Michael O’Sullivan: Jobs and credit crises call for clear policy response

Michael O’Sullivan has an interesting piece in today’s Irish Times, have a read here.

Best bit (for me anyway):

The political response to the jobs crisis is pitched at the micro level – the drawing in and amalgamation of disparate projects. This might help boost shorter-term employment figures, but doesn’t necessarily bolster the potential long-term economic growth rate. Arguably the correct response is a more coherent strategy, one that links economic factors like our banking system and household debt with social issues, as well as incorporating our strategy on Europe.

In Ireland job creation is popularly associated with tax cuts, multinationals and the IDA. But the employment crisis is much less regularly traced to our balance sheet recession, or rather blockages in the banking system and household finances.

A lack of employment growth is the sclerotic and very unfortunate effect of these underlying difficulties, and of important decisions not taken throughout the past year. Should we fail to address them now, there is a high risk of the “Japanisation” of our economy.

By Stephen Kinsella

Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Limerick.

49 replies on “Michael O’Sullivan: Jobs and credit crises call for clear policy response”

“A lack of employment growth is the sclerotic and very unfortunate effect of these underlying difficulties, and of important decisions not taken throughout the past year.”

I have been reading “wars of words” by Tony Crowley about the Irish language over the last 500 years. One of the best lines in it is very relevant to this debate. Government policy (towards the language) was marked by a high degree of carelessness.

But the macro response is all about “getting back in the markets”, to which end the banks’ balance sheets are to be prioritised via as much sclerosis in the reposession / establishing a bottom / debt writedown nexus as possible.

People need to realise that when you buy a bond, you are only interested in whether the liability will be honoured per the term sheet – you have little interest beyond that in things like maximising GDP paths. You have to understand that the current views of potential bond investors are being pandered to – and they currently think recapitalisations of the banks to any extent that might threaten PSI for Irish gilts can and will be avoided. They do not mind too much if Ireland is barely able to sustain its debt – they and other EZ governments are not persuaded it is unsustainable (see “a deal on the bank debt”).

The Irish prime minister has publicly stated that he thinks his government will be judged to have succeeded or failed based on whether Ireland is able to sell bonds before the next election.

“The Irish prime minister has publicly stated that he thinks his government will be judged to have succeeded or failed based on whether Ireland is able to sell bonds before the next election.”

Well, ‘Holy God’.


I think there might be other factors as well. Reform of the Health Service for one. that seem to be picking up now that the disgraced Roisin Shorthall has gone.

@ tullmcadoo

“now that the disgraced Roisin Shorthall has gone.” Excuse me was there something I missed? Run that one by me again and when you are sitting in your private nursing home wondering which will come first, insolvency or death, maybe you will cast a cold backward glance at Roisin Shorthall and remember not just her timely warnings but her actions which are a million times clearer than Reilley;s million weasel words.

Please tell me how she was principled? All I see is someone who bore a grudge cos she did not get a cabinet sear, threw the toys out of the pram when some of the PCC went outside Labour constituencies and resigned before she was sacked.

In her own words;

“I believed he was going in an entirely different direction, down the whole privatisation, American-style route. And I still firmly believe that.

And I believe it after having spoken to the man for an hour and a half during which time he failed to disclose one single significant fact about himself.

The model is evolving to universal health insurance who will collect premium from us or the govt on our behal and will pay it to providers on the basis of the care given. Some of the insurance companies will be private, some mutual some public. Same with the providers. You are free not to believe.

I have yet to see a comment on this Blog on any aspect of Sinn Féin’s Jobs Plan – Enterprise Policy for the 21st Century:

“Sinn Féin believes that this government is making the wrong choices and disproportionately placing the burden of paying for the debts of the golden circles on those who can least afford it.

“These are socially responsible and realisable proposals.

“Today, in this Jobs Plan, Sinn Féin presents a real, detailed jobs stimulus strategy that will invest €13 billion into job creation and retention, and create an average of 156,000 short and long term jobs.

