Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Jobless Paddy "save me from emigration" billboard

You know things are bad when people have to take out billboard ads, at €2,000 for a two-week slot, in the hope of finding a job.  Today's papers report on the plight of one Feilim Mac An Iomaire (I think I got that right - "joblesspaddy" is probably a bit catchier alright) from Connemara, who has done just that.

The marketing graduate hit on the idea after reading that experienced recruitment agents reviewed CVs in only eight seconds.

Not much time to make an impression, eh?

By contrast, the above-the-line jobseeker is giving his advert until the 1st of July to make a positive impression on a potential employer.

Monday, 30 May 2011

IBEC targets low paid workers... again

The Fine Gael / Labour Government has delivered on its promise to restore the minimum wage to €8.65 per hour, after Fianna Fail and the Greens cut it by €1 last February.

Now, however, it seems the Government's sights are set on other low paid workers, such as the 240,000 working under Joint Labour Committee and Registered Employment Agreements (JLC/REA).

There, it seems, is some disagreement among the coalition partners on the issue, and rightly so. It would be scandalous if the Labour Party were to acquiesce with elements of Fine Gael and the employers' groups to reduce the pay of workers already living in, or close to poverty, whilst working in precarious employment.

Already, low paid workers on as little as €4,000 have to pay the Universal Social Charge. It is a wonder that they bother to work at all given that Joan Burton has ruled out cutting the dole of the long-term unemployed... some of whom, I imagine, have never done a day's work in their lives.

Employers' group IBEC are calling for the abolition of premium payments for working Sundays - a practise it describes as "ridiculous". We can assume, however, that no-one working for IBEC is either badly paid or has to clock in on Sundays.

No doubt IBEC will cite "competitiveness" issues in their quest to further penalise the working poor. Perhaps, however, it should extract its collective head from its collective posterior and look at practices elsewhere in Europe?

I am just back from a holiday in France and had to get used to the idea of everything being closed on a Sunday. The reason for this is that the French protect their social and family time emphatically. Working on Sundays and bank holidays is obviously unsocial and French workers simply don't do it - premium payments or not.

For badly paid workers in Ireland, the only way they can bolster their wages is by working unsocial days and hours. Their terms and conditions should be left alone - there are far more deserving targets for cutbacks than the working poor.


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Sunday, 29 May 2011

The beaches of Normandy... how far we've come

Today's European Union evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community, set up in 1951 to bring together previously warring nations and make further conflict "unthinkable and materially impossible", as described by its French proposer, Robert Schumann.

If you ever find yourself driving along the road from Caen to Cherbourg, in north western France, you will be just a few kilometres from the beaches where Allied forces landed on D-Day on the Sixth of June in 1944. There, you can still see the Nazi fortifications - if that is the right term, as they were largely manned by Wehrmacht conscripts, either too young or too old, and captives from Hitler's Eastern Front.  Not a Waffen SS man in sight.

These things were built to last.  Even when they took direct hits from heavy calibre naval shells they remained pretty much intact.  The poor buggers defending inside would be killed, deafened or driven to insanity by the concussion caused by the impacts. 

Then there were the other poor buggers (many of them Irish - despite official indifference) jumping, diving and driving off  their landing craft, onto beaches defended with barbed wire, mines, and hails of shells and bullets. 

Apart from the remnants of the bunkers, pill boxes and fortifications, still stubbornly trained on a now peaceful beach, you could be in Dollymount -  cleanliness aside. It's amazing to reflect that all this happened relatively recently in historical terms, but seeing these things  really brings it home.  It shows how far we Europeans have come too, in so short a time.

The pictures you see were all taken on a snatched visit to Utah Beach when we briefly left the N13 (empty at its northern section, see clip) to venture forth to the beaches.

Well worth a visit.




video


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Christine Lagarde, the Irish bailout, and corporation tax

Pictured on the left, you see a Renault 4 van. It is by no means the only such specimen spotted here on holiday in southern France.

I have not seen a car like this in Ireland since the 70s – or at the very latest a straggler from the 80s, but here cars of such vintage are relatively common.

Contrast that with Ireland. Not that long ago, people were getting mortgage top-ups to acquire expensive, prestige motors to decorate their semi-D driveways.

I remember going to a certain dealership in 2006 whose salesman scoffed at the idea of taking a car over three years old as part exchange. Another one told me that people were changing their cars every two or three years... some even annually. Last year’s registration plate was a badge of shame, it seemed..

