The secret of economic ‘comedy’…

So passing from the magnificent work of collaborative fiction that too often passes for Northern Irish politics, here’s some real news. The tax take in the Republic has dropped by €430m, caused mostly by a short fall in VAT returns. Income tax on the other hand is up by €32m. And, according to the OECD, unemployment is likely to rise from 4.5% last year, to 5.7% this year to 6.5% next. The party’s over, it’s 7 in the morning, and the husband and wife team from Northern Ireland, having sorted out their latest little tiff, is finally turning up in all its best democratic finery for the all Ireland boom just as Brian Cowen is reaching for the nasty medicine cabinet…

, , ,

  • Garibaldy

    Ah yes, workers must tighten their belts, wages must be frozen or cut via below inflation incrememnts, social spending must be cut back, etc etc. Fianna Fáil boldly reclaim the mantle of Charlie’s heirs.

    While the new uber-rich and their buddies in Dáil Éireann continue to dodge proper taxation, skim off the top and live the high life. Such a delightful country.

  • I think we all knew that this day would come, so while it is ‘news’, it is not really unexpected. Of course wages in the south have to be ‘moderated’ – there is no good reason why southern workers should earn more than similar workers elsewhere. Certainly employers (if exporters) can recoup some of the cost of higher wages via lower corporate taxation, but since Ireland is an island they will also lose in other areas (cost of transport, remoteness from sources of raw materials and markets, etc).

    Ultimately, as a remote island with few raw materials, Ireland (N and S) can only compete in two ways: lower costs for firms, and (connected to the first) higher productivity.

    The first thing requires either lower taxes or lower wages, but (for firms) preferrably both. Wages have gone up too far and too fast, and now the country wiill have to pay.

    The second thing (productivity) is a combination of education/training, and capital investment. While the education system in Ireland is OK, it is not spectacular by world standards. Irish kids (again, N and S) score poorly in most standardised tests. Some of the proceeds of the boom should have been spent on improving this, but they weren’t. Again, the country will pay for this.

    So the south is left, again, to try to entice foreigners to set up there by offering lower tax rates. Thats a pretty poor economic strategy.

  • Perhaps Brian should have a flutter on the horses ..

  • Driftwood

    Garibaldy
    Pretty much could be said for the UK, USA, indeed most western economies. “The nice decade”-copyright Mervyn King- is over.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The Irish electorate voted FF back out of fear that change might upset the economics that somehow led to the the Celtic Tiger. Well today we have Berty before the tribunal explaining that he won the unexplained sums which were swirling around in his personal finances on the horses. Indeed Berty. If ever an electorate got the incompetent, corrupt, feckless feckers they deserve it is now.

  • “If ever an electorate got the incompetent, corrupt, feckless feckers they deserve it is now”

    Sammy, I thought this thread was supposed to be about the RoI, not here 😉

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Nevin,

    Non iron probably suffers from too many principled politicians (on both sides) in ROI too few.

  • An Lochlannach

    Horseman wrote: ‘there is no good reason why southern workers should earn more than similar workers elsewhere.’

    I can think of one very good reason – because it’s one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Not so much Saorstát as Daorstát.

  • Dave

    Nevin, as someone who gave Bertie Ahern the benefit of the doubt, the more I read of his testimony and his ‘I’m too sweet and innocent to lie’ relation of it, the more inclined I am to think of a used car salesman trying to pass rust off as an original feature that adds character to a car. I don’t see how claiming that he won cash “on the horses” explains the accumulation of the cash, since more cash is likely to have been lost on the horses than won on them. Ergo, instead of explaining the cash, it raises questions about the source of the other cash that he presumably lost on the horses.

    Anyway, if we have to tighten our belts in Ireland, then we need to chop that 14 billion Euros out of the National Development Plan that is earmarked for cross-border initiatives. 😉

  • Dave

    “Non iron probably suffers from too many principled politicians (on both sides) in ROI too few.” – It was Sammy

    Err, right… try asking the lucky evaders of a War Crimes Tribunal for massive abuses of human rights, Gerry and Martin, if they won their million Euro holiday homes in Donegal on the horses or if the money came from organised crime.

