Morgan Kelly Predicts Irish Bankruptcy

Economics professor analyses ECB bailout.

I’d like to say that Morgan Kelly is an idiot.  I’d like to tell you that he has been consistently wrong in all his predictions about the Irish economy.  I’d like to inform you that this man has no idea what  he’s talking about.

But I’m afraid I can’t.

Morgan Kelly is far from a fool.  He has been consistently correct in his predictions and he knows precisely what he’s talking about.

The man who foresaw the banking crisis long before almost everyone else, who was ridiculed and dismissed by Bertie Ahern’s legion of halfwits, has written an article in today’s Irish Times that should scare the living daylights out of any thinking Irish person.

In Kelly’s own words, Ireland is facing economic ruin.

Tracing the source of the economic disaster back to Brian Lenihan’s absurd banking bailout in 2008, Kelly describes how Professor Patrick Honohan, the incoming governor of the Central Bank, could have used his international stature to reverse Lenihan’s original act of stupidity, but instead compounded the error by taking the ECB’s side and insisting that the banks’ losses were manageable.

A fool’s pardon might be available for Brian Lenihan, a man who manifestly failed to understand the fundamentals of the brief he held, but Kelly leaves no such room for Honohan.  Accusing his fellow academic of the costliest mistake ever made by an Irish person, Kelly has laid responsibility for the unfolding Irish disaster at Honohan’s door.

This is a very grave charge to make against the man everyone hoped would rid the Central Bank of its complacency and incompetence, but Kelly doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to accuse Honohan of undermining Lenihan when, for once, he was doing something right in resisting the so-called “bailout”.  As Kelly puts it, Lenihan was deftly sliced off at the ankles by his central bank governor.

He goes on to provide an interesting insight into who Ireland’s real friends were among the powerful nations.  The IMF’s plan to impose a savage haircut on bondholders was shot down by none other than the United States, in the form of treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, while the only voice in our defence came from the old enemy in the person of UK chancellor George Osborne, though of course, a word of caution is in order here.  Sir Humphrey might well have advised the chancellor to speak up in Ireland’s defence knowing that his position would be defeated.

But still.  A topsy-turvy world indeed when  some of our citizens will shortly turn out to protest against the visit of the English Queen, while others will flock by the thousand to fawn over the leader of the country that consigned us to our doom, and to prance about like leipreacháns while he holds up an embarrassing half pint of Guinness for the cameras.

That’s Ireland for you.  Never mind the reality.  Stick with the illusion.

In the end, Ireland’s bankruptcy was guaranteed by the European Central Bank, which had no thoughts of rescuing this country.  Ireland will be destroyed in order to frighten Spain into behaving as Trichet wishes it to, and it seems his strategy is working.  The bailout could never work, because the sums don’t add up.  We will shortly be facing debts of €250 Billion (with a B).  As Kelly says, try to imagine the Bank of England’s insisting that Northern Rock be rescued by Newcastle City Council and you have some idea of how seriously the ECB expects the Irish bailout to work.

An apt analogy indeed, since the citizens of Newcastle had about as much responsibility for the recklessness of Northern Rock as the average Irish person had for the six private banks that killed our economy through their greed and stupidity.

While it’s too late to make the bondholders carry their share, since Lenihan rushed to pay them all off last year, Kelly offers a solution that he concedes wouldn’t be painless but might at least avoid the coming disaster.  First, withdraw the bank guarantee immediately, and force the ECB to deal with the  issue of insolvent banks.  Second, cut government borrowing to zero, right now.

Does he think the politicians will have the guts to confront the ECB?

No.  He doesn’t.

I wish Morgan Kelly didn’t have such a way with words, but unfortunately, he’s on the button with his brutal analysis of the political reality.

It is easier to be led along blindfold until the noose is slipped around our necks and we are kicked through the trapdoor into bankruptcy.

Brace yourself for the drop.   It will be short and unpleasant, but its consequences will be permanent.


