Posts Tagged ‘Charlie McCreevy

15
Dec
09

The McCreevy generation

I’ve been posting here a lot recently, considering I said I won’t be updating much longer. It’s just that occasionally something occurs that just can’t be ignored. This is one of those times

There’s an article in yesterday’s Irish Times about Charlie McCreevy. It seems he was on Miriam O’Callaghan’s radio show on the weekend defending his role of finance minister until 2004, when he was booted out to Europe. On the property bubble he claimed: “There were property bubbles in a number of other countries.” It’s amazing. They’re still trying to pretend there isn’t something unique about Ireland’s economic crash, that we’re simply victims of a global downturn. This is infuriating on its own, but it’s made so much worse when we consider that, arguably, there is nobody in government who shares as much blame for Ireland’s recession as Charlie McCreevy.
Continue reading ‘The McCreevy generation’

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16
Jul
09

An Bord Snip Nua: or how did it come to this?

Today was D-Day, at least in TV3’s words. An Bord Snip Nua (which is surely the worst quango name ever) published its report. And it isn’t easy reading.

So, what happens now? Obviously nothing happens just yet. Can’t let a recession ruin the government’s holidays (the cynic in me is wondering if the timing of this thing was deliberate, as it seems to take a lot of pressure off the government). Still, they’ll soon be reading this thing like it’s the menu in the Dáil bar, deciding who among us should be screwed over the most.

Personally, despite how necessary everyone is saying these cuts are, I don’t see the government taking on much action on them. They don’t have the nerve. Despite the notion that they’re unpopular because of the tough decisions they’re having to make, not many of the decisions they’ve made were really that tough. The pension levy was a soft option. The wider electorate had little sympathy with the affected civil servants. Nama aside, the only one that counts is the medical card for OAPs and we saw what happened there.

Now it’s time to step up and take the toughest decision any government has ever had to face, and I’m not talking about anything in the report. If they want to succeed in selling this bloody thing to us, first they need to come out and admit: “Yeah, we fucked the whole thing up, and how.”

The mealy mouth admissions offered so far don’t cut it. Cowen has already said he would have done some things differently had he know the way things would turn out, but it’s deeper than that. The financial black hole that these guys have created would be impressive in a normal-sized country. For a nation of four million it’s scarcely believable. And no banker or greedy developer can be blamed for this. It’s governments alone that squanders taxes. Likewise references to the global recession ring hollow. No developed nation, with the exception of Iceland and the likes, is facing what we’re facing.

And you know what, despite spending the money, the services they spent it on didn’t improve all that much. Kids are still being taught in prefabs (prefabs that have ended up costing the state more than building proper classrooms would have). Universities and the ITs are still under-funded, which is weird considering our emerging reliance on being a “knowledge economy”. And our health service is not even worth discussing.

If the current government is to survive (and believe it or not, I want them to) and push through these cuts, they need to start by being honest with us. I’m not talking about an apology (though I suppose this is inherent), and I’d rather not go down the road of individual lynchings (reading the report, it’s clear McCreevy, Ahern and Cowen share some personal responsibility). Just open up and admit you blew it, and we’ll figure out where we go from there.