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Ireland’s coalition proposals are strong on rhetoric but need more depth

Taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny will be in at the deep end as Ireland’s coalition attempts to deal with the country’s economic plight. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

The campaign rhetoric seeps through Fine Gael and Labour’s freshly minted “Programme for Government” unveiled Monday after they agreed the terms of the coalition which hopes to lead Ireland out of recession and the clutches of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Its opening gambit is a declaration of “common purpose” noting that on 25 February (election day, in case anyone had forgotten) “a democratic revolution took place”.

It solemnly goes on to talk of Ireland facing “one of the darkest hours in the history of our independent state” and invokes the great Albert Einstein by saying we should “learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” and how an “unprecedented level of political resolve” is needed to get the country on its feet again.

Although it is clear on some things – such as reversing the cut in the minimum wage, which is against the terms of the IMF bailout – by and large the rhetoric in the document is going to get the coalition only so far.

With regard to banking and the IMF/EU bail out, here are the main pledges:

Interest rate
• “We will seek a reduced interest rate.” This it is likely to get as there is wide acknowledgement that the 5.8% rate is unsustainable. The question is how much by?

Credit ratings
• “We will attack the utmost priority to avoiding further downgrading of Ireland’s sovereign credit rating.” It fudges the detail on this though and says it will set further capital spend by the state at “a level consistent with national debt sustaintability”.

Bank recapitalisation
• “We will defer further recapitalisation of the banks until the solvency stress tests are complete.” This is the big one. The PCAR and PLAR tests being undertaken will be complete at the end of March and are widely expected to expose even further need for recapitalisation at AIB. If AIB is worse than expected and Anglo Irish is as bad as chairman Alan Dukes has indicated, could we be talking about a second bailout? Dukes reckons Ireland will have to go cap in hand for another €15bn (£12.8bn) just to save the Irish banking system.

Sale of AIB assets?
• “We remain committed to a smaller banking system” but it says “to limit further calls on the state to cover bank losses from distressed asset sales, bank deleveraging must be paced. This is interesting. The coalition is obliged under the deal with the IMF to shrink the size of the banks but which would cause greater damage – losses from a fire sale or the continuing liquidity problem which require even greater capital injection than presently foreseen. Interestingly, one proposal, according to the Sunday Business Post editor Cliff Taylor, is to split AIB and possibly Bank of Ireland into two banks – one dealing with core assets and the other with non-core assets.

Credit for small businesses
• “We will ensure that an adequate pool of credit is available to fund small and medium-sized businesses.” The devil will be in the detail here as there is a widespread feeling that the lack of credit is smothering SMEs in Ireland. (If you are a small business and have experience of this please email me on guardian.dublin@gmail.com as I would like to return to this issue).

Restructuring bank boards
• “The new government will restructure bank boards and replace directors who presided over failed lending practices.” This is well-meaning but possibly doesn’t go far enough – what about staff in bailed-out banks, senior executives and middle management, who presided over failed lending practices?

End transfers to NAMA
• “We will end further asset transfers to NAMA, which are unlikely to improve market confidence in either the banks or the state.” Again, specifics are needed. It it going to end all transfers that haven’t happened or set a threshold – say all property development loans under €5m?

Transparency at NAMA
• “We will insist on the highest standards of transparency in the operation of NAMA.” Again, what does this mean? Those involved in the establishment of NAMA say it is politically popular to demand greater transparency but that NAMA, like any bank, will retain “customer confidentiality”.

Global pool of finance managers to be assembled
• “We will openly construct a pool of globally experienced finance services managers and directors to be inserted into key executive and non-executive positions in banks receiving taxpayer support.” International banking executives won’t be forming an orderly queue for these jobs unless there is some detail on pay scales and these are currently capped at the highest levels.

All it says on remuneration is this : “All remuneration schemes at banks subject to state support will undergo a fundamental review to ensure an alignment of interest between banks, their staff and the taxpayer.”

