PDs prospects under McDowell…

Good analysis (subs needed) from one of the Republic’s leading public psephologist, Noel Whelan, who notes that few, if any, of the party’s seats are safe and one or two look almost certain to go. The primary danger lies in the expected resurgence of Fine Gael after an extremely low point in 2002. Perhaps that’s why its voters were the first target in McDowell’s first press statement as leader. My own suspicion is that a noteably successful outcome from Harney’s time in health could be the key to finding a bounce in the party’s fortunes, and deflect criticism that the party is little other than a small group of Thatcherite fundamentalists. For all that they are almost universally reviled on the left, the PDs have the distinction of being a government party still more focused on policy issues, than of personality. Visible improvements in a health infrastructure that, reputedly has been a ministerial poisoned chalice for all of he FF predecessors, could act as a sober foil to McDowell’s flambuoyant leadership style

A style which most would accept will certainly get the party noticed again, in a way that the industrious and modest Harney couldn’t.

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  • Greenflag

    The ‘Left’ in the Republic makes up about 20% of the vote . Of that 20% – 12% is the Irish Labour Party . The visceral anti McDowell crowd are what in Britain would at one time have been called the ‘militant tendency’. They never got anywhere in the UK and they’ll never get anywhere in the Republic . They have nothing to offer except stale outmoded ‘marxism’ which the Irish people have always rejected .

    McDowell’s direct targeting of FG voters is a surprising opening move in what promises to be a tough election. . I’m sure many FG voters while generally comfortable with the Irish Labour party in a Coalition Government could well put country before party until such time as FG gets a leader who is a ‘match’ for Bertie .

    McDowell could yet surprise many by delivering an election result that confounds the ‘leftist’ pundits.

  • Setanta

    Greenflag

    I think that you seriously under estimate the extent to which Mc Dowell is disliked (to say the least). To say that those who dislike him are limited to a ‘militant tendency’ is inaccurate and comes across as a rather obtuse attack on republicans – it is a also long time since there has been a socialist, never mind a marxist in the Labour party.

    Mc Dowell is widely disliked in Fianna Fáil in particular and across most political parties – I think it is true that he needs to play to the 5% who might vote for the PD’s and annoy the other 95% as much as possible. I have no doubt that he can do this but I think that crucially, he would also not know where to stop – this alone could mean the PDs being wiped out as he annoys one voter too many.

    Vincent Brown in the Sunday Business Post compared Ahern and Mc Dowell –

    “Martin Mansergh said of Ahern that he never (or rarely) said something in a negotiation that made matters worse.

    McDowell, on the other hand, rarely misses an opportunity to make matters worse.”

  • Brian Boru

    Well Vincent Browne has had hardly a good word about McDowell since he passed the Citizenship-Referendum. Same with most of the (PC) media down here. Exceptions include the Irish Daily Mail, the Irish Sun and some in the Irish Independent e.g. Sam Smyth. I think there is a media vendetta against him which hopefully will just help galvanise PD voters. I intend voting for the PDs as McDowell is hinting at controls on Romania and Bulgaria and is promising a tougher stance on bogus asylum-seekers. I think the best bet for McDowell in terms of winning more votes is to portray the Opposition as soft on immigration, especially given Enda Kenny’s proposals on “The Political Party” in the Ursulla Halligan interview to open our doors to Romania and Bulgaria.

  • Setanta

    Brian Boru

    Now that would be a policy platform to be proud of :

    “Watch out, the gypsies will get you if you dont vote for me!”

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    I’ll never understand why the PDs opted for Macdowell instead of Liz O’ Donnell. The mad mullah won’t get a single extra vote for the PDs, as he is widely seen by Irish voters as little more than an arrogant national irritant. O’Donnell is well liked in my opinion, and has the charisma to pull the PDs out of the freefall they are faced with.

  • Greenflag

    Setanta ,

    I’ll be the first to admit that McDowell is somewhat abrasive . But he gets things done . I’ll probably be giving the PD’s my number one and FF my preference or vice versa depending on the candidates chosen , simply due to the fact that they have delivered . The Romanian /Bulgarian natter is a red herring and is just further evidence of how divorced Kenny and Co are from reality .

    The following report from RTE shows that the FF/PD Coalition has managed ‘immigration’ and by inference shows just how strong the economy is . Yes there are some problems but to be honest nothing I’ve heard from the ‘slump’ coalition has convinced me that they have done enough to oust Bertie & Mick .

    RTE News .

    Official figures show that the number of people working in the economy topped two million for the first time in the second quarter of this year.

    The Central Statistics Office said the figure of 2,017,000 in employment represented an annual increase of 87,800 or 4.6%. Annual growth in employment has been above 4.5% for the past five quarters and is way ahead of the EU average growth rate of 1.7%.

    Full-time jobs accounted for almost 80% of the growth, while the CSO estimates that foreign workers accounted for almost 55%, or 47,800, of the annual increase.

    The number of people unemployed grew by 5,800 over the year to 91,400, but the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous three months at 4.4%. Overall the labour force increased by 4.6% in the 12 months.

    A breakdown showed that growth was strongest in the construction and wholesale and retail trade sectors, which added 20,300 and 17,500 jobs respectively over the year. Health, education and finance also showed strong growth.

    The CSO estimates that there were 283,300 foreign nationals aged over 15 in the State in the second quarter, with almost 200,000 in work and 14,000 unemployed. The numbers from the 10 new EU states grew by 34,000 compared with the second quarter of last year to 84,400.

    Foreign workers make up a quarter of those working in the hotels and restaurants sector and 12% of workers in the building sector.

    Separate CSO figures showed that the number of immigrants into the country in the 12 months to April was 86,900, the highest figure since estimates began in 1987.

    The number of emigrants was 17,000, giving a net migration figure of 69,900, up from 53,400 in the 12 months to April 2005. When added to the natural increase in population – births minus deaths – this brought the population up 104,000 to 4.235 million.

    43% of immigrants were from the 10 new EU states – 26% from Poland and 7% from Lithuania.

    * Chambers Ireland has published its 2006 survey of the labour force, which finds that 10% of job vacancies advertised in the past 12 months remain unfilled.

    The survey, which focused on older workers, found that companies felt older workers performed better in relation to team work and reliability, but were rated lower than younger workers for technical and learning skills. Chambers Ireland’s John Forde called on more private companies to remove the mandatory retirement age of 65.

  • Oilibhéar Chromaill

    Mick: you must be absolutely bonkers to believe that Mary Harney is having anything like a term in Angola which would merit your conclusion: “noteably successful outcome from Harney’s time in health”

    Her term has been disastrous there and her only response has been to push ahead with her two tier health system whereby the ordinary punter subsidises the rich and famous to have extra care while they languish on the trolleys in the corridoors. I don’t know who’s feeding you this bull – but it’s definitely not chiming with the message I’m getting from people on the ground.

    Hospitals are closing – yet there’s plenty of money around to open private hospitals. How is that?

    The only reason to vote PD is if you believe the race card should be played – which I don’t – as Brian Boru pointed out. He’s looking for a more Irish – and less Eastern European – Ireland. Sounds like ‘sinn fein’ to me….

    I’m sorry to say that Mary Harney may have been industrious – but she was far from effective. Michael McDowell as leader of the PDs may have an appeal as a poster boy of the right but I think his time will shortly be up. I don’t care who takes his seat in Ranelagh as long as the deed is done. TRR

  • Brian Boru

    “The only reason to vote PD is if you believe the race card should be played – which I don’t – as Brian Boru pointed out. He’s looking for a more Irish – and less Eastern European – Ireland. Sounds like ‘sinn fein’ to me….”

    Strangely SF are the most pro-immigration party down here. Mary Lou McDonald apparently opposes controls on Romania and Bulgaria, and SF opposed the Citizenship referendum. Their name meaning “Ourselves alone” seems highly ironic in that context.

    “Hospitals are closing – yet there’s plenty of money around to open private hospitals. How is that?”

    Which hospitals are closing?

