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Posts tagged ‘Irish Independent’

Germany, the European Commission and ECB threatened to force Ireland out of the euro

Philippe Legrain – who was personally headhunted by Commission president Manuel Barroso, below, in 2011 to advise him on economic strategy – gave a damning condemnation of what he said amounted to “bullying” by the EU.
“It was outrageous of Germany, the European Commission and above all the ECB to threaten to force Ireland out of the euro if it did not follow through with that foolish guarantee, lumbering Irish people, who have already suffered enough from collapsing house prices and a sinking economy, with a €64bn bill to bail out bust banks, €14,000 for every man, woman and child,” said Mr Legrain, who left his job at the Commission earlier this year to release a book condemning the EU’s handling of the financial crisis.
“Ireland’s partners abused the fact that it desperately wanted to be part of the euro”.
“I understand why the Irish government did what it did (agreed to implement a bank guarantee) but they could have stood up for themselves . . . the European Central Bank would have blinked,” the former London School of Economics academic added.
Promises
Ireland’s only chance to mitigate some of this damage is by getting some of its legacy bank debts written off, he said. The Department of Finance has not made any progress on this issue so far, despite repeated promises of a deal by Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
“The State must use any leverage it can to negotiate a write-off,” he said. “Its best weapon is any proposed changes to EU treaties – because Ireland constitutionally has the right to hold referendums on these changes and can use this as a bargaining tool.” Any decision that Germany really wants which requires a unanimous decision from all member states could be used as leverage, he said.
“Ireland needs to play hardball now. It’s in a much better position, borrowing at record-low borrowing rates”.
Mr Legrain said the eurozone has been built along German lines. “The Commission has failed in that it has been much too keen to align with Germany,” he said.
Fundamental flaws in the European banking model still have not been resolved seven years after the crisis emerged, he added, and the much-hyped stress tests due to be carried out on banks later this year are unlikely to help.
The equity/debt ratios these stress tests look at are far too low, he said, adding that the ECB, which will soon take over the direct regulation of big banks like Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB, is a deeply flawed organisation.
“Throughout the crisis, the ECB has furthered the interests of French and German banks and proved itself to be unimpartial.”
Legislation designed to wind down banks and prevent a “too big to fail” situation is also flawed, he said, because national governments still have the right to veto the forced closure of banks in their jurisdiction.
source :Irish Independent http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/irish-were-bullied-and-treated-outrageously-during-crisis-legrain-30250226.html

Leaving Certificate Economics 2012: problems

Reblogged from Kevin Denny: Economics more-or-less:

Today’s Irish Independent has an article by Katherine Donnelly on a series of problems with and errors in the exam & marking scheme in last year’s Leaving Certificate (Higher) Economics paper. It is on foot of an independent assessment I made of the paper/marking scheme. I initiated this in June when a problem with this year’s Higher Maths paper was uncovered (the 2013 Economics paper had not been sat at the time).

Read more… 632 more words

Kevin Denny points out here a major set of problems. There are technical problems with wrong or irrelevant answers ; there is an underlying problem with an outdated syllabus. One hopes that this dissection will receive the same treatment as that which was afforded the math exam when problems in it were brought to light. Somehow I doubt it. Following the problems here and in Math, one wonders also : what other subjects have 44y old syllabi? More immediately, what other exams might, if gone through in detail, show up issues in interpretation or errors? Chemistry? History? Physics? The response from the State Exams Commission has been underwhelming to say the least. It seems to amount to “no problem here because we say there is none”. This isnt good enough.  At the very least Kevin deserves to have his questions answered in full. The 3800 students who sat economics at higher level also deserve this.

‘rip-off’ price for Medicines

sent in to us by Cris

Aideen Sheehan  Consumer Correspondent

                    CONSUMERS have expressed fury at ‘rip-off’ price discrepancies between medicines sold in Northern Ireland and the republic.

Further evidence has emerged of massive differences in prices in  pharmacies either side of the border – even for generic drugs, which are supposed to offer patients better value.

