Irish Government’s Budget Deficit

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.

I don’t know if Senator Everett Dirksen actually said that, but I hope he did, because it fits so well with the predicament we now find ourselves in. 

How does the government of a small country not notice that its finances are heading for disaster, go on to prepare a budget and then realise a month later that things were actually worse by two billion euros? 

How does that happen?

Let me offer my suggestion.  Perhaps it’s because the members of this government were so mesmerised by their phony economic success that they went money-blind. 

After all, this government was capable of giving away our energy resources to a huge multinational company for nothing.  Nothing at all.  Not a penny!  What’s a billion or two between oil companies and their bought politicians?  A brown envelope here, a brown envelope there.

And this government was capable of providing, at huge cost, a permanent policing presence to crush all protests while the oil company developed its terminal to take away our natural gas.  Our money, yours and mine, but only a million here and there.

And this government was capable of doing a secret deal with the Catholic church, providing â€1.2 billion to compensate claimants of the Residential Institutions Redress Board for clerical sexual and physical abuse.  A billion here, a billion there.

And this government was capable of doing a deal with Bertie Ahern’s former employers, against the best interests of Irish children, to locate a children’s hospital in the worst possible place, at enormous cost.  A hospital here, a hospital there.

And this government was capable of trying to force an e-voting system on us that wasn’t secure, but which its leader, Ahern, thought was the dog’s bollocks.  When we objected, Europe’s most illiterate prime minister accused his citizens of being Luddites.  And when eventually it was shown to be thoroughly flawed, the â€50 million cost was written off and the machines, instead of being crushed, were put into storage to rot, at a continuing annual cost of millions.  Fifty million here, fifty million there.

And this government was capable of abolishing the regional health Boards and replacing them with a centralised monolith, but without losing a single administrator.  Instead, it promoted them all to managers, resulting in the most expensive, over-administered health executive in Europe, with the worst value for money and the poorest service.

And this government was capable of commissioning a payroll and personnel system for the new health service executive that didn’t work, yet cost â€200 million.  A hundred million here, a hundred million there.

And this government was capable of providing gigantic tax-breaks to the wealthiest among us: those in the horse breeding industry, who pay no tax at all.  And it was capable, thanks to its bookie-loving finance minister, of paying all the horseracing prizes in the country from tax-payers’ money.  Ten million here, ten million there.

And this government was capable of building a vanity project in Dublin: two disconnected tramlines, at ten times what it would cost to build in any other country, serving only a tiny proportion of the country’s population, yet continuing to lose money, and paid for by all of us.  Eight hundred million here, eight hundred million there.

And this government was capable of selling — at a loss — our national telecoms company, including its cable network, to an asset stripper, who sold it to even worse asset strippers who have no interest in investing.  In other words, this government gave a vital national asset away for nothing to people who have no interest in the welfare of this country, with the result that our national broadband penetration is among the worst in the world.  A billion here, a billion there.

I’m not finished, but I’m going to stop anyway.  The picture is clear enough: a bunch of empty-headed gobshites with too much executive power and not enough brain power, drunk on their own propaganda and too stupid to understand what running a country really means.

Is it any wonder they didn’t notice the economy running over a cliff?

52 thoughts on “Irish Government’s Budget Deficit

  1. They knew it was coming, but as long as everyone was drunk on credit they looked great. The plan was always to bail out their property buddies when the shit hit the fan. Fianna Fail are on the payroll of developers, they just don’t dine on breakfast rolls.
    Developers won’t pay their debts to the bank, who lent way more than they had, so the government bails the banks with taxpayers money. It was always the plan Bock, they’re not stupid, just very, very corrupt.

  2. Thanks Bock.

    I’m going to print out your post and nail it to the back of my front door. That way, when the sleeveens and their hacks come to call, I won’t find myself stuck. I remember swearing to myself, at the time of Minister Michael Woods’ sweet deal with the religious orders, that I wouldn’t forget that one when the canvassers came to call.

    But God, there’s so much to remember, and the old “politics of the last atrocity” effect can dull the memory.

    Afraid to ask – I’ve long known about the horsebreeding tax breaks, but I’m ignorant of and intrigued by the prize-money bit…?

  3. Green Ink — True. You’re right.

    Benny — Was that another invisible comment or should I reply to you?

    Poobah — That’s depressing. Your population is nine times ours.

