On September 17, 2008, the Irish Times gave Noel Smyth (above) space to to publish a 1300-word article about the bank crisis and what the government should do.
Noel was described as a ‘solicitor and property developer‘.
What wasn’t mentioned was that Noel was also a big customer with Anglo Irish bank and Irish Nationwide.
And by ‘big’ we do mean ‘at the time he wrote this article (below) he owed both institutions hundreds of millions in property bets gone bad’.
This is what he had to say. It’s quite magnificent.
One of the main features of property ownership in Ireland is that it is mostly in the hands of people who either live or work in our country. We have been unable to expand this ownership base like those in London, New York or Paris have, or to introduce incentives like those given to people buying property in Dubai.
In the present climate (where property is nearly a dirty word and where there is an I-told-you-so attitude from some of the more smug, negative commentators who, with respect, have never taken a risk in their life, never given anybody a job and certainly have never promoted Ireland Inc as a place to invest) there are steps that Ireland Inc and those of us in the property world can take to improve our profile and our ability to get investment into our country. Our main attribute is, and always has been, our people. We have the best brains and the most enthusiastic professionals, be they agents, surveyors, solicitors, accountants or bankers, all of whom are needed to identify, secure, acquire, finance and deliver projects.
When the smoking ban was introduced there was an outcry, saying that it would never work. We know the result to be different.
We have to take a similar step as far as finance is concerned. We don’t have control of the ECB interest rate but we do control fiscal policies within our borders and we should not be afraid to use these to their fullest advantage.
If the Government was to persuade the Central Bank to guarantee all deposits in Irish banks operating under a banking licence from the Central Bank in the State, the effect would ensure that depositors considering investing in Ireland would know they had a State guarantee and that the banks would always ensure their money was repaid.