The HSE promised it  would introduce a new reference pricing system this November, which  would cut prices of generic drugs by up to 40pc.

But in the meantime, customers have told the Irish Independent of being charged between five and seven times more for vital medications here as compared to the North.

One customer complained of being quoted €288 for three months’ supply of various medicines that cost less than €44 in Northern Ireland.

Another patient told how she was recently charged almost €40 for an anti-fungal skin medication that was available in the North for just €7.50.

The medicine in question is called Terbinafine and she was charged €39.69 for the branded version Lamisil in a Dublin pharmacy.

She was told the generic version was just a few cents cheaper here.

Generic drugs are non-branded medicines which are fully approved by regulatory  bodies as having an identical active ingredient and effect as the  original patented medicine.

However, while branded Lamisil  actually cost slightly more north of the Border, the identical generic  drug Terbina-fine was available in Boots in Newry for just £6.33  (€7.53).

The customer, who did not want to be named to protect her medical privacy, said she could not believe the discrepancy.

“It is absolutely outrageous and shows rip-off Ireland is alive and well,” she said.

“No matter what they say about this being a smaller market with higher  costs etcetera, there is absolutely no excuse for a price differential  of that scale,” she said.

The biggest price gaps appear to be concentrated in the generic drug field, as some branded medicines such as Lipitor and Lamisil are actually higher priced in Northern Ireland. Another  customer who is on a monthly cocktail of five different prescription  medicines – Atorvastatin, Aspirin, Ramopril, Bisprolol and Pantaprozole –  described the price discrepancy as “scandalous”.

She told the Irish Independent she had paid £36.53 (€43.65) for a three-month supply in Northern Ireland.

The same generic medicines had come in at €96.17 for one month’s supply in the republic, or €288.15 for three months.

That meant her bill for lifesaving drugs was almost seven times dearer here.

Pharmacies have blamed generic drug manufacturers for setting much higher prices in the Republic than in Britain.

But the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ireland, which  represents generic drugmakers, said pharmacies set their own prices to  private patients. The APMI claims that this accounts for a lot of the  price discrepancy.

REIMBURSEMENT

APMI president Fergal Murphy said that the factory prices set for generic  drugs were inevitably higher than the UK, which had huge economies of  scale, as packaging and licensing costs were much higher for a small  market.

“Drug prices are already coming down substantially as reference pricing and generic substitution finally comes in,” he said.

Meanwhile, the HSE said that it was introducing a new reference pricing system  this November, which would cut prices of generic drugs by up to 40pc.

It said that the current maximum reimbursement price it paid for generic  Terbinafine issued to public patients was €20.04. But it did not set the mark-ups or fees charged for private prescriptions, as this was a  matter for individual pharmacies, it said.

 

The Psychology of an Irish Meltdown

By TANA FRENCH
July 2013

Friso Gentsch/dpa, via Corbis

DUBLIN — FOR the past month, Ireland has been outraged by tapes of Anglo Irish Bank officials, back in 2008, discussing lying to the government about how big a loan they needed, and how they knew there was no chance that the loan would ever be repaid. That loan was the first domino in a sequence that ended with the whole Irish economy flat on its face.

It’s not the bankers’ actions that have outraged people — pretty much everyone had a fair idea that this was what had gone down. It’s the overpowering sense of amorality revealed on the recordings, which were released by the Irish Independent newspaper. The bankers have a great laugh about the situation. It genuinely never seems to mean anything to them that the taxpayer is going to be forced to pay their bills, to the tune of tens of billions. More than that: it never seems to occur to them that their actions might harm people.

I write psychological crime, so I spend a fair amount of time thinking about morality and amorality and what underlies them. And it seems to me that this amorality could be a symptom of something deeper: a total disconnect between action and consequence.