  • An Lochlannach,

    It’s a cart and horse thing. If wages are high, then prices will be high, and vice-versa. But wages in the south are also relatively high; i.e. people are enjoying a standard of living that simply isn’t justified in the long-term by their productivity.

    If Ireland wants high living standards, then either find lots of oil, or be more productive than the competition. Since that competition is now in Slovakia, Estonia or Romania, where wages are crap, Irish workers are going to have to be really good to persuade mobile firms from upping sticks. Hence the need to be super-educated and super-trained. Instead, people in the south have gotten lazy, and started to think that aall this nice money is theirs by right. Well, it ain’t!

  • Steve

    Dave

    The assembly indeed parliament and the house of lords is full of war crimes tribunal dodgers, why single out those 2

  • Ahem

    I dunno Steve – maybe because we’re talking about Northern Ireland? Still, the award for Most Feeble Whataboutery ’08 is in the bag.

  • An Lochlannach

    Absolutely, Horseman. It’s all the workers’ fault. The high cost of living has nothing to do with the Government’s systematic failure to do anything about childcare, public transport etc nor their cosy relationship with property developers.

    We should work longer still and stop complaining. Just look at those health workers embarrassing the nation by asking Europe to intervene on their behalf and reduce their working week to 48 hrs: (www.rte.ie/news/1999/1116/hospitals.html)They dream of that in Romania!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dave,

    re. principle

    Lets just say we are unlikely to se fat boy Berty or his ilk on hunger strike any time soon.

    You cannot speak of the great northern Grizzly in such terms – and him (almost) delivering a Nationalist appointed Attorney General to Non Iron after bursting into Downing street (why bother taking up seats when you can demand an audience with the PM) and telling him to sort out wee Robbo. Shame on you.

    YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS that you gave Berty the benefit of the doubt (or did you mean Nevin?). His FatherTedEsque crying performance on telly coupled with his Craggy island standard story about not having a bank acocunt when minister of finance was comedy fiction up there with the masetro Myles himself. Shame on everybody who didnt boot the good for nothing fecker out of office.

  • An Lochlannach>,

    Things like childcaare and public transport are just oil for the wheels of the eeconomy. Sure, if they were better then people could work longer, or get to work more easily, and this might have some marginal effect. But they have to be paid for, which means higher taxes. This means a real reduction in standards of living.

    Or they could tax companies more. That could mean a few move out to Eastern Europe, or Asia, leaving unemployed workers behind.

    There’s no easy solution. Public services must be paid for (preferrably out of taxes – look what happened when the south tried to pay for them out of borrowing). Companies will go where their profits are highest – Irish workers can ensure that thaat place is Ireland, but only if they’re clever, efficient, and hard-working.

    High wages don’t really damage an economy if all the other things are in place – look at Denmark (unemployment rate lower than Ireland), or the Netherlands (big trade surplus), etc. But I look at the south and I just don’t see all of the things in place that need to be. The fruits of the boom have been squandered on over-priced housing, decks, foreign holidays and new cars. Meanwhile there are still no centres of academic excellence, or cutting edge technology.

  • An Lochlannach

    I take your point Horseman, but I think you’re erring on the side of abstraction. Things like childcare aren’t ‘add-ons’. For many parents here the childcare bill eats up most of one partner’s wage. They’ve been forced out to the outer suburbs because of crazy property prices in the towns and cities where they work. They have to spend a lot of money running a car (or two) because public transport is either non-existent or useless.

    The Government has failed them and you list some of their failures in your last post. The Government will blame them too.

  • An Lochlannach,

    Essentially it is dishonest to blame ‘the government’ for the troubles the south is heading into. Firstly, and most obviously, because that government was elected by the people. But secondly because many of the problems the south faces are caused by individual decisions multiplied by the thousand. The ‘culture’ (in the broadest sense) of the people has been a factor in creating the problems. Yes, many people have to commute long distances, but why is this? Is it partly because people insist on living in houses rather than apartments? And worse, out in the sticks they want to live in ghastly bungalows miles from anywhere. And then they complain about lack of services? Town planners know fine well that you cannot provide services like transport (water, sewerage, etc) at reasonable cost if there is no concentration of population. But try to tell young Irish people that they should live in an apartment rather than that lovely 4-bed, with en-suite, off-street parking and a faux-georgian fireplace somewhere west of Mullingar ….