“It has been a mantra of Sinn Féin that you cannot cut your way out of recession.

“The money is there; in the National Pension Reserve Fund, the European Investment Bank, the private pension sector, and in the money the government plans to cut from its capital budget spend.

“This is not rocket science.

“The scandal is that this government will continue to fritter away the money in the NPRF; put money into toxic banks, and pay off unguaranteed bondholders, while older citizens lose home care supports, and there is one reduction after another in wages; support for lone parents; carers; citizens with disabilities; the blind and the unemployed. […] “There will be those who disagree with our proposals. That’s fine. Let them do so constructively and provide their alternative.”


‘In the case of the labour market, our preoccupation with price-mediated market clearing as the natural equilibrium condition may be a serious error’. Robert Solow.


A new report is out – Constructing a Food Poverty Indicator for Ireland. It estimates that one in ten people experienced ‘food poverty’ in 2010. In other words, hunger. I know the phrase ‘must-read’ is sometimes over-used, but this is truly a must-read report. The very idea that one-in-ten of our neighbours suffer from food poverty is truly frightening. Maybe you won’t be guaranteed a job, maybe you won’t be guaranteed free medical care regardless of your need, but surely in a civilised society we can ensure that no one goes without food. That we can’t, that we don’t, says something about the kind of society that is being created for us.

This estimate produced by Caroline Carney (General Council of the Bar of England and Wales) and Bertrand Maître (ESRI) is based on a careful methodology. It uses deprivation indicators that relate to food in the EU’s Survey of Income and Living Conditions:

•Inability to afford a meal with meat or vegetarian equivalent every second day
•Inability to afford a roast or vegetarian equivalent once a week
•Whether during the last fortnight, there was at least one day (i.e. from getting up to going to bed) when the respondent did not have a substantial meal due to lack of money


@ DO’D:

The Food Insecure of Ireland have just been ‘saved’. Buy a new car and get E 500 food voucher. As CMcC might say – “What the f**k”!

“Jobs and credit crises call for clear policy response”

The mantra and the existing policy of ‘We have to fix the banks’ is incompatible with the desire or requirement that banks provide credit into the economy.
‘Fix the banks’ translates into ‘squeeze the lemons’ for every cent that can be got. Its called deleveraging. It is a creditors agenda or a receivers agenda, and ultimately a liquidators agenda.

On jobs, we do not have a coherent jobs creation policy. In fact we have the opposite, a very coherent and incentivised jobs destruction policy through the State jobs reductions program.
Whatever potential for extra jobs there might be, has been scuppered by the year on year on year cuts to the capital spending program.

Minister Jan O’Sullivan was RTE recently talking about the 2.5billion stimulus package announced last July. To my knowledge not a cent of this has been spent.

The only conclusion one can arrive at is that jobs or employment is not a government priority.
In any case Minister Bruton is on record as saying that
‘it is not the job of government to create jobs’.
It looks like we are back to the free liberalism of Trevelyan’s 1840s in relation to Ireland.

“As the situation grew worse those in Westminster believed they had done all they could to help the people of Ireland. Trevelyan described the situation of increased population and famine as “…the operation of natural causes.” Believing there was nothing left to do, Trevelyan left for two weeks vacation to France.

There is a one major difference with modern times. Political vacations now extend for at least 12 weeks, not two.

Japanisation??? Japanisation would be a bloody good result if we could get it. What we are experiencing is far, far worse than anything Japan had to contend with.

The “Japanisation” of our economy has already occured. Increasing property prices for 2000 on before the bust led to a incresase a massive increase in the cost of production as wages public and private to keep pace with rents and mortgages. Then we had the granidose claims of Grafton street as the most expensive shopping street in the world as farcical as the claim the the land of the emporers palace in Tokyo was worth more than the entire state of California. What happened in both cases was identical, normal economic activity was stifled as the cost of land ramped. During the bubble the euro rose from our previous weak punt much to delight of the landed class who could have a few foreign holyidays a year like the rise of Yen in Japan led to huge increase in Japanese international tourism. Meanwhile in California they continued to invent things.

