“We’re fighting for our economic lives.”

Mick flagged this up in advance. It is somewhat of an ambush, and Irish Junior Finance Minister Martin Mansergh does have a valid point about being questioned about a specific case without knowing all the relevant facts. But his reaction.. Anyway, listen out for his comments about funding of projects in Northern Ireland. There’s also a priceless moment when he reaches for an example of North/South co-operation and plucks his borrowing of an expert from the NI Department of Finance [We have experts there? – Ed] Apparently so.. Oh, and there may be times when cross-border competition is desirable. From tonight’s Hearts and Minds, here is the interview of Irish Times journalist Margaret Ward and Minister Mansergh on the state of the Irish economy. Adds Margaret Ward’s account of the interview.

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  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    This is hilarious stuff!

    Manzer is rather comical as he winces in the chair and raises his voice, while Ward rolls her eyes with disdain.
    A case of the nerd meets the the college girl who thinks she’s great at everything!

  • D’Oracle

    So….. that what Margarer Ward looks like : she’s real purdy! Manzer is just manzer and the economy is just an economy (barely !)

  • dunreavynomore

    Yes, the ‘borrowing of the expert’ was amazingly comical.I hope they don’t keep our expert too long or have we loads of them?

  • She was incredibly rude. She alwways advocated making ordinary people take all the hits at once. Utterly reactionary.

  • niall

    I enjoyed Noel apparently trying not to laugh, or at least reveal his enjoyment of it all.

    Not much meat added here really, just the simple;

    “we’re doomed”
    “we’re not doomed”

  • niall

    Just a thought,

    Last year the nations pleasures were found as follows;

    1. Bought a flat in Bulgaria to outprice the locals.

    2. Drank copious amounts of wine, French and Chilean only of course, no cheap stuff ye’understand.

    3. Spent a mint at Cheltenham, then was out of it at Galway but backed the winner.

    4. Had two phd nerds in to put down the new floor, Canadian oak ye’know like the good stuff.

    5. Sending the missus to NY NY to shop.

    6. Bought a boat.

    7. Looking at cars and saying fook it! I got an ’08 SUV. My old mans people had land.

    8. Telling foreigners about how the celtic tiger was all about our great education system and how the two lads with them phd things doing the floor should be so lucky as to have an edukation like them lawds in Dublin.

    9. Going on the piss in prague/barcelona/paris etc etc.

    10. Believing the hype.

    11. Golfing.

    12. Talking shite about cheese and other foods that to be honest i’m not that into.

    13. Talking shite about coffee.

    This year the national pleasure;

    1. Complaining and saying I knew it couldn’t last, sure common sense would tell you that.

    2. Imagining telling the bank to go f itself. can you imagine, sure it’d be great, the crooks.

    3. Laughing at our politicians.

  • alan jones

    Great Stuff

    Follow up Margaret Ward’s take on events at: http://www.margaretward.ie/

    Pity I can’t watch all of the show due to the BBC’s new BROADCASTING BAN that stops southern internet user access to the TV part of iplayer.

    Is this ban legit?

  • An fhirinne gharbh

    That’s bound to be used on media training courses as an example of how not to do it.

  • ABC

    Martin Masergh came out of that encounter much better than Margaret Ward did.

    He sounded like a sensible person with rational thoughts and he was bang on the money when he accussed her of engaging in populist soap-box rhetoric.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pity I can’t watch all of the show due to the BBC’s new BROADCASTING BAN that stops southern internet user access to the TV part of iplayer.

    UK license payers aren’t obligated to spend money to ensure that media broadcasts can be seen outside of the state. Wise up.

  • Credit Crunch

    “That’s bound to be used on media training courses as an example of how not to do it.”

    It’s a cert. The difficult thing will be convincing the trainees that it wasn’t a couple of actors hamming it up.

  • alan jones

    Dear Comrade Stalin

    How does the BBC’S new BROADCASTING BAN play out under the terms of the GFA?

    Does the Agreement allow equal access of the Republics media to the North? And if it does should the BBC not have equal access to the South?

    I could cry discrimination (as a unionist living down South) but in reality all i want to be able to do is to watch iplayer when I’m in County Meath. I don’t think that I’m the only one??

    iplayer is great, is it not?

    Apparently I have to wait for the ‘international version’ How does that sit with everybody???

  • It seems the Beeb may have hacked out the best bits, Pete:

    Wondering why the sections of the BBC2 programme 2nite that made Mansergh seem a pompous, entitled, elitist were cut out? No time maybe? Margaret E Ward shortly after the programme was broadcast.

