The Vision thread


The numbers game doesn’t really matter - or if you think that it does, we’re screwed in every field.

IT is a sector where quality is far more important than quantity. One good software developer is worth 100x or even 1000x more than an average one, and anything less than an average one is counter-productive (IBM have done many studies on this) - it’s just the nature of software. You can implement a system as a big, verbose, bloated 100K line system, where every business rule has a dozen special cases etc, and require a team of 100s just to keep it working and relatively bug-free, or you can implement the same system at a different level of abstraction, with 5K lines of code, and end up with an far less bugs, maintenance etc. and keep it running with a team of less than 10 - however to build this second version you need engineers who will make the key insights to find that higher level abstraction. And because this leads to an order of magnitude less staff, you can easily pay them western wages and still compete with anyone worldwide who doesn’t do it properly.

BTW, 95% of all IT systems out there are of the ‘verbose & bloated’ kind - so if ireland could build more of the lean / mean kind, we’d be fine in IT for decades. Unfortunately, so far it seems most of the systems built in ireland are anything but lean and mean, though there are exceptions.


I think the basics fundamentals of Ireland are still strong. But a lot of smart people got side-tracked by easy money and easy times. It’s not an issue of competing against India or China etc, it more of an issue of one company competing against another, one brand against another, one local food against another local food, one environment against another environment, one individual against another.

The government can put together some smart policies (I’m not sure about shipping tankers of water to foreign countries) to help the process, but ultimately it comes from the individual. Irish people in general are not stupid, people will quickly figure out you need to boost your own skillset and quality of the job. Education and openness to languages and other cultures will bring the individual the opportunities naturally.

If more people go out on their own in business that would be good. It’s too rare in Ireland. Multinationals in certain sector are vital (medica/phama/software) and they should still be encouraged to base in Ireland, they are still expanding because they know the skillset of Irish people and general environment here is a great asset for their business.

The food industry in Ireland has massive potential, to establish more local food specialities and regional brands would be a great start. Get away from corporate stuff and go for smaller scale quality. Farmers could make much more by making and selling a quality product that is unique to their area or local farming culture.
The idea of bringing in bicycle lanes and opening up the country to more active tourism is a huge winner. I have seen it in other countries in Asia and it’s a massive trend and Ireland has the scenery and the open unspoilt landscape that’s ideal. Just like the poster above said, a stop off a coach to the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle is nothing compared to a bike or horse ride through the countryside or even through the cities (if they can get safe bike lanes and rent-a-bike schemes going).

The government needs to improve infrastructure such as subways and railways to at least keep pace with other European countries and offer a chance for balanced development.
Hopefully people learn a little from their mistakes and as individuals make better choices.


One thing that has to be done before we can turn the country around is recapitalise or rebuild that banking system. The choices, as I see them are:

  1. Recapitalise the existing banks (all or them or some of them).
  2. Merge and recapitalise into one big bank selling off some of the retail operations and recapitalise
  3. Close them all down and sell the retail operations to various other European banks.

Two out of the three options involve recapitalisation. Britain’s Robert Peston, the man who started this whole thing, has a plan to atone for his sins: … risis.html

And yada, yada, yada on.

But it is an interesting idea. Should the Irish government be devolving recapitalisation to the NTMA? This has a number of advantages to me:

  1. They are arms length and could be less susceptible to government interference so might get market rates for their pound of flesh.
  2. They are (at least in job title) professional investors so might have an idea what they are doing.
  3. It might just be possible to make some money (or not lose as much) this way.
    The disadvantages are similar to the advantages:
  4. They are probably not arms length enough.
  5. They’ve made a hames of being professional investors.
  6. They’re no Warren Buffet.


totally agree, seperate paths and cycle paths from town to town would be great, throw in what the yanks do along the appalachian trail for accommodation and we could be a top notch tourist destination.

