15 thoughts on “Department of Finance: Briefing Notes for the Incoming Minister”

  1. Wow, a fair amount of redacting in the Overview Note 2011 document in areas where I’d have expected defaults and to a lesser extent firesales to be mentioned.

    My impression is that firesales information were likely redacted in the 2011 Banking document and I really wonder what they redacted about the former governments actions. Also looks to have redacted default and finger of blame pointing information. I also wonder why the status regarding permos recapitalisation and also the powers for the central bank information is redacted in it.

    Uh oh, the third document is 253 pages long ;-(

  2. Nothing on “open envelope number 3 if another country asks for a bailout”?

    Is this blog just ignoring Portugal? Pretending it hasn’t happened?

  3. » Incoming Minister Brief 2011 Banking (Partially redacted)
    page 5 26

    Where did the banks get €5.6 bn of liquidity support when the minister said no to €10bn?

    Who specifically, authorised it, signied for it and is responsible to the Irish people for it?

  4. The third document:

    A good chunk of info below a para on the EU IMF bailout redacted under a debt levels heading (pg6). Maybe the bailout not enough to stop a Default or a further bailout needed?

    Really gotta wonder what’s coming down the line with all the info about budget 2012 redacted (pgs7-9).

    Hmmm, redacting just below info on Germany and France pushing for tighter goverance of us… more austerity (pgs26&27)?

    Our ability to use our economic weakness as strength in EU negotiations redacted maybe (pgs36&37)?

    Trouble coming for farmers redacted maybe (pgs42&43)?

    All corporation tax section redacted (pgs60&61). Now that’s interesting.

    I wonder what the eu commission is looking into regarding state aid that warranted redacting (pg67). Possibly still the investigation into anglo and inbs? Maybe the Home Choice Loan scheme?

    I wonder what Appendix 6 is about given that it’s entirety has been redacted (pgs71-74).

    No further clarity (redacted) on what happened after leni didn’t inject capital before the election.. maybe something with europe (pgs81-83)?

    Uhoh something up in AIB … I mean something getting even more worse in AIB (pgs85&86)?

    No giving away of anglos secrets … sure isn’t it of national important (pgs90-92).

    Maybe the state aid investigations mentioned above include NAMA (pg93).

    But really, what else are they holding back about NAMA (pgs93-96). Not working maybe… hopelessly doomed to failure?

    How much we have at stake due to the bank guarantee redacted maybe (pg99)?

    Awe how sad does it read that 67% of all home lending is now for people who want a home (pg115).

    Don’t tell the northern bank robbers (pg119)?

    Earlier, in a comment, I mentioned they redacted the status on permos recapitalisation and also the status on powers for the central bank information. It’s not redacted in the big brief (pg122). Permo status: “This is under discussion; Irish Life and Permanent expects to be able to meet this target through private funding.” Central bank powers status: “Draft Heads of the Bill to be submitted before the end of March with a view to seeking early Government approval to proceed to drafting”.

    Public sector pay cut (pg136)?

    Public sector compulsory redundancies (pg138)?

    DDA still screwed, colour me surprised (pg146).

    metro too expensive and western rail corrider not making money (pg148&149)?

    sell bertie out trees (pgs155&156)?

    Oh Gosh, turns out we’ve been spending less and less on our smart economy… well isn’t that a huge surprise (pg165).

    Coilte and Bertie redacted again maybe (pg168)?

    Yey, Secret Service is still Secret! Not gonna tell ya the page, it’s secret 🙂

    Not gonna meet our millenium development goals cos… ya know… it really looked like we ever we gonna come close (pg178)

  5. @ Edmond

    Don’t tell the northern bank robbers (pg119)?

    Who are the terrorists?

    The banks or the robbers?

    🙂 well done indeed.