    Anyway, the Hanley report recommended centralisation of certain facilities at strategic regional centres. This seems a more efficient way of spending taxpayer’s money while acheiving improvements in health-care. Having a hospital in every village and all with exactly the same facilities is unfeasible without far higher taxes (electorally unacceptable). Therefore we have to prioritise. Better to have fewer hospitals with the best facilities than to drag everyone down to some inferior common-denominator in the name of “equality”.

  • Greenflag

    Olibheaur Cr

    ‘He’s looking for a more Irish – and less Eastern European – Ireland.

    Complete rubbish and more red herring gobshittery from the left . Here are the numbers again from the census you know those facts and figures to which to you are apparently immune 🙁

    The CSO estimates that there were 283,300 foreign nationals aged over 15 in the State in the second quarter, with almost 200,000 in work and 14,000 unemployed. The numbers from the 10 new EU states grew by 34,000 compared with the second quarter of last year to 84,400.

    If nothing else works OC – then a total pig headed unwillingness to look economic facts in the face will add to your case eh ?

    Mc Dowell will win his seat and Mary Harney will be returned . McDowell will be the next Tanaiste and both FG and Labour will have to look for ‘new ‘ leaders . SF will maybe hold their own and the GP’s may win a seat or two .

    Bertie’s next budget will do the trick and then a quick snap election before the summer 🙂

    The Republic will not be jeopardising it’s economic future .

  • Harry

    Greenflag the CSO figures are a gross underestimation of the reality of immigration. Relying on RTE to analyse the employment/immigration situation gives similarly deliberate underestimations.
    The PDs/FF are hugely pro-immigration for business reasons. However, thinking that the future of a nation should be decided on a current annual growth rate of 4.6% in comparison to (whoopee!) a more sluggish 1.7% growth elsewhere is madness. What comprehension of quality of life and long term views have you got?

    Brian Boru – just because the PDs ‘hint at restrictions’ on Bulgaria and Romania is no reason to vote for these vicious right-wing goons. They are the ones who have sacrificed everything to economic growth and have used mass immigration to achieve that. The growth that they have concentrated on is largely in the construction and services sector – the two least productive areas of economic growth from a national point of view. WEhere is the increase in R&D, techonlogy exports (both hardware and software), the roll-out of broadband, the increase in manufacturing, the better utilisation of our strategic shipping and air position for increased international trade and profit, the roll-out of broadband to build an better indigenous industrial base? No, what we have are lots of houses going up, fuelled by cheap credit, for people to make a profit from the rental business and flipping. And lots of minimum wage jobs in Spars and Centras. That’s not economic growth – that’s short-sighted profiteering dressed up as growth. It is of little value in comparison to the long-term damage it is doing to our quality of life, our stronger underlying economic growth and our demographic structures.

    Also the idea that we must ‘rationalise’ our health service a la Hanley is mad. A health service is not a question of wholesale logistics, with ‘efficienies’ to be gained by plonking a big clearing-housing in the centre and allowing ‘inefficiencies’ (i.e., ‘dangers’) to occur as far to the periphery as possible. Either you want a health service that works for everyone and covers the country – with increased cost – or you want a thatcherite idea of health run along economic lines, such as the PDs are proposing. Again, we have every reason to be more ambitious and more caring that the version of governance and the brutality of false ‘efficiencies’ that these bozos are offering. Health is a right for all, no matter where they live.

  • Greenflag

    ‘are a gross underestimation of the reality of immigration. ‘

    Eh ? Immigration is a reality . The economy could not have grown as rapidly as it has without it .

    A growth rate of 4.5 % in employment is to be welcomed . Would you prefer an economy with 30% of the population in the public sector and/or 17% unemployment ? Interesting article in this week’s Economist on Sweden where it’s revealed that Sweden has had virtually no growth in private sector jobs since the 1950’s and that real ‘unemployment ‘ is close to 17% for those under 25 and foreign immigrants . Sweden has slipped to 16th ranking in the OECD in terms of income per capita . It’s Social Democratic Government is apparently on it’s way out !

    Ireland has to find it’s own way to self sustaining growth and the huge construction boom and it’s probable continuation for at least another decade has been necessary due to the inability to fund such growth in the past due to the economy being less than half it’s present size and it’s working population half of what it is now . Those are the hard facts .

    FF/PD got it right . The next election will just confirm that . As for your ‘perfect’ society in the long term ? Keep wishing and maybe the slump coalition will deliver it sometime around 2020 .

    Bertie will be back and Mick too 🙂

  • Lorenzo

    Is there any point asking how Harry knows that the CSO figures are a “gross underestimation” of the reality of immigration? I’m betting on omniscience.

    The policy of centralising of health services is based on the very sound idea that expertise in a field is quickly lost if it is not regularly used enough.

    What Harney is trying to do in Health is to effect a step change in the system. It would be the easiest thing in the world for her to say ‘Sod it, give me 5 billion and I’ll just lob in some extra bed wards’ but this would only, at best, temporarily ease the problem. The issues in the health service are structural – how hospitals are organised, how consultants are employed and so on. These are not easy things to change but Harney is at least trying, rather than just smoothing over everything with a large amount of cash a la Michael Martin. If money was the answer our health service would have improved hugely over the last 8 years, it evidently hasn’t.

    That for me is the key difference between the PDs and pretty much every other party; they try to attack the root cause of problems rather than endlessly talking around and not doing anything in case some part of the electorate gets upset. Examples are banning smokey coal in Dublin, taxi deregulation, prison officer overtime, the citizenship referendum (which I had mixed feelings over) and now garda reform.

    I think there is more awareness amongst the electorate of the need for someone to sometimes take actions unpopular with narrow interest groups. Sadly I don’t think there will ever be enough of such people to make the PDs a major political party.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I think there is more awareness amongst the electorate of the need for someone to sometimes take actions unpopular with narrow interest groups. ‘

    Exactly Lorenzo .

    ‘ Sadly I don’t think there will ever be enough of such people to make the PDs a major political party.’

    Not major perhaps but if you add up the ‘like minded ‘ people from FG and FF you are talking about a majority of the electorate . This is why the economy has increased the number of jobs by 500,000 in the past 6 years or so. I think the PD ‘s can get 10% or more if they put candidates in every constituency . Remember too that the PD’s emerged from FF at a particular time in the not too distant past when the Irish economy was on it’s way to basket case status . They can always ‘remerge’ into FF

    The PD’s have been a very positive influence in Government and I happen to believe that they will do better in terms of vote percentage . What limits their potential is that they are stuck between FF and FG. Given the right circumstances and candidates they can win votes and seats from both .

    You can expect a steady stream of good news from now to the election . Yes the country has it’s problems but are we better off than a decade ago ? On this occassion the Slump Coalition’s only hope is for Bertie to contract a dose of Blairitis . At a 50% favourable rating it looks like Bertie will be on his way back with a solid majority . Never mind what the opinion polls say.

  • Harry

    The PD analysis of economics and societal development is here – as I’ve found elsewhere on the net – narrow and superficial. Not to mention laced with hysterical comparisons and predictions of doom if not adhered to in the minds of its proponents. Ireland is choosing extreme policies in many areas that will cause damage in the medium to long term, policies that are unneccessary but which are allowed to proceed because they enrich some whilst the great majority are fooled, due to a history of struggle and emigration, to believe that low expectations and being worked to the bone constitute an advancement on what we had before in Ireland. In fact, it is ignorance of their rights and of what our nation can really achieve that is convincing Irish people to allow this cabal of 2nd raters peddle their low achievements as if they’re the dogs bollox. No other country in europe would allow such extreme right-wing policies married to such extreme immigration policies. That is because in europe they have a better sense of their own quality of life, higher expectations and don’t have a history of struggle and emigration like the Irish have.

    On the issue of the conservatism of the CSO figures, have a look here

  • Harry

    Also, if FF and the PDs are returned to power it will be the beginning of serious social unrest, of which the Dublin riots were merely a taste.

  • Irish Aussie

    After reading harry’s comments above I can’t help but feel the Unionist’s have a point about Republicans thinly veiled threats of violence if they don,t get there way.
    These are very dissapointing comments.