After the bust in both cases the response was identical pour all available resources into bankrupt banks. The banking sector is a service sector which is supposed to make money by taking your savings and loaning them out. It has and never will have any effect on the production side of the economy. By all means they can stifle it by denying funds for investment but this could be replaced by government loans and grants. In effect they are a giant speadsheet that make a margin on small movements of funds within that spreadsheet. In this way they are as important to the real economy as FAS, something that costs the tax payer a lot of money but we all have no real idea about what they actually do.

Now we are actually in a worse position than Japan because all the funds to prop up the banksters in Japan came from Domestic savings so all the Japanese Government has achieved is a massive transfer of wealth from tax-payers to savers, who are in many cases the same person. In Irelands case the money to prop up the banks came largely from the IMF and the german taxpayers and pension funds and they are going to to be looking for a tax in form of interest. If our national debt “peaks” at 150bn at 5% we are going to paying about 50% of our income tax outside the country and are going to have shut down all but private hospitals and abolish the dole. The effect of these changes are going to put us into a tail-spin in which we are going to wish we were just a little more like Japan.

@ Stephen Kinsella

A very worthwhile link!

“In Ireland job creation is popularly associated with tax cuts, multinationals and the IDA. But the employment crisis is much less regularly traced to our balance sheet recession, or rather blockages in the banking system and household finances.

Absolutely true but, in reality, implicitly recognised e.g. by the recent exchanges with the banks. The crisis is now at a stage where everything is connected to everything else. What is undeniable, however, is that it has become bound up in European politics and any lasting solution is dependent on developments in that context.


An aspect of the situation that seems to be missed in the general commentary is that the economic situation in the EU – outside the periphery – may be righting itself despite, and not because of, the involvement of politicians, not all of whom have played the role of statesmen (as was pointed out to Merkel in the course of the Bundestag debate). This could explain the equanimity with which Berlin seems to be approaching the next episode in the saga of crisis summits.

@ Jules

It bears many similarities to Japan but Ireland won’t get away with Debt to GDP heading towards 250% and it also has better demographics.

Interesting link Stephen.

I’ve traced the unemployment crisis to a balance sheet recession in the past. I’ve argued that during times of high unemployment we still have work to be done and definitely still have people willing to work. All we’re missing is a medium of exchange to bring it all together.

Having the money supply constantly being diminished through loan repayments means there’s never a reprieve for the economy.

Replenishing the money supply in only a haphazard way by banks’ willingness to create money through lending isn’t a great way to ensure an adequate money supply for trading. As such the current system of money creation/destruction is unfit for purpose.

If we’re serious about controlling unemployment we could allow the central bank to monitor the economy and create/destroy whatever it feels the economy needs. At least then we wouldn’t have unemployment due to a lack of money, simply because people aren’t willing or able to take on the debt needed for the banks to be able to create money.

@ Fiatluxjnr

From your link:

“GERMAN OFFICIALS have said they are not responsible for “illusions” created in Ireland after last June’s summit that EU leaders would expedite the resolution of its banking debt issue.”

That would appear to be what is known as moral hazard . The Germans seem to have reneged on what was agreed because of domestic pressure.

@ FLJ/ Seafóid

As a CDU representative commented on the News at One today, there is a strong element of staking out of pre-negotiation positions. He mentioned specifically UK opposition to ECB supervision. There is also evident spinning e.g. the FT article on the sudden emergence of legal problems, now contradicted by the Commission.


Of course, this avoids the crunch issue viz that of the ECB combining the two roles i.e. monetary and supervisory, to which Germany strongly objects. But this a political and not a legal position essentially contradicting a provision inserted in the treaties at the time of Maastricht.

I would add that this discussion is not of topic as a resolution of Ireland’s “balance sheet recession” is intimately linked to it.

