we want to follow the same route as the English pub with non owners and just managers appointed by the breweries and half hearted menus? We need to kick start the traditional form of Irish pub so that people once more communicate with each other in person as distinct from virtual. The virtual is great but it does not make up for human contact.
Coffee shops are great but in Ireland apart from say Bewleys in Grafton Street, or Starbucks at the Canal, again there is a lack of centredness/heart. We are not Europe with its history of cafe bars. We are Ireland so let companies like Diageo re-focus and with the Government compliance to actually reduce their tax take, create a pub scene again. Companies like Tesco use Ireland as well as contribute to it. However profit is their purpose and our corporation tax together with other incentives make Ireland an above average infrastructure to be used by corporates. This means off licence is big bucks to them and again this takes from the pub and people drink at home and more than likely more than is good for their health. If you have people back taking a drink in pubs you create business for taxis, hotels, etc. This idea of brown change – why not make a concerted effort to recycle it via tips rather than hord it in piggy banks.
Met a friend at the Bagel today. We had a good chat about everything and then we started discussing TV3 Vincent Browne last night….we both agreed that there is a definite need for some creative thinking as to how cope with the debt. We agreed that the banks are in dire need for restructuring and we added drastically. Tony suggested a novel idea. He had heard that as many as 40 million people actually hold Irish passports? I was shocked. Even if it only was 20 million. His idea is simple but far fairer than the levy of 0.8% on pensions. He suggested a 5 euro charge at each renewal. We now need to start think about the power of one to make a change… Now there is a sound idea from a person with years of experience in business.
Monetarist Policy: Mr Durkan ESRI on Vincent Browne last night – we may just need the ECB to create funds.
The Germans: what has happened to the German who had the novel idea to record his travels, including his breakfasts, on his blog as he travels around Ireland…..now this is tapping a market surely?