  • Harry

    Have you been in Dublin recently Irish Aussie? There’s no threat in my comments mate – I’m talking about the facts of the pressures and the exploitation of living in this city and the results that will inevitably come from them – in the city centre and throughout the suburbs in places like Darndale etc. Do not smear me with an interpretation of my comments that you have no right to make.

    The idea of progress, economic development and national well-being being propmoted by the PDs and Fianna failers, with their buddies in a very pliant media, is narrow, vicious, short-termist and self-defeating. It relies upon low expectations and ignorance rather than on vision and leadership. It is gombeenism on a scale we have never seen.

    I care about Ireland and want to show that not everyone is so narrow. I am in fact a businessman – business is how I make my living. But there is a long distance between real entrepreurism and the exploitative gombeenism being put forward as a business model by the current shower who are in charge. They don’t know how to create real wealth, they don’t know how to create a strong indigenous economy, an enlightened social policy and a caring government. They don’t know how to create a truly exciting, dynamic and advanced society.

    Don’t accuse me of thuggery. That’s an outrageous slur and a deliberate misinterpretation of my words.

  • Lorenzo

    Harry

    First of all attempting to justify an assertion by linking to a discussion where all you do is make the same assertion with the same lack evidence just does not hold water. How is the CSO under reporting the level of immigration? How do you know to the contrary? I am reminded of the adage ‘The plural of anecdote is not data’.

    “No other country in europe would allow such extreme right-wing policies married to such extreme immigration policies.”

    Only in topsey-turvey Ireland would policies such as keeping tax low, privatisation of commerical State enterprises, encouragement of competition be described as ‘extreme right-wing policies’. It is what most of the the rest of the world, with the possible exception of Cuba and North Korea, have been doing for the past two decades. They might have been seen as right-wing in the ‘socialist’ 70s but public opinion has moved on. No serious party other than SF and the Socialist Party proposes to increase taxes or (re)nationalise anything. These policies are now the centre ground.

    In other societies the opposition to immigration as it changes the nature of those societies, is generally classified as ‘right-wing’ opinion (Le Pen & NF, BNP, Vlaams Blok etc). But in Topsey-Turvey Land, being in favour of immigration is right-wing! Maybe the left-wing, right-wing classification of stances on issues no longer makes sense.

    I would personally swap the problems of economic decline (see 1980s Ireland), for our current problems, those of economic growth, everytime. People’s memories can be very short.

  • Harry

    You’re a waffler Lorenzo. How does european social democracy in for example France or Holland compare with Ireland? What about their health systems? In Holland if you’re unhappy with the rent you’re paying you can ring up the local council and a fella will come around with a tape measure and see whether you’re being rack-rented or not for the square footage you occupy. Indeed Holland is half the size of ireland with almost three times the population yet there ws never any issue about housing being available for its people at a reasonable cost; or at least wasn’t until recently, when they started adopting ‘right-wing’ (can I say that?) economic policies?

    What about the United States? The US, the very home of capitalism, has rent control in all its major cities. What do you think would be the reaction of the gombeens in the Republic of Ireland to the concept of rent control? In other words, the form of capitalism being pursued in the Republic of Ireland is one which wouldn’t be allowed, in some respects, even in the United States! Is that ‘right-wing’? Not just rent control, but in America there is actual competition, unlike in the ROI, which speaks of competition but which is actually owned by cartels and vested interests. Similarly for consumer legislation, which in the states is strong and meaningful but in the ROI is waffle without substance – the consumer is nothing but a tenant whose job is to stump up and shut up.

    What about the control of landbanks around Dublin? And the fact that no motorway exists between the first and second cities of the country 10 years after the government came to power? And no integrated transport system in Dublin? (800 million on a glorified bus service though – the Luas – all the better to put in brochures suggesting how ‘advanced’ we are, so advanced the Harcourt Line was faster a 100 years ago than it is today)

    And so on…

    As for the Bulgarian/Romanian discussion, you obviously didn’t follow it through to page 3. Not surprising really since Ivan tried to bludgeon everyone into submission with interminable ‘reports’ favouring open borders. Try this link and scroll down to my post towards the end.

  • Lorenzo

    Fantastic. Harry refers me to read the approx 3000 words he has written on immigration in another thread and then refers to me as a ‘waffler’. Furthermore he then attempts to take me to task on topics (rent? land banks?) I have never even mentioned.

    Your complaint about the CSO not maintaining or publishing figures on the number of immigrants no longer holds up, if by some stretch of the immagination, it ever did. Yesterday they published a report clearly indicating how many immigrants from different places have occurred since 2001.

    Now you can work out how many more of the ‘British’ you will need ‘to kick off our island’ to make your little cultural purity fantasies come true.

    I’m going to stop now ‘cos if I write anymore I will be too tempted to contravene Sluggers rules on playing the man, if such a word can be used about Harry. Damn, too late! See?

  • Harry

    Masterful riposte Lorenzo. Devastating.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ In Holland if you’re unhappy with the rent you’re paying you can ring up the local council and a fella will come around with a tape measure and see whether you’re being rack-rented or not for the square footage you occupy. ‘

    In Ireland some 87% of people own the home they live in- the highest percentage in the world IIRC . In Holland /France/Germany the percentage who own their own home is in the region of 40 to 50 % . Given that it’s not surprising that those countries have ‘rent controls’ of the type mentioned .

    ‘How does european social democracy in for example France or Holland compare with Ireland?’

    To be blunt Harry -who cares ! We Irish don’t . We’re not Dutch and not French . There is a lot to be admired in some policy areas from EU countries with a social democratic tradition but we must’nt close our eyes to the fact that some of these countries have serious underlying problems which are the ‘product’ of the less positive aspects of what’s called ‘social democracy,as mentioned above re Sweden . Denmark has now started to shave the public payroll and it’s centre right government has presided over an economic boom over the past five years . The Danes have brought in an ‘innovation’ called ‘flexicurity’ which is a peculiar danish blend of a flexible labour market, generous social security and an active labour market policy with RIGHTS and OBLIGATIONS for the unemployed which is now down to 4.5% the lowest in 30 years .

    Seems to me that the Danes have created a ‘Nordic Tiger’ based on much the same policy mix as the Irish Republic has . Given Denmark’s different economic and historical experience there will be of course a different emphasis in some areas.

    There is no single country model to follow . This we should know from our own economic history . In the 1950’s as the British Welfare State made huge strides forward in improving the lives of the British people with higher living health and education standards many in Ireland asked why can’t we have the same ? The official Government response at that time was we don’t have the capital or the numbers at work or the resources to afford it .

    Faced with the oncoming ‘failure ‘ circa 1957 of the Irish State to deliver the Lemass government radically shifted policy and the same happened in the late 1980’s .

    Now we have the capital and last time I checked we seem to have caught up and surpassed our neighbour in many areas where we once lagged behind . This would never have been possible without the strong economic growth of the past 15 years .

    The Irish electorate’s memory may be short but on election day they’ll vote for another FF/PD term .

  • Greenflag

    ‘ if FF and the PDs are returned to power it will be the beginning of serious social unrest, of which the Dublin riots were merely a taste. ‘

    Rubbish – So a couple of Estonians /Lithuanians and a few Dubs were fined for throwing stones at a LoveUlster attempt to parade through Dublin ?

    100 people out of a population of 1.5 million . Catch yourself on Harry .

    Re immigration generally I believe Romanians and Bulgarians should not be treated any differently than other EU immigrants . I’d agree that the Government needs however to look at the overall immigration policy . Given Ireland’s tiny 1% (4.2 million) of the EU population another 10 years of immigration at the present rate could be politically destabilising . Anyway this issue needs to be looked at from an overall perspective . Immigration is like arsenic -a little spread out over many years is a tonic for society and the economy -too much at one time could be be socially and politically disruptive .

    The question is how much is too little and how much is too much ? .

