Tag: Ireland

Name the country at the end of the rainbow!

Wednesday, 14 March, 2012

“Here’s something you probably didn’t know: X today is the richest country in the European Union after Luxembourg.” Baffled by the location of X? Try these clues: “Yes, the country that for hundreds of years was best known for emigration, tragic poets, famines, civil wars and leprechauns today has a per capita G.D.P. higher than […]

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Side by side: John Lynch & John Talbot

Sunday, 4 March, 2012

John Lynch emigrated from Ireland to France in 1691 and his son Thomas founded the Château Lynch-Bages winery in Bordeaux in 1749. Some 200 years later, Jean-Charles Cazes bought the estate and it’s been owned and run by the Cazes family since then. Sir John Talbot, Governor of Aquitaine and Earl of Shrewsbury, acquired what […]

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The austerity referendum

Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

Ireland’s domestic economy is in a truly dreadful state. The IMF forecasts growth of 0.5 per cent, while Citigroup predicts shrinkage of one per cent. Home prices continue to slump, the unemployment rate has climbed to 14.5 percent and emigration has returned to 1980s levels. Meanwhile, the government is pushing through huge cuts in public […]

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The EU North-South divide extends to innovation

Wednesday, 8 February, 2012

Sweden is the highest-ranked EU member state in this year’s Innovation Union Scoreboard, revealed yesterday by the European Commission. But Europe’s most innovative nation, Switzerland, is outside the EU, and the Union trails noticeably behind the United States, Japan and South Korea in the innovation race. After Sweden, the three highest EU countries on the […]

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Boomerang is a sad book, as well as a funny and enlightening one

Wednesday, 14 December, 2011

“The widely shared analysis in Ireland is that the disaster was caused by an unholy trinity of bankers, politicians, and house-builders, and involved a great deal of systematic corruption on the part of all three (especially over issues such as rezoning land). Lewis is gentler on the banker’s at the heart of the crash than the Irish themselves are: he thinks that the bubble ‘wasn’t as cynical’ as in other countries. The people indulging in the speculation genuinely believed that they were going to get rich. It was a bubble of greed and stupidity and excess, but not one in which the rich systematically stole from the poor. Perhaps the numbers are so bad that no more grimness needs to be troweled on:”

“A single bank, Anglo Irish, which, two years before, the Irish government claimed was suffering from a ‘liquidity problem,’ confessed to losses of 34 billion euros. To get a sense of how ’34 billion euros’ sounds to Irish ears, an American thinking in dollars needs to multiply it by roughly one hundred: $3.4 trillion. And that was for a single bank. As the sum total of loans made by Anglo Irish Bank, most of it to property developers, was only 72 billion euros, the bank had lost nearly half of every dollar it invested.”

“When the Irish banks collapsed, the state stepped in and guaranteed not just the deposits of their customers, but all the banks’ liabilities. Nobody knows quite why they covered the losses of the bondholders who had lent money to these fundamentally broken companies: but they did, and the promise in turn bankrupted Ireland, leading directly to a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout. The fallout is going to dominate life in Ireland for years.”

From “How We Were All Misled” by John Lanchester in the current issue of the New York Review of Books.