Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sorry? nah!

A number of years back I was sitting in the departures lounge of Stanstead Airport for a connecting flight. Alone and with a couple of hours to kill you get to that stage where you begin to notice and filter the wallpaper and background noise of modern life.

One of the tannoy announcements I actually listened to for the first time was a non-apology apology from Ryanair.

It went something like this; "Ryanair regrets to announce the delay in flight FR123 to Dublin, this is due to the late arrival of the incoming aeroplane."

Its was a clever non-apology apology as it indicated a clear disconnect between Ryanair and the aeroplane. It was as if anxious Ryanair staff were out on the tarmac nervously looking at their watches and the distant horizon waiting for this aeroplane to appear out of the sky. It was as if there was some "Aeroplane Dispatch Centre" that had screwed up and was late in sending the plucky Ryanair costcutters their flying machine on time.

Yet the reality is that incoming aeroplane was a Ryanair flight and the reason it was late was due to the airlines scheduling turnaround policy so as to fit as many flights in given day.

Our Minister of Finance had his own Ryanair moment today when he announced the dreadful updated exchequer figures for 2008. It now is evident that Ireland inc will face a €8 billion shortfall for the year.

Aside from the predictable external factors cited by the Government (Credit Crunch, Oil Price) Minister Lenihan cited "lower than expected tax revenue receipts. This is due largely to lower growth than projected at Budget time and to a fall off in tax receipts as a result of weaker property market activity".

Fair enough Minister but who is responsible for this weakened property market?

You and your government colleagues who, in the face of repeated advice to the contrary, encouraged house prices to get out of control so to shore up support from their developer paymasters, facilitate a consumer binge from feel-wealthy home owners, fund Fianna Fáil's cyclical spending sprees around election time and egged on every last cent produced in the economy to be reinvested on the most unproductive of assets until like a black hole the thing collapsed in on itself.

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