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Personal insolvency, the ECB, and the shallowness of much political debate

If you had tried to follow the debate on the bill reforming personal bankruptcy in Ireland, what would you have learned over the last few weeks? From the opposition you’d have learned that awful Alan Shatter wants to take away people’s wedding rings, and from Alan Shatter you’d have learned that we had a massive [...]

We need to talk about Brian

The Irish Times is building on the foundation work of Gavin Sheridan and Karl Whelan and has determined that there are three letters from the ECB to Ireland in the critical October-November 2010 period. The odd thing is that none of them correspond to the date cited by Brian Lenihan in his BBC Radio 4 [...]

Frankfurt has noticed

Germany’s man at the ECB, Jörg Asmussen, during a tough speech in Athens today: It is difficult to ask voters in a country where average public sector wages are around €1000 per month, like in Estonia or Slovakia, to lend to a country where those wages are on average around €3000. The same holds true [...]

No, Finland did not say NAMA was a good idea

Bloomberg News story on Ireland’s lessons for Spain – Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said on June 11 that Spain should split up some lenders, with some loans dispatched to a bad bank, as Ireland did. Actual quote from Finnish PM via Bloomberg News 3 days earlier – “The unhealthy banks should be brought down [...]

If NAMA was a bank

Whether we vote Yes or No on the fiscal treaty referendum, we’ll still have a shambles of a property market when it’s over. With the Central Bank recently publishing new data about the weakness in residential mortgages, its useful to look at one of the key drivers of the property market i.e. valuations.

The IMF option sailed with the Lisbon treaty

It’s an interesting day on the Irish Times opinion page as Vincent Browne and Terence McDonough set out the anti-Yes position on the fiscal treaty, specifically regarding whether Ireland will still have recourse to the IMF outside the European Stability Mechanism. It’s clear that technically, as an IMF member country, it will. But leave aside [...]

Iceland, again

The IMF has published a self-evaluation of its massive lending program to Iceland — a program which Iceland has now exited. Although a little technical, it’s an interesting read, but of course the people who should read it — the Irish Department of Finance types who mocked Iceland in 2009-2010 — won’t. There are two [...]

Worse than Oliver Cromwell

After 3000+ pages of the Mahon Tribunal Report, one finding is clear: it’s all the fault of Denis O’Brien. Soon it will come out that he was in the room on the night of the bank guarantee. Anyway, following quickly on the Sunday Independent’s line, the Irish Times has another anti-Denis scoop: A FRENCH company [...]

Mario on the referendum

Draghi, not Rosenstock. Here’s the President of the European Central Bank in an interview with the Wall Street Journal discussing the fiscal compact: Many things have happened in Europe in the last year and a half. You have different countries that have different initial conditions–high debt, low growth countries and countries with low debt and [...]

NAMA: Not just Ireland’s problem anymore

From Bank of England’s Financial Stability Report.  Illustrated here is that when it comes to deleveraging — banks dumping loans to shrink their balance sheets — NAMA is up there with the biggest of the European banks.  Indeed, for this purpose, NAMA is best seen as being like a massively overextended large European bank, banks [...]

No to (Adult) Prostitution Ban

Recent months have seen the issue of prostitution come to prominence as the Presidential election approaches. A disturbing parallel with the Lisbon debate is evident in the near unanimity of the political and intellectual ‘Establishment’ for a blind support of traditional policy approaches. How can someone simultaneously claims the mantle of liberalism while also attempting [...]

The revolution will not be hurried

IMF statement on the US$3 billion loan for Egypt – A number of fundamental structural reforms, including the transition to a VAT-like consumption tax and reform of the highly inequitable and costly system of subsidies, are needed to improve the efficiency of public spending and help reduce the fiscal deficit in the medium term. We [...]

Cross-border banking not what it used to be

Wall Street Journal article with an interesting bit of news – Last fall, the [UK] FSA [Financial Services Authority] successfully pushed the Bank of Ireland to convert its U.K. operations from a branch into a subsidiary that required more capital, according to people familiar with the matter. The agency also required the U.K. subsidiary of Allied Irish Banks [...]

What do we know from Nyberg that we didn’t know before?

With the trilogy of Lenihan-era reports into Ireland’s financial collapse now completed (Regling-Watson, Honohan, and now Nyberg), there is now a lot of good information from which to draw.  But if you were hoping that completion of the trilogy meant something on the order of Return of the Jedi in terms of closure, you’d be [...]

Dept of Finance admits bamboozlement by Bank of Ireland on bonuses

At this pace of news dumps, we’re going to need a bigger Dumpster.  Today it’s the report into why Brian Lenihan misled Chris Andrews in response to his parliamentary question about the payment of bonuses at Bank of Ireland (the same question triggered the AIB bonus row).  First, a digression.   Let’s suppose you were considering [...]

They never said No Minister

Brian Lenihan has finally released his favourite selective leak document of the last couple of months, the independent review into the capacity of the Dept of Finance and its performance over the last 10 years.  As the Minister — fresh from his Alamo stand for Fianna Fail in Dublin — says The Minister appointed the [...]

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