Ireland’s population is just over half that of New York City’s. Our ruling class — including many of the politicians, bankers and property developers who wrecked the economy — is a tiny community, interwoven by friendship, marriages, education, sports and financial transactions to a degree that would be unimaginable in a bigger country. That interweaving has created a safety net that won’t let any of the ruling elite fall. If you’re a banker and your golf buddy’s kid wants to be a banker, then it doesn’t matter if the kid is an idiot, or if he kills cats for kicks: you’ll take him on, and you’ll keep him on…….

full article at source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/opinion/sunday/the-psychology-of-an-irish-meltdown.html?smid=tw-share&_r=2&

The Anglo Tapes

By The Story

Myself and Tom Lyons wrote yesterday in the Sunday Independent about new revelations from The Anglo Tapes, new audio of which is available over on Independent.ie.

This follows on from the trojan work of Paul Williams, Fionnan Sheahan, Dearbhail McDonald and Donal O’Donovan in the Irish Independent last week.

full article at source:http://thestory.ie/2013/07/01/the-anglo-tapes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thestory%2FQSEJ+%28The+Story%29

Comment :

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It is indeed to the thanks of the likes of Paul Williams and others that we the people even get to hear the likes of these tapes .Thank you to all who made this possible!

With regards to the X Directors and some serving directors (including the so called “public” placed leaches by the government) of the various toxic Banks, I believe all of these should be banned immediately from holding any public office and criminal charges should be brought against all of them. The charges would be of gross misconduct, negligence, and conspiracy to defraud the citizens of Ireland. All expenses should be investigated by an outside source such as Scotland Yard and some other police force but definitely not the Irish police as I believe they are too close to the various suspects!

Where are the tapes of Allied Irish Bank? This bank is worse than Anglo Irish and they got just as much money from the taxpayers so why are the X Directors not been brought before the courts?

The Bank of Ireland and the other credit institutions have criminal charges to answer for too, five years on not one of the responsible have been brought before the courts, indeed they have been rewarded with fat pensions and in some cases  some have received new employment on the boards of public companies, why??   Why was nothing done about these tapes 5 years ago why are they now suddenly brought out to the media, what are the loans outstanding of Mr. Kenny, Noonan, and Gilmore? For that matter what about all of the TD,s and the private pal advisors of the minsters ?? let’s have all the top civil servants in the department of Finance have their  bank loans investigated as well! There is dirt and muck everywhere and we are been fed these tapes ( a few crums)  because they are hiding a much bigger scandal.Heads must roll now!

275

Thomás O Cléirigh

On the Anglo Irish Tapes

“Distracted from distraction by distraction”

T. S. Eliot

PA-10270391-310x415

 

Think about it what are they hiding?

Machholz Blog

The Ongoing Death of the Euro: 1929 in Slow Motion 2

By Christopher Quigley

04/02/2013 It is hard I am sure for Americans to fully comprehend the disaster that played out in the recent Cypriot Euro debacle.

To get a feel for the panic that was swirling about in Europe the week before last I include a quote from the Irish Independent of 22nd March 2013:

Irish property speculators fear for cash in Cypriot account.

“A group of up to 30 Irish property speculators have been left sweating on their investments due to the Cypriot bailout crisis.

The group, mainly Irish nationals living in the Middle East, all invested in a fund to take advantage of the collapse in property prices back home in Ireland.

Under the scheme, each invested €20,000 or more with a property consultancy, which has been seeking to snap up cut-price Irish properties whose value is likely to increase in the coming years.

A further 20 British nationals are also thought to be involved in the scheme.

Investor funds were placed in a Cypriot client account.

However, the account cannot currently be accessed after banks on the Mediterranean island closed their doors last weekend.

And hundreds of thousands of euros could be wiped off the value of the fund should the Cypriot government cave in to pressure from the EU and IMF for a levy on bank deposits as part of a bailout deal.

Richard Jones (37), a project finance consultant from Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, who is involved in the scheme, flew in to Cyprus earlier this week in an attempt to withdraw the cash before any proposed levy on the account.