Now of course, things have changed. The people who borrowed all round them to buy cars, boats, apartments and houses they could not afford are blaming everyone else for their predicament. “They should not have lent us money” they say, “the banks were irresponsible, we shouldn’t have to pay it back”.

Sure, the banks were irresponsible. But so were the borrowers. Now the place is banjaxed, but many Irish people are still in denial and will blame everybody and everything but themselves for the mess they made.

Last week’s bizarre events surrounding Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged attempted  rape of a hotel chambermaid in New York will have put paid to his ambitions of becoming the Socialist candidate in France’s presidential elections (not very socialist behaviour, if the allegations are proven true). It also briefly gave hope to the denialists in Ireland, that someone unconnected to the EU might take over the helm at the IMF. An American say, with a fond twinkle in the smiling Irish eyes for the auld country.

Sadly for them, it seems the opposite is likely to occur. France’s current Finance Minister, economic right-winger Christine Lagarde, looks set to take over the task of supervising the IMF portion of Ireland’s bailout.

It is unlikely that Madame Lagarde will take a kindly view of Ireland’s continuing belligerence on the subject of corporation tax. It is also unlikely that she will be amused by reports in the Sindo which talked of proposals to drop it further to 10%.

While she is looking into the viability of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, she might also like to ponder the inordinately high pay rates of our politicians,  judges, dentists, doctors, lawyers, consultants and those in the upper echelons of our Civil Service?

Here cometh the axewoman – la femme de hache – and maybe this time, for once, she is just what's needed?




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Monday, 23 May 2011

Cork Airport rampage - stolen car gives Garda runaround in chase

What with the Queen's visit, the Europa Cup final and Barack Obama, it looks like I've been missing out on all of the excitement at home. 

And then Police Camera Action (or Grand Theft Auto) comes to Cork Airport.  See full video footage below:




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Saturday, 21 May 2011

Nama wants "no negative equity" mortgages to keep prices high

Bloody wi-fi.  I've just spent most of the day at the (rented) holiday pool - with the car's thermometer reading 31.5 out the front.  Then in I come, only to read the latest from the old sods, and start frothing at the mouth again... and not just from the beer.

 Look at this extract from an aritcle in yesterday's Irish Times:

***********************************************************************************


Nama plans protection for house purchasers
BARRY ROCHE in Cork and SIMON CARSWELL Fri, May 20, 2011, Irish Times.


NAMA PLANS to launch a product for purchasers of residential properties in the autumn that will offer protection against the risk of negative equity in the future, the agency’s chairman, Frank Daly, said.
It is hoped that the initiative will help stimulate activity in the market.

Mr Daly said Nama has identified concerns among debtors that house prices could continue to fall after they purchase a property as one of the “key impediments” to the sale of houses and apartments.

He said that Nama, conscious that house purchasers could find themselves in “negative equity for a long time to come”, has engaged in preliminary discussions with both AIB and Bank of Ireland to see if they can provide financial support to purchasers.

Nama expects to have “a more detailed engagement” with the two banks on this issue over the coming weeks and the product which it hopes to unveil in the autumn will be designed to generate sales of properties controlled by Nama debtors or by receivers, he said.

Plans under examination would involve Nama debtors – or receivers appointed by the agency – selling properties to buyers supported by bank loans for prices conditional on a market recovery

For residential properties, Nama would waive 20 per cent of the purchase price if there was no recovery in the market. The remaining 80 per cent would be covered by a 10 per cent cash deposit and a 70 per cent loan from one of the two banks.

If the market recovered, the borrower would agree under the purchase agreement to draw a further 20 per cent and pay this to Nama after about five years.

Mr Daly said the move would also seek to provide an incentive to purchasers to invest at current prices “in the knowledge that there will be a mechanism in place which will offer them protection against the risk of negative equity in the future”...


*************************************************************************************

Nama, of course, was set up to keep property prices artifcially high in support of Fianna Fail's bank guarantee.  It bought the bad developers' loans from the banks with taxpayers' money, for way more than they were worth.  A price it envisaged they might reach in the future. 

Basically Nama is all about denying market reality - the free market, that supposed meritocracy that separates the "winners" from the "losers", as its adherents say when things are going well for them.

Nama pays failed developers whose bad loans are on its books through the public purse, when really they should be on their arse in the street.  They would be in Boston, and even in Berlin. 