    Eily — The statutory basis for it is in the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, if you’d care to look it up. I’m afraid the time isn’t available to lay out all the details now, but perhaps I’ll do a post on it later.

  4. I think green ink is spot on. They’d prefer to be called bumbling incompetants than treacherous corrupted fucks. In effect, the taxpayer payed for the developers bad loans. They don’t pay and the banks don’t lose anything. Everybody else gets to bend over…
    Would I be wrong in thinking that this borders on treason?

  5. Had to invisiblise it for consistency.

    Congratulations on your preview visibility.

    This is a visible comment for the record, seeing as how my invisible encyclical was ignored. I should have threatened excommunication – that would really have cranked the comments into high gear.

  6. Just concentrating on my breathing, and trying to think of sweet little puppies and kittens, and gurgling happy infants in their Moses baskets….WHO’LL BE PAYING OUT FOR THESE SHYSTERS FOR MOST OF THEIR WORKING LIVES

  7. And imagine, they reward themselves by being the best paid politicians in the world! Our Taoiseach gets paid more than the president of the US. They seem to have no ideals or ideas. In all the years gone by, they seem to have forgotten about people. Our water system is kaput, there are very few parks and playgrounds for citizens to relax and enjoy themselves, it costs a bomb to go swimming regularly, a fortune to play on a tennis/squash/basketball court add in whatever you like to do yourself. No wonder we’re getting fat – you’d need to be loaded to do any of these things regularly. My aunt was over from Canada and she said there are free swimming pools everywhere over there, free skating parks sports facilities etc. They gave nothing back to us over the supposed boom, they pi@£ed in the face of all us hard working eejits, some who had to get up at six every morning to send their kids to expensive creches, who drove over an hour or two in traffic to get to work to pay off their tiny semi detached over inflated home (thank God I was too poor to buy) and who returned home exhausted every evening. How could anyone have a family life? Communism is starting to look good! Any Karl Marx types out there? FF make me puke. I hope they’re out soon, though I’m glad they got voted in the last time just so people may finally see what they’re really like. Rant over now.

  8. it would be really interesting to make a complete list of all the wastage this government brought on us. reckon you’ve only touched the tip of the ice berg in your post. what about the pulse system, the websites that they scrapped lately and that computerised system for the hospitals… pars?

  9. Bock, Here in Minnesota, things are crazy also. The votes for the senate race are being counted and recounted and re-recounted at the expense of the tax payer. The two opponents can then take all of the recounts and other votes that suddenly were found hiding in some one’s car trunk, to court to have a ruling on what should be counted as a vote. And it is the tax payer again who pays. We do not want a repeat of the same mess as Florida had in the past presidential election. As we all seem to be paying for that result , world wide.

  10. I smell revolution
    That sweet point of evolution
    Where the audience no longer watch the show
    And they fold their arms in anger
    As the politic meanders
    For soon the cry shall come aloud of No
    No more.

  11. Just watch the mauling the serious Europoliticians are giving McCreevy today. They aren’t fooled by typical FF buffoonery and cute hoor tricks like going to the races when you should be working – they are genuinely horrified at the level of professional misconduct and recklessness that it represents. Let those idiots and ignorami here who thought that having a commissioner in Europe was a big deal and thus apparently voted no take due cognisance. For all practical purposes, we presently don’t have a commissioner if this is to be the standard of performance he delivers.


  12. It shows the level of contempt Fianna Fáil have for proper governance, either at local level or European. While other countries send serious people to the Commission, we send hacks like McCreevy and buffoons like Flynn.

    And people want to keep this??

  13. McCreevy was appointed not elected (although judging by what’s elected that’s not saying much). A plumb job for an aul’ pal and nothing more. These cunts operate like the mafia and Charlie boy got euro ‘made’.
    As long as people keep following their political parties like their football teams and don’t realise that the change has to come from ground up, ‘Fianna whatever’ will always be in power and will do as they please.

  14. “As long as people keep following their political parties like their football teams”

    QED. The people get what they deserve.

  15. Perhaps, but do we deserve it too? And if I conned you out of your life savings, does that mean you deserved to lose it for believing me?
    Although, as the old saying goes,Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

  16. and in Fianna Fail terms it’s now; “Fool me three times”, C’est.

    btw, Those paragons of democracy at the point of a gun, The Shinners, must be delighted to see the curiously titled “Irish Commisioner” retained, even though they’ll be staying with the right-on camp for Round Two.