  6. Having briefly perused the documents, a number of observations:

    1. Putting all this material (despite the redactions) in the public is unambiguously a ‘good thing’ and should be welcomed;
    2. It does smack though of the ‘permanent government’ presenting ‘riding instructions’ to the temporary government;
    3. It should not be surprising, but the extent to which the DoF is the lynch-pin of public administration -controlling all others – is almost complete;
    4. The extent to which all other departments have very few delivery function again should not be surprising, given the extent to which responsibility has been devolved to such a huge plethora of non-departmental statutory bodies, but any pretence of any sort of democratic accountability seems to have vanished – nor could one expect it to remain given the weakness of the Oireachtas and its Cttess and the official desire to shrink accountability to vanishing point;
    5. For every division, section, instrument, policy, agency or target identified there is a deeply embedded, but not identified, plethora of private sector professional bodies, interest groups, civil society assocations, NGOs, lobbyists, etc. that will fight their corner with unbridled tenacity, irrespective of the impact on others, if any reform of institutions or procedures is advanced.

    We have created, and allowed the creation of, a beast of governance that will consume us all unless citizens collectively demand their elected representatives command the resources to scrutinise it thoroughly, spell out the reforms required and hold it to account.

  7. @Edmond
    Well highlighted. The unpalateable truth is surely better than varnished suppositions? How long are we to be treated like children about the implications for our taxes? And our country?

  8. Stepping back from these briefing note releases.

    (1) Why were they released? In the case of the Taoiseach’s briefing notes earlier this week, the release followed a Freedom of Information request by the Irish Examiner. There were a very small number of redactions in the Taoiseach’s briefing notes and each one was explained. But why did DoF release these? Was it to pre-empt any FoI request which might reveal some of the many sections redacted – yesterday’s releases had DoF’s discretionary redactions, might a FoI request have revealed more? So if any FoI hawks are watching, any chance of submitting a FoI request for the briefing notes?

    (2) The amount of new information is pathetic and I guess all the interesting stuff lurks behind the black PDF redaction overlay. But interesting to see the statement “the key objectives of policy must be to support domestic confidence” which has a number of interpretations.

    Last thing from me. Of all the redactions this is the one I would most like to see revealed – on page 7 of the first document which goes “It is essential that policies recognise our dependency on the ECB and the implications this has for our room to manouevre and capacity for independent action. [Redacted – estimate an 8 character word] In this regard…” This 8 character word must be a sentence in its own right as it is followed by a capital “I” in “In this regard”. In my mind it’s an expletive but who knows? It’s definitely too short for “so you can stick your manifesto pledge on bondholders up your hole”

  9. It is interesting that the meta-policy identified as most important for economic recovery (like sport) is that unquanitifiable; ‘confidence’.

    It was also identified as the most important variable in 1987, and arguably achieved.

    It would be an interesting test to develop policies aimed at ‘confidence’ over ‘certainty’. It might turn out that ‘certainty’ is a by-product, an epiphenomenon of ‘confidence’.

  10. The Governance ‘Silos’ of the permanent incompetent government will continue on their merry way in great secrecy – no ‘foi’ requests wiil be allowed for the ‘briefing notes – ‘national interest/security’ dontchya know ….
    As for DOF running the show on an even tighter rein – too late for even God to help us……….

  11. @ Jagdip

    The specific redaction you refer to can logically only be the paragraph number ’34’. An odd redaction, and presumably an error?

  12. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at these documents. The present humility of the DOF mandarins — to their Euopean and IMF masters — is in keeping with their obsequious support of the currupt policies that got us into this mess. They are still at it: Delivering lectures to ministers, and us, while continuing to present objectives and target numbers, set in Frankfurt, that are unmeetable.

  13. We would be better off getting a copy of the AG’s legal advice to the effect that there were difficulties in imposing losses on seniors.

    The least we deserve is a credible explanation of these difficulties.

    Before the IMF came in these reasons were put forward as a major and on occasion the preeminent reason we could not impose losses by Brian Lenihan.

    Why not let us see this advice?

  14. @christy

    I think you have a point. Bruton appeared on VB a week or so ago and he used a familiar form of words that Lenihan used to repeat:

    “the senior bondholders are the SAME as depositors”

    This was a spinn-y exaggeration Lenihan used to use to mislead away from the reality that they are not the same, but in the specific circumstances of a winding-up, rank pari passu for distribution of the assets of the institution being wound-up. Compensation is outside that.

    He looked like a guy that had been captured by the DoF who were feeding just the SAME lines.

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