    There has been an enormous sense in the south of ‘about time, now it’s our turn to be rich’, rather than mature planning for the post-boom inevitable reality. Kidds have been ‘encouraged’ (by social and societal influences) to do useless courses in college, rather than computing. In recent years the numbers going into computing and similar courses has dropped while there has been ean explosion of frankly daft courses.

    But blame the government. That’s easier than self-examination!

  • An Lochlannach

    God, Horseman, you really have it in for what Brian Kerr calls the ‘ordinary shams’. Just take, for example, their reluctance to live in apartments. Have you seen the apartments in Dublin? I lived in one. We wanted to hang a picture but were advised not to because the wall might not take the strain. The painter and decorator was able to paint the bathroom without rising from the toilet seat – the room being so small. Raise children in that? You say working people make the wrong choices. I say that more often than not they don’t have a choice.

    Shouldn’t you change your moniker to High-Horesman?

  • Greenflag

    ‘The party’s over, it’s 7 in the morning, and the husband and wife team from Northern Ireland, having sorted out their latest little tiff, is finally turning up etc ‘

    Let’s face it political ‘timing ‘ was never one of Unionism’s strong points. The fact that the poor timing ‘virus’ has now been transmitted to their power sharing partners is only to be expected now that they sit in the same room together and even (horror of horrors)shake hands .

    Significant political ‘timing ‘ errors are part of the staple diet of Northern Ireland’s short history .

    In the mid 1960’s Unionist ‘political reform’ legislation was about ten years too late.

    In the 1970’s ‘timing ‘was even worse as they not only lost Stormont through boneheaded stupidity but then threw away the opportunity of Sunningdale and condemned NI to 30 years of nowhere ‘politics’!

    In the 1980’s ? Unionism gave up on a local Assembly and wasted a decade and a half on pretending that they could be ‘integrated’ into the UK same as Finchley or Hartlepool.

    The number of ‘lates’ and missing the boat during the 1990’s and up to the present are too numerous to recount here. As I write having almost fallen off the bus due to poor timing both parties have somehow clambered back on but only via the helping arm of the British conductor one Gordo .

    And so it goes and so it will go . This lot as the saying goes would be late for their own funerals.

    The Republic is not immune to the vagaries of the global economy but once property prices have returned to normal and world economic growth ‘returns’ the economy will return to a decent economic growth rate circa 4 to 5% . But it won’t be for another year or two .

    Much will hinge on the outcome of the US Presidential election and how President Obama will direct US economic policy. A new ‘paradigm’ may be on the way .

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Horseman,

    well ‘fingers’ Berty claimed credit when it was all going so well so reasonably he might be invited to take some blame now?

    But much as I would like to blame warriors of corruption completely for the economic decline it is difficult to blame the lending on worthless properties in the middle of the USA on these quarefellahs.

    There is no doubt however that the corruption in planning which ran right through the spine of the FF establishment from councillors to the cabinet lead to not only pocket lining by politicians but ill thought out urban sprawl and shoddy developments throughout the country and is a significant contributory factor to many of the ROIs growing social and economic difficulties.

    And just to add some insult to our injures we must surely have the stupidest electorate in Western Europe.

  • An Lochlannach,

    Shouldn’t you change your moniker to High-Horseman?

    Tempting ….

    😉

    Seriously, though, have you ever been to the Netherlands? A very densely populated country where the average height is the highest in Europe. Yet they live in, essentially, dolls houses. Very pretty, probably very well built, but still very small.

    As a result, they have first class services, no real urban sprawl, good public transport, and maybe not coincidentally, a good economic and social situation. Plus, its a nice place to live, according to friends who have done so.

    Living like hunter-gatherers spread thinly over the whole oof Irelaand, it is impossible to reproduce either the infrastructure or the services that countries like the Netherlands have. That is a decision that the Irish people, as a whole but acting individually, have made.

