| Click for the Finfacts Ireland Portal Homepage |

Finfacts Business News Centre

Home 
 
 News
 Irish
 Irish Economy
 EU Economy
 US Economy
 UK Economy
 Global Economy
 International
 Property
 Innovation
 
 Analysis/Comment
 
 Asia Economy

RSS FEED


How to use our RSS feed

 
Web Finfacts

See Search Box lower down this column for searches of Finfacts news pages. Where there may be the odd special character missing from an older page, it's a problem that developed when Interactive Tools upgraded to a new content management system.

Welcome

Finfacts is Ireland's leading business information site and you are in its business news section.

Links

Finfacts Homepage

Irish Share Prices

Euribor Daily Rates

Irish Economy

Global Income Per Capita

Global Cost of Living

Irish Tax - Income/Corporate

Global News

Bloomberg News

CNN Money

Cnet Tech News

Newspapers

Irish Independent

Irish Times

Irish Examiner

New York Times

Financial Times

Technology News

 

Feedback

 

Content Management by interactivetools.com.

Analysis/Comment Last Updated: Aug 23, 2010 - 8:24:15 PM


Irish Economy Post-Crisis: Significant change? Glacial change? More of the same?
By Michael Hennigan, Founder and Editor of Finfacts
Jul 6, 2010 - 6:45:07 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
The Fernwärmewerk Spittelau incinerator/heating plant, Vienna. It supplies more than a quarter of a million houses and over 5,000 industrial consumers with heating> Source: Wikimedia Commons

Irish Economy Post-Crisis: We said last month that despite the crash and its terrible human toll, the best that can be expected is glacial change.

There is an argument that the current mix of teachers, solicitors, auctioneers and farmers who dominate membership of the Oireachtas and produce ministers of varying levels of competence, would be improved with individuals with experience in other sectors of the economy.

There is of course merit in this case and the standard routine of the new minister commissioning reports, appointing taskforces and so-on often betrays both ignorance and sometimes a wish to put a decision on the long finger. However, the saga of the planned Dublin municipal waste incinerator and Green Party leader John Gormley, who became Minister of the Environment three years ago this month, illustrates how little has changed in a political process of limited accountability where local interest often trumps national interest.

It is not only an issue of self-serving politicians, but also a conservative electorate that accepts mediocrity and low standards.

The issue of the incinerator saga was discussed on the Irish Economy blog in recent days, and I asked is it any wonder that the country is banjaxed?

Here we have an issue of abuse of power, public funds and a conflict of interest.

To the anti-incineration folk, all that doesn’t matter.

Google will always deliver some supports for a position - - whether truths and untruths no doubt.

A government decision was made in 2007 to choose incineration as one option in a number for waste management.

When Gormley became a minister, rather than cancel the contract and argue for alternatives, he appears to have sought to undermine the economics of it.

Conflict of interest of course would never be a concern on the Planet Bertie of cronyism and gombeenism, Gormley had excoriated in Galway in February 2007.In this case there was a glaring conflict of interest.

When the ESRI produced a report on the issue last February, an insignificant factual error was jumped on and the institute was dismissed as a shower of hucksters.

The ESRI said policy on Irish waste management and on incineration in particular, has “no underlying rationale” and is likely "to impose needless costs on the economy."  The institute did not make a direct charge of gombeenism against Gormley, but it appears that national waste policy is being dictated by the minister's desire to thwart the plans of Dublin City Council to build a waste incinerator in his political constituency of Dublin South-East, on the site of the former Poolbeg power station.

City Manager John Tierney said last February that he was implementing Government policy! He said €59.5m had already been spent on the project  -- €34m on acquiring the site and €25.5m in consultants’ fees.

Tierney told an Oireachtas committee the Department of the Environment had provided €7.5m towards the cost of the incinerator.

In April, Fine Gael TD Phil Hogan asked Gormley: “The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government was represented on the PPP steering group for this project. Therefore, the Department was involved with it and it was in line with existing Government policy. In addition, some finance was contributed to the project by the Department. Now that the Department is no longer in consultation on it, has the Minister been in contact with Dublin City Council about the implications of the legislation? Also, will there be a contingent liability on the taxpayer?

Gormley said he hadn’t been in contact with the DCC.

So three years after becoming a minister, Gormley is waiting for another report, to estimate what it would cost to cancel the contract. Meanwhile, there is a risk of big EU fines if directive deadlines are no met.

This of course is the way Ireland is run; amateurs often putting local interest ahead of national interest in a system of limited accountability and where decision making moves at glacial pace.

It’s the system that has destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of people while the incompetent politicians sitting in the high temple, have State meal tickets for life.

For those who do not see a problem, you may have if it had been an issue involving a big public investment in the constituency of Gormely’s predecessor Dick Roche.