I would add that our future well being is intimately linked to it by sixty four thousand million. That would create some amount of jobs considering that SF are costing 13b for 150000 jobs…13b we don’t have. Seems we should get some advice from Mitt. He’s going to create 12 million jobs when he gets in.
That German official was on the money…illusions.

Thanks for link.
It seems to be obvious that the Germans are obfuscating. Cameron will not agree and the negotiations will drag on through election year in Germany. A report today (Reuters) suggests that a deal on Greece getting the money is agreed ( ahead of the Troika report) and cleverly keeps the money in escrow. Angela cannot afford a catastrophe now given the prediction of the Bertlesmann think tank on Grexit.


Olli “pacta sunt servanda” Rehn was in on the “delusion”


Euro zone finance ministers resolved early this morning to take a final decision in October to provide an unspecified amount of bank debt relief to Ireland.
The unanimous move to set the deadline, at a nine-hour meeting in Brussels, marks a step forward in the Government’s long campaign to reduce the burden of the State’s €60 billion-plus banking debt.
Although the mechanism to be deployed and the amount of relief in play remain unclear, the European Commission will develop concrete proposals to be submitted to the ministers in September.
“That’s very positive. It’s positive for Ireland, its chances of succeeding in its reform programme and thus it’s positive for the whole of Europe,” Mr Rehn told reporters around 3am in Brussels.
“As journalists you know that it’s the deadlines that run the world so it’s important that we have a very clear timeline it was by unanimity – by consensus – agreed that the timeline for looking into solutions for debt sustainability of Ireland is now in the course of September with a view of decisions in October.”

The Government on Wed ticked off the to-do list for Q3 on jobs endeavours. The missing metric was actual net jobs added. In its self-assessment, it gave itself a 96% pass mark for 2012.

Besides the impact of credit scarcity and high debt, there are 2 issues that policy makers should look at, but they are unlikely to:

1) Why in 2000/2007 during a mighty domestic credit boom, indigenous firms selling internationally tradeable goods and service, could only add 10,000 net jobs?

2) Why do Irish SMEs have a poor exporting record compared with other small economies in Europe?


On the “obfuscation” bit, there appears at this stage to be almost a consensus in European and international opinion. The interesting question, however, is why such delaying tactics? Obviously, the elections are a major factor. (Steinbrueck led in Bundestag for the SPD and the exchanged addresses were quite ferocious, in German terms. Steinbrueck said, in effect, that Merkel was not of the calibre of her predecessors). But there must also be a calculation that the general economic situation has improved to the point that any “catastrophe”, as you describe it, can be avoided.

Hollande has little or no leverage. He said that it was unreasonable that some countries could borrow at 1% while others had to pay 7%. But that seemed to imply a return to the situation which caused the trouble in the first place. Bond spreads are now back at the point where they were prior to countries beginning their slimming course to achieve the Maastricht criteria. The central political question is who is going to pick up the tab for all the broken crockery in the interval. All countries, including Germany, have hitherto paid for their own breakages. The amount left with Ireland is, however, viewed, also almost by consensus, to be unreasonable by any standard.

The Belgian member of the ECB council made a very interesting speech on the “lessons to be learned” some time back which received less attention than it deserved.


As the Bertelsmann study reveals, there are no good options for Germany. Grexit would be even more costly than Greece staying in the euro.

@ M.Hennigan

Can I ask, regarding 2, I have heard much attribute to what I like to call our language deficit. With a market of European market of 700m, we can communicate well with about 10% etc..

How limiting is our language decifit? Presumably a lot/ most business is done in English ie a Finn selling to a Dane/German/Spainard etc.

Would the more likely factor not be that during the ‘boom’ SMEs were busy ‘investing’ in Irish property instead of expanding into Europe/elsewhere and now SMEs are busy trying to deleverage. Is it not the case that we would have seen more expansion/jobs if there wasn’t such ‘easy’ money in property during the boom and consequently hasn’t the credit boom robbed us of 2 decades of sustainable growth or real investment?