A few years ago my friends got the bus to wexford to visit me, the bus stopped in nearly every little town and village between bray and wexford. then they walked 3 miles from the village i lived in to my house and they were nearly killed with the blind bends and driving on the country roads. i couldnt collect them at the time as my car was in the garage, at that time i cycled to the village to get a few things and it was lethal


I’d say if we haven’t already introduced a hiring freeze in the public sector, that should happen immediately. Further, the age at which public sector workers can retire should be dropped to 50, and all future pensions switched to defined benefit.

Shut down most of the quangos that were formed, because for the most part, they duplicate things already done within the public sector.

This would have a massive impact on our competitiveness, because not only would this result in significant direct savings, it would also do away with a lot of the unnecessary bureaucracy, and its associated costs.

A quarter of our working population work in the PS, at an annual wage cost of 16bn, along with all the costs of offices to house them, train them etc. and IMO, it has been the major contributor to our loss of competitiveness.

Merge Enterprise Ireland into the IDA, and give local entrepreneurs the same treatment multinationals have enjoyed. IMO, Enterprise Ireland are a sad joke.
What R&D money we have should be focused on nanotechnology, pharma, and sustainable energy, as these are the technologies that will generate the most income in the coming years.

Shut down the SEI and put the money saved directly into building wind and wave farms - no more studies, just build the damn things. There’s enough energy blowing and lapping on our shores to power most of Europe.

Establish a Chinatown around Parnell St, something on the scale of Temple Bar. This would provide a bit of colour and an added tourist attraction to Dublin, and we could only benefit from the entrepreneurial boost that would ensue.
Close down the trade mission offices in America and move them to China. China won’t be immune to this credit squeeze, but they’re likely to come out of it strongest, and they’ll be looking to form multinational companies. The opening of the North West passage gives us a much shorter sea route to that part of Asia.

Don’t punish the banks, the rest of us are only going to end up paying for it anyway. This whole crisis happened because banks used fancy financial instruments to play fast and loose with their capital adequacy requirements and regulatory authorities turned a blind eye to it, so just insist on higher CA ratios and make sure they stick to them, and this need never happen again.

Close down the tribunals. I don’t know any other country in the world where politicians get their own special type of court when they do wrong. If they do wrong, then let them take their chances with the existing court system just like any other criminal. It’s unconstitutional that one class of people should be treated differently to any other.

And while I’m on my hobbyhorse, sequence the bloody traffic lights. Forcing vehicles to stop needlessly benefits nobody, adds to overall frustration, increases the likelihood of accidents, increases costs ergo competitiveness, and results in a serious deterioration of the environment. Over 80% of all benzene (the major carcinogen in cigarettes) is released into the atmosphere by all classes of transport (against 1% by cigarettes) according to a study by the US DOE, so it would have a major health benefit as well.

Paul Hanlon.


i have to disagree with u on the outsourcing thing. i have been involved with setting up outsource IT companies in india and vietnam and am currently doing one in the philippines. ostensibly the wages do not compare, but skill levels are generally lower and understanding of the product is non existent. There is a myriad of other reasons why better software is developed in ireland or anywhere in the west than in india etc. i would estimate that only 25% of IT development would benefit from outsourcing ( that will change over the next 10 years - but for now)

the big problem in ireland is entrepreneurship, people tend to be conservative and risk adverse in setting up newer types of business, the multinationals have trained us up, now we need to make out own market. during the multinationals spurge and property boom we fooled ourselves into thinking we were world beater but were complacent.
time for us to create alot of small business, time for our companies to take some flack on the bottom line and continue investing, so we can actually export something (90% of our exports from the multinationals that is just crazy). less of the 9-5 , didn’t you do great in the leaving you can take it handy now attitude

and learning to touch type at school - that is top on my educational reform list. we do not need to learn a european language - english is fast becoming a world language, already is in europe and africa - asia has severely prioritized english in it’s education (still take 2 generations). south america ok u have to learn spanish / portugese - but that is easy
more emphasis on science and university based science parks, to take advantage of research

farming is a lost cause - most farmers are paid not to contribute to the food mountains. the industry is probably running at 60% capacity (pure speculation) - deregulating i would really reduce prices in terms of tax paid, but really increase the unemployed


we need a diversified venture capitalist base, not government grants. our venture capitalists companies are all focused on property at the moment.
the venture capitalists need to understand the business’s they invest in and provide expertise when needed.