“I came over yesterday because the banks were due to reopen, but they didn’t,” he told the Irish Independent.

“I found it hard to get into a hotel room here. Everything has been booked up by the Russians coming in to withdraw their cash. That just confirmed my decision to come out as there will be an almighty run on the banks once they reopen.”

He said the clients’ funds were held in a Cyprus bank because the country “has been seen as a gateway for investment from the Middle East into Europe”.

“Most of my investors are very small — around €20,000. But it is a lot of money to them. They are mostly Irish and British expats living in the Middle East and they see value to be had in Irish property now,” he said.

Mr. Jones said he believed the current crisis signals the “beginning of the end for the euro”.

He added: “I think what the EU has signaled is that bank deposits are no longer safe. At a single stroke they have reduced the European banking system to third-world status.”

full article at source:http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/christopher-quigley/ongoing-death-euro

see also http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article39752.html

The ongoing death of the Euro: 1929 in slow motion.

The following is an article from Netzoners ” citizen reporter “financial correspondent.

Mr  Christopher M. Quigley B.Sc., M.M.I.I., M.A.

It is hard I am sure for Americans to fully comprehend the disaster that was the recent Cypriot Euro debacle.

Yesterday, Monday the 25th. March we were told that “the day has been saved”. The Euro is again “on solid” ground. “Ordinary depositors, with balance up to 100,000 Euro, have had their funds guaranteed”. “What a difference 14 days make” we are being told.

To get a sense of the panic that was swirling about in Europe last week I include a quote from the Irish Independent of 22nd March 2013:

Irish property speculators fear for cash in Cypriot account.

“A group of up to 30 Irish property speculators have been left sweating on their investments due to the Cypriot bailout crisis.

The group, mainly Irish nationals living in the Middle East, all invested in a fund to take advantage of the collapse in property prices back home in Ireland.

Under the scheme, each invested €20,000 or more with a property consultancy, which has been seeking to snap up cut-price Irish properties whose value is likely to increase in the coming years.

A further 20 British nationals are also thought to be involved in the scheme.

Investor funds were placed in a Cypriot client account.

However, the account cannot currently be accessed after banks on the Mediterranean island closed their doors last weekend.

And hundreds of thousands of euros could be wiped off the value of the fund should the Cypriot government cave in to pressure from the EU and IMF for a levy on bank deposits as part of a bailout deal.

Richard Jones (37), a project finance consultant from Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, who is involved in the scheme, flew in to Cyprus earlier this week in an attempt to withdraw the cash before any proposed levy on the account.

“I came over yesterday because the banks were due to reopen, but they didn’t,” he told the Irish Independent.

“I found it hard to get into a hotel room here. Everything has been booked up by the Russians coming in to withdraw their cash. That just confirmed my decision to come out as there will be an almighty run on the banks once they reopen.”

He said the clients’ funds were held in a Cyprus bank because the country “has been seen as a gateway for investment from the Middle East into Europe”.

“Most of my investors are very small — around €20,000. But it is a lot of money to them. They are mostly Irish and British expats living in the Middle East and they see value to be had in Irish property now,” he said.

Mr. Jones said he believed the current crisis signals the “beginning of the end for the euro”.

He added: “I think what the EU has signaled is that bank deposits are no longer safe. At a single stroke they have reduced the European banking system to third-world status.”

For businesses and individuals with substantial funds in the banks in Cyprus the 100,000 Euro guarantee is of little benefit. As a result of the deal brokered with the IMF/ECB/European Commission “Troika” large account balances will be cut by up to 30%. What’s more the balance of funds outside the “cut” will be frozen until the situation has been fully stabilized. Many believe that it could be months maybe years before these client funds are returned to their rightful owners.

What a disaster the “bailout” turned out to be for the 50 Irish and British businessmen mentioned in the opening quote. In total they will lose approximately 300,000 Euros from their investment project overnight. Third-world status indeed.

Flight of Capital:

Now that the dust has settled somewhat we are being told that the “markets” have reacted favorably to the Cypriot bailout news.

