The Vision thread


FAS needs a budget but nothing close to 1 billion per annum. And yes, I know, we don’t need another consultant’s bill but there must be some ethical democratic way to appoint a panel of people to investigate some of the disgraceful spending of public bodies.



Fine, not content with paying more money to consultants you want to give the Legal profession their wedge too, are you sure you’re not elected to Dail Eireann? You’ve really got the hang of this…


:smiley: i like your style BD

anyone else reading this thread, dont be shy throw in your ideas pleez !


They might make a profit but are not getting an anyway good return on investment. I know the finances of the hotel sector very well.


They should get out of the Hotel trade then…


Which is where we started. Reduce wages to help the economy.


Hold on, are you saying wages are their only cost??? Let’s be realistic here, wages are not directly translated into operating profits. They are part and parcel of doing business and if they have a crap return on investment then these people have gotten their sums badly wrong and shouldn’t be in business for themselves.


Maybe i’m just being pessimistic here, but i’d have to wonder if anything can really be done at this stage. The cost base and income expectations in ireland are miles out of line with the rest of the eurozone and the gap is still widening, we’re hooked on cheap credit which has just been turned off, and we’re dependant to a huge extent on multinationals who could cut and run at any stage, even without the inevitable clampdown on corpo-tax related scams from the rest of the EU.

It would appear that the economy has already run past the edge of the cliff, and despite moving the legs faster and faster, the downward journey has just begun. Since maybe 2003, the fall was inevitable, and all we’ve managed to do was make it increasingly more painful.

We won’t be getting any bailouts from the EU anytime soon (lisbon won’t be forgotten in a hurry - rejecting it again will be terminal), we won’t be able to borrow enough to make a difference (not that we should anyway), and the economy looks set for a decade of recession and stagnation (as both the cost base and lack of cash inflow from borrowing bite)- and if we’re very very lucky, come out with GDP above 70% of its current size, and private debt probably something like 300% of GDP - servicing the interest alone will cost close to 20% of GDP annually, until it inflates away.

Even a total pay freeze now would need a decade or more before our cost base is back in line with the EU (and servicing the interest on the debt will make us feel poorer than almost anywhere else), never mind being attractive enough cost-wise to get the multinationals (or even stay). We have no home-grown industries or infrastructure worth mentioning from a decade and a half of boom, so there really is nothing to fall back on.

Massive default on debt, both private and public, seems inevitable within 5 years, followed by some kind of foreign rescue operation.


OK, put it another way. Rather than concentrating on what’s crap or broken or corrupt or over-priced - what is good about this country? What do we do well? What industries or services are managed efficiently? What works, and can we apply that elsewhere?


I think the future is in Es - Education, Entertainment, Ecology, Environment, Exercise, Energy, Ecotourism, English, Eating …

Are we beyond ourselves with our super duper Foxrock/SUV/€2grand handbag economy that we can’t have a decent tourist and agricultural industry and sector? I think we should go back to this big style by doing some of blindjustice stuff below with capital gains tax on Ag land and rezoning … (BJ can you explain your decrease/increase of the CGTax?)

We need to go back to manual labour and a bit of local farming and forestry. Coillte needs to be blasted apart and reformed - true reform of the forestry industry could be a part of immediate renewable energy industries that we need to be cultivating. This could provide local industry, employment and local energy. A proper reformed Coillte would have a sustainable forestry policy which would replant broadleaf forests as well as quick-growing shite for local consumption but there would have to be a long-term view of the forestry and tourist policy - we’re talking twenty to thirty years in which a lot of currently unplanted land would be used for trees and businesses could fund these and possibly count them as assets on their balance sheets. Government needs to oversee these things properly.