  • borderline

    The current exhibition of BBC news reporting in NI confirms its anchoring role in the great Stormont pretence of NI existing as an island off England, with hardly a reference to the poor badlands to the South and West permitted.

    Today’s BBC NI news output has come on a tiny bit in acknowledgement of geographical and political realities since that, difficult enough when Shepherd’s Bush doesn’t understand it, and the Unionists in Belfast don’t want it. Therefore when Noel, Mark & Co venture South they have to make do with what they can get at the fringes. As happens regularly on the fringes though, they struck gold, in this case, pure gold.

    Margaret Ward, a popular enough name in caravan sites all over Ireland, sat there all gorgeous and pouting, with Martin Mansergh, Billy Bunter’s form master, the unlikeliest FF TD ever invented. To debate an tubaiste mór with the likeable, decent, informed, damned-good-at-his-job Mr Thompson as referee. Like all good refs, you hardly knew he was there.

    Now Mansergh hasn’t been on any media training courses, and for that fact alone, you’d have to like him. Quintessentially English, he was the guy who led FF out of the green wilderness and delivered up the intellectual cover for the GFA. He persuaded the soul of the party that partition was an inevitable consequence of one horse heading for Gaelic revivalism whilst another was going to fight in Flanders. Tipperary has taught him of course that politics is the art of the possible, and when every small builder, minor union official and shopkeeper in Ireland has there local TD on speed dial, your room for radical manoeuvre is limited. Decent, honest, truthful, in my book, though in Margaret Ward’s blog I note she describes him as a’pompous, entitled elitist’.

    Ward, as she no doubt prefers to be entitled, comes with all the humour, subtlety, class, and understanding we have come to expect from the Irish Times school of American female journalists. Like Lillington and Holmquist (of late – she had her moments) her modus operandi seems to be:

    1.make a list of how things are done back home

    2. compare with little old Irelan’

    3. whinge, groan and look outraged.

    Ward, all intertwitface and efficiency, demanded action, right now buddy, or we’re all going down the toobs.

    I hear many of our newly arrived non-nationals are going home. Don’t be frustrated with paddy procrastination Margaret. Those airplanes leave all the time.

    Nice one, Noel.

  • Ulster McNulty

    niall

    “Last year the nations pleasures were found as follows”

    Excellent stuff, particuarly talking shite about coffee. Last year I read an article in the Sunday independant describing how coffee consumption had overtaken tea consumption for the first time, as if it were another significant milestone on the road from dysfunctional banana republic to modern self-confident country at ease with itself.

  • Margaret E. Ward

    Great discussion here everyone but maybe you should stick to the facts or at least do some basic research? As a journalist, I have a duty to report facts and make comments based on fact, not fantasy or hysteria. Bloggers should have the same responsibility.

    Let’s get the personal stuff outta the way. I am 40. Sadly not a college girl anymore. I have been a business journalist for 20 years at both The Irish Times and The Sunday Times. In New York I worked on Wall Street in both the equity and debt markets. Both my parents were born and reared in Ireland but forced to emigrate in the 1950s so that makes me what nationality??? (Does every nationality have a right to make informed comment or just Irish people?) I think racist comments are disgusting.

    Other facts: Ireland is burning through more than €1 billion a week so it may be bankrupt in 12 months unless it can get fresh lending. No one wants to lend to us because we are seen as corrupt fraudsters. As a result, we pay more to borrow money than other countries.

    We are one of the PIIGS group of nations who are in trouble – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain.

    Company insolvency figures show that if the 2007 and 2008 figures continue Ireland will see more than 1,500 bankrupt companies. You can imagine the job losses.

    Other statistics to look at: employment figures, gross domestic product, consumer sentiment. I could go on.

    The main message here is that if you are not frightened about what is happening then you should be. Please, please get informed. Take action and take it now. We are in big trouble and unless the government takes radical steps NOW our children will be paying the price.

  • “borrowing of an expert from the NI Department of Finance”

    They gave us a ferry operator who was as good as anyone on the west coast of Ireland so it’s only fair that we should give them a procurement person from CPD 🙂

  • Credit Crunch

    Sorry, the Manics beat you to it: “If you tolerate this, then your children will be next”.
    I much prefer their version.

    BTW, it makes you American.

  • Pete Baker

    Hi Margaret

    Thanks for joining in the discussion.

    I can only apologise for the kaboodle.

