The Celtic Magic Mushroom

The Celtic tiger was put to sleep more than 2 years ago, when the economy in Ireland was shaken and stirred.  Back then, the good citizens of Ireland prepared themselves for a couple of years of tightening the belt and some unfortunately lost their jobs.  We were probably a bit naive back then, assuming the recession would only last for a few years and that the silly growth (and spending) would return to the green shores.

Out of the ashes of the burned remains of the Celtic tiger grew a Celtic Mushroom.  This would normally indicated that something is in bad decay or moist – Ireland was going down and bleeding money.  A parasite was growing, sucking all money out of the Irish economy.

More people were made redundant, shops and companies struggling and the politicians were (are) getting fatter.  Most people I know have been affected by the recession and have lost a lot of money due to changes in the annual budget; taxes, levies, pay-cuts and redundancies.

It is now official, Ireland is in financial trouble and have completed the application form to get financial assistance from the EU brethren and the IMF bad boys.  Believe me, I could have said a lot of nasty things in this paragraph, but I’ve placed some proper censorship on my keyboard.

Funnily enough, when the big boys from IMF and EU arrived, the long awaited Terminal 2 in Dublin airport magically opened, showing these Scrooge descendants where the Irish government have been spending the money.  In fairness, it’s an impressive looking architecture and it resembles the alien mother ship from “Aliens” movies.

Sunday 21 November, the fat face of the current PM of Ireland emerged on my 40″ flat screen TV, which made me choke on my coffee, and confirmed what many economists had predicted for the past few weeks.  Not trying to be smart, but I had predicted it too.

As soon as the IMF gang started to show unusual interest in Ireland and paid the country a surprise visit, it was bound to happen.  Once a country is discussed at the highest level within in EU and on the IMF radar, then you should be looking for the escape hatchet.

Look at Greece.  IMF arrived in their black limos, knocked on the Government building door and now they are being audited every 3 months.

IMF = Ireland Mighty Fucked

The more worrying, and at the same time funny bit, was that the Irish Government for several months denied that they needed help and have on numerous occasions rejected speculations that Ireland needed financial aid.  The Irish will not be ruled by another country, bank or institution.  Memories of the British occupation are all too fresh.  And they would NEVER ask for a bail-out. The economy is fine!

Now, here’s something scary to consider.  EU/IMF actually have an application form for bail-out requests.  But, how does a country fill that form in and how is it submitted?

Country: Republic of Ireland
Person(s) in Charge: Laurel and Hardy
Problem or Issue: Absolutely screwed and flawed economy - black hole effect
Request: HELP!  As much money as possible to pay for NAMA and Anglo Irish
 Bank, but roughly €90 billion at an insane loan rate.
Signed by: ...

You might wonder, “Judgebrix, how did it get this far?”

Well, here’s how I read it, in a few quick steps – and not in any priority or sequence.

  • Because of the need for accommodation in Ireland, and limited land, property developers purchased land at a very high cost.
  • The amount of money being pumped into Anglo Irish was (is) insane.  We are talking €40-50 billion, just to cover the bad debt left by property developers over-inflated loans
  • The Government failing to introduce any regulation on the banking industry, none what-so-ever, resulting in rogue bankers gambling money on the exchange
  • Bank executive lending money to themselves and friends, without declaring it or whether it was even ethical.  And no, it’s not just €10K we’re talking about, it’s millions
  • Bank executives failing to assess the risk of property developers lending huge amount of money, to finance their recent purchase of some obscure priced plot of land, in the middle of nowhere
  • Massive public sector – hoards of civil servants around each corner.  There are people managing people who manages people.  Two to three people doing the same job.  In fact, the Irish HSE (health sector) provides services to 4.5 million people, roughly the same size as Manchester (UK).  however, the HSE is 4 times bigger than the Manchester region’s health service.
  • EU regulators allowing Ireland to have un-regulated banking industry
  • EU not providing any strict policies for managing internal finances
  • 98% of the Irish population have purchased ridiculous amount of unnecessary goods and services in the past 10 years, and clocking up debt on houses, cars and other luxury goods
  • Retailers have increased prices to an all time high on most goods, forcing the public to pay above the average for basic goods.
  • The only country in Europe (probably the World) who has witnessed an explosion in the opening of shitty designer shops and an invasion of useless gadgets.  But, we happily purchased these half decent (not really, more like rubbish) products for inflated prices
  • The Irish obsession of buying a new car every year, to show the rest of the neighbourhood how well off they are … and, the cars get bigger and bigger every year – what’s wrong with a 4 year old car?

“Judgebrix, where has this left Ireland?”

To be honest, we are left in shambles.  The Government and banks have been dishing out a huge amount of I-U-Os which needs to be cashed soon.  These blank cheques and huge loans have been awarded to primarily property developers.  Because people can’t afford to buy their expensive (and often low quality) properties, the builders are not able to pay back the loans.

Yes, we are stuck in an evil catch 22.

The Government then decided to absorb the bank’s toxic debt/loans, and created the bastard offspring of a federal bank or agency called NAMA.

NAMA swallowed all the bad debt like a prostitute, hoping to make the banks somewhat stable and relieved again, but no.

Now NAMA is selling off properties at a fraction of the original sell price, or demolishes developments that are still People who bought too expensive houses, most Irish citizens, will be suffering.  Some people are experiencing negative equity as the house prices have plummeted over the past 18 months, leaving property owners with large mortgages to build and no chance of selling.

To claw back money to pay for the huge debt, the Government “kindly” introduced new levies, tax increases, reduction in child benefit, dropping minimum wage and a long list of other measures – all resulting in less income for each family.

“Judgebrix, is there a happy ending?”

Well, in the near future, no.  We just have to bite the bullet and keep the spirits high.  It.’s somewhat pointless to hurl abuse at politicians and call for an election.  No matter what, the economy is i bits and we need to recover from the wasteland left by the rogue bankers and incompetent politicians.  We got to stick together and make the most of it.

A lot of young people have or are leaving Ireland, which means that we in a few years will suffer a brain-drain, but it will also mean that the ones that stayed will have survived the worst economic crisis since the first coin was minted 2200 years ago.

The IMF dream-team and EU mini gods (in their own eyes) have rubber stamped the Irish Government’s budget plans for the next 4 years, which look fairly bleak.

Here’s the summary version of National Recovery Plan – Summary

For the hard core economic nerds, here’s a full list of the initiatives invented, National Recovery Plan – Full.

As one of my friends said, you can only laugh about it and keep a cool head.  You could create a TV show called “I’m the PM … get me out of Ireland!”

One of the best headlines I saw was “Useless Gobshites”, with a picture of the front benchers of the Government.

“Oh man, this is shite!”

Well, we can always just pretend that we ate a magic mushroom and that the last two years were simply a bad dream.  We wake up having spent two years with Brian Cowen in Pixie-land, singing songs of golden showers with Brian Lenihan, while Mary Harney does body building with Sly.

On the other hand, is this the matrix and does this World exist?  Can we not just insert another quarter and try again?  Surely, can we get three tries?


We are not doing so bad after all 🙂  (read this blog too)


  1. Really love it Judgebrix – great stuff – pixie land – classic! – keep it up – I am on a bus as I have an exam in the city and my head is wrecked – this cheered me up – a comprehensive overview with humour ! Harney body building with sly !! Classic

    • glad you liked it. I’m sure your TV show idea/concept “I’m an Irish politician get me out of here…” will be very popular. Say hi to Harney down in Ben Dunne’s gym 🙂

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