    Plum job for Mary Lou one of the days when the Coalition du Jour could well see the old comrades re-embrace.

  17. Mary Lou had a lot to say about workers’ rights and similar drivel in her comments about the no vote and ‘renegotiating’ the treaty. Garda Gerry McCabe was a worker and her goons didn’t give much of a shit about his rights when they shot him dead in Adare.
    She also is in favour of ‘An Irish Commissioner’ as she puts it. Coming from someone whose knowledge of the European institutions should be better than most as a MEP, it’s a bit rich, not least because of the new-found faith in democracy sans armelite. If we go fully down that road, we’ll be sending Healy-Rae with his ‘lisht’ of ransom payments.
    On the yes/no vote, Cowan seems to be buying the farmers into Europe all over again with the pig farmers rescue package – €180m of Euro-dosh. As far as I am concerned, the terms taxpayer and farmer seem to be on an ever-widening gap of mutual exclusivity. I can’t see why all farmers’ financial ailments shouldn’t be met by a 20 cent levy per litre of green diesel.


  18. bock amazing brilliant post, thank you, however, can’t you go easy on the aul horses, yes they had over 30 years of tax free income on stallion income only, but thats gone now, but like artists, musicians it did catapult the irish bloodstock industry to no 3 in the world, at least that is something we can be proud of.
    now before i get savaged for defending same, can i quote you from the 2003 IHR report, when there were 390 tb stallions at stud and 16,938 mares, the gross contribution from the stallion sector was 132 mil and 198.4 million from breeding sector to the exchequer.
    in 2008 the government planned to spend 311 mil on sport, as follows, 93 mil on lansdown rd, 76.2 mil on horse/greyhound racing, 58 mil irish sport council , 56 mil nat lottery sports capitol grants and 20 mil on swimming pools.
    the bloodstock industry creates many and varied careers which are appreciated globally and the prize money for racing in ireland is comparativly small.
    there were never tax breaks for breeders and they have seen the true highs and lows of this country.
    the above expenditure was obviously planned before anyone shook the piggy bank.
    bock i think “contempt” is probably a bit too high brow for our current shower of ignorant shysters, deficient, careless, ignorant, idle, corrupt, idiots in power, and on and on.
    nora. why wait ? they should be out now, we would be better off for the next few months with no government, leave it up to the civil servants, its all we are getting anyway……roll on the revoulution

  19. Elle Walsh, you should take note of the World Socialist Web Site – (“any Marxists out there”); and though your exasperation is expressed with a little humour, I think your appeal expresses more than perhaps you realise. This is by no means an peculiarly Irish phenomenon, hence the bankruptcy of Sinn Fein. The Bolted Nut’s comments on Mary Lou Macdonald means she/he is taking their claims to represent the oppressed at face value. I don’t believe they do. Individual terror is a reactiionary course – the other side of the same coin that SF now pursues, where they promote illusions in bourgeois’democratic’ system. Discussion is good. We need much more of it; and some serious journalism to boot!

  20. I’d be careful about accusing others of lacking humour if I were you, after your failure to notice the Nut’s irony.

  21. bock. i think you might be missing the point, there was only one sector of the bloodstock business exempt from taxes, its not a blanket industry, the vast majority paid and paid dearly, the only benefit they had from the tax relief bestowed on stud fees was a negotiating area on stallion fees.
    the tax exempt status was given to establish the industry, it was for too long, but it did fall into the catogory of creating something lasting for the country.
    the artists and musicians who benefitted from the same tax relief are surely also our national treasures ?
    it is not an easy industry to comprehend, but the very wealthy are in very small numbers compared to the dedicated hard working breeders who make their tax contributions same as everyone but are unfortunatly tarred with the brush of horses = tax free, not true, never was

  22. I don’t like the idea of anyone being wealthy yet completely exempt from tax. In the case of artists and musicians, I see nothing wrong with tax breaks permitting a decent living wage, but I don’t believe it should be open-ended.

  23. Maybe Microsoft, eBay, IBM, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, and Paypal, not to mention Pfizer and Wyeth et al, should be paying more too.
    But then we wouldn’t have all those jobs …

  24. Indeed. But a low tax rate is still a tax rate, though you might argue that zero is also a rate.

    I don’t like the idea of people paying no tax at all. The ceiling for publishing music and novels is now about €300,000, I think, which is generous by any standards. I’d love to have €300,000 a year tax-free. In fact I’d love to have it even if they taxed the shit out of it.

