- Jun 9, 2007
The Business Post has an article covering some of the foreign commentary on our predicament. It's not good. Our reputation as a country capable of good self-government has been traduced by the irresponsibility and immorality of the political, business, and banking class during the Ahern years..
Sunday Business Post | Irish Business News
Unfair, cry the Government. But based on facts, and the facts are the still unfolding revelations of the fraud, corruption, and wink-wink, nudge-nudge complicity of those we were told to laud during the pyramid scheme's height. The international press did not invent these things, they were there under the carpet just waiting to be found...The last few months have seen a deluge of bad publicity for Ireland in the world press. We have been referred to as Reykjavik-on-Liffey (the Economist), Liechtenstein on the Liffey (the Guardian) and all washed up (Daily Telegraph).
Leading international publications have queued up to use suitably appropriate metaphors for Irelands woes, from a terrible bust is born in the New York Times to an Irish stew in the Economist.
The coverage has generated anger in government circles among politicians who are concerned about the implications of such a bad image abroad. These concerns have spread from the Department of Finance to agencies like IDA Ireland, which is charged with attracting capital and jobs to the country. The Department of Foreign of Affairs last month sent envoys to key financial centres to counter some of the negative publicity.
So, though capital can and does leave for all sorts of reasons, a large amount of capital is fleeing the country precisely because our reputation is in the mud, a reputation forged for us by those who must have known we were accelerating towards the wall. It all ties in with the damage done to the reputation of Irish politics by Ahern, Lawlor, Haughey and the like. The damage done when a Taoiseach is clearly perjuring himself before God and man, mocking the rule of law he is supposed to uphold, is as big if not bigger than the damage done by our late banking aristocracy with their deceit and greed.The newspaper article to cause the most outrage in business and government circles appeared in USA Today in January. Under the headline, Irish stand united in hatred of banker Sean FitzPatrick, the article quoted an elderly Anglo shareholder as saying, of Irelands economic success, that the whole place has been founded on a lie.
The article said FitzPatrick now symbolises the crony capitalism that was an essential, if unacknowledged, aspect of the nations economic ascent.
But while the actions of one man caused international embarrassment, further revelations about Anglo deposits coming through Irish Life & Permanent appeared to undermine the integrity of our whole banking system.
The government is concerned for a number of reasons. Deposits have been leaving the Irish banking system in recent months, despite the guarantee.
Central Bank figures for deposits in the Irish system show that total deposits from banks and other monetary financial institutions from countries outside Ireland and the eurozone fell by 57 billion - or 9.3 per cent - to 554 billion in December. There are likely to be several reasons for this, and not all of them would constitute a flight of deposits to other locations.
The German Government already refers to Ireland as 'the Wild West of the Eurozone' Our reputation is now of a basket-case again, a country that had a giant blow-out, had its 15 minutes of fun, and is now back to where it always was, at the door with the begging bowl ready. From Europe's shining light to Europe's whining sh1te in the blink of an eye. Thank you to Mr. Ahern, Mr. McCreevey, Ms. Harney, and Mr. Cowen, and to all those who took full advantage of what they created, and to those that cheered it all on. We owe you...Last weekend, the Financial Times ran a story which seemed to suggest that Irelands fortunes of the last 15 years were something of a blip - and it was now a return to business as usual.
Under the headline Prosperity just a blip for old Ireland, the report gave a tough assessment of the problems faced by towns where overbuilding had taken place. Referring to one property developer, the article said he is seen as the epitome of the cute hoors, the deal-makers, duckers and divers who dominated the [Bertie] Ahern years.
Sunday Business Post | Irish Business News