As some earlier posts have mentioned, the challenges are HUGE and IMO cannot be overcome without a significant cost base reduction, Ireland got punch drunk on cheak credit and a quick buck off property, a this stage the addict seems to finally acknowledging the disease from which it suffers but true rehabilitaiton can only come from going cold turkey and establishing a support system which can avoid repeated falls from the wagon.
The idea of long term investment in a business and solid management with the inherent maximization of resources, opportunities, and profits, etc. seems to have been lost in large part in Ireland, having been obliterated by the quick buck which could be made from property and it’s related sub-sectors. Getting this back will require a change in mindset of large proportions and an adjustment to the business environment whereby investment is viable. The biggest challenge is cost base as the competition will be fierce as world econimoc activity declines or stagnates, I am not convinced ireland can make this adjustment on a large enough scale to make a difference, sure there are some great entreprenurial companies but the scale of enterprise needed to overcome the hangover is difficult to envision happening.
I htink there are allot of people who can make the adjustment to tighter wages, greater productiivity and greater invention, however, Ireland seems to have almost a generation whose expectations are far beyond their abilities in a normal economy and the government is lost at sea in strongs winds skippered by those who seem to know only how to steer in calm waters.
I fear it will tkae 15 years for Ireland to resurrect itself in terms of offering it’s citizens a stable future without singificant emigration, unemployment, underemployment, and strife (poverty is not the right word). There needs to be an immediate re-focus on education, technology, exports, FDI, and tourism, while tightening the belt 3 notches on public sector and clenaing up the mess of the banks witohut bailing out developers and saddling FTBs with debt. Ireland needs to be careful not to prolong the downturn as getting out of the blocks early will be important to having any chance at offering Irish businesses opportunities in the NEW world marketplace.


Since its budget day

how about:

Cutting back VAT to 10% like in Ozzy land

How about a flat % tax rate for everyone no matter what you earn
say 25%

Yeah a reduction in taxes when we have a huge hole in our monies but Im not finished

A 30% Pay cut for all in Leinster House and the top dogs in the public sector
A 5% pay cut for all the others in the public sector

Forget the pay increases recently made with the unions.
I wouldnt have agreed it. Cowan you inflationary git.

There would have been NO, ZERO increases in any govt payments in my budget.
No increase in social welfare of any type.
A scrapping of the affordable housing scheme altogether. Abolish mortgage interest relief.

Vat of 5% on things like Solar panels and any eco things that would lower our energy consumption as a nation.

How about scrapping all our quangos. All of them.

How about we have one new agency that is for entrepreneurs.
And spend 1.65 billion on them this year.
Lets get robotic assembly lines.

Western Robots are cheaper than Eastern Labour.
Lets assemble and build everything.

Lets do an example. Whats holding us back from developing our own brand of digital camera?
Im looking at buying one and spending up to a grand on one. Thats before getting a lens.
Whats so special that we cant do it here?

Lets spend billions on renewables instead on on builders?
WTF any oul budget any of us throw up here off the tops of our heads - WITH OUT considering the consequences - will come out better than FFs crap



hang on, why isnt waterford glass gonna be the new leica glass?
If intel closes the fab why not build the processors there and send them both to limerick to be assembled
we aim at entry level cameras slr and compact and video cameras

why wouldnt this work?


Irish political leaders only respond to a problem when there is crisis…sorry, I meant a dire crisis.

So it’s a bit early to expect a response to reality - it will surely take more pain before Dicken’s Micawber spirit - " something will turn up" - will be junked.