Forestry would do something else besides helping to offset Carbon (the money standard of the future) and furnish local energy supply - it would greatly help the tourist industry. People like walking in woods and mountainbiking through them too … we haven’t enough here at all. The recent Act to allow right of access for walkers was a great milestone and should be extended to perhaps included the Labour Party idea of making all land over 150m public park area. Again, a policy of increasing National Parks would draw tourism locally and from abroad. I think the country should acquire land adjacent to existing National Parks thereby slowly increasing them. This would be another long-term job. Like in Australia and elsewhere you can camp in National parks and sometimes you pay a fee - that’s what we could be doing here for the Campervan class among others. There will be arguments that Travellers will take over but (as an aside) I don’t see why we can’t integrate these people with a similar tolerance towards their nomadism … Anyway, Ireland is one of the most beautiful places to visit and people come back for its beauty and we’re not exploiting that enough with dedicated cycle lanes, walks and national parks all of which we could be focusing on long term. Tourism will be as much local as international and I’m guessing that more and more people will be getting involved in activities rather than coming here for just piss-ups … Our number of hillwalkers has fallen in the last number of years from 300,000 to 100,000 because of access to hillwalking areas and expense - rip off Ireland.

How the hell do we keep our costs down? I’m thinking that some sound energy policies might help that - nothing can be done without energy and currently our economy is founded on an insecure base of imported fossil fuels. It’s not that unstable but still prone to shocks and eventually it’ll run down and become more expensive anyway. We could pursue an aggressive policy of self-sufficiency in renewables using wind, wave (google “Pelamis Portugal” for the latest Scottish-designed wave device in operation off Porto) and I’m convinced that Algae could generate plenty of fuel for us in the future. Do we have a decent Deptartment of Energy and so on which is radically analysing the potentials of renewable tech whereby tax breaks could be given for research or funding allocated to universities or grants subsidising research … ?

A lot could flow from this if we get the fundamentals tackled; if your energy is cheaper maybe you’ll have more money for other spending and maybe businesses will be more attracted here and compelled to stay for longer because of energy security… On the energy topic too - the recent idea of having reduced interest rate loans for retro-fitting older homes might be an idea … if a few of the banks get nationalised soon then perhaps the like of this could work and generate some economic positives? Should we really send the Poles home so soon? Should we have Fas courses that emphasise trades and run courses that are geared towards retrofitting on a big scale? This would all help with energy conservation as well as with public health - retrofit your house on the never-never - I believe some areas in the states are doing this with solar power home installation - pay for it on the nevernever and let there be NO interest on it as it benefits the State. The State should have to pay no interest on money - NONE.

There’s a lot of money falling into black holes and CurbYourEnthusiasms belief that public spending should be investigated is valid - how many jobs were created during the terms of this government that do fuck all? If I could change anything in the quangos I’d make the C&AGs office very powerful and answerable to the Opposition or to the public via a website like this. How do we know what money was spent on what?? During a boom you should sort out your shit - in Ennis we are up to our necks in shit sometimes and children have to drink it. Parts of Galway too are polluted and poisoned still but they don’t give a damn because they are poor enough areas I guess. Down in Ennis some developers could not get planning permission because there is no sewage or water infrastructure underneath ! We blew the boom when we should have been sort this shit out big time. The last thing I will say is this: water looks plentiful when it’s falling on your head but it’s going to be the next Carbon limit; already there are noises about it because the means of getting freshwater is limited and soon it will contribute to the price of food - it takes 150 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef - yet we have leakage rates of up to 60% in some counties here !! I hope it’s not too late to sort stuff out but I think it is because we seem to believe that progress and wealth means visible progress and wealth - what good is having a €1500 handbag and a 95k SUV when you have to buy bottled water to avoid feeding feces to your family?


There is a quick and painful way out of this, by sacrificing the banks. It would mean substantial dislocation for about 18 months, but after that the system is reset.


Someone would take over toxic debt / assets of the banks though surely? Why would the system be reset? It’d just be a new foreign player in charge or a new entity altogether…


Im afraid I cant - I just dont know the full consequences of it - although on glance it sounds good (same goes for reducing wages and reducing cost of living all in a perfect world), all I can do is offer off the wall suggestions without looking at the figures. Im just generating debate which may be helpful. I refuse to believe there is no hope 8)
But the earlier we act the easier recovery will be.