Now, Nama claims people don't want to buy because they are afraid of negative equity.  Is that the reason? Where is Nama's evidence?   Maybe people do not want to buy because they feel vendors are still, in many cases, looking for more than their properties are worth?  Maybe they are still concerned about the increasing mortgage defaults to the banks?  Maybe they are thinking about the inordinate number of investment properties, many empty, still in the housing stock?

Nama first took taxpayers' money, without their having a say, to cushion the economic impact of bad speculative decisions by the developers and shore up the loans the banks gave them to speculate with.  Now they hope to make taxpayers pay artificifially high prices with some dodgy plan not dissimilar to the Home Choice Scheme that Lenihan introduced.

Of course, we have a different Government now, but that means nothing - they will go along with this nonsense.  Someone has to pay for this, and when it comes to Joe and Josephine Bloggs and the Irish "elite", there is no choice.

As the plan would apply to Nama properties, or those for which it appointed a receiver; it would be interesting to see the impact of such a scheme on second-hand, private-sale, properties.  

Have they not learned the lessons of past market interference?

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Eirigi, the Queen's visit, and the Dublin-Monaghan car bombings

Having the laptap and wi-fi on holiday can be a disadvantage.  Like checking out the RTE news to see the Nationalist Socialists of Eirigi and their rent a (very small) crowd protesting at the visit to Ireland of the Head of State of our closest neighbour.

Lizzy even laid a wreath for the fallen boyos of 1916 – more than I’ve ever done, so why are these crackpots kicking up such a fuss?

Were they throwing stones through stained glass windows when the scale of Church abuse in our rotten little republic became evident?  The eventual disclosure of the Magdalene Laundries?  Did they threaten the physical integrity of Bertie and his FF cronies who ruined the country?

No, they didn’t – Irish institutions, you see... and they don’t attack those. It’s the Brits that are responsible for all our ills in their minds. “Britain out of Ireland!!!!”. "Saoirse Anois" ("Freedom Now").  Half wits.  

Then we had the spectacle of Gerry Adams laying a wreath at the site of one of the Dublin bombings on Parnell Street. Gerry Adams? Bombings?  How many wreaths has he got?

Now, while I have every respect for the relatives of the 33 people murdered by no-warning UVF car bombs in Dublin and Monaghan, in May 1974, it sticks in my craw to see Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein using their plight to their advantage. The relatives of those who died have every right to get answers, but they should not be dependent on the likes of the Shinners and Adams to push for them. Goodness knows, they have enough blood on their hands themselves.

I was a kid when the bombings occurred, and only for there being a bus strike at the time I, or my family, might well have been in town on the day. I have seen a Yorkshire Television documentary on the bombings and read a book on it many years back. The concensus was that there had to be collusion of some sort between members of the British armed forces in Northern Ireland and Loyalist terrorists... at the very least. 

And it is not hard to imagine it. At that time, like a deadly Venn diagram, there was an obvious intersection between the Ulster Defence Regiment, the UDA and the UVF. Some of its members could not resist bringing their guns home with them for a spot of extra-curricular Taig murdering.

But we have moved on from there. Adams – now a politician in the Dail – eventually sat round a table and jaw-jawed with Trimble. McGuinness and Paisley became the Chuckle Brothers. Pity it took them 20 years to do so.

Sure, the relatives of the victims of the “Troubles” need to find out what happened in instances of collusion, even when a man who denies ever being in the IRA is stepping forward to champion their cause. They should have a representative of greater integrity than that.

And even if they get answers, you can be sure the likes of Eirigi will still linger in our midst like a particularly smelly fart.




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Monday, 16 May 2011

Judge criticises critical defendant who alleges public service excess

I never cease to be amazed by the apparent stupidity of people in positions of power and privilege in Irish society. Two extracts from Indo articles follow, please read:


"A DISTRICT Court judge has told a public court sitting that his income has plummeted by €2,000 a month.

Judge Sean MacBride made the announcement in response to a man who the court heard had verbally attacked public sector workers.

Cavan District Court heard this week that it was "an insult to say that civil servants are not paying their way in the current economic climate".

Judge MacBride's comments were made after he heard evidence of how a farmer arrested for dangerous driving told investigating gardai that "my taxes are paying your wages and had they nothing better to do than waste my time".

In response Judge MacBride said to the man: "How dare you insult civil servants like that."

The judge told the farmer that his own income was down by €2,000 a month due to the introduction of the Universal Social Charge and other levies.

