The Green Budget

Many things have been and will be said and written about Budget 2011. I just want to note that income taxes, and hence labour costs, have again gone up even though export-led growth seems to be our best hope of getting out of this mess.

Much has been said too about the political astuteness of the Green Party. They did make a mark on the 2011 budget, though. There are the limited increase in university registration fees, and the rumoured preference of Metro North over Dart Underground (see the CILT review for a different opinion).

A number of exemptions, reliefs and credits were removed from the income tax code. A new one was introduced: Income tax relief for energy efficient measures in houses. Up to 10,000 euro can be deducted at the standard rate, for a tax credit of up to 2,000 euro. The cost in 2011 (to be paid in 2012) is estimated to be 30 mln euro, so at least 15,000 households are expected to avail of this.

Note that the carbon tax is still there, and the subsidies for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy were not removed. We thus moved from triple regulation to quadruple regulation.

The capital allowance for energy efficiency equipment for firms has been extended too, at an estimated cost of 6 mln euro.

I would not have introduced those measures (+36 mln). I would have cut the subsidies for green energy (+170 mln). I would have removed the exemption of coal and peat from the carbon tax (+150 mln). 350 mln euro is not a lot, but every little helps.

44 replies on “The Green Budget”

While I view the Greens as something of a Kleptocracy, I don’t think it can be said they have a preference for the Metro over and above the DART Underground. They have an even number of Deputies on both lines.

Unfortunately it seems to me that neither project can continue in present circumstances.

Bismarck said that politics is the art of the possible. The optimal choice of policies has to be tempered by the likelihood of public acceptance. So it may take an insulation subsidy to make a carbon tax viable and it may take an income tax rise to qualify for a last resort IMF-EFSF loan. Tax rates may change in future and subsidies may be dropped.

Metro North is claiming a 2.0 BCR vs a supposed 2.5 BCR for DART Underground but the Metro is 2 years ahead of the DART project in planning and the allocation to keep the Metro alive for next year is just 75m. Metro North has the advantage of EIB loan approval which may make it more politically feasible with our European creditors. The 10yr sovereign yields will have to fall before a PPP is possible at a good price.

The utter economic madness of either/both MN or DT is just that, utter economic madness. Mind you, I would argue that the promoters of these two schemes are very loss-averse and will attempt any and all risky options in order to get their preference. Very sad!

We DO need railways. Public transport of choice in the age of declining fossil fuels etc. So upgrade what we already have (sunk cost and all!) and extend to rural areas with good farm prospects and especially around the costal periphery – areas where we can expect population increases. Go look at the excellent rail network we had in early 1900s.

If anyone is dopey enough to expect the Greater Dublin Area and its exurbs in Meath Kildare and Wicklow to remain as is … … I rest my case.


I would not have introduced those measures (+36 mln). I would have cut the subsidies for green energy (+170 mln).

Last I heard, Ireland imported most of its fossil fuels.

Last I heard, peak oil was still on. It would be plenty obvious were it not for the world recession.

Richard, you’re assuming that higher income taxes increase labour costs i.e. that some of the incidence is on employers. That seems reasonable enough but its actually complicated. The usual rules about incidence (elasticities etc) are for full employment, but Ireland looks pretty non-Walrasian so its much less clear how its going to work.
A further issue is that marginal and average taxes have changed. These can have opposite effects on wages: in simple terms increases in the average tax rate increase wage pressure (as workers seek to compensate for lost earnings). Increases in marginal tax rates tend to decrease wage pressure: if you keep less of the marginal € you have less incentive to increase wages. There is a nice paper on this by Lockwood & Manning, J Public Economics 1993.

Points well taken. In the short term, few would dare ask for a raise. In the medium term, many will. Note that internationally mobile people have been priced back into the labour market abroad.

@ Brian Woods
“The utter economic madness of either/both MN or DT is just that, utter economic madness. Mind you, I would argue that the promoters of these two schemes are very loss-averse and will attempt any and all risky options in order to get their preference. ”

Yes, Noel Dempsey has managed to exempt the vicinity of Metro North with planning allowances for new properties to evade the height registers on all Dublin buildings – they may build 6-9 floors. [XXXXXX] evidently engaged in related property dealing extensively in relation to his road building plans. We may remember that farmland along the Tara M3 was changing hands (and not among farmers) for some years previous to the passage of that road.