    We do try to keep them civil..

  • Yeah Pete, rudeness is terrible. Like talking across people during a TV interview for example.

    I’d like Margaret to explain her prescription for making sure that the professional classes, the property speculators, the financiers, banks and their shareholders pay their share. Because all I can see at her website is the social partners, which is code for the trade unions.

  • Perhaps Mags could take over from Noel and give our politicos a good handbagging …

  • Erasmus

    I find it intriguing that the ROI was represented here two gurus who were separately Oxbridge and American-accented. Interesting that Noel Thompson was the only bod present with an authentic Irish accent

  • Mack

    Garibaldy –

    Shares in Irish banks are pretty much worthless. Share holders have lost their equity.

    Property speculators are likely also in serious trouble, having leveraged up to invest. Many will go bankrupt, and good riddance.

    Professional classes – Most of the professional classes – Doctors, Lawyers and the like work in state protected areas or for the state directly. We should absolutely cut spending and increase competition, to drive down costs in these areas.

    On the unions – http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/union-chiefs-on-big-wages-unite-against-pay-cuts-1613952.html

    The average salary in the public sector is €50k. Many senior public servants earn hundreds of thousands.

    Ordinary private sector workers are bearing the brunt of this downturn – 36,000 unemployed in January alone. What is your plan to create or save jobs, so that ordinary workers can feed their families? What would you do to enable businesses to hire more workers and stay afloat?
    At the same time, what do you think our government should do in order to convince the debt markets that we are credit worthy?

  • Mack,

    I’m not pretending to have all the answers. Having said that, I’m not sure how taking money off public sector workers helps enable businesses to stay afloat. Surely paying them their wages so they can spend them is more likely to achieve this. As you point out, there are many overpaid southern civil servants, not least the politicians. But that is what a progressive tax regime is for, and personally I would have no problem hitting not only extremely wealthy public servants, but also extremely wealthy people of all types hard. I am already on record as advocating a forced loan on the wealthy.

    There are people who have made fortunes during the last two decades, often by corrupt means, and who have been paying ridiculously low amounts of tax on it. Time to make them pay up. A decent tax base seems to me to be a prerequisite for a decent credit rating.

    It seems to me that practically every other government has adopted a Keynsian policy, using the vast resources at the disposal of the state to stimulate the economy through spending. The south is taking the opposite approach for reasons that have never quite been clear to me. I’m fairly sure that if the government spent a lot less on job creation and new state-owned companies than it has done on the banks, we would see extremely beneficial results.

  • J O’Donovan

    Why is an American debating with a Protestant on non Irish tv about hte Irish economy? MI5 meets CIA? can Ireland not also deport undesirable aliens?

  • fionn

    Mags

    “Both my parents were born and reared in Ireland but forced to emigrate in the 1950s so that makes me what nationality???”

    That depends, where were YOU born and reared?

  • Mack

    Garibaldy

    The reason we can’t do a Keynesian style stimulus now is that public spending is too high, not because we’re spending efficiently on great services but because it’s wasted on high salaries. If we get that under cotnrol, I imagine investors would be more enthusiastic about making productive investments – where you would expect to see a return (infrastructure projects and the like) than investing into a black hole that funds unproductive, existing high wages out of borrowing.

    Consider this. Public sector train drivers earn €55,000 on average. This is because they are set via union negotiation. Imagine those jobs were avaialable on the open market. They are relatively low skilled so demand would be sky high. Why work for a pittance in KFC when you could (potentially) make more than €55k driving a train? Because demand would be high, we could employ train drivers at lower salaries without running out of people who wanted to drive trains.

    That is how Ireland’s public sector works. We overpay at every level, it is completely and utterly inequitable. In my opinion, they got off very lightly indeed with the pension levy.

    If you don’t see how this effects jobs in the private sector – high wages in semi-state bodies (avg over €90k at the ESB) keeps electricity and gas expensive, it keeps commercial rates high, & keeps taxes on business higher than they might otherwise be. Competition for jobs (& housing) also drives up private sector wages in some cases, which makes some businesses less competitive internationally. We can’t just pay ourselves make believe salaries, we have to compete and win (like one of your bug bears – Ryanair does).

    You say we should pay public servants high salaries so they can spend money and boost the economy. Most consumer goods purchased in Ireland are imported. Most likely for high earners their desposable income goes on paying debt, saving or purchasing imported goods.