However, this crisis is far from over. The “Rubicon” of the sanctity of deposits has been crossed.

No Eurogroup bank will ever be trusted again. Many believe that Italy and Spain have similar crises in the making and anxiety within Europe is starting to rise again. Can you imagine the “fear factor” welling within the citizens of these countries looking at how ordinary Cypriots have been treated?

Rather than wait for protective capital controls to be introduced in Spain and Italy it is expected that focused entrepreneurs and savvy chief executives will start moving funds out of their Euro accounts and Eurogroup banks. People no longer have any confidence that their financial leaders will be able to deal successfully with a full blown Spanish or Italian banking melt-down. To understand this perception one must comprehend the degree of incompetence displayed by the European Central Bank. The astonishing mismanagement and lack of insight shown during the Cypriot crisis was so clear for all to see that confidence in the Eurogroup banking system has utterly vaporized.

Why? Let us look at a few simple figures.

The total private banking deposits in the two main Cypriot banks was “only” about 68 billion Euros. As of last December private sector banking deposits in Italy was 1.497 trillion Euros and in Spain 1.52 trillion Euros.

On the 18th. March the ECB was alarmed with regard to deposit destruction and capital flight from Cyprus.  In order to protect this “base” it closed all banks indefinitely and intimated that all banking deposits were going to share in a “cut” to recapitalize the crippled financial institutions. In one fell swoop Brussels destroyed the primacy of the 100,000 Euros deposit guarantee scheme which supposedly applied to ALL Euro account holders within the Eurozone. When the dust settled the final deal agreed did protect this 100,000 Euros deposit level but, as we have already noted, some individuals and many businesses and corporations were eventually “robbed” of 30% of total deposits. If this was the ECB’s reaction to “save” banks with only 68 billion Euros of private deposits many concerned citizens cannot even begin to comprehend how Brussels intends to deal with any similar crisis that may develop in Spain and Italy which has a deposit base of 3 trillion Euros.

Are you beginning to get the picture?

This issue is not vacuous chatter. I have just read a story in a Dublin newspaper stating that the head of one of the largest Irish industrial conglomerates has instructed his financial chiefs to move all free bank balances out of the Euro ever Friday and move it back for business every Monday. When questioned about this practice the chief executive’s answer was: “Everybody is starting to do it. Fool us once shame on you, fool us twice shame on ourselves”.

How it that for a vote of confidence in the Euro zone?

It is my guess that as more and more corporations execute such deposit protective measures many will soon begin to limit the funds they actually return to Euroland every Monday. Such a development would make the introduction of capital controls a self-fulfilling certainty. With capital controls in place the Brussels/Berlin trap will be set. In such a scenario it will be finally comprehended that the Euro really is not a currency as such (it is my contention that it never was) but rather a fixed exchange rate mechanism. It is about time the ECB emperor was seen to have no clothes.

I fervently believe events will show that the Cypriot “deposit robbery” was a seminal event in European social history. Confidence once taken from a “currency” cannot be restored. When the financial controllers of Google Europe, Apple Europe, Microsoft Europe, McDonalds Europe, Facebook Europe, Microsoft Europe, IBM Europe, Oracle Europe etc. gradually wake up and have the epiphany that 20% – 30% of their corporate banking deposits could be up for grabs in a future Italian or Spanish crisis (Cypriot banking a-la Angela Merkel style) the writing will surely be on the wall for the Euro project.

The free movement of capital is a bulwark “right” of the European Common Market. Introducing capital controls to “save” the Euro is the total antithesis of such free trade rights. At such a juncture the decision will have be made whether to save the European Common Market or save the Euro. I think at this point the result is obvious. It is just a matter of time and a few more mis-handled “crises”. The European Common Market operated very well for over four decades without a common currency. It is time some brave European statesmen make some tough choices and commence opting for community solidarity and social cohesion rather than economic hara-kiri.