  • Harry

    You’re blinded by numbers Greenflag but short on long term view or quality of life understanding. Certainly Ireland should plough its own furrow and certainly the French model has serious problems in inhibiting the development of much SME based entrepreneurialism, but that doesn’t mean the utter narrow-mindedness of the PD/FF model is to be praised to the skies. It is narrow, self-defeating and corrupt. It is not producing wealth creation of any significance outside of property (unproductive and riven with parasitism, based on credit) and retail/services (low wage, non-exportable). The gombeens have heated up the least productive sector – property – in order to extract the highest profits over the shortest term from their own people. It is their own people who will eventaully – and in the rental sector, immediately – have to pay.

    By contrast France has amongst the highest rates of worker productivity in the world and many world class companies while Germany has managed to keep much of its manufacturing base despite worldwide competition.

    The Irish haven’t even got a metro system yet, no underpasses have been built anywhere near the city centre of Dublin in 10 years to help the flow of traffic (unlike Paris which has many underpasses), there is no high speed rail system worth talking about, the west of Ireland has been left without any rail system even though it would transform that region, manufacturing has lost at least 30,000 jobs, R&D, nanotechnology and broadband are practically non-existent…

    Face it, the FF/PDs are jackasses who shouldn’t be let near power. They have blown our opportunities with little to show for it. People are beginning to seriously struggle right across this country, many have mortgages through their parents and were encouraged into such ‘house ownership’ (if you can give such levels of debt such a grand name) due to the adage ‘if you’re not in you can’t win’. Besides, having a mortgage was just the same or cheaper than renting so most opted for that. Doesn’t mean its an intelligent or sustainable social model. Nor does it mean its just.

    What has happened in Ireland over the last 10 years is largely uninteresting from a creative and sustainable economic viewpoint. We are nothing in comparison to Germany or to the investment in technology to be found in Japan. Yet with the right vision there is no reason why we can’t compete even with those countries at a certain level. The mickey mouse half pints of Fianna Fail will never get us there, no matter how much you may be impressed by their third rate achievements. And remember, 85% of our exports are still by foreign companies. No significant advance has occurred in building up an indigenous industrial base. We are overexposed, undiversified and dependent on foreign capital.

    On those CSO numbers, I note that according to the CSO report Estimated Immigration of foreign-born citizens into Ireland in 2004 was 33,200. Yet according to the government (here) it issued 134,000 PPS numbers to foreign-born people in 2004 alone. Something of a discrepancy I would have thought.

  • Greenflag

    ‘By contrast France has amongst the highest rates of worker productivity in the world and many world class companies while Germany has managed to keep much of its manufacturing base despite worldwide competition. ‘

    And France also has the highest rate of unemployment in the EU along with Germany . Reminder -Ireland is not Germany and neither is it France or Japan . These large countries with populations 15 to 30 times that of Ireland went through an ‘industrial revolution’ that barely touched most of Ireland apart from a small area around Belfast .

    ‘We are nothing in comparison to Germany or to the investment in technology to be found in Japan. ‘

    Eh ? Full marks for the obvious . I don’t remember stating we should be compared to either . If there is any comparison to be made it should be with economies around the world that are similar in size and where possible with similar economic and political histories .

    Local entrepeneurship in the Republic is running at 3 times the rate for Northern Ireland even taking account of the population difference .

    I would agree that some countries especially Denmark and Finland have done better building up some of their local industries to be world class but then they have had several decades of economic growth whereas the Irish Republic experienced a long trough of stagnation in the post war period .

    Capital formation /accumulation takes time and I don’t just mean financial capital.

    ‘What has happened in Ireland over the last 10 years is largely uninteresting from a creative and sustainable economic viewpoint.’

    That’s not what I read . The ability of the FF/PD Governments to negotiate and win agreement between the ‘social partners’ has been much admired. That has certainly been a factor in the strong performance . Irish companies such as CRH/Fyffe’s/Jefferson Smurfit /Kerrygold etc etc etc now employ many thousands of people worldwide .

    Waffling on about long term and quality of life is all very well but it does not put bread and butter on the plate in the here and now .

    You make a few worthwhile points but overall your barking will be drowned out by the sounds of the cranes and building expansion which is set to continue for at least another decade.

    ‘You’re blinded by numbers Greenflag ‘

    No I just happen to believe numbers are important . If 70% of your economy (NI) is based on the public sector then no matter how good your ‘quality of life’ now then sooner or later the day of reckoning will dawn . If you live in a State where there has been no real growth in private sector employment since the 1950’s (Sweden) then the dynamic of wealth creation will sooner or later dry up.

    So you think that FG and Irish Labour can do better ? Sorry not this time . Like the DUP/SF combination of parties in NI the former are going nowhere .

    ‘Something of a discrepancy I would have thought. ‘

    Just Government Bureaucracy and how the numbers are processed, and reported . The PPS numbers probably refer to applications from earlier years .
    I agree that the property market has been heated up but then Ireland is not alone in this phenomenon . It’s been a world wide trend . Sooner or later the ‘market’ will make a correction .

  • Harry

    You’re right I’ll be drowned out by the sound of cranes and rampant profiteering. But not because I’m wrong – I’m right and this country will see it within 5 years.
    I’ll be drowned out because the Irish are foolish, short-termist, unimaginative, badly led and greedy. The same characteristics that made them unable to build up a decent economy for three-quarters of a century prior to the yanks coming in.

    They suffer from low expectations too, as evidenced by the phrase commonly used in the face of ambition in this country, a phrase which I grew up hearing – “it doesn’t put bread and butter on the table”.

    They are also, culturally speaking, depressed.

  • Greenflag

    ‘They are also, culturally speaking, depressed. ‘

    Sez who? Irish music -writing etc has never been stronger for those who are interested in it .

    Profiteering ? Lesson number one in business -If you can’t sell it there’s no point in making it. And if are selling it you better sell it at a profit . Elementary capitalism Mr Marx !

    ‘The same characteristics that made them unable to build up a decent economy for three-quarters of a century’

    So you denigrate an entire people on the basis of the fact that having been submerged economically and politically for several centuries they have the audacity to take more than 6 months to pull themselves up by their bootstraps . I suppose if they were still tit dependent on HMG like the hard headed savvy folks in the North then they too could enjoy a GDP per capita income of 28,000 Dollars a year instead of 52,000 and be still reliant on a Colonial Secretary to tell them when and how to blow their nose !

    Obviously numbers are not your forte .

    FYI the period 1958 through 1977 saw an average economic growth rate of 4% which was respectable given the base . Your three quarters of a century is more than a little exaggerated .

    But hey if you want to insult the Irish go right ahead . They’ve heard it before and they’ll hear it again . But the 400,000 new immigrants are’nt listening to you and at the end of the day those people are making a great contribution to Ireland’s future.

  • kensei

    “Profiteering ? Lesson number one in business -If you can’t sell it there’s no point in making it. And if are selling it you better sell it at a profit . Elementary capitalism Mr Marx !”

    Of course, there is a distinction between profiteering and making a profit, and I think you’ll find that most democracies have some fairly extreme laws for companies that make supernormal profits through exploitation or cartels.

  • Greenflag

    Brilliant deduction Kensei -Who’d a thought it 🙂 ?

    Full marks for the obvious . Harry may be one of those who preferred jam on his bread and butter -in the long term of course .

    Capital accumulation be it financial or human is not easy . It takes at least 15 years to become an overnight success. Anyone who understands the power of compound interest and delayed gratification or who runs a business should know that . Yes there a re a few exceptions . A country’s economic strength is ultimately based on the number of ‘entrepreneurs’ it generates from within . Like everything else you have to build an economy in which it makes economic sense to become an entrepreneur . If you drive those people away through extremist ‘socialist’ politics then society will eventually be the poorer for it !

  • kensei

    “Brilliant deduction Kensei -Who’d a thought it 🙂 ?

    Full marks for the obvious . Harry may be one of those who preferred jam on his bread and butter -in the long term of course .”

    It was a perfectly valid point in the context of you banging on about the profit motive.