Gormley of course would have been prominent in public vilification of low standards and conflict of interest.

Consider a well-run country in contrast, Austria, where the unemployment rate was 4% in May - - the lowest of the EU27 countries.

There is of course a fat chance of the Irish acknowledging the lamentable record of public project implementation and looking to what can be learned from countries like Austria.

Small minded politicians and much of the public who want to have their cake and eat it, leave the country always racing to catch up with standards thankfully set by the reviled bureaucrats in Brussels, where there is claimed to be a “democratic deficit.”

Of course, we are blind to the deficits under our noses.

We had to be shamed by the EU and the contamination of the water supply to the city of Galway to get action on water quality.

It’s always the same old story: respond to a problem only when there is a crisis…sorry…I should say: a dire crisis.

Vienna has three incinerators according to an Irish Times report and one of them supplies more than a quarter of a million houses and over 5,000 industrial consumers with heating.

A total of 9 incinerators in Austria are only one aspect of a sophisticated waste management and recycling system.

In 2010, Austria will generate 78.1% of its electricity from renewable sources - - the highest in the EU - - compared with 13.2% in Ireland.

There are choices to be in Ireland based on economics, emissions, safety etc.

We are told that tough choices will have to be made to respond to the threat of climate change.

Don’t expect the bandwagon jumpers in the Irish Green Party to be any different to other Irish political parties. It is pro-science on climate change but anti-science on GM foods - - of course because the public is scared!

You can live in Rossport, West Mayo and expect dangerous materials such as oil and gas be delivered from afar to support a modern life and CAP cheques funded by oil terminal workers in Rotterdam and Hamburg.

You can live in Cork, an area dependent on the chemical industry, oppose an incinerator and hope the hazardous waste will all be shipped to India.

Is it any surprise that Bertie Ahern was such a national hero during the bubble?

SEE also: Conservative Ireland rules despite the economic crash and its terrible human toll

Related Articles
Related Articles


© Copyright 2010 by Finfacts.com

Top of Page

Analysis/Comment
Latest Headlines
Disastrous 44-year War on Drugs and ignoring the evidence
HSBC & Tax Evasion: France/ Belgium issued criminal charges; UK/ Ireland nothing
Analysis: Germany world's top surplus economy; UK tops deficit ranks
Facts do not always change minds - can even entrench misinformed
Finfacts changes from 2015
Facts of 2014: Guinness not Irish; 110 people own 35% of Russia's wealth
In defence of dissent and Ireland's nattering nabobs of negativism
Dreams of European Growth: France and Italy facing pre-euro economic problems
Globalization's new normal needs permanent underclass - Part 1
MH17 and Gaza: who is responsible?
Israel vs Palestine: Colonization set for major expansion
Aviva Ireland's 'fund' runs dry and life cover to die for
We wish Martin Shanahan - new IDA Ireland chief - well but...
Ireland as an Organised Hypocrisy is in lots of company
Dr Peter Morici: Friday’s US jobs report won’t alter Fed plans to raise interest rates
Own Goal: Could FIFA have picked worse World Cup hosts?
Ireland: Spin and spending will not save bewildered Coalition
Irish Government parties set for 2-year vote buying spending spree
European Parliament: Vote No. 1 for Diarmuid O'Flynn in Ireland South
Dr Peter Morici: US April jobs report may show 215,000 added in April
Dr Peter Morici: Hardly time to call Obamacare a success
Celtic Tiger RIP: Change in conservative Ireland six years after crash
Dr Peter Morici: Five things to know about the Fed’s obsession with inflation
In age of acronym/ Google, Trinity to rebrand as 'Trinity College, the University of Dublin’
Hoeness case part of ‘painful’ change for Swiss bankers
Dr Peter Morici: The Cold War was only on vacation
Dr Peter Morici: US economy drags on Obama's approval ratings; Don’t look for changes in Washington
Dr Peter Morici: Bitcoin debacle shatters the myth of virtual money
Dr Peter Morici: US Tax Reform: Eliminate the income tax and IRS altogether
Wealth threatens the simple life in Gstaad, Switzerland
Irish journalists get cash payouts over 'homophobic' defamation claim
Irish academics get lavish pension top-ups as private pensions struggle
Dr Peter Morici: Inequality is President Obama’s highest priority, but solutions are naive
The Finfacts Troika: Better times ahead and a hangover to forget?
Dr Peter Morici: Volcker Rule arrives with the hidden jewel in Dodd-Frank financial reforms
Ireland's toothless fiscal watchdog threatens to bark
Analysis: Germany's current account surplus - - Part 2
The end of western affluence?
Bono's hypocrisy on Africa, corporate tax avoidance in Ireland
France like Ireland is run for the benefit of the old