@ Richard

I would project based on my Richard Productivity model that you are going to become about 30% more efficient as a researcher when the greens get obliterated in the upcoming general election.

Energy efficiency is an energy policy initiative, not a climate policy initiative, so nothing to do with the carbon tax, also little to do with renewables. So not where you’re getting quadruple regulation from.

Also you add +36 from tax take forgone, omitting that many of the investments wouldn’t have taken place without the tax break in the first place.

On transport infrastructure, Dart underground is clearly the more worthy project. Government have prioritized metro north. FF have 78ish seats, the Greens have 6. The Minister for Transport is FF.


Energy efficiency is an energy policy initiative, not a climate policy initiative, so nothing to do with the carbon tax, also little to do with renewables. So not where you’re getting quadruple regulation from.

Energy efficiency as a policy end in itself is a strange thing to subsidise. If the energy-efficient capital/pracitices are financially worthwhile, people would do it without subsidies (subsidies would add further to the incentive and cause financially inefficient energy efficiency investments to also become profitable). If they’re not financially worthwhile, why subsidise them (if it’s about efficiency, not carbon)?


What??? You would end peat subsidies for the most inefficient form of power generation known to mankind? And in the Taoiseach’s back garden?? But that might annoy some voters in Offaly and reduce Cowen’s majority from 78,516 to 77,008.

@ Marcus

The investments have been demonstrated in countless studies to have positive NPV to society. The prevalent market failures are well understood.
See, for example,

The co-benefits of energy efficiency investment aside from energy savings include reduced import dependence, job creation in labour intensive sector at a time of crisis and massive unemployment in the construction sector, health benefits, increased comfort and value of homes, and yes, reduced emissions.

Ignoring the co-benefits of policy interventions is easy, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Baldwin (1975) put import substitution to bed.

Jobs are best created by reducing labour costs, not by subsidizing energy technology.

The SEAI study shows no impact of the Warmer Homes subsidies on health, comfort, or emissions.

@ Taylor: “Last I heard, Ireland imported most of its fossil fuels.

Last I heard, peak oil was still on. It would be plenty obvious were it not for the world recession.”

Correct on both counts. I cannot understand – or perhaps I could if I took a contrarian tack, why these issues are not topics of posts and discussion on this site. Access to energy and aggegrate economic growth are two sides of the same coin – access to energy down, economic activity down.

And another thing – it is dispiriting to read about the ‘money cost’ of energy when the real debate must be about the ‘energy cost’ of energy. Hence any ‘money’ incentives in respect of energy use, production of secondary energy sources and energy conservation are completely misleading.

These issues about energy may appear topics more suited to the technical discussions over at theOilDrum site, but they do have direct and immediate relevance to us now and we should be reading about them.

Sustainability is another topic which seems to produce inadequate, unstructured and confusing commentaries. Sustainability means that you have to have an annual, incremental REDUCTION in aggregate economic output. So what are the implications of this for debt repayments?

Aside: [If you have formed the opinion that I am suffering from post-budget trauma – you’re right!]. Cheers.



Appreciate the link, but thats a 224-page document so I won’t be able to respond based on that for now. It does look interesting though.

I see what you’re saying, but I still disagree. I don’t think reduced import dependence is helpful in its own right.

Comfort and property values are surely best improved by private investment. Re the health benefits, I can see that for the elderly poor and other specifically ‘at-risk’ groups, but otherwise it seems rather a blunt instrument with which to improve public health.

Regarding job creation, I’d be interested to know how many jobs this is expected to create. I’d initially suspect the cost per job is quite high.

@Brian Woods

Metro North and DART Underground are NOT economic madness. Both projects are vital and essential elements of any future public transport infrastructure in our capital city. Both projects have passed any cost-benefit analysis made of them and their business cases stand up. They are the height of economic sense and they are critical in reducing congestion in our capital city which costs us €2 billion a year. The real economic madness is to oppose the very things which will eliminate this and make Dublin a far more competitive city internationally.

Your point on expanding rail infrastructure is valid, but it is completely unfeasible without DART Underground or Metro North. Connolly is currently congested and lacks the capacity to increase services beyond what it has. DART Underground solves this by diverting DART services at Clontarf and putting them in a tunnel which emerges beyond Heuston. DART Underground is also essential as it facilitates a real Dublin Area Rapid Transit. With DART Underground we will be able to create 2 DART lines running from Maynooth to Bray and Drogheda to Kildare Town. This will deliver a commuter rail service not just to coastal Dublin as it currently stands, but the whole Greater Dublin Area.

