Time is up for Cowen and his woeful band

 

HEART BEAT:Cost of Anglo bailout is the final straw for Government, writes MAURICE NELIGAN

JAMES CLARENCE Mangan had surely the right of it, in his Vision of Connachtin the Thirteenth Century. With apologies to him for alterations, his dream might well describe the era of the Celtic Tiger.

“Then saw I thrones and circling fires

And a dome rose near me as by a spell

Whence flowed the tones of silver

lyres

And many voices in wreathed spell;

And their thrilling chime fell on mine ears

As the heavenly hymn of an

angel-band –

‘It is now the time, these be the years

Of Bertie Ahern and his merry band’.”

Last week as part of our mandatory three miles, the HA and I parked near the East Link bridge on a Saturday morning and walked up the river bank. There was an open-air market beside the O2 and we ventured on the Dublin Wheel. This provided an excellent view across the bay and up the Liffey.

Off we went, to the new conference centre, which is something special, and then crossed the Beckett Bridge and wandered down by the Grand Canal Theatre and finally back to recross the river, passing the skeleton of the postulated new headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank. There is talk of Nama providing the monies to finish this building but I don’t think that this should happen under any circumstances. The grim skeleton should be left as a stark reminder to hubris and unsustainable folly.

Last week we learned that the final cost of bailing out Anglo and beggaring us and our children may, in a worst case scenario, rise to almost €35 billion. This would seemingly arise if commercial property values did not appreciate considerably from their present depressed state. This is considered unlikely by those who have got just about everything else wrong.

There are very many empty commercial buildings and apartments in this docklands area. This situation is not confined to this area alone – it is replicated throughout Dublin and the rest of the country. Just who do these authorities feel will materialise to occupy these greedy acres of empty units? We have enough built to satisfy any future needs; indeed we have far too many and we’re stuck with them. The inflated values and astronomical rents envisaged are things of the past.

Accordingly, this unqualified little observer feels that the woeful debts revealed to us are very much on the conservative side. I feel the true situation is likely to be worse. I think we delude ourselves to think that our economy is going to recover soon. Furthermore, this unqualified little observer thinks we may never regain the halcyon, hedonistic days of the recent deluded past; for truth to tell, we should never have been there.

Our Minister of Finance, a star turn in this debacle, put myself and others firmly in our boxes in a recent speech, when he referred to the fact that the Irish media had a number of Renaissance men and women in their midst, and that the country was very lucky in that respect. He suggested, however, that the cobblers should stick to their lasts and leave these problems to those specialised in these areas. What patronising nonsense this is. He might consider taking a look at the havoc wreaked by the irresponsible bankers, unscrupulous developers and the total failure of regulation. We must mention, of course, the Government whose crazy system of tax breaks fuelled the national bonfire.

This little observer was a mere surgeon but he arrogantly thinks that he was blessed with common sense, as were very many of his fellow citizens. But you knew better and look where we are now. You and your colleagues were central players in this destruction. It is time for you to go.

Mangan’s visionary walked on:

“I sought the hall and behold! . . . a

change

From light to darkness, from joy to

woe!

King, nobles all, looked aghast and

strange,

The minstrel-group sate in dumbest

show!

Had some great crime wrought this

dread amaze

This terror? None seemed to

understand!

It was then the time, we were in the

days

Of Brian Cowen and his woeful

band.”