    “Capital accumulation be it financial or human is not easy . It takes at least 15 years to become an overnight success. Anyone who understands the power of compound interest and delayed gratification or who runs a business should know that . Yes there a re a few exceptions . A country’s economic strength is ultimately based on the number of ‘entrepreneurs’ it generates from within . Like everything else you have to build an economy in which it makes economic sense to become an entrepreneur . If you drive those people away through extremist ‘socialist’ politics then society will eventually be the poorer for it ! ”

    Which does not automatically lead to the type of politics and inequality that is so prevalent in the South at the moment. Harry may be advocating “extremist Socialist” politics but you are implying that the right course of action is the precise reverse. It isn’t, and ultimately extreme inequality is detrimental to society.

    Though just by the by, I’d be interested in how many entrepreneurs Switzerland produces. I suspect there is more than one route to economic sucess.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but you are implying that the right course of action is the precise reverse.’

    I’m not . I’m aware that society is the stronger if there is less obvious inequality . I’m in favour of a equal acess to a decent education and health care for all citizen’s . But I’d like to achieve this through sensible health policicies policies than just throw millions at health consultants who then tell people for 200 euros an hour to stop smoking and cutback on their drinking and stop eating fried mars bars if they want to live to 59 !

    ‘I’d be interested in how many entrepreneurs Switzerland produces.’

    I don’t know but I suspect more than Sweden . Mind you both countries haven’t had a war in over 350 years ? I’m sure that’s been a help with capital accumulation .

    ‘I suspect there is more than one route to economic sucess. ‘

    There is but history tells us that societies don;t get much chance or time to choose between the alternatives . If you were British in the mid 18th century and you had coal and iron guess what -you did’nt fart around contemplating whether there was not a better way forward . Same in Ireland today . You have to make use of what we’ve got going for us at this time now not in 2016 when there will be a UI and we can all live happily ever after planning the long term and enhanced quality of life blah blah blah .

    Don’t get me wrong Kensei . I’m all for planning and long term thinking . I guess it’s a question of priorities .

    Anyway the subject of the thread was the PD’s and I happen to believe that they have been effective in government and will be so again .

  • Harry

    Listening to you Greenflag is like getting a lecture from Harry Enfield’s ‘Loadsa’money’. With a bit of White Van Man thrown in.

    Capital accumulation be it financial or human is not easy: 180 million euros in venture capital has been invested by Irish people in Irish start-ups over the last few years compared to 30 billion euros invested by Irish people in property at home and overseas over the same period. That’s not capital accumulation, that’s capital dispersal. Profit-taking without productivity (financed by credit) and capital flight.

    If you drive those people away through extremist ‘socialist’ politics then society will eventually be the poorer for it!: Having spoken to people involved in the nanotechnology sphere I am aware that institutions are having great trouble attracting world-class reasearchers to ireland because the cost of living, the crappy infrastructure, the price of housing and the quality of life are inferior to what those people can find elsewhere.
    Entrepreneurs who want to create rather than hand over large parts of the value of their labours on a monthly basis to gombeens are being priced out by huge costs, huge rental prices and levels of risk and stress that are not justified by the rewards. You are driving these people away.

    I am not advocating ‘extreme socialist’ policies. I am advocating common sense, some decency, the recognition that people shouldn’t have to struggle just to live in their own country and real – as opposed to pretend – ambition.

  • Greenflag

    ‘That’s not capital accumulation, that’s capital dispersal.’

    Harry you may not be aware of this but Ireland is a small country with a small domestic market . For companies to expand beyond a certain size overseas acquisition is just a fact of life . If the returns are there to be had they’ll invest there . Fyffe’s , Jefferson Smurfit, Kerrygold , CRH etc etc being just a few . The same for overseas companies investing in Ireland . Ireland attracted 20% of all FDI into the EU with just 1% of the population so despite your ‘anecdote’ we still continue to attract investment and now some of our local entrepreneurs have been been taking up the slack. Like it or not Chindia is going to be the magnet for capital for this century so I happen to believe that the Republic ‘made hay’ while the sun shone whereas NI has missed the boat.

    You complain about ‘crappy infrastructure’ and at the same time berate the construction industry ?

    ‘I am advocating common sense’

    I presume by now you have discovered it’s not as common as it’s made out to be .

    ‘the recognition that people shouldn’t have to struggle just to live in their own country’

    Why not ? We may live on an island but we can’t isolate ourselves from the global economy . Sinn Feinism as an economic policy won’t work and can only be made to attempt to work in places like North Korea /Cuba . There are 6 billion people on the planet . You might like to believe that life should not be a struggle but I’m afraid it is and always will be to a greater or lesser extent . There are no free lunches.

    I’ll agree that our costs of doing business are becoming prohibitive in some areas . Our dependence on oil for energy just being one area . Property costs being another .

    My apologies if you feel I’m lecturing a la Harry Enfield . Not my intention . If I sound like a cross between Loadsa Money and the White Van man then you come across (no pun intended) as a cross between William Ulsterman and Tony Boy !

    You might want to take account of the Ad Hominem rule on Slugger 🙂

  • Harry

    ‘the recognition that people shouldn’t have to struggle just to live in their own country’
    Greenflag: Why not ?

    Because one should not have to struggle to get by. Only a people who have been brought up on low expectations and a history of struggle would think that struggling for the basics is normal. It has not been the norm in Europe for half a century.
    By all means struggle for extras – fancy cars, holidays, material goods – but struggling for the basics, for a roof over your head, for medical care, is not on. Yet struggle over the basics is the social model that is being advanced by FF and the PDs. It is certainly the result of their policies, and increasingly so.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Only a people who have been brought up on low expectations and a history of struggle would think that struggling for the basics is normal. It has not been the norm in Europe for half a century. ‘

    It WAS the norm in Ireland for a lot of people half a century ago .

    ‘Because one should not have to struggle to get by.’

    Ideally perhaps not . And yet many of our greatest economic and political achievers have only got where they are through ‘struggle’ . Not everybody is content to

    ‘Sit on their arse for 50 years
    And hang their hat on a pension’ to quote Louis MacNiese . And it’s just as well . When everybody works for the public sector you get Albania . When 70% of the economy is dependent on public sector expenditure you get economic stagnation and eventually relative economic decline – Northern Ireland /Puerto Rico being good examples .

    ‘Yet struggle over the basics is the social model that is being advanced by FF and the PDs. ‘

    Solving our ‘housing/health’ problems is not amenable to a quick fix . With an election on the way FF/PD will have to address these issues or face the electoral consequences . I happen to believe they will .

  • Greenflag

    kensei,

    ‘I suspect there is more than one route to economic sucess. ‘

    And the same applies to economic failure .

    Here’s the Swedish route .

    ‘Although big companies in Sweden have long thrived , the regulatory and tax climate is chilly to newer and smaller companies . Only 1 of Sweden’s 50 biggest companies was founded after 1970 : and Sweden has the lowest rate of self employment in the OECD ‘

    Source -Economist .

  • Harry

    Your characterisation of the different choices available (‘rampant profiteering/sitting on yer arse’) is laughable. There is a difference between what Nietzsche would call the ‘agonistic’ – ‘competition’ in PD parlance – and exploitation. In Ireland we have exploitation, not competition. And we have a society beginning to head towards some of the excesses of the Victorian era rather than the enlightenment of the post WW2 era in social welfare provision. In Ireland at present we have a huge increase in homelessness, people having to defer visits to their doctor becasue they can’t afford the 50 euro fee, we have people living in one room hovels & bedsits for 600-700 euros a month. We have a situation where the minimum wage will give you 1200 euros a month in an economy where a one-bedroom flat will cost you 900-1000 euros a month for anything half decent. Transport will cost you 25 euros a week – 90 euros for a monthly ticket – on top of that.

    Not to mention no significant levels of increase in public transport provision or quality. Amongst the most expensive broadband in europe – if its available, which at 8% penetration it usually isn’t. Expensive food, hugely expensive drinks in a pub (the pub as an Irish cultural phenomenon has been largely killed under this government, certainly around Dublin. The licensing system has a large part of the blame for this – a cartel operated by millionaires as a means of directing the huge resources from drinking into their – an on-one elses – pockets).

    The list is endless. If you are a public servant and have been paid off through benchmarking then perhaps you’re happy with the state of affairs, since you’re on maybe 35,000 to 45,000 per annum. But people in the privtae sector are untouched by benchmarking or any of the other mutual back-scratching deals come to between the government and the so-called social partners. That is why the social partner system is at breaking point, and the next 5 years will break it. It has largely been a process whereby the bosses have used the unions to pacify their members while the bosses made disproportionate gains.

