Frank Barry on Incentives in Ireland

Frank is excellent in today’s IT on the role of incentives in Ireland, and a need for a review of those incentives.

By Stephen Kinsella

Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Limerick.

15 replies on “Frank Barry on Incentives in Ireland”

Yes – pragmatic piece of work – and not a sign of any ‘status anxiety twitches’ in the text or the author.

@Frank Barry

Take a crack at the role of the incredible lack of sanctions on the upper_echelon sections of Irish society – they do love their incentives in the knowledge that they are untouchable and can, litteraly, get away with anything. A dash of heterodox institutionalism might assist …

@Frank Ward

Some 10 years ago, UCD law lecturer John O’Dowd and I conducted an analysis of why Ireland appeared to be permanently bogged down in tribunals of inquiry while jurisdictions such as the US and the UK managed to complete similar investigations much more rapidly and at far less cost.

JTO again:

I am not familiar enough to comment on the situation in the US, although on my many visits there I have never heard of a financially-distressed lawyer. In relation to the UK, the reason is simple. An Old Boy’s network is in operation, and investigations are cheap and speedy because the results are decided in advance.


Hutton report (into UK involvement in Iraq) in 2005

Compton report into treatment of prisoners in Long Kesh concentration camp in 1973, which found that it was N. Ireland’s equivalent of Butlin’s, and that (surprise, surprise) the British security forces were blameless.

Widgery report (into killings in Derry on Bloody Sunday) in 1974, which found that those killed were terrorists, and that (double surprise, surprise) the British security forces were blameless.

The Widgery report, in particular, fits Frank Ward’s description of ‘completed rapidly and at far less cost’. Alas, it was also total hogwash. The more recent Saville report, which actually attempted to establish the truth and whose conclusions were totally different to the Widgery report, took 12 years and cost several hundred millions £ sterling.

The main criticism of the more recent Dublin tribunals are that the matters investigated are far too trivial, especially when compared with the matters ‘investigated’ in the UK reports mentioned above. In fact, they are little more than show trials of those whom the Dublin 4 media disapprove of.

“Recall the fallout associated with the failure of a major consultancy firm to highlight, in its 2009 report to the minister for finance, the €7 billion deposit that Irish Life and Permanent had placed in Anglo-Irish Bank. ”

The big accountancy firms are untouchable. And not just in Ireland.
the financial sector was audited to death in the run up to the Lehmans crash and what protection did it provide to shareholders ? “We never expected this to happen”

The first place to commence this work would be in the Dáil. The incentives of ordinary TDs encourage them to vote along party lines even when they know it’s a mistake

If we’re looking at “the incentive system facing policy advisers and decision-makers” it might also be worthwhile to look at the incentives facing bank employees. My suspicion is that the incentives are really quite perverse. If UBS can lose a couple of billion due to a trader going rogue, what are the chances of something similar happening in one of Ireland’s pillars?


I am afraid that you have little understanding of demographic statistics.

The figures published today are provisional pre-census estimates and will be totally revised when the census results are incorpoarted.

This is what the CSO said today when publishing the provisional figures:

“The Preliminary population estimate from the 2011 Census was 4.58 million, a
difference of 97,000 persons with these estimates. It is planned to publish revised population estimates for the years 2007 to 2011 (i.e. the period over which this differential arose) next year once a thorough analysis at a detailed level of the differences with the final Census results has been completed.”

The figures published today are provisional pre-census estimates and will be totally revised when the census results are incorpoarted.

Allow me to retort.

While continued denial of the facts may be amusing, the reality of those facts is no laughing matter.

110 Irish people emigrating every day – CSO
More damningly,
Irish Emigration Climbs to Highest Since Nineteenth Century — Bloomberg

Since this site was so quick to swoon over the census figures the last time, I think it is only fair that these new facts and figures are given their own thread.

Frank Barry assumes, re the proposed referendum on Oireacthas Committee inquiries, that : “The proposed constitutional amendment will balance the public interest with the right to one’s good name.”

I think he might be well-advised to study the proposed wording of the constitutional amendment to examine whether his assumption still holds. The on-line debate and analysis on may be a useful place to start. Human rights groups are also likely to raise some interesting questions about the proposal.

It’s a case of ‘Citizens Beware!’ of what you’re voting for here.

Without fundamental reform of the parliamentary process and the Oireachtas Committee system, there have to be serious concerns about what is being proposed by this Government and implications for a further erosion of citizens’ rights. That’s all citizens, not just those who, intermittently, may find themselves subject to the judgement of a government- majority weighted Oireacthas Committee as to whether their natural human rights are outweighed by the Executive’s definition of what constitutes the ‘public interest’ at any given time.


You can tell that is not a proper Professor of Hyborian Studies.

Most likely just a Freshers-week photo of Constantin S.

Just looking at the CSO figures today, it looks as though the main incentive in Ireland is the plane out of here!

Emigration up, unemployment up and employment down. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for the tax take or consumer purchasing increasing!

A client asked me to reduce my fees by a third today (it was an opportunistic shot, thinking the self-employed would do anything to keep the business). I’m so totally incentivised by that. I think I will put a secret message in their next press release. Look at the letter at the start of each sentence when you read the business news over the weekend (hacks won’t change it, journalism is just cut and paste these days).

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