Tag: Brian Lenihan

Five Years On – The Media’s Role in Ireland’s Financial Fall

(Originally published at Irishleftreview.org in October 2013)

With the five-year anniversary of the nationalising of the Irish banks having just passed us, one would think that at this stage we would have some answers. One would be wrong. Of course, much has been written about the topic in the years since. However, as much as we and the media enjoy blaming the elites of the world for what happened, the media also had a large role to play in the inflating the property bubble which has since burst and the consequences of which have hobbled the country. They toed the party line regarding property prices, and as a result, played an important propagandising role in the country. Whilst over the previous week there have been numerous articles written about the bank guarantee and the resulting economic downfall, as far as I am aware, nothing has been said about the media’s culpability. This is an important omission, but not entirely unsurprising.

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Why We Are Where We Are

(Originally Published on Indymedia.ie in December 2010)

Throughout the history of the Irish state, Ireland was seen as an almost backwater of the Western World. It was a country literally and both metaphorically on the fringes of Europe with an economy which always seemed to be floundering in the doldrums. All of this changed in the nineties with the onset of the Celtic Tiger which was effectively brought about by low corporate taxes, an educated workforce and the low cost of wages. All of this led to a massive upturn in the economic fortunes of Ireland but when things should have naturally slowed down, those with political power ensured that the Celtic Tiger was extended beyond its natural lifespan by creating a bubble. The bubble in this case was a property bubble and like all bubbles in economic history, it was bound to burst. The government, and their associates in the banking industry and construction industry, did their best to try to convince people, not only in Ireland but also all across the world, that Ireland was the perfect economic model to follow. In reality it was all smoke and mirrors when in actual fact the entire economy was based on a lie; the need for more and more property. This lie, along with the cronyism at the very top of Irish politics, has led to the situation which we are now in where we are likely to default on our sovereign debt within the next 2 years.

Economics Irish Style

(Originally Published on Indymedia.ie in November 2010)

The last week will be remembered in Ireland as one of the most tumultuous periods in Irish history. We are hurtling downwards at an ever increasing speed. Future generations of Irish people are to be burdened with the debt of the bankers and the entire Irish banking industry. What was once unthinkable is now likely to pass and all of this is down to the actions of the government and their friends. In the two years since the banking guarantee was enacted, there have been no major steps taken to sort out the financial mess that the banks have gotten the country into and now that problem is having its final and fatal effects on the future of the country; a political party with no mandate from the people is in the process of turning Ireland into a debt serving nation and nothing more. The leader of said party is doing nothing more than cling onto power for as long as he can in order to serve out his own agenda, whatever that may be, and no “hair shirt budget” is going to change the fact that Ireland is both an economic and political basket case.

Student March a Turning Point

(Originally Published on Corkstudentnews.com and Indymedia.ie in November 2010)

After closely following the events of today’s student march in Dublin from the relative comfort of my small abode in Cork, for reasons which I will get into a later date, I believe that students in Ireland, and Irish society at large, have reached a turning point in its relationship with the Government and its various arms. For students, today was all about voicing their protestations at the Government due to upcoming budget which is undoubtedly going to put even more financial pressure on the majority of third level students. What most of us did not expect is that it would turn violent and riot police would be deployed. This is the turning point to which I am referring. In reality, what took place today was a microcosm of Irish society contained within small group of students/activists who decided that they needed to make a statement of some kind in the hope that someone, somewhere in the Dáil will pay attention. Whether or not their motives were pure is irrelevant to the point i’m trying to make.

Everywhere you go in this country, someone is angry at the Government while others are simply scared. The overriding emotion however is anger. Anger at paycuts, increased taxes, cutbacks in vital services; the list goes on and this is even before the upcoming draconian budget. But none of this has been shown on the streets. The only thing that the majority of people have done is complain yet, as I have mentioned, they are furious with the Government. Today however showed that this anger can in fact reach the streets and actually, quite literally, reach into the heart of the Government; in particular the Department of Finance. As I was watching it unfold via the internet, it was as if all of the anger in this country had finally shown itself in the form of a small group of students/activists.

The Sale of Ireland

(Originally Published on Corkstudentnews.com in October 2010)

The next month is make or break time for Ireland; most likely break. We are on the verge of the harshest budget in the history of the state. This is the first of a “four year plan” in order to get the country’s finances back into shape and back on track. The problem is that the government plan won’t work and they most likely know it won’t work. What will happen is that the country is going to be dead in the water for the next decade or more. If you can imagine all of the horror stories of emigration, mass unemployment and general stagnation from the fifties and eighties, then you might come close to what is going to happen in Ireland. All of this is being done in order to keep the status quo in power; the “haves” versus the “have nots”, and next month is when we will finally know just how far the government will go in order to save themselves and their friends by selling us and the entire country down the drain.