I know. At this stage it’s like a broken record; cronyism, corruption, Celtic Tiger, cronyism, corruption. You’d imagine that there’s little more that you could read about it, without your sore head splitting open. This week Taoiseach Brian Cowen finally admitted what has been obvious to the rest of us for a very long time – that we’ll never again see the €22 billion that is being used to prop up Anglo Irish, the former ‘developers bank‘. What next,  Mr. Inevitability? Only, (don’t they bother with ‘spin’ any more?) a new property tax, in which each ordinary homeowner both pays the charge and pays for their own assessment – it might raise a couple of billion against our budget deficit. Thank you very much politicians, bankers and former developers, assorted incubi and succubi, hope you enjoyed your stay and don’t worry, we’ll pick up the tab (and live with the wreck).

If you want to get, or if you want to get more of, an idea of what went on in just one Irish County, the site of the Tara ‘job’; Meath – then Frank McDonald’s feature in Tuesday’s Irish Times will present all the symphonic score for you. It’s an absolutely riveting, horrific read. It’s like Mahler. Read it here;


In the meantime, here’s an aperitif;

“…It was the board’s approval for the route proposed by the National Roads Authority that gave Dick Roche cover for declining to intervene as minister for the environment in 2005. Declaring that there was “no way” he could revisit the board’s decision, he issued the licences for archaeological excavations, thus allowing the M3 to proceed.

…Roche’s decision – made just before the Fianna Fail-Green Party coalition took office in June 2007 – effectively let his successor, John Gormley, off the hook. By that stage, despite all the protests and even clashes between activists and security personnel hired by the road builders, construction of the M3 was well under way; the game was up.

…Meath on Track campaigned for a reopening of the railway line to Navan but this only developed legs when Fianna Fail had to fight a by-election there in 2005. Martin Cullen approved phase one of the project, from Clonsilla to Pace (Dunboyne), which is due to open in October

…In Trim, there were question marks over how permission came to be granted for a 68-bedroom hotel across the road from the most important Anglo-Norman fortification in Ireland – Trim Castle. The Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment had objected to it but was prevented from appealing by its political boss, Martin Cullen.

…“Facilitating development” in Meath was the priority, no matter what the context. That explains why councillors were quite willing to rezone land for housing in known flood plain areas in Dunboyne and Bettystown. Many new homeowners in Dunboyne feared their houses would be unsaleable after severe flooding there in November 2002.

…The councillors proceeded with rezonings despite being warned of “grave repercussions” by county manager Tom Dowling. In March 2007, they adopted a new county development plan, ignoring a call from the Department of the Environment that they should “de-zone” some of the excessive amounts of land then designated for development.”

Read it.