The Establishment

18th July, 2009

This has been the week of reports. The An Bord Snip and Leass Cross reports were both hugely significant. One at the start of the week attracted a lot of comment as well. The Central Bank published their 2008 Annual Report. I’ve got a copy of it (all members of the Oireachtas receive their publications) and I’ll read it fully next week.

One very minor thing did catch my eye though this morning. That was the composition of their board. One Mr David Begg has been a member of the Board since 1995. This is the same Mr Begg has has been so critical of the ‘neo liberal’ to use his phrase banking regime in our country. I admire Mr Begg and think that many of his contributions have been correct in identifying the flaws with the Irish ‘settlement’.

However, the social partners have been trying to have their cake and eat it, of late. The very economic regime that they are now so critical of is the same one they played a key role in creating through their participation in the social partnership process. They had more power than most cabinet ministers and signed up to deals year after year that fundamentally altered our tax structure and public expenditure plans. It is now these adjustments that have us in this terrible, terrible mess.

They would do well to remember this across the summer period when they reflect on the approaching budget.