Metro North is also essential as it connects Swords, Ballymun, DCU and the Airport to the city centre and creates a transport corridor from Brides Glen to Swords in Dublin. This corridor is essential for all future development plans in Fingal which will create up to 37,000 jobs there. Dublin Airport is currently 1 of only 2 of the 20 busiest airports in Europe without a rail link. This must change. Ballymun has been waiting for a rail line since the 1960s. This must change. Swords has been short-changed with a poor bus service as its only public transport option. This must change. The only way to change all of these is to progress with Metro North. As Joan Burton said, Metro North is a no-brainer.

If only 2 things are to happen in Dublin in the next 10 years, it should be Metro North and DART Underground.

@ Brian Woods

From an economics perspective, “peak oil” can be viewed very differently. If you have the time I strongly recommend this James Smith paper.

To my mind, the only reason Metro North has nudged ahead of the Malahide-Hazelhatch DART is a perception that RPA gets things done and is less likely to strike (although they have yielded up the LUAS no-strike clause).

Of course, if the 106 million Euro dropped on Ennis-Athenry at the behest of western FFers had been spent on accelerating projects in Greater Dublin (and I can think of at least five) not only would that have carried more passengers per Euro invested but it would have presented IE as having its priorities right.

@ Richard

The Warmer Homes Scheme is a FUEL POVERTY ALLEVIATION scheme. How many times am I going to be required to point this out to you? Or that your colleagues in ESRI have been describing energy efficiency (and I quote) as the “sine que non” of energy policy, in fact I think you co-authored the paper, (working paper 262??), apologies of this is not correct – don’t have time to check right now.

If you are interested in the findings of a proper study into the impacts of this kind of programme, see:

-better mental health
– alleviating respiratory problems among children
– reduced winter mortality among elderly (“cost-effective” in extending life”)
– very positive subjective responses
– reduced fuel poverty
– possible environmental benefits

The report you quote is very flawed and anyway did not reach the conclusions you cite. But I know you just want to score political points, so don’t let me get in the way.

@ MArcus

Fair enough. Just have a quick scan of any marginal abatement cost curve ever constructed – that won’t take so long.

The reason homeowners don’t capture the benefits is because of the all-pervasive market failures. I think exchequer funding should be kept to a minimum and used to leverage private investment. Once there is traction in market, gov can withdraw, but the market for retrofit is in its infancy. The employment potential I have estimated at 30,000 in Ireland (as have several other studies).

@ cathal: Thanks for your considered response. I have formed the opinion that you and I are at almost opposite poles on the issue of MN and DT. Not to worry. Unfortunately I am somewhat pressed for time, otherwise I would reply to you at some length.

1. Dublin is not Ireland!

2. Dublin and its exurbs will suffer a significant decline when transport fuels get unaffordable. And they will.

3. Heavy rail is best form of public trans outside urban areas.

4. Re: point 2. Countrywide road transport will come under significant pressure also.

4. Air transport (which requires a kerosene distillate) is in even a worse position.

Thanks again.

@ MarcusOc: Thanks for the ref. Will access it as soon as I can.


If the aim is to alleviate fuel poverty, then you should raise incomes and reduces energy prices. Subsidies for energy technologies are a roundabout way to achieve your goal.

The Warmer Homes Scheme is a FUEL POVERTY ALLEVIATION scheme.

Sure, fire away and change the goalposts. I’ve just consulted the link you refer to. It states on page 11:

Fuel consumption actually rose on average after Warm Front measures (figure 15) against the 60% reduction predicted by the government’s preferred model.


Now, do you think the programme would have been adopted if the government had correctly predicted an increase in energy consumption?

@Brian Woods
Spot on re peak oil. Though I’ve more or less decided to think ‘inside the box’ on that issue here. Talking to the wall soon becomes frustrating and pointless.

Any scenario that factors in possible restraints on economic growth caused by rising energy prices seems to be out of bounds. ‘Peak’ anything in this intellectual environment is a four-letter word.

MN and Dart U/G could continue on a Design/Build/Operate basis with the winning bidder funding and operating for ten years. There would be no burden on the gov’t until the contract buyout kicked in at the end of the contract. There is a matter of projected revenue and whether the gov’t guarantees a revenue level. This is the type of arrangement a near bankrupt gov’t can enter into to boost employment for five years or so.