Pasting the title to Google search should get around the paywall.

The most telling extract.

“Mr. Steinbrück is trying to show that Ms. Merkel is dividing, not uniting the 27-member European Union. He read off a litany of anti-euro comments from people in her ruling center-right coalition and accused Ms. Merkel of courting anti-euro populists by never contradicting euro skeptics who are trying to drive a wedge through the currency bloc.

Mr. Steinbrück said Ms. Merkel was playing a double game and was dishonest with German citizens by not telling the truth: that Germany must shoulder greater burdens to save the euro, but that Europe is worth the cost.

“On the one hand you want to ride this wave that is largely made up of a feeling of resentment toward Germany’s role as paymaster, but on the other hand you never personally submerge into this wave because you would lose your influence and reputation in Brussels,” Mr. Steinbrück said.”

@ john foody
Ireland has the language handicap (especially now that England’s very long run of luck and whizz appears to have come to a halt). Another factor is the middle class fetish for accountancy, dentistry, hospital consultancy,pharmacy shop ownership, etc. Plus the idea that services are where things
are at. Maybe we would have been better off if 1798 had turned out differently.

@ seafóid

In international relations, both political and business, Ireland has the good – or bad – fortune to speak what has become the international lingua franca. This is not a handicap but a major asset. The problem confronting the country is that this removes the pressure to master other languages. This would not greatly matter if we did not have the ambition to become the kind of “knowledge economy” about which we hear so much. As the Web Summit taking place currently in Dublin illustrates, this is not a misplaced ambition. Those employed in it will, in all likelihood, not be Irish born unless there is a dramatic change in direction with regard to the teaching of foreign languages.

This does not, by any means, imply a downgrading of the Irish language but a radical change with regard to the teaching of it. Indeed, having even a smattering of a second language opens a door to others.

@ seafóid

There is a missing qualification after the word “asset”; “in business but clearly not in cultural terms”.

Looks like we might have a bit of support….
“Hollande Says EU Bank Deal Must Trump Merkel Re-Election Effort
By Helene Fouquet – Oct 18, 2012 8:40 AM PT

French President Francois Hollande pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to overcome the demands of her re-election campaign to complete an agreement on a European banking union.
“Merkel has her own deadline, in September 2013,” Hollande said today as he entered a European Union summit in Brussels, referring to Germany’s elections. “I can understand this difference in calendars, but we have a common responsibility with Germany that is to get the euro zone out of its crisis.”
Hollande said European leaders must strike a deal on EU- wide banking supervision by year-end, following a June blueprint. “I will tell her that we must apply the decisions we took together on June 29, which are good decisions,” adding that “with Merkel we will discuss the next steps, but before starting on new topics we must complete the banking union.”


The Irish language revival failed for the same reason the tech delusion did. Not radical enough. Complacent, lazy, no dot joining, no vested interests challenged, no long term thinking. A particular demographic (students) was supposed to take on the burden that a society could have. Not too dissimilar to the internal devaluation either.

Many Dutch people have decent English but they still have their own way of looking at the world.

Ironically it seems to have been the challenge of globalisation that prompted large numbers of the current generation of parents to see the value of bilingualism in aiding the learning of other languages.

One of the big problems I think Ireland has with English is the ideas ghetto that the language entails. Sure there are some great intellectual resources available through English but at the level of the Daily Mail or Irish Independent much of the thinking is polarised and stuck with dead concepts like Thatcherism or Paul Ryan’s “Republicanism”.

Ireland follows UK practice in many areas because it’s easier to follow due to the language and it is not clear this is always best practice.

The last 20 years were a ride but I think England is in a bad place and won’t be much fun to follow for the next 20 years.

@ Flj

There are two “agreements” that one could make a stab at right now; (i) a commitment to implementing the June 29 agreement i.e. without going into the knotty problem of what was actually agreed and (ii) an adoption of the compromise already suggested by Draghi on banking supervision i.e. agreement on the text by 1 January 2013 but acceptance that the operational elements will take until 2014 to implement.