    But the greatest scam is property. You think people should have to struggle to pay money to gombeens who themselves produce nothing and live off the sweat of other people’s labours? That’s what you call ‘getting off yer arse’? Nonsense, it’s exploitation pure and simple and a form of economic activity which benefits the few to the disadvantage of the very many. It is a short-term pyramid scheme which will cause hardship and damage when all is said and done. It is an attempt to sell the idea of money for nothing to those greedy enough to fall for such things.

    And after 10 years in power to talk about the problems of health and housing not being amenable to a ‘quick fix’ but requiring more time from this government is preposterous. These problems have appeared under this government, it is not they who will fix them. They are pursuing extreme right-wing policies which are producing levels of hardship that will lead to social unrest.

    By all means struggle. We will. We have opportunites to create something great in this country. But those opportunities will be blown by these these unimaginative, landlord-minded, intellectually bereft clowns.

    Only a people with low expectations and a history of abuse would support them.

  • Lorenzo

    Calm down Harry, you are beginning to sounds like one of those Harry Enfield characters you like to bring up: Frank Doberman of the Self Righteous Brothers (“Oi McDowell – NO!’)

    It is property prices not rents that are crazy. Rents in Dublin are not particularly high by international standards. See here for a reference, scroll down almost to the end. They are less expensive than Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid and Rome, all of whose countries have lower minimum wages than us – and lower average earnings. Looking on Daft.ie you can get one bedroom places for under 500 euro a month.

    Of course there are problems here – I would share many of the concerns you list but show me a place where there aren’t problems. The blacker-than-black picture painted by you is just not one that is my experience or that of any of anyone I know. If it is so terrible here why are 16,000 people from the original 15 EU member countries coming here to live, every year? Are their expectations so low too?

    The laissez faire policies towards private property have been in place since the foundation of the State. Have all our governments been ‘extreme right-wing’ ones? It is my opinion (pure hunch) that the particular kow-towing to the builders by this government is more due to the FF side than the PDs. The relevant ministries have always been held by FF.

    Final point: it was McDowell that tried to bring in cafe bar licenses which would have broken up the licensing cartel – and got shot down by FF: The Publican Party.

  • Greenflag

    Harry ,

    The glass is not that empty . A lot of people (the majority ) see it as being more than half full . If you stop turning the glass on it’s head so often it may not look so empty .

    Like Lorenzo I share some of your concerns . If the voters share them to the degree you do then you’ll have your ‘slump coalition ‘. I can’t see it happening from here .

  • Harry

    I note that according to the CSO report Estimated Immigration of foreign-born citizens into Ireland in 2004 was 33,200. Yet according to the government (here) it issued 134,000 PPS numbers to foreign-born people in 2004 alone. Something of a discrepancy I would have thought.
    Greenflag: Just Government Bureaucracy and how the numbers are processed, and reported . The PPS numbers probably refer to applications from earlier years.
    Bit of a glib reply to what should be a startling discrepancy. Are you sure that’s the reason for the difference in the numbers?

  • Brian Boru

    To paraphrase the PD’s slogan last time, I would recommend “Illegal Immigration – No Thanks” this time.

  • Harry

    For those who are interested, I sent an email to the CSO to ask why was there such a discrepancy between the estimated annual net migration statistics and the actual number of PPS numbers issued to non-nationals. They very obligingly replied and told me that the migration estimates were collected from 3 different sources:
    1) Census 2002
    2) Vital Statistics Section (annual births and deaths)
    3) Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS)
    The QNHS is the main source for the migration statistics. It is a survey carried out on 39,000 households, mainly to find employment information, but which is also used to ask questions about residency and migration. From these answers the figures are, as the CSO say, ‘grossed up’ to represent a national perspective.

    The CSO go on to state:

    To answer
    your question there are a number of factors that may explain the difference
    between the Population and Migration results and the number of PPS numbers
    issued. In theory it is possible for an immigrant to obtain a PPS number
    one week and leave the country the next. Therefore by solely looking at
    PPS numbers it is difficult to measure how many immigrants are staying in
    the State.

    As the QNHS is a randomly selected sample survey, it is
    possible that data could be recorded from an indigenous Irish household,
    whereas their next door neighbours, a household occupied by recent emigrants,
    would be missed.

    Another factor that may contribute to the difference is
    that the QNHS surveys private households. This therefore would exclude
    those immigrants residing at their place of work, e.g hotels etc.

    As a consequence of these factors, the Migration
    statistics published recently can be considered as an under estimation
    of reality
    . As you state, this arguement can be reinforced when
    comparing the Estimates to the number of PPS numbers issued.

    I then sent an email to the Department of Social and Family Affairs to get a list of all the PPS numbers issued to Irish people and non-nationals from 2000-2001. They very obligingly sent me a huge list, country by country, which I collated as below.

    PPS Numbers issued to non-nationals
    2000 52,000
    2001 112,000
    2002 165,000
    2003 104,000
    2004 133,000
    2005 191,000
    TOTAL 757,000

    CSO estimates of immigrants (Irish & non-national)
    2000 52,600
    2001 59,000
    2002 66,900
    2003 50,500
    2004 50,100
    2005 70,000
    TOTAL 349,100

    CSO estimates of immigrants (non-national)
    2000 30,000 approx.
    2001 32,700
    2002 39,900
    2003 33,000
    2004 33,200
    2005 51,000
    TOTAL 219,800

    CSO estimates of emigrants (Irish & non-national)
    2000 26,600
    2001 26,200
    2002 25,600
    2003 20,700
    2004 18,500
    2005 16,600
    TOTAL 134,200

    CSO estimates of net migration (Irish & non-national)
    2000 26,000
    2001 32,800
    2002 41,300
    2003 29,800
    2004 31,600
    2005 53,400
    TOTAL 214,900

    [cont’d below…]

  • Harry

    The first thing that is striking is that 757,000 PPS numbers have been issued to non-nationals over the last 5 and half years! Subtracting the CSO estimate of Irish and non-national emigration over this time from this number gives a net inward migration of foreign nationals 2000-2005 = 623,000 approx.

    Throughout the last 5 years the CSO has consistently underestimated the number of foreign-born nationals immigrating into Ireland by a factor of between 3 and 4. Net immigration of foreign nationals into Ireland over the last 5 years is 409,000 more than the CSO estimates according to actual PPS numbers issued . That is to say, there were 830,000 foreign nationals (not 420,000) living in Ireland by the end of last year or 18% of the population. This will come as no surprise to people living in Dublin.

    The average net migration of foreign-born nationals into Ireland over the last 5 years was around 100,000 per annum. If this trend continues (and leaving aside the actual upward trend in order to be conservative) there will be 1.3 million foreign nationals living in Ireland out of a population of 5.3 million (including natural increase) by the end of 2010, or 25% of the population. This does not include figures for immigration from Romania and Bulgaria which are likely, despite ‘restrictions’, to be a conservative 200,000 over the coming 5 years, bringing the likely total to 1.5 million foreign-born nationals by 2010 out of a population of 5.5 million, or 27% of the population. The truth is that annual trends indicate that these figures could well be conservative.

    This massive population change – to almost a third of the population of the ROI being made up of foreigners by 2010 – has taken place within a decade and is unparalleled in the modern history of migration into any european country. One can extrapolate to 2016 and 2025 to see what proportions of our population will be 1st and 2nd generation immigrant at those times. The prospects are extreme by anyone’s standards.

    The situation across the island north and south will be, by 2010, that out of a total population of 7.3 million almost 2.5 million – or 34% – will class themselves as ‘non-Irish’, comprising 1.5 million foreign-born nationals and approx. 950,000 unionists. I have no figures on the level of immigration into the north and so these can be taken as minimum figures.

