Talking property


We're counting the cost of our seven deadly sins, says Isabel Morton

WRATH MAY be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. These feelings can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self-denial. (Wikipedia - the seven deadly sins)

Ring any bells? Chances are that you, along with the rest of the nation, gleefully indulged in some, if not all, of the seven deadly sins over the last decade or so.

Our nation’s relatively brief experience of economic growth and financial success introduced us to the decadent delights of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy and pride.

It didn’t take the Irish long to realise that financial success was within our grasp and by the mid 1990s we were soon lusting after all the trappings that money could buy.

Signs of gluttony were discovered by Dublin Corporation (in the days before recycling) when rubbish bins were overflowing with empty bottles as we celebrated our success.

It also became imperative to be seen dining in the right establishments, those which served minimum food for maximum prices. Quantities of food diminished as quantities of alcohol and other mind-altering substances increased.

By the late 1990s Dublin 6 and Sandymount were considered acceptable addresses, as properties for sale on Ailesbury and Shrewsbury were rare, as the professionals were hanging on to their homes for dear life.

But it was not long before the sinners multiplied and went forth to south Co Dublin where they joined golf and yacht clubs and enjoyed sea views and large gardens. They first invaded Killiney and Dalkey and later spread to Sandycove, Glenageary and Monkstown. Eventually the Dublin 4 sinners met the south county sinners in Blackrock, where those who couldn’t quite make up their minds now reside.

As soon as they had purchased the period residence of their dreams, they set about gutting, extending and renovating. Anorexic wives greedily competed with each other for the newest designer fittings and the largest of ballroom kitchens. Not that any of them had any intention of cooking in them of course.

And then they became lazy and slothful because, well, because they could. After all they now had “overseas staff” to attend to those nasty little boring jobs, so why ruin one’s nails or exhaust oneself unnecessarily.

But owning one property was never going to be quite good enough and soon the sin of envy came to light in the early 2000s when it became known that all the best people had a flat in Chelsea or South Ken, a bijou pad in Paris, an apartment overlooking Central Park, a frontline (golf) villa in Portugal and a frontline (sea) villa on the Côte D’Azur.

And it was all toddling along quite nicely for a while, indeed the Irish were becoming quite used to the good life and all that went with it. They prided themselves on having dragged themselves out of the gutter and now felt that they could compete with the best of them. But pride always comes before a fall. And fall they did, and from a great height. And it was very sore.

So it’s now time for wrath. And boy! Are we angry these days. The entire Irish nation is in a state of angst. It’s bewildered, confused, impotent and frustrated. But most of all, it’s bloody angry. An anger that derives from feeling used, abused, fooled and duped. An anger exacerbated by embarrassment, shame and humiliation.

Directed at everyone including the Brians, the budget, the builders and the banks, we are ranting, raging and roaring. But behind it all, Irish people are most of all angry with themselves.

We ignored the warning signs. We never queried or questioned. We let it happen. And now we are desperately looking around for someone to blame. Some call for another general election, despite knowing that it would make zero difference. Others march in the streets, write letters to newspaper editors and make irate phone calls to radio chat shows.

And a few sad, sorry and conveniently anonymous property bloggers have nothing better to do than turn cyberspace red with their bitching and berating of everything and everyone, yet have not got the guts to put their names to their tirades.

We scream for heads to roll and bank directors to be fired. So what then? The people fired from one financial institution will just be hired by another. As per a game of musical chairs, one or two may not sit down again, but most will run around in a circle and find another comfortable seat, much the same as the one they left.

So now we will duly apologise and beg for forgiveness. We will pay our penance and be humble and contrite for a week or two before silently slipping into our sinful ways yet again. Sounds familiar?