Gormley is “happy with NAMA”

John Gormley (photo), the leader of Ireland’s Green Party and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government*, today declared that “within the next two years we should see a turnaround in the Economy”.
But, according to Gormley, this will only happen “if the vision of the green economy is implemented”. In other words, it is most unlikely.

Speaking at lunchtime on the This Week programme on RTÉ Radio 1, Minister Gormley also said he “believes that the fundamentals of the Irish economy are still strong enough”, but that “the green vision is the only one to get us through”.

Having entered government on a coalition pact with his previously worst political enemy Fianna Fáil (and on a big dream of creating a ‘green government’) less than two years ago, it appears that Gormley is still dreaming and either unaware of the reality, or closing his eyes deliberately, willing to soldier on until the inevitable bitter end.

John Gormley also stated that he is “happy with the establishment of the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA)”.
The creation of this new agency was announced recently by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. It is supposed to take over all the bad loans and ‘toxic’ assets Irish banks have accumulated over the past decade of financial madness and recklessness. Nobody knows if this concept will work, and even less what the experiment will cost Irish taxpayers.
Numerous economists have pointed out that a full nationalisation of all Irish banks – and even if it is only for a limited period of time – would be a much better and safer solution, and certainly cost the state a lot less.
But once again the government has made up its mind and is now pressing ahead, regardless if the action makes any sense or not.

It is worth to remember that John Gormley is not an economist. Before entering full-time politics he worked as a language teacher, which is an honourable profession, but does not make one an expert on the Economy.
But since there is not a single economist among Ireland’s government ministers, almost everyone of them is lately developing into some kind of self-appointed armchair analyst of the Economy. John Gormley is only the latest among his colleagues to come out with statements on economical matters.

The purpose of all this is to give the Irish people the impression that the government knows what it is doing, and that all is not so bad after all. In 26 days the nation will go to the polling stations and elect 13 Members of the European Parliament and all local Councillors in Ireland’s counties and cities. On the same day there are also two by-elections for Dáil Éireann in Dublin, caused by the deaths of the former TDs Seamus Brennan (Fianna Fáil) and Tony Gregory (Independent).
Going by recent opinion polls, the two government parties (Fianna Fáil and Green Party) can expect a hammering on all levels, as there has never been so much dissatisfaction with an Irish government since the foundation of the state.

So John Gormley’s attempt to talk up the Economy on national radio, less than a month before election day, has only one purpose: to win votes for his disintegrating party, which has lost two sitting City Councillors (in Dublin and Cork) and several long-established candidates and activists recently.

It won’t work, and being an intelligent man, John Gormley must know it. But since he has chosen to be First Mate on a sinking ship, he just keeps going and pretending.
Having supported the Green Party myself for many years, I feel in a personal way sorry for him. However, he made his choice, and he will get the public’s reaction for it. Had he even a little bit of green spirit and honesty left, he and his two colleagues would resign from the government and with that trigger an early general election. This is what Ireland really needs urgently, as only a new government would have a chance to lead us out of the current crisis. Every day the present administration stays in office is another black and wasted day for Ireland, and especially for our failing Economy.

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