Archive for March 17th, 2012

Graph of the Week



This is the National Treasury Management Agency’s projection of the debt Ireland must repay or rollover for the next decade. Between 2012-2020, it comes to a total of €120.2bn! And because Ireland has committed to reduce its debt:GDP from 120% of GDP projected in 2013 to 60% “eventually”, we won’t just be rolling over this debt, we’ll be paying much of it back. It was just a year ago when the NTMA came in for some criticism on here for not having robust plans for repaying debt after 2013, and I see that this time last year the NTMA had a different colour for its “cash and other assets” – Barney purple. The NTMA was not at all happy with the blogpost and thought it facetious, but it seems as valid today as it did a year ago to suggest we all sing the Barney song to our creditors when it comes to repaying all this debt.



Doppelganger of the Week

Newly elevated to the NAMA board, John Mulcahy the Director of Asset Management at the Agency was actually given a couple of lines to speak at this week’s hearing before the Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform committee, usually he just sits there silently at these hearings and adopts a countenance of slight quizzicality.

Quotation of the Week

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes”

Now this quotation from American sci-fi novelist Bill Gibson is not new at all, and indeed it appears to paraphrase something Sigmund Freud said, but it was this week that the above quotation was spotted amongst the graffiti which now adorns the hoardings around the Liam Carroll Anglo HQ building on Dublin’s north quay – see photos below. For a nation still reeling from the shock of the financial crisis, the quotation does indeed have some resonance.

Runner-up goes to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny who said in the US this week “we’re facing a set of challenges for the country that are challenging” which echoes his address to the nation in December 2011 when he said “if you’re unemployed, you’re one of the many who still can’t find work.” Can’t wait for his St Patrick’s Day speech at the White House this year, let’s all hope it’s an improvement on last year’s.

Word of the Week

“Effectively” – this little adverb is gaining in prominence in Irish public discourse in the sense of meaning “for all practical purposes”. However it seems to be rapidly replacing “basically” as a device to (a) give the speaker time to think whilst at the same time ensuring there is no dead space and (b) to approximate a summary of diverse facts or claims including some about which the speaker might be unsure, but most importantly (c) to wallpaper over the fact that detail is being suppressed and the speaker/writer can’t be arsed to provide considered replies. There should be a swear-jar arrangement at €1-a-pop whenever it is used.

The adjective “effective” isn’t much better and it is hoped that we shortly find out how NAMA is working out the value of property several years hence in its “Effective Interest Rate” calculation

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