The Day The Earth Stood Still

Not long to go now before the results of the stress tests on what remains of the Irish banking system are made public, and the Irish people are presented for what – hopefully – will be the final bill for the excesses of the Celtic Tiger.

That bill will be paid by credit card, complete with punitive interest payments, until the point where there is no longer any point in paying it at all.

I wonder how does Brian Lenihan feel today? The man who, not so long ago, told us “our plan is working, we’ve turned the corner”- where is he today?

If he had any sense of dignity he would be wearing a hair shirt in Kildare Street and begging forgiveness, but like that consummate crook Michael Lowry, that is not the way things work in  Ireland.

We don’t do accountability, lest we be held to account ourselves.

We turned the corner alright Brian – into a blind alley where we got the stuffing kicked out of us and our wallet robbed, by your mates.  First the Irish bankers and developers, then the European shylocks who bailed us in more than they bailed us out.

Thanks for that, Brian.

The headlines are already calling this “Black Thursday”, but the natural optimist in me is not so sure – in fact, this could be the day begins to shine once again. Though the news expected on this day is all bad, it surely has to be the last of it- there simply cannot be any more skeletons stuffed into the closets of the banks, and if there are it’s high time we refused to acknowledge them.

Today could be the day default becomes inevitable. The market in shares of Irish banks has been suspended for the most part, but around the world traders in the dealing rooms will be quick to make their calculations of whether or not Ireland can afford what lies ahead – and quicker still to click the “Sell” button if they don’t think she can.

The fire sale of Ireland and her assets might well begin at 1630 GMT as the results become known and capital takes flight for safer havens. THen, and only then, will reality finally bite.

And when it does, we can finally adopt the real solutions to the real problems that are being faced by the country- debt restructuring for the state, the banks and private individuals and the introduction of regulations to ensure that this never happens again.

And if those few simple steps can spring from this mountain of bad news, this may not be such a bad day after all.

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