Sharply criticising some national media reports, which he said suggested judges were not taking pay hits, Judge MacBride said the vast majority of his colleagues had suffered pay cuts and levies.

District court judges appointed post-Budget 2010 earn a salary of €132,300, while those appointed before the Budget earn just under €148,000.

The discrepancy arises because the Government is constitutionally unable to cut the pay of existing judges... "

 How dare an overpaid public sector employee (albeit a judge), with a job for life, be so distracted by the facts of a case before him by a simple observation on a issue crucial to the future of the country.   How out of touch can they be? 

For the the good judge's information, private sector workers also pay the USC.  Even farmers pay it.  It is probably, when you think about it, the only such income tax the country has ever had.  Private sector workers have also been contributing to their pensions for years.

Now read the following extract from yesterday’s Sindo:

"Greed and recklessness of fat cat elite has gone on long enough


Unless we end public sector excess Europe will become more hostile


By DANIEL McCONNELL CHIEF REPORTER


The Government's smash and grab of €470m a year from private pension pots is being done, they said, because there is nowhere else to get the money. Of course, that's not true.

In truth, here in Ireland, there exists a fat cat public sector elite, allowed to develop over decades, which has so far -- for numerous, often dubious, reasons -- remained largely unscathed and sheltered from the impact of this country's worst-ever recession.

Much of the criticism of Ireland from Angela Merkel's Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy's France and David Cameron's Britain doesn't just relate to our banking problems but to the incredible levels of excess in terms of salaries and pensions enjoyed by many at the top of our public sector.

Today, we examine a number of key areas where real savings can and must be made, if Ireland is to restore its reputation, credibility and most importantly its sovereignty.

Judges in Ireland are, along with their British counterparts, the best paid in the world.

Leader of the judges in terms of pay is the chief justice John Murray, who takes home €295,916 for every year he works.

Because of the Constitutional guarantee that they are to remain totally independent from the political system, the Irish judiciary were exempt from public sector pay cuts announced by former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in 2009.

A High Court judge earns a basic pay of €243,080, plus lots of allowances (which are tax free). Compare this to the salaries of their counterparts in Spain, who are paid €107,000 a year, and their German equivalents, who receive €108,000 a year, according to official figures obtained by this newspaper.

Despite the voluntary sacrifice by many judges of about 10 per cent of their salary, a number of judges have declined to make any sacrifice to the national cause.

Worse still, most are granted a full pension after 15 years.

This means, according to pension experts, that the pension of a High Court judge is worth approximately €121,500 and this would require a funded pension of approximately €4.86m.

Experts say that a fully- funded public sector pension, when all add-on benefits are included, is worth about 40 times the annual amount received by the pensioner.

That means, if a High Court judge gets a full pension after 15 years, s/he gets an annual salary of €243,080 and a nominal tax-free pension contribution of approximately €333,333 per annum.

Judges are one of two groups of state employees who get special tax-free exemptions on their allowances and expenses. The country's judges racked up €1.6m in expenses last year. Figures showed 149 members of the judiciary cut their claims by almost a third over the last two years, from €2.4m in 2008..."

 If the current Fine Gael / Labour coalition has no appetite to tackle the problem of a leeching, out-of-touch, upper-echelon public service (and I know this blog has many public service readers... though I assume they are not judges) the best thing we can hope for is continued economic crisis to force their hands. 

And jobs-for-life judges paid above European norms, so easily distracted and so out of touch, should be the first to be hit.

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Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Spirit of Ireland Watch, from the Bradford Exchange


I have a penchant for thrashy mags such as Full House, That's Life, Real People and all the rest.  They act as warning for what is actually out there. Forearmed and all that.

Take the back page of the current issue of Full House, with its tacky ad designed to appeal to headbanger, Erin go Bragh, Irish patriots.  Now, I've oft puzzled at the concept of patriotism in general, but to be an Irish patriot in the current climate takes a particularly finely honed, uncritical, stupidity.

The Bradford Exchange, with a PO box in Stoke on Trent, is wise to such weaknesses. It offers an Irish patriot's watch that features:

  • A 22 carat gold-plated Celtic cross on the face
  • Irish national flag depicted in a chronograph dial
  • Irish harp and pivotal dates in Irish history engraved on the reverse
  • "Sworn to be free" etched on the side of the watch
  • "Ireland forever" alongside its Gaelic translation "Erin go Bragh" on the small dials
The ad then goes on to quote the opening lines of our godawful national anthem, written originally in English but hastily tranlated into Gaelic by Dev's men  for added authenticity:

"Soldiers are we, whose lives are pledged to Ireland; Some have come from a land beyond the wave.  Sworn to be free, No more our ancient sire land Shall shelter the despot or the slave".