There are no simple solutions but when a 2-bedroom poke of a house in an old estate in Dundrum, Dublin, is today on the market for €425,00, then it will take sometime for not only the politicians to catch up with reality.

The World Bank said last November that Ireland is the fourth most expensive economy in the world.

The big multinational manufacturers will over the next 15 years close their Irish operations and I’m not convinced that the mantra about service exports will pay similar dividends.

The shakeout in the global finance industry and hedge funds in particular is going to hit the IFSC hard.

The two biggest Irish companies by revenue operate out of the offices of Microsoft’s law firm in Dublin - Matheson Ormsby Prentice.

So the likes of Intel could move on but a service company with the same financials, may hire 100 or less compared with Intel’s 5,000 and its network of local suppliers.

Opening up export markets is not easy - why can you find an Irish pub in most big European cities but most steak houses have a South American brand?

In the short term, the biggest advance would be an end to the marketing bullshit at policymaker and State enterprise agency level. Then at least as in 1958, the challenges would be stark.

I have been told that the instructions for the group that produced the recent services “strategy” was not to split the export data between Irish and foreign-owned firms. So solutions proposed had little relevance for small Irish service exporters.

The State itself has relied on US consulting firm Accenture for much of its IT work in recent years and most of Accenture’s 1,600 staff are engaged in public sector work.

In August, the Sunday Bus Post had an article about Cowen’s visit to China next week.

The writer said that previous trade missions had generated a lot of business.

As WC Fields said: there’s a sucker born every minute.

All the announcements of deals/signings of agreements, will have resulted from trawl of past business and it will be announced and reported as if Cowen gets off a plane in Shanghai and waves his magic wand.

Exports to China increased by 30% last year. Impressive it may seem but I have asked Enterprise Ireland for an estimate of the sales made by Irish-owned firms. So far, they seem very reluctant to provide it as it will conflict with the bullshit that has been prepared for Cowen.

Even decisions on the exports from the likes of Microsoft and Intel in Ireland, are not made in Ireland.

I have asked EI also for detail on patents issued in respect of the huge sums spent on third-level R&D. Forfas, which tracks other R&D data told me to contact EI but I guess nobody bothers about such a trivial thing!

Irish Services Strategy Group Report: Political whitewash ignores overwhelming dominance of foreign-owned firms in Irish service exports thereby neutering strategy for Irish firms

Irish Economy: IBEC and understanding the world East of Suez

Michael Hennigan


I think Ireland can claw back economic viability if not bubble peak ‘prosperity’
Focus on enterprises where Ireland has some advantages.

Service: - one of the few types of business where small can beat large business is a business focused on service quality.

Wind/Wave energy: Ireland could meet 700%of its energy needs with wind power, more than that with wave energy. Unlike Iceland, it is technically feasible to sell this energy to the U.K. and possibly France without converting it to hydrogen.

Agriculture: Irish land price was way out of whack with its agricultural earning capacity so it’s no surprise agriculture has sagged. If government ever drops its policy of propping up property developers, we could bring back fragments of this industry. We complain, but we have one of the mildest climates in Europe, never too hot, never too cold and no shortage of water.

Tourism: Ireland nearly priced itself out of this industry also. Some of my friends who used to come here every year have stopped coming. One Irish-American couple commented about the tacky overbuilding in parts of the west during their last visit so they decided to go to Slovakia this time which they enjoyed. Indeed, many of us choose to vacation outside of Ireland because the value for money is better nearly everywhere but parts of Scandanavia… and Iceland until last week. :-/

Brand: Don’t underestimate the value of “Ireland” as a brand. Yeah, Flatley and all that are hugely popular in the U.S. and elsewhere and maybe we wouldn’t want to sell the plastic leprechaun image if these weren’t desperate times. But these are becoming desperate times. You could almost make Waterford crystal the new Leica, selling its name to cheap chinese made persplex dinnerware.

Arts: Is it a coincidence that the Irish industry which isn’t hounded by the taxman is the Irish industry with the most success, reach and staying power?

