The big question is how long it will take? The longer there is inactivity the closer the time to intervention by the IMF.
Nice way of putting it. The dogs are at the door quite literally. I think it is a real pity the intermediary court of appeal isn't up and running. It would offer a very useful service to the Irish recovery strategy. It would enable us to sort out the companies who really created terrible example for business as a whole in Ireland. That element will not be a part of this recovery in Ireland, more is the pity.
So it means that many companies will go into the next upturn, not being fully equipped in terms of corporate morals. It is a younger bunch we will be sending out the next time too, who would have benefitted enormously from the added back bone in their boot camp training. I hope that the universities and business colleges at least can take up some of the slack here.
I sometimes wonder what were we doing during the Celtic Tiger, when we had all of the money in the system to tackle a number of key things such as that. Things that would help us out enormously today. It seems like Ireland Inc. is scrambling to dry land, on a number of fronts, while still battling against a raging torrent of bad chance. (A perfect storm in the case of many Irish builders)
A quite elderly friend of mine raised a point not so long ago. That Ireland should have been taxing itself more when it had the money. In order to be able to tax ourselves less, to give ourselves some breathing space now that we are drifting at sea again.
It must be got right (not just launched) soon, and already it is months behind schedule. It cannot work in isolation; many other inputs are necessary to create an economic microclimate surrounding it.
I think myself - and I would love to spend my time poking holes in NAMA, and analsing its obvious weaknesses - this is the kind of program management view we need to take today. We need to stay somewhat on program.
Even today, right now, imagine any CEO & top management of a business deep in the organic fertilizer going off on several weeks holidays ?
You are right, I can't imagine it.
What in God’s name was happening at Anglo? BoI? AIB? Nationwide? ILP? Regulator – I do not buy the story that Neary knew nothing.
I can tell you when I knew there was something strange afoot. I hadn't been watching too much news, or reading too many papers at that stage. Last September 2008, I were sitting on the top floor at Debenhams in Henry Street eating some lunch, while gazing out at the crowds streaming up from the Ha'penny bridge. There were a lot of people on the street that day all going about their business. It is a funny thing, I managed to pick out one of the financial directors from Zoe in the crowd from a mile away. I knew he had the inside view of what was going on. He begged for all the cheques that he received from Liam Carroll.
But on that day, he was easy to pick out of the crowd, because the sheer stress had become part of his stride, part of his own body. He seemed to have aged twenty years all of a sudden. It was frightening to be honest. There I was sitting up in the top floor of a building, and I could pick out easily the one guy down there who could see it all collapsing. He was probably thinking about his own reputation and his future career. He was far too young to be caught in this mess. I don't know. I said it to him later on that day, to relax, he looked very tense. He was doing the best he could to cope, but I knew he had reached the end of his patience with everyone he was dealing with.
NAMA must actively manage its portfolio and while it needs input from experts many of those are strongly tainted and probably too sharp for public servants.
I wouldn't want them to be my public servants at all. But then again, there is no point in our public service wasting another 2 years trying to figure out the ropes, while the time is against us. A difficult balance will have to be struck between existing knowledge of how the building system work(ed) and introducing a fresh layer of over-see-er's who are competent enough and confident. Hopefully we will see fresh new talents emerge from all of this, who will be able to lead the way into the future. Bearing in mind though, whoever deals with the 'toxic material' is going to be exposed to an unknown degree of sleeze and rubbish, not meant for human consumption.
Peter Bacon should have made a 'Y' for that factor in his NAMA report, to go with the 'X' factor in relation to the haircut needed for NAMA to take possession of loans.
Chances are, out of the rescue-ers at NAMA we will probably see the next Charles J. Haughey arise, who knows every trick in the book. That is part of my motivation for wanting some of the older, existing players to be supervised and paid to go in and sort out the toxic waste. I would like to get involved in some capacity there. We simply cannot afford to expose some of our brightest and best (a club which I never claim membership of) to some of what will be uncovered. It is too risky. The toxicity levels are simply too high. We have to do more than Russia did with Chernobyl: they gave guys a shovel and an ID badge.
Public servants have taken to describing themselves as ‘managers’ and now delegate everything to consultants who often provide the politically required result, not necessarily the correct one, nor the one the consultants believe to be the most effective. Public servants should do what they are paid to do – work. No more consultancy reports without a definite and publicised reason as to why public servants cannot produce them.
