Like Nothing Has Happened

at

Conor Lenihan, of Fianna Fáil

This morning.

Former Fianna Fáil TD and junior minister Conor Lenihan was interviewed by Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One.

It follows a report in yesterday’s Irish Times in which it was reported Mr Lenihan is interested in running in the next European elections in 2019.

During the interview, Mr O’Rourke asked Mr Lenihan about an opinion piece written by Fintan O’Toole in today’s Irish Times in which Mr O’Toole focused on an interview in last weekend’s Sunday Business Post in which Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen told the newspaper the party wanted to see the Vat rate for builders and developers cut from 13% to 9%.

Mr Cowen told the Sunday Business Post:

We’re looking at a Vat holiday for a sunset period for the construction sector. We are calling for a reduction in development charges and planning levies. The pussy footing is over. There has to be radical measures for a period to allow the sector get back on its feet. To allow the sector to create affordable homes, to allow local authorities to be given the space to build houses.”

Mr O’Toole wrote:

The party [Fianna Fáil] has a bad case of builder’s bum: when it bends over to help out its friends it reveals the hideous gap between its recent left-wing rhetoric and its true loyalties.

If tax breaks for developers created a stable housing market and good urban planning we’d be living on Paradise Island.

Developer-led get-rich-quick schemes, fuelled by tax incentives, have led only to disaster.

Further to this, Mr Lenihan and Mr O’Rourke had the following exchange.

Conor Lenihan: “I think there’s a very serious crisis here and the current government and the previous government have done very little in this area. We do need emergency measures, we need something that actually gets builders and the constructions sector building houses.

This is not rocket science. We do need to provide incentives to people who are building houses to go out and build them. And if you talk to builders and plenty of us do, it’s very clear that the mixture of taxation on a house, to build a house, makes it very disadvantageous for people to get into building houses.

“So this is a very serious thing that has to be addressed. Now it’s nothing to do with anybody’s relationship with the building industry but I would point out that, notwithstanding the brickbat thrown by the likes of Fintan O’Toole against Fianna Fail in relation to our relationship or whatever, with the building industry that it’s very clear from the data, from 1922 on, from the period after independence, that the amount of social houses built by Fianna Fáil governments, is very consistent. We’ve always built more social housing than any other party in this State. So the record…”

O’Rourke: “Coming back…”

Lenihan: “…is good in terms of one level if you look at the actual data…”

O’Rourke: “Well, I think you’d probably have to go back to the 1950s to find your real achievements…”

Lenihan: “No, the social housing schemes were started in the 1930s by the De Valera government and a time when the previous government had no interest….”

O’Rourke: “In the Ahern era, and thereafter, it became a question of just leave it to the markets.”

Lenihan: “Yeah, and I think that was a mistake by all parties in Leinster House. We need to have social housing…”

O’Rourke: “No, hang on, you were the guys in Government from 1997 for the next, what was it, 14 years?”

Lenihan: “That’s right. Yes, but there was a, but there was a consensus in the Dail. The Opposition parties were asking for more, more tax cuts, more spending…”

O’Rourke: “Ok, just to come back to where we started…and your potential return to the political fray here, your name being on the ballot paper. Have you spoken to Micheal Martin about this idea?

Lenihan: Of course I have, I’ve spoken to him and I made it clear that I was open and available.”

O’Rourke: “And what did he say?”

Lenihan: “Well he was very encouraging, of course. As party leader, he does not and cannot express a preference for one candidate over another. He has to be respectful to the membership but I was glad to be able to meet him and share my ambition in that regard.”

Listen back in full here

Meanwhile…

Speaking of ‘sunsets’….

From an academic paper, published in the Irish Political Studies journal in 2011, about the Irish financial crash.

The paper was called Financial and Economic Crisis: Explaining the Sunset over the Celtic Tiger, and was written by Raj Chari, of Trinity College Dublin and Patrick Bernhagen, of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Also.

Any excuse

35 thoughts on “Like Nothing Has Happened

  1. MoyestWithExcitement

    “We do need to provide incentives to people who are building houses to go out and build them.”

    Economics for the insane. The incentives they need is the prospect of sales, not fupping tax breaks. I cannot believe people are still preaching supply side economics. After all this. Fupping madness.

  2. dav

    ff are obviously afraid that fg will steal away their core builders/developers brib… sorry votes and are making a concerted effort to get them back..

    1. realPolithicks

      Any person who is still willing to vote for any iteration of FG/FF?LAB at this point needs their head examined.

  3. Gorev Mahagut

    Meanwhile, in 1847:
    Conor Lenihan (or his 19th century equivalent): “I think there’s a very serious famine here and the current government and the previous government have done very little in this area. We do need emergency measures, we need something that actually gets landlords and the merchant sector selling grain.

    “This is not rocket science. We do need to provide incentives to people who are selling grain to go out and sell grain. And if you talk to merchants and plenty of us do, it’s very clear that the mixture of taxation on grain, to sell grain, makes it very disadvantageous for people to get into selling grain…”

    “So this is a very serious thing that has to be addressed. Now it’s nothing to do with anybody’s relationship with the absentee landlords but I would point out that, notwithstanding the brickbat thrown by the likes of Fintan O’Toole against us in relation to our relationship or whatever, with the merchants that it’s very clear from the data, from 1822 on that the amount of workhouses built by our governments, is very consistent.”

