Barry Cowen’s Builder’s Bum

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | September 6, 2017 0

Hello 2004, it seems Ireland has short memories as FIANNA FÁIL is showing its Builders Bum again!

The Party which broke the country has  defended a proposed Vat cut for builders that could cost the exchequer €240 million, saying that “real urgency” is needed to fight the housing crisis. The party’s housing spokesperson Barry Cowen outlined the plan to the Sunday Business Post and said that it is just one of a suite of measures that should be introduced to increase the supply of new housing. Barry Cowen is of course a man of considerable underachievement  having run an Auctioneering firm in Offaly which he had to close in 2010 after the housing crash in 2008 precipitated by his brother and then Prime Minister Brian Cowen aka BIFFO disastrous housing bubble.

Last week, the Fiscal Advisory Council cautioned that a leap in construction to address “pent-up demand” in the housing market could overheat the economy, bidding up prices and wages, and undermining competitiveness in a throwback to the mid 2000s. The OECD then upped the ante by warning, as it famously did in 2006, that the Irish economy was already overheating, and that the sharp rise in house prices and property-related lending raised the prospect of “another bubble”.

The official property price figures, released on the same day, did little to allay concerns, with property price inflation put at a two-year high of 10.5 per cent. In Dublin, the figure was 11 per cent, having been as low as 2.2 per cent in September 2015.

In the mid 2000s under the “control” of Bertie Ahern (A Finance Minister and Prime Minister who claimed not to have a bank account and received cash “gifts” in envelopes in pubs  from “supporters”) and Brian Cowen the warnings about the unsustainable nature of the Irish housing market went unheeded or were countered with guff about soft landings and demographic imperatives. The naysayers, that minority of bankers, investors and economists who raised a red flag, were painted as cranks; contrarians; those who got in the way of business. Now that we’ve been burnt – our financial folly ruthlessly exposed – perhaps we’ll be more amenable to the warnings this time around – but never underestimate the Irish talent for lack of basic competence as seen and exposed in housing, planning, banking, insurance, transport, policing, telecoms, legal system,  water supply, etc: etc;  Beware the incontinent baying of the Goon Squad in the Irish Parliament who preface their inane virtue signalling with well worn  warning phrases like “We must stand up for”, “Government must be on the side of”, “We must be sensitive to” or most dangerous of all “Something must be done.” All these indicate pleas by gombeen parish pump politicians elected beyond their competence for more free money to be wasted from the Bank of You and I.

Cowen’s proposal aims to reduce the cost of construction for builders by reducing the Vat they pay on supplies from 13.5% to 9% for a three-year period. Revenue has estimated that such a cut would cost €240 million.

This is the same old Fianna Fail “Looking after our own people” BS where FF looks upon the country as a quarry to be dug out for its paymasters. In the 1960’s it “Solved” the housing crisis by building Ballymun flats with the crooks Charlie Haughey and Kevin Boland skimming off millions of taxpayers’ money from bent land deals. In the 80’s it “solved” the housing problem with the crook Ray Burke rezoning 100’s of acres of unserviced land in Swords and Tallaght for Brennan and McGowan (who gave him a FREE house plus lots of money) which ended up costing the public purse millions in new sewage and drainage and added over €50M to the cost of the M1 motorway. 

BIFFO “solved” the energy crisis by building a dirty and ecologically disastrous Peat Fired Power Station in his constituency which has cost over €1M for every person employed and we pay 7% extra on our electricity bill to cover the expensive cost of this arrant nonsense as an “Energy Efficiency Levy”, a name as dishonest as calling Fianna Fail “The Republican Party.” Bertie and BIFFO “solved” the housing crisis in 2004 with a raft of incentives and tax breaks which littered the country with “Ghost Estates”, bankrupted and humiliated the Nation and destroyed lives and futures for a whole generation. 

There are of course huge disincentives to building new housing and adopting a rational and sustainable housing policy in Ireland but Government and political parties with their sterile debate overlook the gombeenism which makes Ireland a frankly risible place to build housing. To list some, It costs over €1000 to register a new house with the Land Registry, a tax on new housing and that extortionate amount does not get you a good service with delays of over a year reported. Building Regulation compliance adds €7000 to the cost of an average 3 bed, roundly 10 times more than the cost in the UK. Conveyancing costs more than twice what it does in the UK due to the inefficiency of the Legal Profession which headed off EU demands to open itself up to competition and has still been allowed to “Self Regulate” despite the impressive roll call of Solicitors guilty of professional misconduct.

Ireland has over 200,000 vacant older houses largely because Fianna Fail under Charles Haughey “abolished” domestic rates meaning there is no effective property taxation system in Ireland based on property values and no tax surcharge on empty properties. In addition there are estimated to be over 35,000 unfinished new houses on unfinished “Ghost Estates.” Furthermore much of the built stock is substandard because Fianna Fail to appease developers allowed cavity block construction for over 30 years after building regs.  in the UK made such poor construction untenable. This accounts in a country with 250 days of rainfall for the large number of older properties with G and F Energy Ratings, the F presumably standing for “Fridge.”

Beware of FF Parish Pump Politicians shouting “Something must be done” and bearing the same failed solutions to line their backer’s pockets. Barry Cowen has proved himself to be as big a Thundering Gobshite as his unlamented and discredited brother BIFFO, a not inconsiderable achievement. He should hide his Builder’s Bum.

The Skibbereen Eagle

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