Of course, for a really on the ball assessment, one could watch Prime Time.

@ John Foody, seafóid, DOCM

The failure to establish a bilingual system was inevitable when there was compulsion for children but no requirement for adults to use the language in for example dealing with the civil service or have most proceedings in the Oireachtas in Irish. So it has become a relic for use on ceremonial occasions, with the ‘cúpla focal’ being hypocritically spoken from time to time.

About two-thirds of Irish indigenous exports are to English speaking countries.

Even if €64bn of the €164bn in the 2011 total exports value, were fake, that would leave indigenous exports at still only €15bn of €100bn.

From the time the economy was opened up from the 1960s, indigenous export performance in mainland Europe has been poor.

Having had only one land border, with a hostile neighbour until recent times, did not help, but seeking to develop opportunities with SMEs in countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain over the past half century would certainly have been constrained by a lack of a common lingua franca.

In recent times, some armchair experts have suggested that Mandarin should be put on the curriculum. It’s foolish for most indigenous firms to focus on Asia.

What happened our friend, cuddly Mr Xi, who may get promotion next week?

As for general export performance of SMEs, while Ireland was one of Europe’s wealthy countries (partly because of emigration) at the outbreak of the Great War, there were some successes at exporting but industrialisation was concentrated in the northeast where there was likely a greater spirit of entrepreneurship.

Do we lack a strong tradition of trading?


Agreed on both points.

@ Seafoid

‘Ideas Ghetto’ I like the term. I may steal it in the future 🙂 Not sure it is the English language, but there’s no doubt that our policy and politics is of the ADD variety, where the sound bite is king. Though hasn’t this more to do with the the fact that we disincentivise good policy by electing a dictatorship every 5 years?

@ MH

‘From the time the economy was opened up from the 1960s, indigenous export performance in mainland Europe has been poor’

I’m just wondering how ‘constrained’ trade has been due to language. I think we can do a hell of a lot better in terms of language education (which wouldn’t be hard considering doing Anything would be better) but if there was to be an official language of business in the EU, surely it would be English. Most Finns, Deutsch and Germans in business speak English as their best 2nd language (a lot have a third too). The best MBA program’s are provided primarily in English etc

‘In recent times, some armchair experts have suggested that Mandarin should be put on the curriculum. It’s foolish for most indigenous firms to focus on Asia’

I agree in so far as it smacks of band-wagon policy, pandering to public perception of Chinese world domination, from the makers of ‘Smart economy (with focus on hi-tech)’, though I do think Chinese should be available to take at leaving cert.

@people thinking about linguistic ability viz economic policy, see:


I would add that the state forcing the substitution of study of modern foreign languages for study of a relic of a time when the most important thing was thought to be to have a way to demonstrate “we’re not Britsh”, to the extent it is part of the calculation of who is allocated places at Irish universities – is just plain stupid.


The central economic point in Colm McCarthy’s article seems to be;

“The fast-growing services export companies need sales and customer support staff who can communicate directly in the main European languages, particularly French, German, Spanish and Italian. The typical product of the Irish school system does not achieve fluency in any modern continental language.”

No ‘traditional school’ system will achieve fluency.

But languages deficit can be addressed easily, cost effectively and quickly.
This can be done by building on what one has. Clearly these are thousands of ‘honours’ standard language students.
What is needed is a finishing school in languages, which must of necessity be completed in the country whose language is being learned.

A 100 million fund, 10000 pre-selected students at €10,000 each would give the State most of what it needs in relation to languages.
The idea of starting these languages at primary level is neither sensible or desirable, where it will further diminish the standard of the three Rs, that are essential to all students, more so now than ever.
Economist should perhaps start to learn for sport, where academies for those who already have a some talent are seen as a way to build a better team.

Speaking as somebody who has attempted to learn both German and French, in later life, the critical importance of immersion in the language cannot be replaced by any amount of schooling.

