The Sunday Business Post published a front page article on the story on May 5. Business editor Ian Kehoe says the Quinn family have obtained a report written by the law firm Arthur Cox, which warned the government in early 2009 that the bank had advanced hundreds of millions of euro to Sean Quinn to cover his massive exposure on the bank’s share price.
The report was prepared for the Department of Finance and was released to the Quinn family as part of the discovery process in their €2.4 billion claim against the bank.
A separate report by the bank in the same year, and also obtained by the family, reveals how the bank admitted that it disguised loans to cover share losses as “working capital”.
In other news, a movie on Sean Quinn’s journey from billionaire to bankruptcy is said to be progressing.
It has been confirmed the film has gone into the early stages of production, and Monaghan’s comedian Oliver Callan will act as script consultant for the movie.
Was away over Easter in a far flung part of this island. But, was able to get the Sunday Business Post in its print edition and what did I read? Nothing but good news there… no, excuse me, not so good news. For the headline read:
Austerity to end by 2016 but ten years of tight budgets to come.
And reading further it was hard to see how one could differentiate between the pre-2016 and post-2016 era. Actually it’s interesting how it was phrased. Some will recall that the narrative has been shaped by a ‘spending beyond our means’ line and how cuts and austerity were not merely necessary but actually good. But the report notes that 2016 will ‘show the end of huge cuts to public spending and tax increases in 2016’. Which is interesting in that at least the scale of said cuts is unvarnished.
In effect his this will mean that the government finances will remain extremely tight for another decade, during which time they will be overseen by European authorities.
This being the case it does make something of a mockery of all the talk of ‘regaining our sovereignty’ does it not? For if sovereignty meant anything it fundamentally means the capability to make our own decisions and allow for those being both good and bad. Though it’s hard to argue that the actual situation will be good, in the context of said European supervision.
And there’s more.
There will be little or no scope for spending increases beyond the rate of economic growth nor will there be resources for tax cuts.
Let’s put the latter to one side, that being the SBP’s trope of the day, every day, but let’s note that once austerity has done its magic nothing changes. Literally nothing. We will be locked into a permanent 2016, or near enough permanent. It’s hardly worth dragging out the growth and stimulus argument, we’re all well aware of it at this stage, but this has effects beyond the economic.
For a start it suggests a complete shutting down of alternative economic policy options. What is political contest in a state which has in itself decided that there can be no change, and worse again is constrained by the EU and others in this. This provides both challenge and opportunity for those who would argue otherwise, for almost every argument in that context is an oppositional one, and if not revolutionary – after all, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it is one that provides a direct push back against the orthodoxy and the status quo.
That’s, in a sense, the broader context, but more narrowly this has significant ramifications.
One obvious follow on from this is that this must spell ruin to Labour’s ambitions of a recovery, and not very good news at all for Fine Gael, for despite all their right of centre tilting they are as aware as any Fianna Fáil member of the necessity to disburse something to the citizenry, and how, at the end of the near enough decade of austerity that need will be greater again.
Indeed it suggests that the messages both FG and LP can craft are minimal in terms of their attractiveness for the post-2016 period.
Now granted none of this is new, we’ve known broadly the parameters that the state will operate under for quite some time, but now it is beginning to come into sharper focus. Particularly as a sense that economic growth is quite some way off.
But if one thinks that’s it, what of this last weekend’s news, again from the SBP that:
The fund states that this could happen in a “downside scenario” when slow growth would hit the property market. It believes this would increase bank mortgage loses and hamper Nama’s ability to dispose of its mammoth loan book.
The IMF has also called for more EU help for Ireland, warning that, if economic growth does not recover as expected, the national debt will quickly rise to unsustainable levels. The warning places further pressure on the European Union to ease the terms of the €40 billion it has advanced to Ireland through as part of the bailout.
Thing is we’re living in precisely that ‘downside scenario’. Only this weekend the Central Bank revised growth forecasts downwards yet again.
Now the IMF is an unreliable operation, in so far as it often appears to be speaking out of both sides of its mouth simultaneously. Nor is it’s ‘good cop’ to the ECB/EU ‘bad cop’ routine entirely convincing. Yet there is a consistency now to its refrain that growth must be supported. But contextualise its thoughts with those already outline above and far from things looking as if they’re getting better it would appear that stagnation, is at best, the light at the end of the tunnel.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has expressed his distress at some of the reaction to the death of Savita Halappanavar. The archbishop challenged assertions that Ireland was not a safe country in which to be pregnant. “The facts show us we have in fact one of the lowest levels of maternal mortality in the world, which means that whatever practices we have are producing the results that we should respect,” he said.
The fact that Ireland had few maternal deaths showed that where conflicts arose over treatment options they have been resolved successfully, he added.
Dr Reilly said he would be bringing the expert groups report on abortion to the Cabinet on Tuesday week but that consultation would be needed before a decision was reached.
Ms Halappanavar’s family would have input into the terms of reference for the inquiry into her death, he said.
The draft terms for an internal inquiry to be conducted by Galway University Hospital into the death have been sent to Ms Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen. Terms of reference for a separate HSE inquiry had not been finalised last night.
Ms Halappanavar (31) died at the hospital a week after she had presented miscarrying her 17-week pregnancy. She died of septicaemia. Her husband has said she repeatedly requested a termination over a three-day period but this had been refused on the grounds that Ireland was a “Catholic country” and a foetal heartbeat was still present.
The group’s report sets out several legal options for the Coalition, including the drawing up of primary legislation or the attachment of secondary legislation including new guidelines to existing legislation.
The report says some hospitals could be pre-selected for carrying out abortions in limited circumstances, the Sunday Business Post reported. Another option is to have two senior doctors sign off on an abortion. In cases where a woman claims to be suicidal, a psychiatrist would carry out an assessment.
A Sinn Féin motion calling on the Government to legislate for the X case is to be debated tomorrow. The Coalition is expected to table a counter-motion.
The government will probably fail in its bid to secure an accord to reduce its legacy banking debt by the end of October, two people with direct knowledge of the talks said.
European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in July that concrete proposals on the Irish question would be presented to euro-area finance ministers in September before a final decision in October. The details are unlikely to be on the agenda when ministers meet in Cyprus next week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.