    That said I agree the tax base needs to expand. These are my ideas…

    All property related tax breaks (mortgage interest, various sections, rent relief etc) should be scrapped for any new purchases / deals or developments.

    Stamp duty should be abolished and replaced with a progressive property tax.

    VRT should be abolished.

    Tax bands possibly should be narrowed. Tax credits should be reduced, the higher rate of income tax increased, and possibly a third band introduced.

    The prsi ceiling should be scrapped, employers prsi could be transferred to employees to increase Irish wage competitiveness.

  • fionn

    “Why is an American debating with a Protestant on non Irish tv about hte Irish economy? MI5 meets CIA? can Ireland not also deport undesirable aliens? ”

    Bad show man, why can’t a Protestant be Irish?

  • Dave

    “Great discussion here everyone but maybe you should stick to the facts or at least do some basic research?” – Margaret E. Ward

    Good advice, and you’d do well to follow it.

    “Other facts: Ireland is burning through more than €1 billion a week so it may be bankrupt in 12 months unless it can get fresh lending. No one wants to lend to us because we are seen as corrupt fraudsters. As a result, we pay more to borrow money than other countries.” – Margaret E. Ward

    Distorting the facts to engage in hysteria-mongering and disparaging Ireland’s reputation is a trademark of The Irish Times. In this example of the dismal practice, you deliberately conflate the fiscal deficit with total government expenditure to create the misleading impression that Ireland’s borrowing is higher than it actually is. A 20 billion shortfall between revenue and expenditure is high enough to convey the need to restore equilibrium, so there is no need for Chicken Little shenanigans on your part.

    We are not seen as “corrupt fraudsters” by the international community despite the best efforts of The Irish Times hacks over the years to maximise the propaganda value of all that is negative in Ireland. Credit-default swaps are contracts that protect bondholders against default. Therefore they are priced on that risk. They are not a credit rating, as you conflate them with.

    Ireland had an extremely low CDS basis rate before it began to assume responsibility for the contingent liabilities in its financial services sector, thereby increasing the risk of that private sector debt becoming part of the national debt. That increased the risk of default, thereby increasing the rate that we pay to “borrow money than other countries.” That has absolutely sweet FA to do with being seen as “corrupt fraudsters.” If it did, then being seen as “corrupt fraudsters” must be a recent development because it didn’t stop Ireland from having said extremely low CDS basis rate less six months ago, did it?

    In regard to Anglo Irish Bank, they had the highest CDS rate of any bank in Europe while being the fastest growing bank in Europe. Clutching that poisonous viper to its hairy chest has caused the government’s CDS rate to rise accordingly. That was obviously a major mistake, but it is one that is compelled by ratings agencies, Standard & Poor, for example, using systemic risk to sustain a higher credit rating for a bank, i.e. how likely a government is to offer financial support to a bank. The government is also hamstringed by the EU which requires that “The use of state capital for [banks in distress] can be accepted only on the condition of a far-reaching restructuring restoring their long-term viability, including where appropriate a change in management and in corporate governance.” So this miserable bank and its unsustainable boom-fuelled business model must be kept as a going concern by the government when it should be wound down – or simply have been felt to fail.

    The higher credit-default swaps also fall into a trend where sovereign states within the EU have increased rates attached to them (Germany’s rate has also risen, for example) and where sovereign states outside of the EU have decreasing rates (Mexico’s rate has fallen, for example).

    “We are in big trouble and unless the government takes radical steps NOW our children will be paying the price.” – Margaret E. Ward

    Too late. The public have already decided that future generations should repay the debts of this generation. Didn’t you see them squeal when the government cut a mere 2 billion when the deficit was heading for circa 20 billion? I blame the The Irish Times and that risible ilk. They undermined nationalism to the point where there is no brotherhood anymore – no concept of a common good or one generation making sacrifices for another – just every self-serving man and woman for himself.

  • Mack,

    Efficiency is certainly essential, although it does not always relate to low wages. Germany might well be an example of this. On a broader point regarding wages you raise, we need to acknowledge that the south cannot compete with the low wages available in other parts of the EU, never mind the far east. So chasing investment on this basis is a mirage, and has been throughout the Celtic Tiger. It was other factors than wages that led to success in attracting FDI.

    The ESB is not a state-run body in the normally used sense of the word, and the wages there reflect its successes, as with the recent bonus issue. The wages paid for those train drivers are AFAIK roughly in line with their British equivalents, but they are faced with a higher cost of living. However, there is no need, for example, for professors in southern universities to be paid one and a half to two times what their UK equivalents are paid. But that money saved must be directed into public services and not into tax cuts for property developers and all the other chums of Fianna Fáil. That has been the great failing of the Celtic Tiger years. Paying some people too much, certainly, but more at the top than at the bottom of the civil service. And squandering the money on “facilitating private entreprise”.