Stirring stuff, I'm sure you will agree.

Those marketing folk at Bradford Exchange have done their reasearch, it seems.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Osama in the Highest. Departed Al Qaeda chief nominated for mass by Howth parishioner

No doubt Osama bin Laden is, at this moment, happily frolicking about in Paradise with his quota of virgins.

If he cares to take a break from his orgy of deflowering, however, he might like to contemplate the good Christian of Howth who is in mourning for him.

According to The Journal (thanks to C for bringing it to our attention), it seems that the deceased Al Qaeda leader’s name appeared in the newsletter of the Church of the Assumption, Howth, among a list for prayers to be said for the souls of recently departed.

When quizzed on the matter, the parish priest  attributed bin Laden’s inclusion to someone hurriedly putting the list together:

“That was requested by a parishioner but it is not fully decided. Normally we put in the mass names but when the name was requested that was the name that was given..it’s an official mass at 10 o’clock. Somebody came in and requested it and it was probably written down in a hurry”, he is reported to have told The Journal.

Bin Laden was subsequently deleted from the prayer list after “uproar and outrage” among parishioners.

And there's me thinking it was some new-found spirit of Christian forgiveness and tolerance... 


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Monday, 9 May 2011

What a wonderful country

Got up out of the scratcher this morning, full of the proverbial joys. Pulled back the curtains, took in the view, and thought “what a lovely country. No wonder people get so patriotic about it”..

As you may have guessed, I am on holidays – some tiny little place between Bordeaux and Toulouse that only my Garmin has heard of. How did we ever manage without these things before? I can’t imagine how many marriages have been saved by them.

Anyway, you can see a pic of the pool where I do all my doggy paddling whilst taking in views of southern France.There is even wi-fi here. I have to say, it’s very pleasant.

Today the car’s (admittedly wildly optimistic) thermometer reported 27.5C. I’m sitting here with a few lovely bottles of Leffe – Belgian beer being so contrarian in France – and looking at this vista before me, thinking how, how, how, but how, could any self respecting Pierre or Pascale go on holidays – or even worse, go to live – in Ireland?


I suppose, like most countries, France’s only real problem is its inhabitants. But the country itself is beautiful. If I had a bit of French and a job I would be over here in a flash, full time, before you could say “bonne chance”. 

There is no VRT here either, which means you would be able to buy a car fast enough to keep ahead of the most idiotic French driver - a Bugatti Veyron perhaps?   Maybe they are trying to read my number plate, or make out what “Baile Atha Claith” means, which is compulsorily embossed there, but they are terrible for driving up your arse.


Now, before you condemn me as one of those thick eejits that sits out in the motorway overtaking lane, blocking the progress of others, think again. I’ve driven at over 155mph (on an Autobahn) and am happy to drive a car that does 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 160mph. You young people can translate.   I am an unreconstructed, unrepentant petrolhead.

But even I, going around the rocade at Bordeaux in a queue of traffic overtaking in the outside lane, will look in my rear-view mirror to be treated to the sight of Pierre, in a bockety, white, 1980’s Clio, trying to intimately explore the innards of my exhaust pipe.


And then there are Audi drivers. OK, this blog is anti racist and against all forms of prejudice, but if I ever got into power I would simply line every Audi driver up against the wall and shoot them dead. Now that might sound a bit extreme (and there are exceptions to every rule of course, if any of you dear readers drive an Audi) but it is justified. But a French Audi driver? Oooh la la. I’ll say no more.


Thing is, wherever you drive you get an education. I’ve seen a baby blissfully crawling on the Brussels ring road - like it was a playground - after it had fallen out of a people carrier.  I’ve had a French motorist change lane carelessly out of an exit and bounce off my front bumper when I was driving around Lille (luckily, I was in a big truck which I’d hired for a few days).  I’ve seen a motorist attempt to kill a motorcyclist on a motorway in Spain (for which I had to testify), and I’ve even been on the M50 a few times. All scary.


But one mystery remains. Given that French cars are notoriously unreliable (check the statistics) – how come there are so many of these little white Citroens, Renaults and Peugots that are over twenty years old and capable of such relatively grande vitesse?


I don’t know what they are putting into their tanks, but it must be some rare old vintage.


