20.4.09

IRELAND'S BOOMTOWN RATS

For the past decade Ireland’s economy was home to the Celtic Tiger. But it seems there were not a few rats in the boomtown.

Kathleen Barrington writes in Who Sold Ireland Down The River?, that €100 billion was not wiped from the value of the Irish stock market but earned by savvy investors, who had a better nose for information than most others.

Hedgefunds spoke to renegade estate agents, no doubt paying them juicy fees to tell the truth about over supply in the property market. Investors were able to make huge profits by selling the shares of Ireland’s banks who were directly invested in the property bubble.

PUBLIC SOLD A LIE

Don't blame the investors – how are they different from people who profited from rising prices? They were able to profit from the fall because they had information that others didn’t. They were only able to profit because they paid estate agents to tell them the truth. The implication is that everyone else was sold a lie.

She writes: “This message was brought home to me by a fascinating anecdote contained in Derek Brawn’s new book, Ireland’s House Party: What the Estate Agents Don’t Want You to Know
Brawn is critical of politicians, bankers, estate agents, developers, regulators and journalists.


"He accuses them variously of either failing to recognise the property bubble, or for trying to conceal the truth about the bubble from the public, particularly by attempting to silence those who questioned the consensus view that there would be a so called soft landing, rather than a fully-blown property and financial crash such as we are currently experiencing."


Barrington is clear on one thing: the gold of the Irish boom did not simply turn to dust. Collapsing prices generated huge profits for those who saw past the lies perpetuated by those in business, politics and journalism.

We should keep this in mind when governments impose higher taxes on middle-income earners while bailing out banks with the equivalent of a pass to get out of jail free.

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