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I thought GW Bush had imposed an extreme burden on US citizens when I wrote this.  Little did I think that our government would soon go on to impose a far bigger burden on the Irish people, perhaps three or four times as large.




51 thoughts on “Morgan Kelly Predicts Irish Bankruptcy

  1. Jasus, I don’t know whether to reach for the arsenic or take the Tommy Gun out of the thatch.
    Maybe I’ll grab both and take some bankers/politicans and speculators and with me!

  2. Jasus, I don’t know whether to reach for the arsenic or take the Tommy Gun out of the thatch.
    Maybe I’ll grab both and take some bankers/politicans and speculators with me!

  3. public pensions protected while they set about taxing already devalued and mainly inadequate private pensions funds – Ordinary bank shareholders lost everything while the chief overseer Pat Neary enjoys his early retirement and topped up pension. This country belongs to civil servants. No matter who we elect.

  4. I have no doubt but that Morgan Kelly is correct,as soon as I heard the figures of hundreds of billions it was obvious that a country like Ireland could never cope with that amount of debt or even a quarter of it.However I do not put all the blame for the disaster on the banks and developers etc.They were only the whores without morals supplying the Johns or the average Paddy if you like with what they wanted.Which was everything TODAY and worry about paying some other time…which sadly is now.I certainly dont blame the ECB who thought that they were dealing with adults and assumed Ireland was a functioning state with a real goverment and a banking regulator to ensure that everything was done in a responsible and controlled manner.As for bond holders well thats the real world of international finance and thats how it works and it works for responsible nations…it wont change because a reckless nation of grown up babies keep throwing their rattle out of the pram and wailing.And if Ireland is destroyed and I believe it is…well then its all down to the Irish..congratulations!!.Take a Pat on the back…no pun intended.

  5. An example was given recently of a loan from a German bank to English developers, St James Capital, Nomura and Warner Estate Holdings, via Anglo. I think the sum was a billion euros. Could you explain how the Irish taxpayer is responsible for this?

  6. I have no doubt there is some of it they are not responsible for…but most of it they are.The nation went on a reckless borrowing and spending spree and the ones paid to keep things in order were sleeping on their watch or too dumb to see reality.And they were elected by voters.People are now complaining about the EU and IMF bailouts but picture Ireland today without this aid….Well its would be another Somalia.Such is the extent of this disaster but we dont realise it (yet) because the bailouts have cushioned us from the reality.

  7. That seems to conflict with your earlier position that its all down to the Irish. Do you have figures on the proportion of Irish taxpayers who engaged in reckless borrowing?

  8. They are all over the place.Where I live endless new top of the range houses now only worth a fraction of what was paid for them.And remember during the madness you could get a good secondhand car almost to take away as nobody wanted them because only the latest new model 4 wheel drives would they consider good enough to be seen in.

  9. That seems a little anecdotal. People who continue to pay their loans are not part of the problem. Do you know the proportion of Irish people who have defaulted, thereby contributing to the problem?

  10. Well as I understand it the level of personal debt in Ireland is the highest in the world and whether or not there are still many able to pay for the semi worthless properties they paid a fortune for.It is the vast level of borrowing that led to the mass lending that led to the reckless unregulated banks going bust…cause and effect.

  11. It’s not the level of borrowing. It’s the level of loans gone bad, or toxic assets as they’re known these days. Therefore, anyone who continues to service their debt is not part of the problem. This is the guilt trip that Lenihan tried to impose on the Irish people : we all partied. It seems his propaganda was at least partly successful..

  12. The writing seems to be on the wall all right, with a few calling it as it is. i.e; Kelly, McWilliams, Gurdiev.
    Was reading an article earlier today. 120,000 people expected to emigrate this year.

    Democracy is a joke, when you consider what our government have done to this country.
    The current shower also don’t have the competence or cojones to get us out of the mess we’re in.

    However, I’d like to say, I don’t believe any consequences are permanent.
    Even Argentina is recovering. They had growth rates of 8/9 percent for the first few years after their economical collapse.
    Being afraid changes nothing.