  25. Sorry Bock. my cryptic comment has left the wrong message. I did not mean Elle walsh had ‘little humour’; but rather her light touch, or gently jocular refernce to Marxism, for me, expresses a serious undercurrent of searching, that is taking place all over the world. Marxism is, in many cases I believe being considered more and more, though at this stage perhaps not fully conciously. We are living in interesting times. All the old shibboleths are under severe scrutiny. You said you could have gone further with your list. I wish you would. I do believe we need more serious study.

  26. “I don’t like the idea of people paying no tax at all.”

    Neither do I. Which is why I get very angry when Irish builders quote me double the price for a job — and then offer to take 13% off (= VAT) if I pay them in cash. Which means they pay no tax, and nobody pays any VAT. As far as I’m concerned, F-that. All of my family were taxed at source — PAYE. Often at 41%.

  27. well bock, just to reassure you, all sectors of bloodstock ind are now safetly tucked up in the tax net…..but does’nt it make you wonder, this government has brought more and more into the exchequer but they have less and less………..if you or i or anyone posting here just blew the household budget, yet sat at the table eating lobster while our partners/children etc ate porridge….would there be any questions, and accountability, why are we not demanding accountability ? we are too tired, too preoccupied, too what ? lets stop fooling ourselves that we are living in a democracy.

  28. Norma — It isn’t a functioning democracy in the European sense. It’s a collusion of cronies voted in by credulous believers. Irish politics is quasi-religious,and we all know what priests will do to you when they get too much power.

    Mervyn — Feel free to add to the list if you like. I’ll make a little appendix for any suggestions people might want to propose. But please let them not be ideology-based, whether Marxist, feminist, Christian or Pastafarian. Let them just be examples.

  29. I’ll say this and I’ll shut up:
    Irish tradesmen coming into my home and offering to take 20-25% of the price of a job if I pay in cash, don’t realise that they’re talking to the wrong people. Maybe you should have a rant about them, some day, Bock. I’m sick to death of it after nearly 40 years of PAYE.

  30. Maybe I should, and maybe I will, but you must remember a time when a tradesman couldn’t pay the penal taxes we had and still manage to feed his family. Obviously that has not been the case in recent years, since FF started following the irresponsible McCreevy doctrine of giveaway budgets and election-buying.

  31. Nora never pay builders in cash! Don’t worry about their tax dodging, worry that your house will fall down on your head if you pay upfront. Speaking of builders, why does the govt worry so much when they are out of work? They could head up to HSI and do a secretarial or meeedia course instead. Seriously though, builders are divils for tax dodging, always have been always will.

  32. nora. you are now paying 21.5% since the budget, ireland is the highest vat rate in europe, 2nd only to iceland and we all know about iceland !
    you and people like you nora are the backbone of this country 40 years of contributions and….now this !

  33. @Bock

    Re tradesmen evading taxes, whether now or in the old days: this was/is being paid for by PAYE workers, including the seriously underpaid segment of that sector. No wonder PAYE took to the streets in the 1980s.

  34. I’m not defending the tradesmen. I’m just reminded of the tax rates we had, where initiative and hard work were penalised, and I think such a system was bound to encourage some people into the black economy. It was a bad policy.

  35. ……..and the fawning diehard FFers will loyally trot out at the next election to “vote” this cretinous shower of incompetent backwoods gombeen men & women back into power.

    Not only is “Romantic Ireland” dead and gone, our pathetic 80+ year attempt at independence has resulted in a failed state ruled by reject corrupt “elites” who manage to fool most of the people most of the time. In a democracy (even a sham one) the people truly get the government they deserve.

    That true patriot who attempted to set fire to Backhander Bertie’s tax-payer funded merc had the right idea; except it’s the Dail and all those in it we need to set alight!

  36. Jason
    Your comments on “Romantic Ireland” could apply to prett much every modern “Democracy” in the world, although Platocracy would probably be more apt.
    I guess this is the end result of letting others do our thinking for us (the ‘us’ more than likely not applying to the readers here but you catch my drift)

  37. elle and norma,
    thanks for the kind support.

    I did some deep breathing before bed. Otherwise I’d be writing comments in my head. :)

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