Accordingly, a colleague of mine has written an open letter to the Prime Minister of Ireland today. This letter urges Premier Kenny to establish an emergency finance committee to develop a plan of action to save the Irish banking system should the Eurogroup fail. His letter summons the government to act without delay and requests that contacts be made at the highest level with friendly American and British Commonwealth institutions to prepare for the possible need for an alternative Irish currency to the Euro. Such a currency would act as a back-stop to the financial tsunami currently rising within the sub-terrain depths of ECB mendacity and European Commission incompetence. Preparation for such an eventuality may seem “pie-in-the-sky” but to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed and if the bungled Cypriot deposit grab is anything it is just such a fore-warning.

© Christopher M. Quigley 26th. March 2013

Google pays just €8m tax here by routing €9bn profits abroad

 Sent into to us to day

Thomas,
Thought this item might be of interest …..

Google pays just €8m tax here by routing €9bn profits abroad

 

By John Mulligan Irish Independent

Saturday October 06 2012

IT handles billions of searches every day, but internet giant Googleis still keeping its Irish tax bill in the low millions thanks to a sun-kissed island that’s a honeymoon favourite.

Google, which has its European base in Dublin, said yesterday that its Irish operation generated a whopping €12.5bn in revenue last year and gross profit of €9bn. Despite this, Google only paid just over €8m to the Revenue Commissioners here.

Google keeps a lid on its Irish tax bill by routing much of the profit from its Irish subsidiary via Holland to Bermuda.

The process is reckoned to have saved the internet search goliath billions of dollars and euros in taxes over the past number of years.

Other multinationals based in countries around the world use similar schemes to pare their tax exposure to the bone.

The Google scheme is completely legal thanks to international taxation agreements, but it’s the kind of efficient financial engineering that gets right up the nose of politicians such as US President Barack Obama.

The accounts for Google Ireland released yesterday also reveal that while the company generated a gross profit of just over €9bn in 2011, it racked up administrative expenses totalling almost the same amount.

That meant it made a pre-tax profit of just €24.3m which left the company with a €8m Irish corporation tax bill.

Google Ireland — which employs 2,500 people here — said the rise in administrative expenses was due to the higher headcount necessary to support the growth of the business, higher marketing costs and more royalties.

Those royalties — considered an expense and so not taxable for Google Ireland — are siphoned off to another Google company based in Ireland, whose management team are ostensibly based in Bermuda.

In a book published this year called ‘Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google’, author William Poundstone outlined some fiendish interviews and puzzles prospective Google techies are faced with.

It would appear that the company’s tax executives have to be just as clever as Google’s engineers.

The latest set of accounts for the Irish arm also confirm that it paid €227m to buy the three buildings that comprise its headquarters on Dublin’s Barrow Street.

The head of Google’s operations in Ireland, John Herlihy, said 2011 was a period of “sustained growth” for the business.

“We continue to reap the rewards of the growth in the digital economy,” he said.

– John Mulligan

Irish Independent

Michael D what about the Irish people and the Austerity Mongers in the Dail

Fighting stuff indeed from Michael D! But why isn’t he fighting for the health services in Ireland, the workers losing their Jobs, what about the unemployed  and their loss of dignity, what about the faceless moneymen destroying our country ,what about the wankers in the Government selling Ireland piece by piece .Why is he so silent on these and other issues?

I have been a long supporter of Michael D but since he was elected into office he seem to have lost his way to the Dail where he should be banging on the door demanding an end to the Troika dictatorship imposed on this country by corrupt politicians and their insider friends like (Peter Sutherland of Goldmann Sachs) and other international Banker friendly spokesmen and woman who infest the corridors of power?

We the ordinary people of Ireland want our president to come out of the Auras and put Fire under our own corrupt politicians in Lenster House.

We want our country back from the international faceless moneymen and their puppets in Dáil Eireann .

So what about it Michael are you up to the Job I voted you in for???

Mise le meas

Thomás Ó Cléirigh

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