    I seem to be the only person in the entire country who has bothered his arse to collate the data available from the different sources in order to get a more accurate picture. RTE see themselves more in the role of Pravda, passing on the official line and making no effort to independently investigate the figures being peddled by the establishment. Clearly they are ‘onside’ with the establishment.
    Whatever ones position on immigration, these figures – and these are the real, actual figures – demand debate.

  • DK

    Harry – well I never, who’d have thought the answer to the Irish Question was “Poland”!

  • Brian Boru

    Harry a lot of these “foreigners” are the children of Irish emigrants you know. I share grave concerns about immigration levels but am highly sceptical that we have as many foreigners as you suggest. I was surprised by how closely the preliminary Census figures corresponded to CSO estimates. We’ll have a better picture next year though.

  • Harry

    I don’t know why you’re sceptical Brian, other than that the media try to make you. The numbers I’ve given are the actual numbers from the CSO and the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Where do you think most of these sons and daughters of Irish emigrants would be coming from? From the English-speaking world perhaps? Well, the breakdown for those figures is as follows:

    PPS Numbers issued to people from the UK
    2000 9421
    2001 15349
    2002 14050
    2003 13667
    2004 13909
    2005 14207
    TOTAL 80,603

    PPS Numbers issued to people from the USA
    2000 1222
    2001 2645
    2002 2736
    2003 3010
    2004 3195
    2005 3811
    TOTAL 16,619

    PPS Numbers issued to people from Australia
    2000 1027
    2001 2874
    2002 2656
    2003 2421
    2004 1713
    2005 2128
    TOTAL 12,819

    PPS Numbers issued to people from Canada
    2000 737
    2001 1019
    2002 733
    2003 754
    2004 866
    2005 970
    TOTAL 5079

    PPS Numbers issued to people from New Zealand
    2000 572
    2001 1462
    2002 1408
    2003 1016
    2004 896
    2005 923
    TOTAL 6277

    By contrast the new accession countries are increasing dramatically, as expected:

    PPS Numbers issued to people from Poland
    2000 570
    2001 2259
    2002 2649
    2003 3828
    2004 27295
    2005 64731
    TOTAL 101,332

    PPS Numbers issued to people from Lithuania
    2000 642
    2001 2735
    2002 2782
    2003 2379
    2004 12817
    2005 18717
    TOTAL 40,072

    PPS Numbers issued to people from Latvia
    2000 1046
    2001 3023
    2002 1538
    2003 1230
    2004 6266
    2005 9328
    TOTAL 22,431

    And a category mysteriously titled ‘Other’ amid all the countries of the world (possibly real aliens?):

    PPS Numbers issued to people from ‘Other’
    2000 8917
    2001 17496
    2002 77152
    2003 22078
    2004 8593
    2005 5245
    TOTAL 139,481

    Strangely enough, the numbers from ‘Other’ fall dramatically just after accession of the new EU 10. One wonders if many of these mysterious ‘others’ came from these countries but were categorised in this way to make the figures of potential immigrants into Ireland from these countries seem less prior to accession. This would appear to indicate this possibility. One presumes, if this is the case, that the figures were massaged in this way to make the public more accepting of no controls being put in place over the free movement of labour from these countries.

    Apart from that, some of the main immigrant countries are Spain, France, Germany, China (21,000) and Nigeria (approx.20,000). China obviously has such low PPS numbers because lots of chinese come in as students, so I presume they don’t appear in these figures. It’s certain that the idea that only 21,000 Chinese have come to Ireland over the last 5 years or so is a huge underestimation.

  • Harry

    So now you know (and I think I’ve fixed the font problem).

  • Brian Boru

    Well Harry maybe you are right but I am doubtful. Apparently though there is a hell of a lot of PPS no. fraud (33% of PPS no.s obtained fraudulently I have heard), partly to allow illegals in the country to work. I would feel though that a lot of these immigrants may have returned home. I favour restrictions on Romania and Bulgaria and on asylum-seekers, but I don’t believe the number of foreigners of non-Irish origin are as high as your figures imply.

    One source of confusion may be that a very large proportion of the numbers issued per annum are actually renewals to existing immigrants rather than to newcomers.

  • Harry

    A work permit can be renewed, not a PPS number. It is issued only once. (See here Q.15).

    I subtracted the CSO figure for emigration of both non-nationals and Irish from the overall figure of non-national immigration to arrive at an approximate figure for net immigration of non-nationals. I did this to be conservative and because no separate breakdown was given for non-national and Irish emigration figures – the two were added together in the figures emailed to me.

    As for 33% fraud – well, I haven’t heard of that. Is is really believable that these government figures are going to be skewed to such an extent by fraud? Try emailing the department and asking them.

    The fact is the figures speak for themselves; they are huge and are being deliberately kept from mainstream discussion.

  • Greenflag

    Harry ,

    ‘I seem to be the only person in the entire country who has bothered his arse to collate the data available from the different sources in order to get a more accurate picture.’

    Entirely possible Harry . The rest of us are too busy making money , investing our savings and wondering who will win the Ryder Cup.

    ‘ ‘Whatever ones position on immigration, these figures – and these are the real, actual figures – demand debate. ‘

    Harry ,

    Thanks for going to the trouble of getting these figures . And I agree with you they do demand ‘debate’ . I suspect that along with Housing , Health -Immigration will be an issue for the coming election . My own personal feeling is that 15 to 20% is about the ‘limit ‘ that a small country like Ireland can afford (or indeed any country can without endangering it’s cultural/national identity . Of course once we joined the EU with it’s common labour market in 1973 we were always exposed to the possibility of being ‘swamped’ . Theoretically 3 million English and 4 million Germans and 2 million French plus others could have moved to Ireland at that time and we Irish would now be 25% or less of the total . It did’nt happen because all of the above counries could offer their people better economic opportunities and a higher standard of living .

    The only practical way out of this conundrum IMO is for some kind of percentage limit or range (dependent on the economic situation) to be placed on migration to EU countries based on a percentage of each destination countries total population. Or else allow each country to set it’s own percentage within an overall EU range . This would still allow for relatively free movement of labour between EU countries including the new member countries. The same immigration rule could be adopted world wide ?

    China could thus open it’s doors technically to (assume a 10% limit) 130 million . India to another 130 million and Saudi Arabia to 2.8 million etc etc . Russia which is suffering a population implosion at the same time as it’s experiencing economic growth rates of 8% could take in 15 million ? Xenophobes of the world

    I believe the UN will be addressing the issue of world wide migration soon . At this time there are 200 million people around the world living in countries other than their country of birth . Many are illegal and many have less rights than the indigenes .

    New Old Joke

    Dublin 2006.

    A Dubliner returned to to Ireland for the first time since 1986. He was looking for an old friend whose address he carried on a faded slip of paper . But the city had changed a lot in 20 years and he got hopelessly lost . So he stopped a Garda who to his astonishment looked Chinese . ‘Excuse me Guard can you tell me how to get to Mountjoy Square?’ he said

    ‘Mountjoy Square ‘ ? It’s not called that anymore . It’s called Piludski Square now ‘ said the Garda .

    ‘Oh. Well then could you tell me the way to Clanbrassil Street , then?

    ‘It’s not called that any more’ said the Garda . It’s called Lithuania Street .

    ‘Oh I see ‘ said the Dubliner who was now totally confused . He walked on through his old city until he came to anna livia plura bella . He stood there gazing mournfully into the water . Meanwhile the chinese Garda who had noted his confusion followed him .

    ‘So what are you doing now’, the Garda asked the Dubliner .

    ‘I’m just taking a look at the Hwang Ho ‘ said yer man 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Correction,

    The joke heading should read Dublin 2016 for those who are not aware that Mountjoy Square has not been renamed as yet 🙂

  • Harry

    I guess people won’t believe the numbers until they’re announced by Charlie Bird outside Government uildings on 6-1 news, or wrapped in the nasally south county Dublin tones of Miriam O’Callaghan. I suggest to those who are interested not to take my word for it, go to the Department of Social and Family Affairs (here), go to their contact page and use their form (here) to request the PPS numbers of all Irish and non-nationals from 2000-2005. They will send you an Excel file, just as they did to me, containing the breakdown of PPS numbers granted country by country over the last 6 years (2000-2001). You will see that the number of numbers granted to non-nationals during this period was 757,000!

