Posted by TheYank at 9/17/2009 10:18 AM EDT
Sorry I've been so silent here the past few days. Maybe you heard we had a fairly serious crash in Dublin between a bus and one of our new(ish) on-street light rail trains?
I nearly missed the Bus-Luas crash story yesterday because I'm completely distracted by the other big story here. Really, the biggest story in Ireland. Nama. Yesterday evening I switched radio stations every time the talk veered away from Nama.
Yesterday the Irish government finally unveiled the plans for bailing out our broken banks. Nama - the National Assets Management Agency - is the plan.
Everyone in Ireland is sick of the sound of it: Nama, Nama, Nama. Sick of hearing about Nama, but equally worried sick about what Nama will mean for them. No one tunes out even when they want to. I'm the same.
Will it work? I have no idea, but like most people here I'm pretty skeptical. Skeptical that the idea is not some form of boondoggle to benefit the governing party's (Fianna Fáil) developer and construction friends; skeptical that anything this government tries could possibly work. Simply skeptical.
Yeah, in truth, I don't think it's going to work for all sorts of reasons. I think the government is paying too much for properties that will be a long, long time (if ever) recovering their value. I think we're being saddled with a debt that will mean a decade (or more) of economic stagnation. And, I think the dusty old "how to" manuals on emigration will be getting a thorough look again. Yup, I think we're about to see a net outflow of people from Ireland. Again.
A lot of young Irish people will soon be looking beyond these shores for an opportunity to work just as generations of Irish have before them. They're not going to stay here to earn low wages - if they can get work - and pay high taxes, both of which are as near as guaranteed thanks to the necessity of having to bail out the banks. Someday in the future thousands of Irish emigrants will think of Nama as a symbol of all that went wrong during the '00s and forced them to leave home.
Already there is a generation of builders, engineers and architects out of work. They're gradually being joined by people who used to work in the banks or other office occupations. Once things pick up in Britain or (whisper, whisper) America, they'll be off.
Have to keep it down about America because very few of those who will be heading west in the next few years will be going with legal visas, etc. Unless of course, that issue gets somehow resolved over the next few months or so.
Forget the blarney! What it actually costs to live in Ireland