    As an example: the Greater Dublin Area has an area of 6980 sq. km, and a population of 1,661,185 (ish), while Amsterdam Urban Region, with nearly as many people, 1,468,122, is on only 1896 sq. km. So its a lot easier to provide schools, buses, water, cable TV and internet, etc in Amsterdam. So they’ll be cheaper there. Irish choices lead to Irish prices.

  • Horseman @ 11:59 AM:

    I was largely with you until:

    Things like childcare and public transport are just oil for the wheels of the eeconomy. Sure, if they were better then people could work longer, or get to work more easily, and this might have some marginal effect. But they have to be paid for, which means higher taxes. This means a real reduction in standards of living.

    But healthcare goes rather further than economic lubrication.

    And that’s the big “what-if?” in the Celtic tiger’s bubble. It didn’t happen; and now it may be too late. Any bets that private health insurance (which, even now after the “NICE” years, covers only 49% of the RoI population) is one of the “luxuries” that has to be trimmed in family budgets?

    Equally, when VAT is ramped up to subsidise corporation taxes (and that’s the unspoken trade-off in another argument), the national exchequer is dependent on buoyant consumers’ spending. When they can’t, that’s Biffo getting stuffed. Equally, if the big corporations are going to base their accountancy on the lowest tax-take, they’ll end up with nominal head offices in the most corrupt statelet of central Africa. So Biffo has to continue feeding the beast, or he’s Kit-e-Kat.

    Then there’s the inflation thing. The RoI, among other economies such as Spain, has been able to tolerate high inflation (especially in real estate) because of the regime at the ECB. In effect, a further element of subsidy: if house prices are rising at 10-15% p.a., and money can be borrowed at half that rate, fill your boots. Until the day of reckoning came … (cf: the screams of agony from the UK buy-to-renters and the Bradford & Bingley which was their prime finance source). The downside is when the ECB keeps its rate higher than Biffo and the boys might like, and so cannot stimulate the local economy: a 4% ECB rate = strong €; strong € = fewer US tourists, tougher export conditions. More stuffing.

    There is one further unmentionable here: the NI dependency on the public sector. Diddy Dave Cameron will be looking for budget cuts of some £50B before he can buy a second term with “tax cuts”. In the short term, he and his minions will talk of “sharing the proceeds of growth”. We’ve been waiting for those for the last half-century (read the rhetoric of Harold Wilson). In the end, the cuts will fall hardest on the public sector and its employees (watch for suggestions that the NHS and education are ripe for “reorganisation” again). NI should not be too complacent.

    [If others have covered these points in the interim, my apologies. My connection dropped in mid-post.]

  • Malcolm Redfellow,

    … But healthcare goes rather further than economic lubrication.

    I was careful not to mention healthcare. Childcare is a different thing, basically creches – though in the modern context these are expected to be state-funded, and thus free (or almost) to parents, so that they can go out to work more easily. Hence I consider them oil for the corporate cogs.

    Healthcare is a really tricky issue, but it is a bottomless pit into which governments can throw money. It doesn’t matter how much is spent, people will always want more. We’ll end up with most of the GDP going on health unless someone calls a halt. But it all haas to be paid for out of the proceeeds of productive work, so either taxes go up, or contributions to VHI or BUPA.

  • The Irish sold their souls for penny rolls, credit cards, buy to let properties, foreign hookers, lap dancing and divorce. No wonder they are doomed.
    PS: The main problem in Irish A&Es;now is teenagers with heart ocnditions. Though mixing Viagra and ecstacy might help the Black economy, it does damage the heart. But visits to A&Es;does boost the National Income, which is the Irish mammon god.

    The only way forward is not socially acceptable. That is why the Irish are doomed.

  • Horseman @ 01:55 PM:

    Healthcare is a really tricky issue, but it is a bottomless pit into which governments can throw money. It doesn’t matter how much is spent, people will always want more. We’ll end up with most of the GDP going on health unless someone calls a halt.

    Hmmm. Yeah. Sounds nice. I’m not happy with the logical conclusion of such a proposition. However, as with the Titanic:

    They put the poor below,
    They were the first to go:
    It was sad when that great ship went down.

    The truth is that, in the RoI, things that could be treated are not being: cancer care , anyone?