Education/HealthCare/Invention: We do have some of the brightest young minds in the world but in recent years they’ve lost the plot, figuring that the way to quick money was to own a brick. We need to refocus this talent. Look at Cuba. Isolated from the U.S., the Russian’s pulled the plug on their finances yet they still turn out thousands of the best doctors in the world. Maybe provide “almost free” education only to those who continue to pay income taxes taxes in Ireland for at least 10 years to stop the brain drain. And stop blaming every problem on immigrants. This problem was home grown, if anything the immigrants (who disproportionally purchased homes after the peak) have helped slow the bubble’s decline.

Government: The number one change absolutely necessary to bring Ireland back from the brink is to improve the efficiency of government. Businesses and jobs are now free to flow anywhere in the world and believe me, they will seek out the place with the best cost/performance ratio. That ratio is highly dependent on the efficiency of local government. The guaranteed COL raises, infinite job security, tax advantages… of being a public employee need to be scrapped asap.

Of course that last one isn’t politically viable. Even with the recent reduction Mary McAleese still earns more than the U.S. president. Nearly every other Irish public employee is in a more comfortable economic position than they would be in the real world. The best we can hope for is that every other government somehow becomes much less efficient.

No, that was P.T. Barnum, the best W.C. fields Quote for this situation is:
WC:“Was I in here last night?”
WC:“Did I spend a $20 bill?”
WC:“Oh, is that a load off my mind… I thought I’d lost it!”


Share your visions for Ireland.

What proposals do you have to make Ireland a better place?

How can this small nation be an even more respected player amongst the nations of the world?

I would:

  1. Tell all the County/City Councils to build an entrepreneurial centre of excellence. They’d each commission an international architectural competition for the building of an iconic building suitable for conveying this entrepreneurial view of the future. Entrepreneurs are selected to participate in an initial one-year program on a competitive basis. Those with demonstratable talent are supported further in their endeavours. The rest are told to go rent an office on the open market.

  2. Reduce public sector pay by 10%. Abolish the immoral work practises (such as coordinated “calling in sick” by the unions).

  3. Roll out mega-speed broadband and encourage people from all over the world to set up knowledge-intensive companies in some of the most idyllic spots in Ireland. You can do your graphic design/circuit board design/programming by day and go kite surfing or hill climbing in the evening. Low-cost housing is a good thing, not a bad thing: people can and will move to areas where they can focus fully on their business/profession and not worry about slogging away to pay their mortgage.

  4. Focus on two main airports: Dublin and Shannon. The rest should be regionalised. Encourage all FDI to accumulate around these two regions. Motorways and high-speed rail links should connect the two hubs.

  5. Change the whole mindset of agriculture: we need to move away from the hand-out culture rampant in agriculture. Farmers aren’t entitled to a free ride. If their businesses are failing, they should take responsibility, seek help and fix it. Otherwise they should sell up and go work in a factory. Globally, agricultural land is hugely valuable and we have some of the best of it here in Ireland. We should be exporting the finest quality foods and more and more internationally-recognised brands.

  6. Energy: we need a new energy strategy. Oil and gas reserves need to be safeguarded. We need a leader with balls to stand up to the oil companies and preserve Ireland’s national resources. Green energy should be promoted, but we should not be blinded by popularist fads.

  7. Irish cultural identity: this needs to be strengthened and repaired after the headless days of an Tigear Ceilteach. The drinking culture needs to be sorted out. I believe the promotion of the Irish language should be continued. Leading Irish historical figures should be brought to the fore once again in order to give the man on the street (whatever his skill or profession) pride, confidence and a sense of purpose in the world. More art galleries, theatres and museums are needed. A national theatre is urgently required.

  8. Entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists and engineers should be afforded greater status in Irish society. There’s an underlying feeling of “geeky IT gimp” when people talk about computers and engineering. Why can’t we be a bit more like the Chinese/Japanese where a large proportion of their parliament is made up of such problem-solving type individuals?