@ MarcusOC: Re: J Smith: World Oil: Market or mayhem?

Thanks for the paper. Some dodgey points buried in the text.

1. There are NO chemical substitutes for liquid fossil fuels – not on this planet anyhow.

2. Very few (reliable) oil reserve stats are available: Shipping vols and imports are proxies. The amounts of recoverable reserves posted by ME countries are a complete fabrication.

3. No mention of Export-land Model of fossil fuel extraction, production and availability. Might not have been available when paper was being wrtitten.

4. Seems to believe supply and demand are related to price! Sorry, supply is directly related to EIORI! Energy units in:Energy units out. Cardinal mistake, but most easily made by econs. Supply curve is a ‘hockey stick’ with a short foot and a vertical handle. Can supply ‘shift’ out? Possibly, but with considerable difficulty. Demand shifts are more likely.

5. Alternative energy sources. Yep, but you have to build them out, maintain and repair them – and guess what you need for that? Can’t fly commercial aircraft on electricity.

6. Backstop (p18 and p20) What is that???

7. Critique of Hubbard. Some valid points, but industry experts have modified the original so that it is now more realistic – less inaccurate! Hubbard has been subjected to the most searching technical and mathematical questioning.

8. The Coal Question: see Albert Bartlett (Am J Phys. 46 (9) 1978, 876-888). About 70yr supply is all!

9. Real dillies! Saudi will run out of customers if ‘price’ is too high’. Not if the customers are guys (and gals) dressed in camoflage and carrying AK99s or the equivalent! Try to model what would happen if SA shut down exports (they have an exponentially increasing domestic demand). MO’Ls toys might have to stay on the ground for a while.

10. One last little problem: The principal source of aviation kerosene is light and medium grade crudes. Its a distillate. It can be produced by ‘cracking’ and reconstitution – but that is a tad expensive wrt energy use!

Who was the econ who wrote about ‘residuals’? Now if had known about of Exergy!

Hope this is helpful. Note: I am not an expert on this subject. If anyone is interested in the predicament posed by flat or declining fossil fuel production, please consult theOilDrum site. All manner of experts contribute.



On import substitution, does it rely on free trade and how do nations using resources for strategic purposes impact on models. I’m specifically thinking of China’s recent decision to phase out the export of rare earth metals that is causing great concern in Japan and the US. It is not inconceivable that oil exporting countries may reduce exports to satisfy domestic demand regardless of market prices if/when supply becomes tight.

Can I ask if there’s any dependable data on carbon emissions for public transport? I came across figures from Network Rail Uk which suggests that, in cities, buses and private cars have similar emission levels. Anecdotally this seems reasonable as most buses routes appear to operate at well below full capacity. Apparently commuter diesel train sets are better but by a fairly narrow margin. Any references to reports in this area would be appreciated.
Interestingly none of the public transport companies publish emission data. I wonder why?

@ Colin: “It is not inconceivable that oil exporting countries may reduce exports to satisfy domestic demand regardless of market prices if/when supply becomes tight.”

Damn right they will! So we had better have some alternate means to light our homes, cook our food and pump our water or we will be in poor shape. Most people will have to live, work and access food within a bicycle ride of their home. Hence my comments above about upgrading and expanding the heavy rail network.

The first problem will appear as a road transport one (I’m guessing here). Next food prices are increasing. Goods with high energy production content will not be so readily available. Air travel will nose-dive. Shipping will expand. All in SloMo of course.

The legislators are currently transfixed and are spouting incoherent policies as they attempt to attract voters who have competing demands. Imagine what it will be like if the predicament is to ration scarce transport fuels!


@ Brian Woods.

I’m dissapointed that you are at a polar opposite to me on this issue of Metro North and DART Underground despite your professed support of rail. These are the only significant rail projects due for Ireland for the next 10 years and yet you oppose them.

I’ll respond to the points you make;

1. Dublin is not Ireland.

This is true, but Dublin is a big part of it – 1/3 of the population, 40% of the economy – and the only way Ireland is going to succeed is if Dublin is made to work well and compete internationally with the likes of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vienna etc.. Metro North and DART Underground are critical in this regard as they deliver a major improvement in public transport and congestion levels in the city. They will each enable billions of euro more economic activity to be transacted in Dublin once completed.