Bank bonuses
• “We will ban all bank bonuses …”

… I made that one up. Bank bonuses don’t get a mention, as far as I can see. This is possibly because bonuses in the bailed-out banks were effectively banned by the finance bill rushed through the Dail in January government through a 90% tax on bank bonuses.

However, it is the culture of bonuses even at the lowest levels in banking that lead to the reckless lending in the first place and some sort of policy detail on this would have not gone awry here.

The document is detailed and full of the right kind of rhetoric. For this week. After that it’s straight in at the deep end for the taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan, who is expected to be named finance minister as they try to persuade Europe to save Ireland from bailout number two.
source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/ireland-business-blog-with-lisa-

Liz McManus leaving the stage

As an Independent observer of the Wicklow TD, s Dail performance I must on the bases of the data I have before me conclude that Labour Party Wicklow TD Liz McManus is in fact the hardest working TD, of them all and this can be verified by looking at her performance is the Dail
Her efforts on behalf of other people and her staunch support of small groupings of people on the margins of Irish society all stand on the record
Mrs. McManus has informed the labour party of her intention not to go forward as a candidate in the next election and so will no longer be a TD after the next general election
I only hope we are lucky enough to get someone of the same conviction to serve their local community as she has done, but this time without having to serve a corrupt political system that inhibits ones best efforts on behalf of ones constituents

Wicklow Town Cinema

At the last local elections in Wicklow some of the now elected councillors promised to do something about the derelict cinema building

I suppose those promises were just that, empty promises that were easily forgotten along with all the rest of them!

That’s what you get when you don’t vote for change!

It is quite shocking to hear we had two cinemas in Wicklow Town in the 1920,s

With 2,650 thousand people out of work in the town why it is not possible to re-open this building as a centre for the self help groups for the unemployed and as a centre of community activity

More and more shops are closing and new ones are not lasting because of the unrealistic overheads

Water charges, rates, rents and insurances

I suggest the county counsel should introduce a municipal insurance

An insurance that all the retailers and trades people pay into and the premium should be paid directly to Lloyds of London cutting out the middle man

This insurance should include public labiality and would reduce the costs enormously

Why the hell not???

This kind of innovative thinking is required if we want to get the town back on its feet again

Wicklow round Ireland Sail Festival (1)

Wicklow round Ireland Sail Festival (slide show)

Fantastic day to-day at the Wicklow round Ireland Sail Festival

This has to be the best ever; the crowds came in their thousands. I caught these individuals  coming down the main street apparently he ,(the guy in black) was the Jailer and he was on the lookout for prisoners that escaped from Wicklow Jail

SAILFEST :Wicklow Town This Weekend!


Come to Wicklow

From the 18th to the 20th of June we have in Wicklow Town a great weekend of activities

The Round Ireland Sail Festival 2010

With Air displays Mardi gras Fancy Dress and the American Drifters, the Garda Band and plenty of Traditional Music (see attached brochure)

Here Wicklow Town Sail Fest 2010


So come on down to Wicklow Town and have yourself a ball and why not stay for the weekend!

Billy Timmins Dail questions

speaker:Billy Timmins : 4 Written Answers

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There are more results than we have shown here. See more:

http://www.kildarestreet.com/search/?s=speaker%3A18+section:wrans&o=d

 

Written Answers – Travel Documentation: Travel Documentation (16 Jun 2010)

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2010-06-16.1072.0&s=speaker%3A18#g1073.0.q

Billy Timmins: Question 142: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs

the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if

he will make a statement on the matter. [25980/10]

 

Written Answers – Telecommunications Services: Telecommunications Services (16 Jun 2010)

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2010-06-16.1167.0&s=speaker%3A18#g1168.0.q

Billy Timmins: Question 168: To ask the Minister for Communications,

Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding the provision of

broadband in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow;

and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25710/10]

 

Written Answers – Grant Payments: Grant Payments (16 Jun 2010)

http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2010-06-16.1176.0&s=speaker%3A18#g1177.0.q

Billy Timmins: Question 171: To ask the Minister for Agriculture,

Fisheries and Food the position regarding an application in respect of

a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; if same will be awarded;

and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25711/10]

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