    Then you’ve got an epidemic on your hands. For one example:

    Compare and contrast:
    HIV Total Cases/Cases per 100 000 population:
    1998 — 120 / 2.15
    1999 — 190 / 2.98
    2000 — 290 / 7.60
    2001 — 299 / 7.71
    2002 — 364 / 9.36
    2003 — 399 / 10.17
    2004 — 356 / 8.93
    2005 — 318 / 7.97
    2006 — 337 / 7.96.

    Now, anyone putting up their hands that even that represents “robust” figures?

    No, my bottom line is that the RoI went for unfettered growth, based on a bubble of speculative construction, financed by some dodgy budgets and beggar-my-neighbour taxation policy, neglecting the infra-structure. By the time the voters were tiring of sweeties for the weekend, and looking for a better trip to work, there was not enough left in the kitty to build the basics. Now the trick is to cut back on those very expensive plans for transport and the like, without the plebs catching on. Hence the inconsistencies and disconnections already evident in An Metro Thuaidh.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ocnnell,

    ‘That is why the Irish are doomed.’

    Again ? In our history we’ve been doomed so many times that once more will hardly matter .

    We were supposed to be doomed in 1014 but Boru saved the day .

    Were were doomed again in 1169, 1603 , 1690, 1798, 1847 .

    Somehow or other ‘doom ‘ always brings out the best in us . We appear to recover after every ‘doom’ stronger and more Irish than ever before .

    ‘The only way forward is not socially acceptable.’

    What ‘way’ is the only way ? Not the usual bible and revelations heavenly magician three card trick again eh ?.

  • Malcolm Redfellow,

    With respect to HIV in the south, the same report that you are quoting from states that: “The increased immigration of individuals from areas with high incidence of heterosexual HIV infection accounts for a significant proportion of the increase both in overall numbers …

    Peak-HIV seems to have already passed in the south, so I wouldn’t be too pessimistic on that score.

    On the economy as a whole, you are right. However, even if unemployment rises slightly, it will still be well below historic rates. The public purse will be somewhat emptier, but then again there is a lot of fat that could be cut (have you any idea just how many agencies, quangos, commissions, and so on that there are in the south? Each with offices, staff, directors, etc. I estimate a spend of hundreds of millions on them alone).

    Basically the budget can be cut by trimming the non-essentials. Unfortunately for the country, though, these non-essentials (luxuries, if you will) were what were funded big-time in the boom years instead of the basic health and education that should have been reinforced.

    Taxes may not rise very much, but a lot of little piglets at the trough might go a bit hungry.

  • Greenflag

    ‘A very densely populated country where the average height is the highest in Europe.’

    Evolution at work 🙂 So densely packed together that the only way to get ahead and see further than your fellow dutchman is to grow an extra couple of inches 🙂

    The Watusi in Africa had a similar problem in hunting in the tall grass . They soon got tired of jumoing up and down the 5 inches needed to get a clear view of their prey so the clever ones grew a few more inches 🙂

    PS we can learn a lot from the Dutch in the manner in which their public services and particularly ‘preventative’ health care is managed .

    As long as we remember that we’re not Dutch and that tulips don’t only grow in Amsterdam 🙂

  • Horseman @ 03:20 PM:

    Which is why I was scrupulously fair in giving the whole sequence of HIV infection figures.

    Then you might apply your obviously-acute intellect to some other problems.

    Last year, before the full crunch, the RoI health budget was underfunded to the tune of €342M, leading to a trimester of severe rationing in essential services. So don’t get sick between Christmas and Easter. However, as the recent UCD study by Kevin Denny and Orla Doyle showed, in the RoI those experiencing poor health don’t vote for improved services: they just don’t vote. Oh, and let’s just forget the damning report on mental health services: everybody else seems able to.

    Then there’s environmental health. Just one example for starters: BSE. For over a decade the practice was to bury carcasses on the farm: more than 500 BSE-positive cattle were buried in that time (there being no rendering and incineration plants available). Back in 2000, in Galway, an infected carcass was buried close to four joint-water schemes and some 15 private wells: I reckon it’s still there. That’s the one we know about, because nobody outside the Department of Agriculture needed to be consulted or informed.