    Then go to the CSO site, download the ‘Population and Migration Estimates’ pdf (here), go to Page 8 and check out the ‘Immigration Estimated by Sex and Nationality’, cross-reference it with the figures on Page 7: ‘Estimated Migration […] 2000-2006’ and then cross -calculate the figures with the PPS numbers from the Excel file supplied by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

    In that way you won’t have to take my word for it. And what you’ll find is that 757,000 PPS numbers have been issued to non-nationals in the last 5 and half years, that the estimated net emigration during this time is 134,000 and that the numbers of non-nationals in Ireland, even if you choose to be conservative, is at least 350,000 more than the CSO figures estimate.You will also find that it is true that there will be at least 1.2 million non-natioanls in Ireland by the end of 2010, that if migration from Romania and Bulgaria is included this will be even higher and that these figures themselves are conservative given current trends and given the actual figures available from the various sources.

    In short, the government is not being straight with the people and debate over real concerns about the highest levels of migration any european country has experienced in the modern era is being stifled by cries of ‘xenophobia!’. The statistics show a different story.

  • Lorenzo

    Neither Harry’s current estimates of foreign national net info nor his future ‘predictions’ tally with reality.

    He reckons there have been ~500,000 net foreign national immigrants into Ireland since 2000, based on the number of PPS numbers issued to them during that time. He appears to assume that two thirds (500k of 750k) of people issued with PPS numbers have stayed. Why choose two thirds? I have no idea.

    During 2000-2005, the numbers in employment rose from 1750K to 2014K i.e. about 264K people. This figure includes net immigration to here and net Irish people joining the labour force (school, college leavers etc.) If, for the sake of argument, we assumed *all* of these jobs were taken up by immigrants, that still leaves 48% of his estimated number of immigrants not working.

    If not working they must be:
    a) unemployed (but accession country immigrants cannot get Unemployment benefit here) OR
    b) dependents without work (The general profile the immigrants I see is in their 20s. There is no way they have such a high worker-to-dependent ratio as 1:1. CSO say only 1 in 10 are children) OR
    c) they are off the books, working in the blackmarket (so why register for a PPS number?)

    CSO employment figures say that ~10% (~200K) of the current workforce are foreign nationals. Some would have been here before 2000, but lets leave that aside. What does Harry think the other 300K do?

    To put it another way, 500K net inflow since 2000, means 100k a year. The national statistics office in the UK says that the net infow of EU citizens into the UK in 2003/2004 was 74,000 (80% being from accession countries). For his figures to work out, it means we must got 35% more immigrants than the UK does. Or is the NSO working to the same agenda as the CSO is?

    His estimates, and the predictions based upon them, are nonsense. They can be safely ignored.

  • Harry

    The numbers that I have given are not estimates, they are the numbers supplied to me by the Department of Social and Family Affairs. These numbers show 757,000 PPS numbers issued to non-nationals from 2000-2005. There is no dispute about this.

    Now I know you have established yourself throughout this thread as a grade 2 arsehole – and I congratulate you on that – but perhaps you might be better employed contacting the CSO and asking them how they collect their employment statistics and why there is such an apparent discrepancy between them and the number of PPS numbers issued. That’s what I do. While you’re at it you can ask them why it is that 797,000 PPS numbers were issued to non-nationals from 2000-2005 and net emigration from Ireland according to their own statistics during that time was 134,000, yet net migration of non-nationals according to them has only been 214,900.

    The CSO statistics have been shown to be gross underestimates year on year, by a factor of between 3 and 4 according to the actual numbers of PPS numbers issued as recorded by the Department of Social and Family Affairs (as opposed to a ‘grossed up’ estimate based on a sample survey of 39,000 households, which is how the CSO arrives at its migration figures).
    Clearly the CSO is either hugely inaccurate or must answer how it is that they have arrived at the figures they have considering that the most reliable data – based on actual as opposed to estimated figures – is so at variance with their claims.

    Considering that I have asked them this question and the answer they have given (outlined earlier in the thread) does little but confirm the inaccuracy of their approach, I think the figures I have shown and the projections based upon them are the most accurate available.

    It seems to me the CSO is underestimating the numbers continually. Why it is doing this is for others to decide. That it is doing this is almost beyond dispute, unless there’s some mysterious reason as yet unspoken as to why the actual figures don’t tally with their sample figures based on a survey.

    It is interesting that their underestimation is consistent and is to be seen across their migration as well as their employment figures. The question is why, when asked about their methodology and the discrepancy between their numbers and the real, verifiable figures, they have little to say other than to admit ‘yes, our numbers are an underestimation’.

    People may live in denial all they like; the statistics speak for themselves. They might be better off asking is 757,000 non-nationals in 5 and a half years not a little excessive for a country the size of Ireland and do they really think that 537,200 of them came here, looked around and left, with only 219,800 staying, as the CSO would have us believe?

  • George

    Harry,
    ever been to a mushroom farm?
    Ever been a Polish student?
    Ever heard of migratory labour?

    What you have found out is that in the last six years three quarters of a million people have come to Ireland.

    All you have is PPS numbers. If these people were here, as you claim, their presence would show up elsewhere, like in tax returns, employment numbers, census returns etc.

    They don’t. That’s the reality. Where are these 500,000 people and what are they doing?

    More evidence please.

    P.S. If there are 750,000 then we can fit a load more because we’ve still an awful lot to do on this island and need all the help we can get.

  • Lorenzo

    Harry – I’ve no doubt the PPS figures are accurate. Your estimates are based on the assumption that most people (500K out of 775K) issued with a PPS number are still in the country.

    I think this assumption is wrong because – as George also points out – that number of people are just not showing up anywhere else, not in tax returns, employment numbers or census estimates.

    For some reason Harry doesn’t trust the CSO figures for employment. I guess that unit has been infiltrated too. How about the figures for income earners from the Dept of Finance? Or, wait! Could they be in on the conspiracy too? See budgets, the number of income earners on tax file (look for Distribution of income tables)
    Year ‘000s
    2006 2,062
    2005 1,910
    2004 1,893
    2003 1,885
    (couldn’t find figures for before ’03)
    These figures are for *all* people in Ireland and includes those whose income exempts them from tax. By Harry’s estimate there should be 300K extra immigrants between ’03 and ’06, most of which would be working. But there are only 167K extra people both immigrants and ‘natives’ in the tax net, over that period. They broadly tally with the CSO employment numbers.

    Over those 3 years – since the accession of the 10 countries – we’re somehow missing *at least* 133K people IF harry’s estimates are to be correct.

    The fact is his estimates are inaccurate because his assumption is wrong. Lots of people get PPS numbers (I’ve got four from different countries!) and move on or move back. Foreign students, seasonal jobs, fixed term contracts, ‘the streets not being paved with gold after all’, welfare fraud, administrative cock-ups, double counting, overseas assignments to the Irish office – all are reasons why a PPS number is issued but the person is no longer here.

    If you are to believe Harry you have to believe that the CSO is somehow missing 300K immigrants, that the Dept of Finance can’t find hundreds of thousands of taxpayers and that we somehow have attacted more immigrants than the UK.

    The only place those missing 300K immigrants must be is in Harry’s febrile imagination.

  • darth rumsfeld

    McDowell strikes me as a southern Bob McCartney- abrasive, arrogant,extremely clever, pugnacious, often not a team player, hated by his opponents- and generally right on all the big questions.

    Politicians like this are infinitely preferable in my view to the Blair/Cameron mush or the scary quasi North-Korean Shinner mindset being best expressed at the moment by the genuinely creepy Martina (“My da was a Prod hi”) Anderson.

    Bob and McDowell are bursting out of themselves to lead, to take controversial decisions that invite hatred. Yes, they actually don’t care if people don’t like them, and they want to be in charge of all the big issues. They don’t try to be all things to all men. In short they’re far more likely to lead than follow.

    Of course, it’s also true that such personalities very rarely get the chance, since there’s only one political party in Ireland where the leader’s rivals have ever been at risk of sleeping with the fishes, and grudges are always paid back one day.