PS. Normal service giving out about Ireland will continue as usual.


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Friday, 6 May 2011

Dublin park open only three hours a day after 150,000 Euro facelift due to (fear of) anti-social behaviour

Flicking through a copy of the Northside People, I chanced upon an article that dealt with a public park which had opened in the markets area of town. Sort of.

You see, the park - refurbished by Dublin City Council at a cost of €150,000 - is only open between the hours of 12 noon and 3pm.

The reason? It seems the authorities fear anti-social behaviour.  This, despite the fact that the Bridewell Garda station is not even 100 metres up the road from the park.

What does it take to make the Irish authorities carry out their responsibilities?

It seems rather than deal with any instances of anti-social behaviour, the powers-that-be simply close down public facilities.  It is the same if you go for a drive in the Dublin Mountains, car parks are simply shut and people must leave their cars on the narrow roads.   Again, “anti-social behaviour” is the reason given.

So, we can conclude one of two things:

1) We have a super-strain of scumbag in Ireland, that no power on Earth could contain.

or

2) The relevant authorities – be they local councils or the civic guard – are simply not doing their jobs.

Tempting as it is - at first glance -  to plump for option one,  the second option is the only logical choice.  

If you are in any doubt, try counting the number of police on the beat in any of our known socially troubled areas some evening.   Or, less seriously, try parking your car in a (locked) public car park in the Dublin Mountains on a summer afternoon - while the shellsuits are still in bed only dreaming of forthcoming anti-social activities.

"With power, comes responsibility", the saying goes.   

Not if you are in a well-paid position of public "responsibility" in Ireland, it doesn't.

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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Irish property prices - further 30% drop predicted, while 5% of mortgage brokers remain defiant

Mark Keenan’s “The Market” column, which runs in the Sunday Times'  “Home” supplement, is always worth a read. 

Keenan remembers how, in 2003, The Economist ran an article suggesting that Ireland’s property market was overvalued by 20%. There was a massive backlash, with one Irish newspaper quoting “evidence” from the director of an estate agency to “prove” the estimation was blatant scaremongering.

The same estate agent  later threatened to pull advertising from the Sunday Times if it did not amend its market coverage more positively.

“The Market” column asked, at the time, if it was considered a form of heresy to express anything other than a positive outlook about our property market – pointing out that most of the “evidence” quoted against the Economist article only highlighted that Irish buyers continued to buy.

(And now we are all paying for it.)

Keenan said that current prices equate to those of the first quarter of 2002, and are still dropping by “a percentage point and a bit” each month.  Meaning that if they continue to do so until the end of the year, the Economist’s 20% less of 2003 values will have been spot on. If however, he concludes, they keep falling into the following year, the Economist will have been guilty only of understatement.

I, for one, would love to know what the same Economist analyst would have to say about the Irish property market now… I imagine the price-drop forecast might be revised downwards still.

Certainly, that seems to be the view of Martin Walsh, ex head of lending of EBS between 1988-2003.  He predicted in April 25th's edition of The Irish Times that prices could still be overvalued by 30%, and ran two graphs to illustrate -  one showing price trends in Germany and Ireland (with an index set at 1996) and the other showing the ratio of house prices to average industrial earnings in Ireland since 1953.  Walsh set the "average pre-bubble" ratio at 5.3%. 

A picture, they say, speaks a thousand words.   Is a graph not yet more verbose?





Both graphs from THE IRISH TIMES

Sunday, 1 May 2011

X-Ray Spex' Poly Styrene, aka Marianne Joan Elliot-Said, RIP.



Bank holiday weekends are usually relatively quiet ones on the blog, so we try not to get too theoretical and wordy, as Damo and Ivor (previous post) will attest.

So perhaps it's a good time to celebrate original punk band X-Ray Spex, featuring the unique vocal talents of Poly Styrene.  Poly was a true punk and founder of her pioneering band, who were unusual in terms of their genre in having a prominent saxophone sound. 

Sadly, Poly died of cancer last Tuesday, aged 53.  I was in my early teens when she was in her pomp, but when I heard my first X-Ray Spex record (The Day the World Turned Day-glo / I am a Poseur) I knew I hadn't heard anything quite like it before.

I'm going to have to make some kind of tenuous Irish connection in order to put this one up on Gombeen Nation.   So, erm.........

Let's have a song called Identity -  a subject close to the Irish heart and something that led us to see many a crisis in our history.

Well, I did say it was tenuous.

RIP Poly.

xxx



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