    So far, I kept off my favourite topic: education and schooling. The residents of Balbriggan, Castleknock and Lucan don’t have that luxury — particularly if their pigmentation doesn’t match the church’s norms. After two referrals to the Council of Europe, the Department of Education has reached the “pilot” stage for school-year 2008-9.

    The above are examples of how the RoI public debt was halved over a decade. That “gain” was paid for by the poor, and by constraining already-poor public provisions. Fifty years back, JK Galbraith coined the axiom: “Private affluence, public squalor”. So what has changed?

    When Mick Fealty’s original posting invited us to look at the realities of the Celtic Tiger years, he forgot to throw in the deficit of 5% GDP in the balance-of-payments current account for 2007 (up from a balance as recently as 2003). This has been accompanied by a similar increase in foreign borrowings by the banks. In the present fevered state of the markets, not a good move.

    Mick’ss implication was that the Cute Wee Hoor passed Biffo a poisoned chalice. Too bloody true.

  • Malcolm Redfellow,

    I’m fully in agreement. I think Biffo has his work cut out for him. I’ve never been a cheerleader for the southern government and/or political/social/economic elite – I think they’ve grossly failed to create the republic that many of us want. Unfortunately, we are stuck with those elites because the southern folk are, above all, ridiculously tolerant of bad government. Maybe several hundred years of British rule robbed them of any expectation of good government? Still, what other people would have put up with generations of poverty, unemployment, emigration, repression, bad housing, etc, etc, etc, and never revolt? Barely even a half-arsed riot between 1923 and 1981. No revolutionary party worth mentioning. Nothing. Just a meek queue at the dole office or the ferry port!

    So Biffo may well have a tough job, but he won’t be swinging from a lamp-post if he fails.

  • Horseman @ 05:55 PM:

    Barely even a half-arsed riot between 1923 and 1981. No revolutionary party worth mentioning. Nothing.

    You reckon?

    I can certainly promise you that our “Cuba Week” protest at the US Embassy, October 1962, was no riot, but the Gardaí’s behaviour, turning the dogs on us, came damn close.

    And they pressed charges (both baton-wielding and in court).

    And more than a few of us were definitely rendered half-arsed.

    And, subsequently, to salve our wounds, half-cut in O’Neill’s, Suffolk Street (where all the best revolutions were planned — show trials in Lansdowne Road, public executions in Croke Park; nip off to the bog, and your name was instantly promoted up the list).

  • aquifer

    Only if they will it to be so.

    Town planning and property taxation are within the power of government, and can determine whether people build suburbs and fragments thereof, or make real cities that can use less imported oil and support the development of high value services.

    Corporate taxation is low, and borrowed money is cheap, which are the main things needed to promote growth, but no property rates and covering fields in houses is planning for economic failure.

    Indirect taxation can be higher without doing economic damage, especially when it falls on imported energy, waste, or pollution, helping people make good economic decisions.

    Public transport in the Republic is a bad joke that will not be shared by a dispersed population facing rising petrol prices and joblessness.

    Much public policy in the republic could be described as ‘complacent and tentative’ when it is not being driven by european directives and funding.

    It will be interesting to see what policy directions the assembly takes if a recession bites.

    There is a real danger of an outbreak of real politics if they get things wrong. Blaming ‘themmuns’ just won’t cut it.

  • Dave

    Malcolm, the Irish figure for 2006 is 7.95 HIV infections per 100,000 population, compared to the British figure of 121 HIV infections per 100,000 population. The British rate of infection per population is over 15 times higher than the Irish rate. Ergo, if Ireland has an “epidemic” (and it does not) as your pejorative hyperbole falsely claims, then England has a catastrophe of biblical proportions. 48 of those cases were Irish with 51 being immigrants from the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and the remainder being infected people who have entered this country from other countries.

    So, Malcolm, by your own logic, you declare that England has grossly mismanaged containment of HIV/AIDS infection at a level of incompetence that is 15 times worse than Ireland’s alleged mismanagement (which has secured a very low level of infection).