2. Dublin and its exurbs will suffer a significant decline when transport fuels get unaffordable. And they will.

Very true if they are left in the car-dependent mess they are currently in. However, DART Underground and Metro North will mean that about 80% of Dublin and its exurbs will be served by electric rail transport in the future. This will act as a powerful alternative to the car and deliver sustainable mass public transport to the whole Dublin region for the first time ever.

3. Heavy rail is best form of public trans outside urban areas.

I agree with you. I personally regard the train as the most civilised way to travel. However it is impossible to expand rail services in Leinster without the completion of the missing link which is DART Underground. You need look no further than the Navan Rail Line Phase 1 for proof of this. Trains from Dunboyne can only terminate at Connolly at weekends because of the congestion at this station. The Docklands station was built as an overflow to Connolly. In order to provide real commuter rail to Louth, Meath, Kildare, Dublin and Wicklow we need the DART Underground to boost capacity at Connolly, Heuston and so on.

4. Air transport (which requires a kerosene distillate) is in even a worse position.

Even if that’s true, only 10-20% of the passengers for Metro North will be provided by the airport stop. Swords, Ballymun, Glasnevin, Whitehall, DCU, the Mater Hospital, Croke Park and the city centre stops will provide plenty of passengers for Metro North because they will be attracted to its fast, reliable and high-capacity nature.

Somebody around here was Tolborging about Danish wind power recently. I see that Tim Lambert is helping to unravel the lie:

Lloyd tells us that the assessment is “controversial”, but doesn’t tell us why, so I asked Henrik Lund, a professor in the Department of Development and Planning at Aalborg University. He told me that author of the study had admitted that there were mistakes in the study and that has been commissioned and paid for by the American coal and oil lobby. Lund et al have written a scientific report correcting the errors in the CEPOS study

@ Cathal. Thank you again for you considered response. I appreciate you taking the time and effort.

Yes, we are on opposites of this matter, but that is fine. My frame of reference is based on our future energy predicament – its not looking rosey. I also have grave misgivings about the long-term survival of such a large population ‘bulge’ around Dublin. We will not be able to feed and water the citizens – adequately anyway.

I respectfully suggest we quitely abandon any further expansion (of anything) within the Pale – and shift our efforts to developments along the southern and southwestern costal regions and the mid-southern farmland belt. Plant continuous forests on a line north of Dundalk – Sligo and all upland areas that are suitable.

Move Gov to – Spike Island seems to be free at the moment. Location seems appropriate, and they can even take that item where Lord Nelson used to be! Apologies for sarcasm – mad as hell about the Budget!

Thanks again for you comments. This debate is most useful.


@ Brian Woods

That’s quite some reply! I can’t take too much time away from work, but here’s a few responses:

1. Fair enough. While since I read that paper, so not sure what he was saying about that.

2. I agree regarding the ME stats, they likely inflate to increase their quotas. A complete fabrication is a bit much though. The BP satatistical review seems a very reasonable place to find data. (Ijust emailed a friend in the industry to see what he makes of their reserve estimates, I’ll post back if it’s interesting)

3. Never heard of it. Will check it out.

4. I think what he is getting at in the article is that when one considers the excess capacity of the OPEC countries, supply is not quite so fixed and could shift (far faster than the majors, who go to more effort and risk for their oil, can).

5. I see what you mean, but it’s likely price will eventually be so high that oil will only be used for such essentials (i.e. things we cannot replace it for) well before we “run out” (I don’t believe that will happen, rather extraction will get too expensive to be worth drilling for).

6. Backstop is any unlimited (within reason) resource that can replace oil (in this case). For example, wind electricity could theoretically replace most oil demand in the long-run, but at massive cost (because it would be inefficient). So you set a backstop price at that level. It’s the price at which oil becomes so ludicrously expensive to get that we don’t even want it any more.

7. It was my first and last view of Hubbard. I’ll try read a bit more on it at some point.

8. I don’t remember what he said about coal.

9. I think he hits the nail on the head when discussing Saudi’s strategy. Their prices do a lot to turn us away from oil and towards alternatives. I doubt war with Saudi (a fairly tough nut, I suspect) for oil would pass a cost-benefit-analysis.