The OPW being a prime example. The OPW needs to work. I used to meet my friend who works in St. Stephen's Green OPW at Stillorgan for lunch on a regular basis. Driving to Stillorgan for lunch time. Now if that isn't 'fifty years ago' I don't know what is.
Or else what is the OPW doing there? I know it pays out wads of fees to consultant architects and engineers who proceed to squander the money in the state's coffers. I wouldn't mind, but the OPW have some of the best trained staff in the entire country. Doing nothing except creating Bebo sites. We have backed our public service into a complete corner as regards to their being able to contribute to society and to the economy. It is all bullshit.
We cannot afford the existing number of local authorities. Merge them, three would be enough Connaught/Ulster; Leinster; Munster. Cut the staff as part of the process. The average number of ‘Sick days’ per employee in every Govt Department should be displayed on all that Dept’s correspondence.
It is the building professions in my experience are the most to blame. They have wrapped up this cosy little deal between themselves and the Irish state very nicely. Yes it makes the professions viable, but it doesn't make any economic sense for the Irish state. It doesn't make economic sense for the professions anymore either. Because the State will not have any money left to pay them after NAMA gets started up.
So all bets are off. Until the private sector of the economy which has shrunk down to a third of what it was (Irish Stock Exchange fell from 66 billion in value down to 20 something billion, losing 44 billion in the process) is able to recover, the public service cannot expect to return to it's business as usual. I hope it will never again return to it's business as usual either.
How Neary was treated after the total mess he made of supervision makes me want to puke.
I'm sorry I didn't follow that story at the time, but I will take your word for it.
We have enough office space and residential units to keep us going for a few years. We need to export jobs or import services – i.e. lose some professionals to work overseas and those who remain will have to develop an export business to survive. Tough, but that’s life, lots of us had to do it in the 80’s.
I think the existing model for construction professionals was un-sustainable long before the crash had finally occured. I still believe we need some projects to go ahead. They only get more expensive as we delay building them. That is a fact. Think about all of the underground line that the Irish pony boys built over in London of the sixties. Yeah, it was before a lot of mechanisation and technology. It happened slow and on/off. But it did happen.
We can wait another 20 years in Ireland to do certain projects, that are going to be needed by then anyway. It is going to cost us an arm and a leg to bring back everyone and grow the industry necessary to support certain project undertakings. We have that industry in Ireland now, that is one of the few benefits of the Celtic Tiger. I agree with you, develop an export model and send our industry on foreign contracts, where speed, ability and quality is required. We can compete anywhere in the world. But in the meantime, lets do a couple of the most needed projects in Ireland and finish them out.
By the time 20 years passes and we are on stronger economic footing, we will need to be paying down what is left of the NAMA project. Clearing that debt for good. So it would be a pity in 20 years time, if we had to pump massive amounts in one short period into necessary projects for the good of the country. When I believe, we could be planning and going ahead with them now, at a much cheaper albeit much slower rate. You are right, the export orientation is the way to go. But a balance will need to be struck with national needs too.
The problem in the Celtic Tiger was the 'big things' didn't happen. Because for 10 years that clown Bertie Ahern made the environment such that it was more profitable for all the big men to behave like little men. I worked with some of the best project managers we have in this country (not at Zoe, Zoe didn't have any of those kinds of men) and they were reduced to flogging off two storey houses to make a few bob. It was way beneath what there capabilities are.
There was nothing happening for them on a larger scale that they could manage and use the skills they were born with. Then the little men, (such as Zoe developments) got all sorts of notions above their station and went off building shopping centres etc without a bull's clue.
Now that does make me want to puke.
There is nothing wrong with being a small man, like Zoe developments were very good at doing, if you stick to that. That is why I made my blog entry about the Ford Cobra. But to try and go after the big stuff, and believe you can do it, because of some s**** about your being the 'Ryan Air' of the construction industry, is completely off the rocker.
You are absolutely right in your analysis. Liam Carroll drove a second hand Japanese car. So what? He ran the best [little] company ever created in this country into the ground, and didn't give a damn for the men and women who had served him in what capacity they could for 20+ years.
Enough said. It feels good to be awake now, finally.
Brian O' Hanlon