The issue of Irish crowding the curriculum at primary level should not be put forward as an excuse or reason for inability to produce a relatively small number of capable European language speakers.
There is plenty of available latent talent. It simply requires a good finishing coach.

PS: The government could hardly take better advice on how to foster language skills than to ask the person who is probably one of the world’s foremost language expert, ;(no relation)
Seán Ó Riain, Diplomate – administrateur/traducteur chez Commission européenne

I’m somewhat perplexed by the following from the Examiner..
“Kenny: Bank debt deal stance wasn’t discussed at leaders summit
Friday, October 19, 2012 – 01:11 PM

The Taoiseach says the stance of three EU Finance Ministers on Ireland’s legacy bank debt did not come up at last night’s leaders summit.

Enda Kenny and his fellow European leaders are now holding their second and final day of talks in Brussels.

Overnight the group agreed proposals to set up a single eurozone banking supervisor.

The Taoiseach says he told the group that Ireland has borne a “crushing burden” in recent years and needs the June 29 deal implemented.

And Enda Kenny says the recent statement from Minister’s in Germany, Finland and the Netherlands wasn’t even mentioned.”

Why didn’t he mention the singularly most important issue for Ireland?

@ grumpy

Thanks for the link. I particularly like the following extract:

‘It is difficult to see how there can be progress on this front until the position of the Irish language in the education system is addressed honestly. It is clear to anyone with eyes to see that the Irish people have had almost a century of opportunities since independence to revive the Irish language but have declined to accept the challenge.

This may well be a pity, but it is a fact. Denying the fact is a consuming passion for many people but the figures speak for themselves’

Very well put.

@ Joseph

Agreed, though it can certainly build a foundation for fluency. I like you’re finishing school idea but why not compliment it with a choice to teach Irish or say German/French/Spainish in school. Would it be that expensive? I know of a Spanish lady in Galway voluntarily teaching in 4 national schools there, she does 2 hours in each a week. Why not pay a few travelling Irish/Germans/French/Spainards speakers to do a similar job full time?

National Scool chooses a language ‘Irish or other Major language’
~3,500 National Schools.
Each teacher takes say 7 schools for 4 hours a week. Each teacher including mileage ~50,000 = Costs 25m per year.

I’d guess if there was a choice then a lot of parents would opt for a major European language instead of Irish.

@ John Foody

I am not sure that the inhabitants of the 2 rather sizeable islands off the coast of France are that interested in learning foreign languages. The culture says “speak fahkin English”.

The English are not given to excellence in any foreign lingo and Ireland tends to follow.

Nick Clegg is a big deal in the UK because he can hold a conversation in Spanish. A bit like the footballer Le Saux reading the broadsheets. Totally off the wall. Pas comme il faut. The same went for BLTD- apparently he spoke FRENCH to Lagarde in a meeting . Quelle immense audacite.

Positively coruscating. I mean, there are only 10 million or so French people who can hold their own in the langue des rosbifs but when an English speaker attempts French it’s a thing of rare beauty. Any Euro MNC with an office in London has to default to English when the Tans are on a conf call involving the Continentals. Nigel may be a Managing Director but he’s not going to risk looking like a clown.

@ Seafoid

No doubt that’s true, which is why one can’t help but see an opportunity in it for Ireland. Soon to be the only English (language of business) speaking country in the EU :), or at the very least the most pro-European one (currently at least), if we can up our language ability significantly, one could see it tipping the business location scales in our favour from time to time.

Assuming of course the EU isn’t the titanic, in which case the Torries smile will become a perme-grin. Which would be most unfortunate.

Maybe if we took the the focus away from spending money on The Revival of Irish we could free up some cash to help dig our way out of the mess we find ourselves in.

New book “The Revival of Irish – Failed Project of a Political Elite” details the idealogical efforts of successive Governments to breathe life into a language which may only be spoken a little more than it was 90 years ago.

My blog review if you like.


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