Property developers became ever more ruthless and greedy as the Celtic Tiger progressed. Many of them branched off into mafia type property management scams. Countless thousands of mortgage holders are being systematically ripped off in this completely unregulated business. The Mafiosi running these scams is well protected by Government inaction.
Another scam engaged in by developers was to construct houses and apartments with tiny rooms thus condemning many people to live in shoeboxes with massive mortgages.
But the most outrageous and depraved scam was the practice of forcing house buyers to sign a contract giving the developer a share of the funds if the owner decided to sell within a specified time.
So, you could have a situation where the developer would receive 10% of the price if the owner sold in the first year, 5% in the second year and so on. This was all perfectly legal and the Government never took any action to stop the practice.
The absolute and uncontrolled greed of these property developers was on my mind as I listened to one of them being interviewed by Eamon Dunphy.
Paddy Kelly, introduced by Dunphy as one of Ireland’s wealthiest property developers was recently presented with a lifetime achievement award in New York by the Ireland US Council.
Here’s some of what this gentleman had to say. (It should be kept in mind that this interview took place on the 29th November before the rot at Anglo Irish Bank was exposed).
Asked about the current crisis enveloping the country Kelly said;
“We’re going to need steady heads to sort our problems and we need to be decent to one another and to help one another and for me compassion is so central to how we live and how we are.”
On the question of over development particularly in Dublin Kelly said. It was stupid but it’s all about Government policy and policy in Ireland today is a bit confused.
It wasn’t the developers fault; the Celtic Tiger came upon us so fast that there was no time for preplanning but, Kelly helpfully added, “I hope we manage the down turn now.
Kelly admitted that he would build anywhere no matter what the consequences once he got planning permission and added “planning was so tedious that it would try the patience of Job.”
To get around such inconvenience Kelly candidly admitted that ‘brown envelopes’ were taken in order to smooth out planning problems. (Here we have a property developer openly adimtting on national radio that bribery occurred with absolute confidence that he will never be questioned by police)
The conversation became even more bizarre when Kelly was quizzed on his loans and banking. I owe hundreds of millions but it’s no great burden he happily admitted.
What’s the last thing you think of before going to sleep, do you think of the bank, asked Dunphy.
“No, no, my life is full of joy and full of the moment. I think of people.”
What about your bank manager?
“Well, I think of the skill of Anglo Irish and the people involved, those people are so creative.”
Dunphy interjected – Anglo Irish Bank? It’s one of the banks endangered I believe.
“All the banks are in danger but you’ll find that as the weeks go on Anglo Irish are in very good shape and you’d be surprised how good the quality is of the people in there…watch Anglo and be optimistic.”
Ah yes, watch Anglo and be optimistic, don’t worry about hundreds of millions in loans, be full of the joys of life, be decent to one another, make compassion central to how you live.
This man is not a priest, he’s not a philosopher, he’s a man living happily in a country where he is supremely confident that the Government will never allow his type to suffer or be at a loss no matter how much it costs ordinary citizens.