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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 [...]

Government balks at removal of property-based tax reliefs

In a news dump that would impress Andy Coulson, the government clearly put the word around yesterday that it would not be implementing the abolition of the so-called “Section 23″ property tax reliefs and this is confirmed in the Friday afternoon release of the Finance Bill, which was already overdue.  Specifically, according to the Minister’s [...]

The central bank and the mortgage drug

What is an Irish Mortgage-Backed Promissory Note?  Below the fold, some thoughts — on what may be old news — about this question.

69.6 percent of us partied

One wonders if election posters working around the Brian Lenihan on Primetime claim that “we all partied” are already being printed up.  By coincidence, the CSO has released the numbers from the 2009 survey of household income and living conditions.  This survey appears to be a critical source of  information on trends in household income [...]

Here comes the welfare cuts

The Department of Finance has news dumped an analysis of “Replacement Rates and Unemployment” while everyone is waiting for the 12 Days of Christmas deal with the public sector unions to be finalized.  The replacement rate is defined as the percentage of potential disposable income in a job that could be retained by a household [...]

Is is time to think again about housing?

  EU comparisons are fascinating and can tell us quiet a lot about ourselves. Be it that we do not have the most generous unemployment benefit in the EU. Or be it that we do not have a high crime rate in Ireland.  Or be it that we have the third highest owner occupier rate in the EU. 

Stop the Blasphemy bill

Alarmingly for those of us who value Western freedoms including freedom of speech, the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, has revealed his intention to make “blasphemous libel” a crime, punishable by a fine of €100,000. From the Irish Times:

Government to become a Sub-Prime Lender after the Budget

Over at the Property Pin they have been digging away at the proposals in yesterday’s budget for affordable housing provision. The website set up ( appears to suggest the government is steppign into subprime mortgages for those refused by banks and building societies as well as stipulating the houses purchased come from the 35,000-50,000 new, [...]

House Prices Down 11%

From RTE New figures from property website show the average house price is now €312,500. It says an average fall of 3.8% in house prices was recorded between July and September. This means that prices are down by almost 11% compared to the same period last year. This is compared to a fall of [...]

It’s an excellent time to buy a house in Manchester

With Gordon Brown’s one year stamp duty land tax holiday on properties costing £175,000 or less (up from £125,000), the differential between stamp duty on house purchases between the UK and Republic of Ireland is now even sharper.  The zero rate in Ireland is only up to €125,000 and then goes to 7%, the highest [...]

The Legacy Of Bertie Ahern

The time of the departure of Bertie Ahern has now been announced. What of his legacy, his place in Irish history? Here are some points that might be considered.

Irish Journalisim: Just Another Vested Interest

The bankers reassure us that “new lending continues to moderate in a mortgage market that is still growing in overall terms.” Translated, this means that people, mostly young people seeking their first home, are flocking to buy houses at prices they regard as realistic. (Irish Independent editorial, 14 February, 2008) So. The spinning continues. The [...]

78,000 Housing Completions Last Year

What crisis? The construction sector completed over 78,000 residences last year which is a little above analyst expectation but below the 2006 figure of 90,000+. So are we all over-egging this a bit?

The best is yet to come*

Newstalk’s Marc Coleman has a nice perch on the Financial Times comment page today to outline his fairly optimistic long-term view of the Irish economy despite the current property downturn.  His essential argument, to be outlined in more detail in his book, is that Ireland has two key assets for its long-term growth prospects: people [...]

The Sunday Independent: The Comical Paddies of Irish Journalism

The housing market is beginning to show initial and tentative signs of recovery, with prices expected to rise again outside Dublin before the end of 2008. Since the reform of stamp duty by Finance Minister and Tanaiste Brian Cowen in the Budget on December 5, there have been initial indications that, although the slump has [...]

Mainstream Irish Media Smells Of Cement

More than 266,322 houses, flats and holiday homes lie vacant in the Republic — enough to house a million people, the Sunday Independent has learned. Housing Minister Batt O’Keeffe claimed two weeks ago that much of the present problems in the housing market was caused by rogue builders who are “sitting” on finished properties as [...]

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