    Ireland:
    http://data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2008/ireland_2008_country_progress_report_en.pdf

    UK:
    http://data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2008/uk_2008_country_progress_report_en.pdf

    And by the way, property in Ireland is not overvalued compared to other EU countries, nor are other countries immune to market fluctuations in price. The Bank of England intervened in the mortgage market to provide equity of £50 billion to support those who face a threat of foreclosure in the current UK market where prices have fallen 10% since the start of the year (a fall that is far higher than Irish property market). In addition, Ireland has more millionaires per capita than any other country in Europe, and that calculation of wealth does NOT include the principle primary asset (i.e. the house). We also have cash reserves that are at a ratio of 6 to 1 to our borrowings. So, sorry to inform you, old boy, that it will be quite a while before we look to return to the days of British rule when Ireland was kept as an undeveloped colonial outpost. 😉

  • Dave

    “And just to add some insult to our injures we must surely have the stupidest electorate in Western Europe.” – It was Sammy

    Agreed. You lot voted for Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland whereas the citizens of the Republic did not.

  • Dave

    Incidently, given that the majority of new cases of HIV infections that are added to the database are non-nationals, that is a good reason to introduce mandatory health screening of immigrants. The taxpayers should not be expected to pay for the care of these people, nor should the citizens be put at unnecessary risk by allowing a situation to develop where the incidence of infected people per population is allowed to treble due to unfettered immigration. Naturally, the bleeding heart liberals and lefties will complain, but that’s just too bad.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dave,

    by misinterpeting my point about the stupidity of the ROI electorate you rather reinforced it.

    “And by the way, property in Ireland is not overvalued compared to other EU countries”

    As our northern friends are reputed to say thats a cracker – you are showing a great knowledge of the German market in particular there. And would that be why until about a year ago the Irish Times regularly ran ads to buy bargains in London – the most important financial city in Europe and 2nd or 3rd in the world?

    There are many things to be proud of the ROI about but the corrupt feckers running the country aint included in that.

  • Dave on Jun 06, 2008 @ 09:30 AM:

    On the contrary (read my original post), the RoI figures are ridiculously low. My point stands: the health system is failing because it evidently isn’t capable of doing a proper count: if people cannot afford to use the medical services (and that applies surely to the 30+% without any means of insurance), preventative and interventionist measures are nugatory. For supporting evidence, see the RoI submissions to the WHO which casually maintain the infection rate is >0.1%.

    Then there is stuff like this:

    The number of new HIV diagnoses in Ireland increased by 21% during the first half of 2007… The HPSC recorded 204 new HIV cases in the first half of 2007, compared with 337 during all of 2006.

    HPSC officials were able to determine the mode of transmission for 150 of the new cases. Of the 150, 53% were transmitted through heterosexual contact, while 23% were transmitted among injection drug users and 21% were transmitted among men who have sex with men. More than 50% of the new cases were diagnosed among men, and 39% were diagnosed among women … The average age of people newly diagnosed with the virus was 33.

    HPSC identified the nationality of 120 of the new cases and found that 42% were among people born in sub-Saharan Africa and that 40% were among people born in Ireland. The majority of people who contracted HIV through heterosexual contact were from sub-Saharan Africa… Geographic location was determined for 108 of the new cases, 78% of which occurred among people who lived in Dublin, Kildare or Wicklow

    It is generally admitted that these figures severely undervalue the problem for the following reasons:

    Ireland (north and south) has a drug problem, and it is no longer just “soft” drugs.
    The health system in the RoI has limited contact with the key age groups (15-30 especially, which makes that diagnosis at 33 yrs average significant).
    As with abortion, Ireland (again, north and south) exports its problem to GB.

    If that’s “pejorative hyperbole” the opposite is complacent litotes. If you believe the HIV/AIDs issue is specific to those despised African migrants, do the math: those figures above show that just 50 of the 204 new cases are from the sub-Saharan region. Of course, as with Iran, good Catholic Ireland has no native homosexuals, no drug-injectors .. oh, no!

    Heaven knows there are enough problems in the Irish economy: the last thing we want is petty-Devs wrapping the tricolour round themselves, and declaring those problems are all imperialist-Saxon propaganda.