10. The emergence of large flexible refineries like the Reliances should likely ensure that even with sour heavy crudes jet kero will be supplied adequately. Also, the refining capacity in the West seems too high, so netback should stay low. I’d have expected that the aviation industry would have more trouble with carbon prices than kerosene.

Back to work…

@MarcusOC: Great reply. Get back to you later – have some exam prep to get through!

Best regards,



Well done for your analysis.

Brian Woods,

Dublin City region is just about the only competitive card left for Ireland to play in our battle with Singapore, Manchester, Stockholm and others for inward investment.

The West is not entitled and you cannot ‘will’ the Midlands to grow. FDI will want to go to where it has access to transport, universities, labour etc. The political elite are finally cottoning on to this fact (after many incredulous CFO’s have baulked at the prospect of being shoe-horned into ballygobackwards

Building railways to low density rural locations at the expense of developing competitive rail infrastructure in Dublin is the modern day equivalent of De Valera’s insular economic policies – replete with ‘comely maidens dancing at the cross roads’.

I would suggest you read the work of Conor Skehan in DIT on this issue – if all copies of his eminently sensible findings haven’t been buried under an avalanche of criticism by the likes of Cowen, Marian Harkin and other anti-urban ostriches.

@Ronan Furlong.

Thank you for the compliment. You’re right when you say Dublin is a major element of our national effort to compete internationally. We need Metro North and DART Underground in order to develop the rail network necessary for this.

@Brian Woods.

I don’t understand how development in rural areas will be more sustainable than concentrating it in urban centres like Dublin. Cities provide huge economies of scale in terms of providing healthcare, education, utilities and transport. Further urbanising Ireland will make these things more cost-effective and lead to cheaper public service provision for all of us. It is also environmentally sustainable. When petrol is €5 a litre it would be much better to have 2.5 million people living in a Dublin served by electric rail transport like Metro and DART than have them scattered across Ireland.

Ronan, Cathal, Thanks again for your comments.

Please understand that I believe that transport is highly vunerable to energy price changes. We have left the era of ‘inexpensive’, easily accessible energy and are transitioning to a new, and far more challenging era.

Transport is one of the sinews that connect up our tightly-coupled, globalized sets of economies. If transport falters – we face a major predicament. I’ll leave you to ponder on the complexity of our modern economies and the role of energy.

Dublin and its exurbs as they are currently configured cannot withstand a significant increase in transport costs. The alternative infrastructures are either unavailable or inadequate: the existing networks are ‘spokes’ with minimal cross-links. Its a mid-Victorian model.

We need to re-localize our economy. We need to create new, small and mid-sized, closely compacted communities with sufficient arable land in between them. We need to plant out at least 50% of the appropriate land into forests. In effect we need a completely new model of economic activity and living. In effect we must be 100% self-reliant for, energy, food water and almost self-reliant for housing. If we do not plan for an energy transition, then like the current IMF/EU/ECB business – we will have an unpleasant solution forced upon us.

We won’t need road and rail networks to get peolple to their place of work: Most will work in agriculture and fishing. A bicycle will suffice for most folk. But we will need heavy rail to transport goods around – like food and fuel.

Thanks again for the useful comments. This topic will run for a bit.

May I suggest that the principals of this site commission a series of articles on the relationship of energy to, finance, transport, and food production. If that’s not a runner, then ask permission of some of the authors over on theOilDrum to republish their articles.

Cathal if I have one quibble, its about your use of the term ‘sustainable’. The real economic meaning of this term is that you have an annual, incremental decrease in aggregate ecomonic activity. Sustainable = Less of. Cheers.


Update on my post:

I forgot to mention that you should scroll down through the comments on the above link. There is a 60 min video of some interest.


Both projects should go ahead, It is so bloody obvious.

But, I have changed my mind since last January. Right now, I don’t want anything that will help save these people to go ahead. Not until we get the political system changed and working and the sacred cow unions sorted out and that will take at least 5 years and a debt restructuring. Otherwise, these projects would just be a further unnecessary expansion of sovereign debt coming from people who have no clue how to pay back that debt. With the government running the banks we have no chance with the banks running the banks we have no chance. Cormac Lucey has the right idea.

and the sacred cow unions sorted out

Please, do describe for us how the “unions” will be “sorted out”.

@ Robert Browne

Think Margaret Thatcher!

Now, now – don’t be coy! I’m looking forward to hearing the details of this impending ‘sorting out’.

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