  • Credit Crunch

    Dave
    I agree with you that Margaret is totally wrong (and, seeing as she asked, an American. How smart do you have to be to know to check your passport if you’re not sure what you are?), but I have to part company with you when you claim that the whole mess is down to the Irish Times. Come on, now. You can’t blame Johnny West Brit for everything.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘no concept of a common good or one generation making sacrifices for another – just every self-serving man and woman for himself. ‘

    ???? . Have you changed your religion or wha?
    Is that not the essence of the teachings of Milton Friedman and his neo conservative political spin offs ?

    This has happened before in the 1980’s when Reaganomics ‘decided ‘ that too many ‘regulations ‘ just cramped the financial sector and stifled the economy . The Saving’s & Loan debacle cost the US taxpayer 300 billion dollars and hundreds of banks were closed down as a result of ‘gangsters ‘ getting their hands on the banks . And now the same has happened again under the last ‘conservative ‘ regime .

    Before Obama’s first budget even hit the airwaves the neo conservatives are already complaining that the era of big spending government is back with a vengeance . And this from politicians who kept their noses in the trough and thier eyes wide shut while they thieved and looted their way through the world’s economies ?

    The mind boggles .

    Ireland’s ‘bankers’ appear to share the penchant of bankers everywhere for arrogant greed , social and economic irresponsibility . Capital punishment for capital crimes and state confiscation of these criminals personal wealth plus properties should be mandatory punishment . If somebody who steals a 1,000 euros from a newspaper store can get 6 months in Mountjoy then surely many of these corrupt financial services thieves and politicians should on a pro rata basis spend the rest of their natural lives behind bars !
    As I write Mr Madoff of the 50 billion heist is still being held in ‘luxurious ‘ confinement meanwhile another two sharks have been outed in New York who have been found to have bilked unsuspecting investors of several hundred millions over the past decade .

  • niall

    Margaret,

    Interesting to see you comment here.

    You have to admit the Mansergh somehow got off in a very Irish obfuscation.

    Some of the comments here are personal to you and indeed him but in the situation we find ourselves a much soberer public debate is required.

    I understand the frustrations with this government.

    However what i failed to hear was what specifically should be done as opposed to “something must be done”.

    What do we do?

  • borderline

    Feef, Margaret, don’t confuse racism with good old anti-Americanism, please.

    You see racism takes hold when folk deem themselves to be part of an ethnic group which they prefer to identify themselves with, as opposed to being part of a rich erm what’s the word oh yes vibrant tapestry of multicultural values-led society. You know, like in a London tube carriage.

    In this scheme of things you are a Yank.

    If, however, instead of leaving the banks of the Shannon for Merikay, your mother had left the banks of the Zambesi for Mallow, you would be a proper Irish person. To believe anything else is just racism.

    Now, go and tell Dad that back in Southy or wherever they holed up. Tell him how the Irish (the real ones, I mean, in Ireland) judged you as soon as you opened that sweet mouth of yours.

    Or else start digging. Find out what really makes Ireland tick. And you will find a real country, deeper, richer and infinitely more interesting than the US of A. Melting pots melt gold remember. You won’t squirm with impatience when you meet someone who knows the realities and limits of the Irish political system because you’ll know and understand them yourself. You may even get to love and defend them, and the community values that explain them.

    And at that point, and not before, your opinion on how we go forward will carry some weight, because you won’t be trying to impose your well-intentioned but alien values on us. And at that point you wont put question marks on your national identity, you’ll be at home in your own country, Mairéad Nic a’ Bháird, one of us.

    Like Martin Mansergh, bastion of Anglo-Ireland, relic of oul’ dacency, is one of us.

    Anyway, enough of this. We all know Irishness is defined mostly by being an enemy of the English.

    Tomorrow they are at Croke Park, they have a new out-half, and I have a ticket.SGF.

  • niall

    Borderline.

    No need fella. No need surely.

    I spent a fair bit of time in the American mid west and it is a lot more interesting than you’d give credit.

    Opoosition to US foreign and economic policy is one thing but these comments?

    Especially as she is willing to front up on slugger and not hide behind a moniker like most, including me.

