Sunday, 05 December 2010 12:15
It now seems like a distant memory. It created hype. It created confusion because no politician or political party has done their research. It was the great ,double shot Lisbon Treaty referendum. I, like many people, had reservations about its benefits to Ireland. The campaign against the main campaigner, Declan Ganley, became personnel from all politicians. The Treaty was voted against first time, so in true democratic or dictatorship style the government and opposition didn't or couldn't know what part of no
they didn't understand so a second referendum had to be held.
We were blackmailed into believing that a no vote would mean economic disaster for Ireland. While a yes vote would mean jobs for Ireland. The media took the same stand that Europe was where we belonged and without Europe bondholders would abandon us, our ability to borrow money on the world financial markets would be limited and our economy would be ruined.
Jobs, jobs and more jobs would be the rewards for voting yes.
Declan Ganley and Libertas were a shower of doom and gloom merchants who were putting all our livelihoods in jeopardy. One year on the country is in tatters, our economy wrecked and the promises that Lisbon would bestow upon us another bad dream.
We failed to listen to people of Ganley's calibre who had a proven track record on the realities of business survival.
Bondholders now effectively own our financial structures. They took the gamble on our economy and lost - but won. In the unbelievable scenario that bondholders were guaranteed at the expense of the Irish taxpayers is crazy. Just like a punter bets €10,000 on a horse at the Ballinrobe Races. The horse comes in last and the punter returns to the bookies and gets his €10,000 back. It simply wouldn't happen.
All the experts now say the bond holders took the gamble and they should now sing for their money like the rest of us but they are being rewarded like every other institution who didn't work to the rules.
We all have short memories when we try to remember the promises of the past. We are approaching a budget that will determine the financial survival of the country. There's little homework done because politics is not about homework, it's about getting elected.
Recent announcements that the present government will create 300,000 new jobs over the next four years seem, to say the least, bizarre.
If we can see the facts and figures we can all judge. These jobs will, we are told, be created with the help of FÁS, The IDA, Bord Fáilte and the Enterprise Boards. I hope they're right in their assumption but the track records for these bodies over the past five years have been anything but impressive. They are now a serious burden on the state with billions of euros pumped in over the years with little returns.
Will a change of government have much impact on the overall economic outlook? How many years will it take a new government to put a workable plan of survival in place? Will they listen to the Declan Ganley's, the Ben Dunne's or the Michael O'Leary's of the world for advice? These are the type of people who can bring tourists to Ireland. These are the type of people who know what works and what's a failure because they've 'been there, done that'. Few meetings are planned or held with the people who created the most sustainable long-term employment in this country against all the odds, the small and medium size businesses.
Squabbling and finger pointing has too long been part of our political structures whether it's at a council meeting, a Cumann meeting or in the corridors and chambers of the Dáil. The scenario never changes and guess what, every politician will tell you they put the country before the party at all times.
Is there room for a national united Government? No one knows because we are all aware that most politicians will work against one another be it right or wrong. What's the solution? A dictatorship? We more or less have that at the moment and its not working either. Like yourself I'm in limbo with not a clue of how to turn our economy around. Someone suggested to me last week that I should have the answers as he classed me as a bit of a genius and finished by saying that he hoped nobody ever hit me a kick in the arse as it would probably knock out all my brains. These types of comments didn't get him anywhere.
I don't have any figures in front of me so I'm not in a position to advise you further. It's not difficult to understand that when you run out of money and nobody wants to do business with you. You need to look at plan B fast. This may be one of our problems. We have no plan B other than to stumble our way from one crisis to another.
The great promise of our salvation for voting yes in the Lisbon referendum has failed to materialise and probable never will. We're on our own and only time will tell if we will ever be in a position to stick with the promises our ill advised government made to the lucky bond holders that took a big gamble and won.