  13. I think the whole lot from top to bottom contributed to it.If all the money is lent out of course the lenders are broke and the borrowers are pinned to the collar to meet the repayments and have no money for anything else…hence an economic depression on top of a huge national debt.Plus also during the madness people clamoured for more and more outrageous pay increases to meet their borrowing requirments leading to the destruction of Irelands ability to compete on world markets and a huge civil service bill.Everthing played its part in the disaster.Its not just one cause.If you look at the nations that are successfull you will find that the populations are savers not borrowers.

  14. ” Do you know the proportion of Irish people who have defaulted, thereby contributing to the problem?”..
    I don’t believe your question was answered there Bock.
    So people are guessing.

    A billion of a loan to “St James Capital, Nomura and Warner Estate Holdings, via Anglo”..
    Christ above.. that’d be an awful lot of people with fancy new cars now wouldn’t it.. a billion to one developer – gives you an idea of the extent of where the toxic assets lie.

    It’s the same old shite repeated again and again. “We are living beyond our means”, from Haughey.
    “We all partied”, from Lenihan.
    The fucking brass necks on them. The hypocrites.

  15. Lenihan was elected by the people. Honohan was elected by nobody but was appointed by Lenihan and his government. Why did Lenihan abdicate his responsibility to the electorate by listening to Honohan? Theories abound,but one thing is clear: this godforsaken place is full of liars and we have a new bunch now running the place. Out of the frying pan……..

  16. Also I should add that during the “get rich quick” mentality that developed in Ireland prices for goods services and labour spiralled leading to foreign industries uprooting and moving to cost efficent economies in eastern Europe and the far east….and Irelands tourism industry virtually collapsed.This unbridled greed is another factor in Irelands collapse.So maybe its not so much that the nation “partied” but that it became too greedy to survive.

  17. Do you know the proportion of Irish people who have defaulted, thereby contributing to the problem?

    The last time I looked into this and crunched the numbers (about 2 months ago) the figures went some thing like this:

    There are 1,950,000 households in the country.
    Of these, 780,000 have a mortgage (of any size).
    Of the 780,000 households with a mortgage, 6% (or about 50,000) are “in distress” – of these, only a fraction have actually defaulted.

    No doubt that there are many more mortgagees out there hanging on by their fingernails, and if interest rates rise to historical norms that figure of 50,000 will rise significantly.

  18. Thanks Boldpilot. I’d be interested to know what percentage private individuals – i.e. defaulting mortgage holders account for of the national debt..

    “We will shortly be facing debts of €250 Billion”.

    If we were to have guaranteed mortgage holders only, I don’t think there’d be too much “austerity” ahead of us.

  19. We still spend too much time sitting round the fire outside our caves thinking about the past. The people who watch us sitting outside our caves are the ones who will keep filling their pockets (by emptying ours).
    In that sense we are to blame – for letting them get away with it. Start saying no to the politicians bankers developers priests…………….its the least they have earned. Only when we start saying no will they start saying no.

  20. Yeah, I’ve never believed these figures. Ever. At all.
    If we were facing 250billion debt.
    From 50,000 mortgages. That’s 5mil a piece.
    Say it’s 100,000 mortgages. It’s still 2.5 million euro each.
    We all partied. Did we?

    In order for the figures to make sense 892,000 of us would all have to bought houses in 2010 at the average house price of 280,000euro.

    The fact is that we’ve been sold a crock. Right from the start.
    We are being told that we have to pay the debts for the German, French and English investment banks.
    We should be asked via referendum.

  21. If, as FME says (13), that 120,000 people are expected to emigrate this year, then your tax base is being further eroded, making it even harder to pay off the bailout debt. Isn’t it obvious that the bank guarantees will have to be withdrawn? Or, as mentioned in previous posts, sell of lots of Irish property – so the lenders will then own Ireland, and you will all be serfs! I guess that that’s what they want. Could Ireland “recover” from that?

    William 14: “If you look at the nations that are successfull you will find that the populations are savers not borrowers”. I recall reading that America’s rate of personal savings is declining lately.

  22. Kelly’s Lament *

    There once was a leader named Lenihan
    Appointed Bank Governor Honohan
    “The costliest mistake” **
    An Irishman did make
    Says Kelly, but fix things – thinks he still can

    First, gotta withdraw the bank guarantee
    It’s gotta be done quite immediately
    And the government
    Don’t borrow a cent
    Leave insolvent banks to the ECB

    Does he think the pollies*** will do it?
    Oh no – won’t admit that they blew it
    You’ll all have to cope
    When there aint much hope
    But still, we all hope you pull through it!

    * the similarity of Lenihan and Honohan inspired me to write this!
    ** quoting Bock, who may be quoting Kelly
    *** politicians

  23. It is forty years since I turned my back on a career in the ‘dismal science’, returning to the land. I’ve never regretted that decision – until now. It is when economists like Morgan Kelly, show insight, intelligence, razor-sharp analysis and, above all, courage in rising head and body above the safe parapets that I realise that there was, after all, room for a warrior class within the despised science. Too late for me to be a front-rank officer in the revolution but I am prepared, General O’Kelly, to take the rusty pike out of the thatch and offer my services as a prisoner-escort, to soap the ropes and prepare the lamposts – for the bankers and their squires.
    Ireland free – of €250,000,000,000* debt – for ever!
    *Imagine; if €5 notes were laid out, side-by-side, €250 billion would almost cover the whole of Munster. It could take 4 hours to drive over the money carpet from Kilbehenny near Michelstown to Kilcatherine on the Beara Peninsula. Imagine.

  24. FME

    I don’t have the answer to that. To the best of my knowledge, that level of detail isn’t made freely available to the public. No doubt the Department of Finance have the data, as does the Central Bank.

    However, taking household borrowing as a whole:

    According to the Central Bank figures for March 2011, total household borrowing stood at €130.5 Bn, of which €98.8 Bn “loans for house purchases”. On the other side of the balance sheet, we have €92.8 Bn in cash in our savings accounts.

  25. Actual (up to date) figures from the Central Bank:

    I would urge you to make an effort to perform your own analysis, rather than relying on some tabloid hack. The borrowing and spending patterns of the average Irish household do not account for the financial sink-hole that we find ourselves in.

  26. not directly but indirectly and the “hack” is using CSO figures not his own.Also its obvious the country was only running on borrowing.It could be argued it was not the debt that brought the country down…It collapsed when the borrowing sources dried up.But one way or the other it was inevitable sooner or later.

  27. He goes on to provide an interesting insight into who Ireland’s real friends were among the powerful nations. The IMF’s plan to impose a savage haircut on bondholders was shot down by none other than the United States, in the form of treasury secretary Timothy Geithner,

    And to think that little timmys dad was part of the irgun Gang that blew up the King David hotel in jerusalem ,

    Who says crime doesnt pay .

  28. Are we completely helpless in our present predicament or is there something we can do about it. Well if we are going down should we not go down fighting. Could we not threaten to pull out of the Euro and if we get no joy, do so. We could then devalue and inflate our way out of debt with our own currency and stand some chance of economic recovery. The course we are on now will lead only to disaster.

  29. It wasn’t long ago when Morgan Kelly was ostracised by the media, the Sunday Independent in particular, for his remarks. It dealt less with the content of his statements but the fact that he is a public sector worker. Then Senator Harris demanded his wages be slashed and Marc Coleman screamed that public sector workers should be banned from commenting on the economy. They’re listening now though. Already the cliched statements regarding wages are appearing again on newspaper, radio and here. If ye haven’t learned after four austerity budgets ye will never learn. If you want to bitch about public sector workers and pensions, fine. You will say nothing new. But you are doing so at a time when the billionaires of this country have seen an 11% increase in their wealth according to yesterday’s Sunday Times. You have a problem with pensions? Fine. We have the worst pension fund industry in Europe and yet you remain content to pay enormous fees for the “privilege”.

    We are where we are because you did nothing. You claimed to be working for economic recovery and scorned those who dared to protest. In fact you couldn’t be arsed, preferring instead to be flattered by the media and politicians. You projected your own cynicism and greed on to others. The majority who took out mortgages where trying to buy a home for Christ sake, not flaunting their “greed.” Something could have been done in 2008-9 but no, you were too busy living in “reality”. Now reality has come to bite us in the ass.

    To noone in particular and to everyone.

  30. In fact, the Sunday Independent was busy trying to persuade us that every gobshite who owned a half-share in a JCB was a candidate for their ludicrous society page. As for Harris, perhaps we should leave him lying in the same position, yearning for the glory days of his hero, Bertie Ahern.

  31. The sad thing is, these people are listened to. Harris obtained his seat because Bertie believed that he swayed the don’t knows in his favour. And I do not doubt that he did.

    At least Marc Coleman is trying to get elected. But his ideas border on the irrational. Fuck the borders they are irrational but seems to have a way of making them sensible to the punter.

    I have this feeling we’re going to be in the shit for a very long time if people keep accepting the bullshit they’re told at face value. I still recall arguing with people over Lenihan back in 2008-9, how I thought he was an insecure, incompetent chump who put on an arrogant front. No, I was told, he was a brave man, who had tough decisions to make. They’re not saying these things now.

  32. That’s because he was an idiot as, forgive me for saying so, I was pointing out on this very site at the time.

  33. I do recall it well Bock, but you were one of the very few at the time. I heard people singing his praises on a certain radio show at that time too. Not a dissenter amongst them while I silently fumed. You could hear the presenter with his head shaking in agreement. Duffy was the presenter’s name. You might have heard of him. First name Joe.

  34. The only legitimate way forward is to ask the people of Ireland, a Referendum on the banking debts and our way forward, the very people they try to force to pay for these debts need to be asked!

    We need much better council and certainly we need to ask the people, and finally have this referendum in Ireland just as Iceland had, prohibiting this referendum from happening is not only undemocratic it would be the result of an immorally acting minority elite in power.

    The forced upon private debts repayments are a hostile act against the citizens, in my view they constitute odious debts, and are a crime against the human development in Ireland and equally all countries that are attacked by the same forces, they are a hostile act against the peoples of these nations undertaken by Banksters and their legal councils, complicit Central Banks and the IMF and EU Commission, driven by entrenched ideological ideas, greed and implementing austerity.

    What were words of truth by Fantu Cheru (UN Human Rights Commission) describing the former World Bank structural adjustment programs, are equally true words today, describing IMF/EU policies:

    They [are] the expression of a political project, a deliberate strategy of social transformation on a global scale, whose aim is to make the whole planet a playing field in which trans-national corporations will be able to operate with total impunity. In other words, the structural adjustment programmes act as a “transmission belt” to facilitate a globalization process that is based on liberalization, deregulation and diminishment of the State’s role in national development” . In short, they are part of the neo-liberal counter-revolution – a far cry from their claimed objective of eradicating poverty.

    Today we face the implementation of Neo Feudalistic structures and the main test is to see what resistance they have to face when they implement austerity and force bankster bailouts.

    But there is good news as well. It is my opinion that Ireland needs a debt audit and this press release from last week, May 4th is a encouraging first step:

    Read this article which was co-authored by the economist who appeared in this greek video:

    Ireland needs to stop right away paying back any of these debts, pissing away our assets and freeze all repayments.

    Remember Lenihan’s fare well gift? As one of his last actions before the election he paid back bondholders that held bonds which were bought in 2006 in one single strike, this was nearly the equivalent of one year of social well fare payments by todays requirements.

    The legal basis for the events unfolding now in Ireland was the FF gombeens implementation of the financial stability act, this was forced down your throat by means abusing a dysfunctional democracy and bribing two of the biggest scum bags in the country Haely Ray and Lowry.
    Well, fuck this act, laws can be changed, and we reject this implementation as a forceful and corrupted act by politicians that acted hostile against the people of this Nation.

    We need to deport IMF and EU austerity priests with their ‘bailout packages’ to Japan to do something useful instead, they can stand in a line and piss in overheated reactors instead of further overheating stocks and markets, then they can take a dump there and leave their neo liberal crap where it belongs, together with radioactive waste.


  35. Whew – Georg – where have you been? That was great! Also Yobbah and Jack. That link debtireland – notice that the word “tire” jumps out from the middle of that? People have to get so tired with the situation that they will do something about it!

    Problem with a referendum is that the currently placed flunkies will be budgeted to sway the referendors to continue with the status quo, as they have until now voting in FF and their replacement. The people causing all this are Big Bucked, and won’t let go so easily (and they’re probably reading up on the opposition – like this site – or will be once they feel the threat : o ….).

    How are you so sure that a ref will change things? That you Irish will vote like the Icelish?* And if it doesn’t, then the People will REALLY be to blame! But I guess it’s worth a try – couldn’t get much worse, except by spreading the responsibility around.

    Does Kelly know about this site?

    * I know it’s supposed to be Icelanders – I’m a rhymer deep down, though, ya know. And why aren’t you, then, Irelanders?

  36. If the people would support the imposed on debts (bailout) in a referendum, and i doubt it with every fiber, but say they would, well…. then they deserve what is going to happen inevitably.

    I would guess, by now they KNOW that they were taken for a ride with the 2nd Lisbon Referendum, and they probably begin to understand, although very slowly, that this EPP, European Peoples Party, hooker here is only going to continue to sell out this country to EU/IMF.

  37. I am going to interview Dr Andy Storey (UCD/politics) soon and post it.

    To give you an idea bout Andy, watch this video from 11-2010

  38. I don’t know Georg, we only had an election a couple of months ago. I know it wasn’t a referedum on the bailout, but that was far and away the most important issue facing the country. People voted for more of the same. People were scared into voting for Lisbon 2, and they would probably be scared into voting for a bailout too, not that I foresee the coalition giving them the opportunity.

  39. I I know that ireland is a very ‘conservative’ country, I avoid a different term, but I also know that people start to slowly wake up to the reality.

    What we can observe currently is a political apathy.

    The only way to get rid of that is via truthful information and offering of alternatives. Regardless who I speak with, from the post man to the sheep farmer, retired 85 years old, Professor of economics, really regardless education or social status, one thing seems to come up all the time…. They screw us!

    The apathy has many reasons of course.

    Sure, you are correct to say that fear is the preferred tool to make politics these days, fear and lies. As the EU chef Junker openly admitted , he does not hesitate to lie to the people.

  40. Georg: The truth is that our politicians do not have the balls to hold a referendum , fearful of the result. I have no doubt that the Irish people , given the chance would follow the lead given by the Icelanders and dump this debt back where it belongs. But it aint gonna happen.

  41. I would agree that there is no help to expected from the current established political class. Only the people themselves can try to express their….well… it should not be opinions anymore…. it should be demands really!

  42. This is about Greece defaulting and how it will effect other EU countries. Didn’t know where else to put this – this was the most recent candidate. Some good stuff about Ireland, too. And Nazi Germany – how people kept waiting and waiting for the STHTF:

    Here’s What’s Going To Happen When Greece Defaults (published May 29th, 2011).


    Here’s the reality in Europe. Greece and Portugal are effectively shut out of the debt market without EU and ECB loans. Ireland will not be able to (nor should it!) handle the debt it has taken from the ECB to bail out its banks. If they acknowledge that debt, lenders will recognize they cannot service any new debt, and they will be shut out of the debt markets without ECB and EU guarantees.

  43. S1LU – I’m inclined to think this guy is talking sense. Recommended reading for anyone with any savings.

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