  4. Anomanomanom

    Irish people deserve what they get,how FF survived is mind boggling. Irish people seem to have short memories and FF scum remember they just don’t care.

  5. TheOtherGuy

    Trying to find a builder to do an extension job for the last 2 months. Have full PP and drawings done and money secured etc. Can we find a builder? Not a chance. They’re all out the door and the only ones who are available don’t have many people praising them when you do your research.

    1. edalicious

      Same boat here, we got a quote from one lad to do a small extension out the back that was a sizeable portion of what we paid for the house! Earliest anyone has told us they could get in was January and that was in July!

      1. martco

        my advice for a standard extension (and I’m not joking here it’s really not as impossible as it might seem)

        Employ an engineer to oversee, buy yourself a Leaving Cert building construction book, YouTube research where you’ll find every technique up there for every situation, open an account in your local building providers and get to it yourself. great DIY project.

        betcha you even have a mate somewhere in the scheme of things who can help. Do employ a proper electrician but if no gas involved do the plumbing yourself (these days superb easy to implement systems like Lego eg rehau qualpex etc.)

        Save yourself a load of money and you’ll get some major satisfaction out of it when you pull it all together!

        1. edalicious

          I’d probably have to take a sabbatical from work but god that would be satisfying. I have absolute confidence in my own abilities but I doubt I could convince the missus to let me do it!

          1. martco

            …or you could take your time and do it over weekends and the odd ahem sick day (or working from home if u have that possibility)

            keep as much money in your pocket possible. if you’re handy you can defo do it!

          2. realPolithicks

            “I have absolute confidence in my own abilities but I doubt I could convince the missus to let me do it!”

            Your wife sounds a lot wiser than you, if you don’t mind my saying so.

        2. TheOtherGuy

          DIY is putting up a couple of shelves or installing a new shower etc. This is a construction job that will take a team of builders about 4/5 months to complete. This isn’t something that can be done at the weekends because I don’t have 2 years of weekends to wait for the work to be completed.

          1. Rob_G

            A mate of mine’s Dad was a civil engineer, and he built his extension in this way; it took about 3 years, AFAIR.

  6. Nigel

    ‘This is not rocket science.’

    Since you nevertheless fecked up the whole country through the building boom, perhaps you should start treating it as a complex, difficult problem that require careful, thoughtful long-term solutions instead.

  7. Junkface

    Crony Capitalism! That’s Ireland in a nutshell. No real desire for progress and problem solving. Just a desire to get voted in, then continue to crisis manage.

  8. ahjayzis

    All that pain and sufferying and penury. All so these leeching scum could turn us around and bring us back to 2005. It’s such salt in the wound.

  9. dave g k

    I’d say Conor’s a legend at Bullpoo Bingo. Great use of “It’s not Rocket Science” and introducing “VAT Holiday” and Sunset Period”.

    Thus demonstrating a glorious synergy of blue sky thinking and pushing the envelop in one fell swoop.

  10. Donal

    Oh I wish O’Rourke had followed up on the social housing provision part of the conversation
    Along the lines of
    “If FF governments were so successful at building social housing in the 30s and the 50s and later as you claim, why do you want to give tax breaks to the private sector when FF could promise to return to this policy of publicly built housing if in government?”

    1. ahjayzis

      Look he talks some sense.

      If we pretend social hosuing isn’t the word we use for housing that cannot return a massive profit to the private builders, then we can pretend throwing money at them will make it financially worthwhile housing the poorest in society. Look at America’s beautiful private sector trailer parks and those innovative housing hubs they call favelas in Brazil.

      The free market has ALWAYS provided for people too poor to enter the market, have a little faith, y’all.

  11. Mourinho

    The price is too goddamn high!

    The problem with a tax cut is that it is across the board and benefits those that don’t need it, no matter what is being built.

    My humble suggestion is: a tax refund, for PPRs for 1st time buyers only, for a NON-LUXURY house, below €150k (post refund).

    NON-LUXURY? 1200 sq ft or less and/or €200k or less.
    €150k? Irish median wage x 5 = €142,500

  12. Diddy

    Tax breaks… so the price of the house to you and I remains sky high and builders get a nice little bonus from the tax payers for getting off their backsides. Furthermore I don’t believe the guff about building costs .. there’s a nice profit to be made as is. They are gouging.

  13. bisted

    …I wonder will Mammie O’Rourke run for Pres…maybe people will forget that she’s a Lenihan…or is Miriam the chosen FFer…Derek Mooney would know…

  14. The Bottler

    Just look at the Cairn Homes plc report today comparing 2017 with 2016 results – Revenues up 157%; Gross profit up 191% and profit margin 18.7% up from 16.6%. Oh yes the construction industry badly needs lots more incentives, Mr Lenihan.

  15. :-Joe

    The Lenihan/Cowen/etc. dynasty say “Yes”.

    The logical and rational answer you are looking for is “No”.

    & vice versa…

    :-J

  16. A snowflake's chance in hell

    He’s absolutely correct and honest here

    the most telling aspect of the Celtic Tiger years was the lifeless opposition offered by the current gombeens

  17. Truth in the News

    Post Celtic Tiger “Mature Recollection” on reflection, he sports a thick neck and would
    make a great choice for FF to choose to run for President

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