  • Greenflag

    Normally the Manser is never ruffled on the air . He lost it in the face of Margaret Wards ‘blunt’ assertion of our Nero’s fiddling while the Republic burns . But our Nero’s are not the only ones fiddling . Even the Americans are playing ‘footsie’ with their banking system as are the Brits , Germans and others . Margaret’s point that the ‘Government ‘ should take action beggars the question as to what specific actions she recommends .

    Our ‘neros ‘ are sitting on the fence because right now that’s about all they can do . This crisis will be solved but not in Ireland (north or south ) by an Irish or British Government . It will take the combined cooperation of all the large developed economies of the world to come up with an ‘exit’ strategy . As of now the Irish Government must do what it can and hope that the big countries get their act together asap and pray that Mr Obama’s rescue plan for the States works .

    Margaret Ward is a welcome breath of fresh air in this debate and her comment that these ‘demonstrations ‘ are a waste of time and utterly pointless is well made .

    We’ll have to trust the Germans and French on this one . Danke schoen Hans in advance and merci beaucoup Renee if we may 😉

    Economic forecast for Croker tomorrow

    Ireland 27 – England 13

  • fionn

    Martin does annoy me with that rising voice when interrupted, he does it all the time.

    To be fair to him though (having just watched the interview: damn slow interweb over here) Mags did not hesitate to interrupt, damned annoying. “Could I finish?”

    …Indeed

    Agree with niall, not a single suggestion for what we should do about it all.

  • Greenflag

    borderline ,

    ‘We all know Irishness is defined mostly by being an enemy of the English.’

    News to me . Surely not all the English ? I mean most of the English are dacent people . It’s just a few soccer hooligans and the aristocracy and the tory right wing yobs who are disliked here in most of Ireland 😉

    Whatever Margaret Ward says she is -Irish or American or both I agree with her verdict either way 😉 Who would’nt ?

    Manser is going to have to go back to ‘TV’ school for a refresher course.

  • Greenflag

    niall,

    What do we do?

    We will follow the USA & EU & UK whenever they make up their minds what to do . Will the USA ‘nationalise ‘ Will there be an EU Central Bank with powers to rein in the toxic debt ? Small countries can’t do a whole lot in this situation . If the USA can’t get it’s banks to get ‘credit ‘ rolling again what chance has Ireland or the UK ?

    It will be fixed but remember it took 20 years of financial skullduggery and neo conservative deregulation to cook up this monster . And of course without the willing aiding and abetting of the bubble by our self serving politicans and public i.e the ‘consumer society’ this might just have been an ‘ordinary ‘ recession .

  • Dave

    “I agree with you that Margaret is totally wrong (and, seeing as she asked, an American. How smart do you have to be to know to check your passport if you’re not sure what you are?), but I have to part company with you when you claim that the whole mess is down to the Irish Times. Come on, now. You can’t blame Johnny West Brit for everything.”

    Not everything, but along with other Irish-owned but British-controlled media, I recognise that they are part of a propaganda campaign that is aimed at undermining Irish nationalism under a multiplicity of pretexts, e.g. euro-federalism, NI sectarianism, pluralism, Anglo-Irish relations, cosmopolitanism, etc. This is why they will hurl the epithet “racist” in your direction if you mention the practice of nationhood or belonging to a nation or laud the virtue of patriotism – and why the Irish public will now simply mock the concept of patriotism and of having a national interest, as Brian Lenihan recently discovered. All of these agendas have an inevitable effect of promoting a society where nobody abides by any interest other than selfish interest. The logic inherent in engineering such a society is consistent with the outcome that is now strangely lamented, i.e. that this generation will deflect its own burdens onto a future generation and that others will act with complete disregard for the (redundant) national interest. It’s a bit off telling people to act in the national interest if you, as a Euro-federalist or other trendy tag, don’t beleive in the legitimacy of a national interest, isn’t it?

  • Schuhart

    In the end there are no answers, only cross references, so I won’t rehash everything I said on http://www.politics.ie/fianna-fail/49072-martin-manseragh-bbc-yesterday-4.html#post1460038. Just to say I found both participants unimpressive. Mansergh’s shaky delivery is obvious. Less obvious is Margaret Ward’s confident assertion of nonsense.

    In particular, how anyone could be so credulous as to uncritically accept Willie Penrose’s story about 12 rural jobs being lost for want of a €3,000 overdraft is beyond me. I think we’re seeing the legacy of a long period of full employment. To put it mildly, there’s few enough people overqualified for the job they’re doing.