^^ maybe Im optimistic :wink: but cutting wages and bringing on, purposely, these defaults maybe we can start afresh faster?


Ah, a leading economist!! :angry:


They would get the assets for cents in the Euro, the outstanding debt could be halved and they still make a profit… The original shareholders and savers in the bank would get shafted :frowning:


So lets nationalise them.

Build them back up and sell them again. try the old semi state model.
I’m serious.

Ireland inc needs to start fighting.
Efficiency of the private sector is often at the expense of appalling Risk management.

Wall street and America are learning that unfettered freemarket idealogical zealotry is just as dangerous as communism.


So, rather than look at specific magic bullets, I thought maybe some general principles would be beneficial:

My general goal would be to maintain high levels of employment, even at reduced levels of income.

  1. Support the export sector. Not sure how, but for sure the agriculture sector could do with some help if only in terms of farmers being able to hedge their crop prices so they know when they are planting what they will earn. The current ‘how much will you give me for a bullock’ system is a nonsense.

  2. Increase productivity in both private and public sector. For the private sector, broadband infrastructure is a must. Add to this proper free training in basic IT skills. Send state trainers into companies free of charge. All the companies have to do is give the employees the time. Vastly increase the level of free online courses available for further education - accredit them and have paid exams at the end. Do away with the extortionate charges for Oscail. For the public sector, the solution is much the same. Upskill, upskill, upskill. Merge non-gov organisations where they overlap (even only slightly). Get rid of their corporate structure and have them report directly to the relevant department. We pay our ministers enough. They should be responsible for something. Whatever model the revenue seem to be using, use it elsewhere. Expand the revenue IT department (or whatever is the best IT department in the public sector) to be responsible for all public sector IT. Forget outsourcing, it is a road to nowhere. Either buy off the shelf (with source) or write bespoke.

  3. Reduce imports, where local alternatives exist. Create the alternatives where they do not. Again in the ag sector, why do we import masses of veg that is grown in hot-house environments in the Netherlands? The big hit (that will also help exports) is to get secure cheap power, that is, power that relies on no external factors for its cost. If that means nuclear, then so be it. If it means coal, then build a big feck off Drax. Basically, I am not talking about autarky, just that an indigenous industry that reduces imports is as important as an industry that exports and should be encouraged.

  4. Increase labour mobility. Bailout people in negative equity with low interest unsecured loans (or secured against their pensions) so they can sell up and move into rented accommodation.

  5. Remove all distortions of the rental market apart from: secure leases for renters, CPI adjusted increases once a lease is signed and the renter maintains a good payment record, landlord can fine up to x% for late payment (but if so, it doesn’t count as a black mark in terms of payment record), fast-track evictions, fixed deposits - one month up-front, one month for breakables.

  6. Remove all distortions of the housing and land markets. No TRS, no section 23, no nothing. Land has one of two zonings - yes or no. Within yes, type of use is irrevocable - industrial, commercial, retail, residential. Only other consideration is based on building regs - council can’t refuse build permission, they can only ask for modifications.


That would be transferring private sector debt onto the public, and as we don’t have out own currency we can’t monetize (inflation) that debt like the Nordic countries could. As part of the plan wages would also have to be reduced across the board to match the write off in debt.

If left alone the free market will sort out its own mistakes quickly, the dangerous bit is where the government attempts to step in and control everything (See Japan for 17 years and still not out of the woods.), the taxpayer/citizen pays a heavy price for this.


oh oh ! I have one!

teach programming in primary school
oh oh !
and european languages


I haven’t been taught Irish in the school system for over 10 years, is still bashed into the kids in a learn by rote type formula? Heavy on the Sean MacFheorais?

Actually, if we really did some extensive work on grammar at primary level, then the European languages would come easy. Ireland is really ridiculously bad when it comes to that sort of thing, perhaps more emphasis on reading and expanding the critical interpretation skills of our kids might be helpful too…