  9. We need young people who go out and achieve things to be recognised and held up as role-models for young men and women of the 16-25 year-old age group. This business of skinny celebrities and FHM culture distracts and hampers a young person’s ambitions. RTE have a role to play here in limiting the about of crap that gets spewed over the airwaves.



Oh goodie :smiley:


Thank you sir. Innovation and Futuristic thinking and skills should be focused on. Enterprise developed and encouraged. There are huge obstacles in way of the ‘enterprennurial spirit’. If you wished to put your toe in the business world of enterprise. You have Public Liability Insurance which is for starters 10,000.00 Ten thousand euros for starters, before your get a building - or office. The Office overheads are extraordinary. 20,000 euros + rates ESB Telephones. Marketing expenses. Development of the product or service. Innovative thinking and most of the IDA Factories lying idle. All our Indigeneous Irish Industries gone - not economic - run out of business because of the costs.

Only large Multinationals and Huge Supermarkets have succeded and they are given Large Subsidies. excuse spelling. Creativity and Innovation and Risk Management thinking should be encouraged. Large doses of Confidence are necessary as well as realistic proposals. Centres perhaps a Fas Centre Course just for innovators and entrepreneurs could be started in the morning.


People first.

Hyper Plan

  1. Total Role out of Hyper Broadband Network. 1 year deadline.
  2. Begin national move from D.O.G to G.O.D
  3. G.O.D I suspect will suspend mortgages for those on foot of devotion to vocation to become a creator and renounce the ways of consumer zombiesism :wink:

Other ideas:

  1. Draw City Limits for Dublin. Create new M50-CC (M50-Conduit City) natural city limit.

Construct Highspeed DART north South along M50.
Designate pivotal nodes with high rise.
Create massive M50-long life system filter bed to clean City pollutants instead of going to sea and recycle precious water (people in Shanon will vote and love us jackeens for it!).

  1. Develop Global Fleet of Airship approx 300-400. Super Lifters and quick reactors. In preparation for global upheaval and global capacity quick response.

  2. Become World Centre for Robotic innovations R&D

  3. Become World Centre for Nano Research R&D

  4. Become World Centre for Genetic Research R&D

Point 2-5 and particularly 3-5 are achieved by temporarily (if G.O.D is not already enacted) commandeering 350,000 empty houses and a large portion of the 3133 Offices & 2202 Industrial/Warehouse Units (figures from Daft) across the country to house and offering full use + other incentives to corporations and indivudlas around the world.

The rest of the funding would be supplied by commercial interest.

Coudl also tie in with reaching out to the Irish Diaspora notion the Lines of McWilliams thread.

Call it the Global B&B R&D Plan

Nothing to loose right?

Could be the ticket!

D.O.G, Demand On Government
G.O.D, Government On Demand

One other thing. the inception of G.O.D. will demark the point the population moved from WORK to PLAY.

This will to the untrained eye look like what originally was termed play abut in fact will be more valuable than WORK. Meaning possibly only 30% of the population will look to be doing what was originally termed Work by the old standards even though it is entirely PLAY and the rest will also PLAY but that will I assure you look very much like play :wink:

i.e. its better to have everyone playing meaning most not working (in the old ways of perception) as its more cost effective all round! 8DD

Can we honestly say even with full employment in our current ways that more than even 30% of the economy is actually productive in the sense of life support?

Will pad these out over time. Tis been fun!


Only attention to detail… :wink:


From a distance the earth look super beautiful :wink: so Me spaceship is only getting off the ground if I can invert my pseudo analogy :angry:

Detail will follow but to be honest its all there. Headline stuff. The complexity comes with the volume of simple interactions creating what might appear to be a very detailed matrix but in essence is utterly simple but not simpler. To borrow a term form some relative nut.


property tax!


Just take the 350,000 empties instead and give them to the robot/genetic/sceintists/schools and that will teach them greedy fuckers for good :wink:

Call it the R&D B&B Levy :angry: