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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 2, 2009 @ 11:40 am

    Chewing the Fat (and the Garlic) with Brian Lenihan

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Oh to be David McWilliams’s publisher! The publicity he has generated with the extracts from his new book, carried in the weekend newspapers, will have it flying off the shelves. As they say down the country, “He has a great welcome for himself.” Or alternatively: If  you don’t blow your own trumpet, nobody else will blow it for you.”

    Chewing garlic ensures they stand well back! (Photograph by Bryan O’Brien)

    Finance Minister Brian Lenihan says that, far from seeking out McWilliams for advice on the banking crisis, it was in fact D.McW. who was after him, looking for an oul’ special adviser’s position, doncha know.

    The only thing that is independently verified is that the Minister does, in fact, chew garlic. Can’t be much fun for his colleagues at Ecofin meetings.

    However, as an author myself on  a couple of occasions, I can only take my hat off to David for his brilliant publicity campaign, although Willie O’Dea got a great  jab in at him with his comment that the relationship between David McWilliams and David McWilliams would be a lifelong love affair.

    • gadfly55 says:

      Mc Williams has slipped off the edge in pursuit of attention when he recently suggested departure from the Euro, devaluation, and default as a strategy capable of reviving the economy. He will say anything for attention, and really should be living in Iceland, eating fish.

    • robespierre says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if sharpshootin’ Willy thinks it’s an original line.

      One doesn’t misquote Wilde.

    • robespierre says:

      McWilliams is right about the euro. It is locking us into debt that interest rates cannot diminish.

      My parents in the 1970′s had period of hyperinflation that reduced the value of the debt they were in because of mortgages etc.

      I am pro Europe in most of its forms but am now starting to think that entering the eurozone was a strategic blunder.

    • Liam says:

      It’s not fair, the British have Niall Ferguson and the best we can do is McWilliams. To be fair he was great on Newstalk radio when he had his own show especially since he was arguiing his corner back in 2001. He must be trying to compete with the authors of Freakonomics but he is a poor carbon copy I’m afraid and his view on leaving the euro turned me off him completely

    • Liam says:

      Rp , Its hard to know, there is nothing wrong with having a currency where the value is outside your control. The Iceland experience shows that even if your currency is backed by cod and Lazytown that they were able to create their own hell with a debt bubble financed in foreign currency. Wishing any form of hyperinflation on a minor currency with debt denominated in foreign currency would be a disaster. If the E. Europe experience is anything to go by people would have taken out mortgages in Euros which would be a double whammy.
      The major mistake was not building up a reverse to soak up excess cash in the economy for instance by pre funding the NDP and obviously allowing the banks to leverage up their balance sheets. I remember a comment by whatever prat was running the NTMA back in 2001ish when he was smugly saying that we’d have paid off the national debt before the “London” based ratings agencies would give Ireland an A rating. Unfortunately this was the calibre of people that were managing and regulating the financial system here.

    • Naysaying McWilliams?? In fairness he has been proven right on pretty much every occasion over the last couple of years. He might be a bit in your face but I’d rather listen to him than 99% of the other people in the media.
      What next, savings advice to be considered more reliable from a Rugby player or actor rather than an economist?

    • john says:

      Poor guy. Wonder was the garlic-chewing in response to personal doubts about his health i.e. the cancer.

      Brian Lenihan Sr. died of Haemochromatosis, a disease which sees iron deposited in tissues creating lots of free radicals. Hereditary Haemachromatosis runs in families.

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