Vulture capitalists, corrupt politicians and poverty

Wilbur Ross is a billionaire businessman who specialises in taking over, restructuring and selling on distressed businesses.

Some have referred to him as a grave dancer or vulture capitalist.

He is a key member of a consortium that bought 35% of Bank of Ireland last year to keep it out of state ownership. He personally owns 9% of the bank.

Mr. Ross is obviously a man who checks out every detail surrounding a venture before he commits large amounts of cash.

I assume therefore that the comments he made to George Lee about how well Ireland and its citizens are dealing with the current crisis are meant to encourage the markets while at the same time trying to convince Irish citizens that their situation is not so bad.

It’s very tough medicine but it’s necessary.

The Irish people understand that there’s a big problem, they understand there’s only one way out so as far as I can see they’re bravely gritting their teeth and they’ll get through it.

If Mr. Wilbur actually believes what he says then he’s not as well informed as he should be.

He might, for example, find it useful to listen back to a discussion between Marian Finucane and Irish Times columnist Conor Pope on the brutal reality facing a good percentage of Irish citizens.

Keeping in mind that the average industrial wage is €35,000 it has been found that to run a household, without being lavish, costs the average Irish family about €1,000 per week – after tax.

This figure does not include holidays, social life and expensive events like Christmas.

Neither does the figure include property tax, water charges, or the big increases recently announced for electricity and gas.

It does not take account of cutbacks and extra taxes and charges which are coming down the road in the December budget.

Recent research by the Irish League of Credit Unions found that 1.82 million adults say they have less than €100 per month to spend after bills have been paid.

It was also found that about 17% of adults, about 602,000 people, say they have absolutely nothing left for discretionary spending once the bills have been paid.

More than 150,000 people are unable to pay their mortgage and 300,000 are in negative equity.

About 300,000 are struggling to pay gas and electricity bills.

Wilbur Ross couldn’t be more wrong when he says the Irish people are gritting their teeth and getting on with it.

Irish citizens are still in transition from relative prosperity to a level of poverty not seen since the 1940s.

This catastrophe is entirely down to the corrupt political system that has ruled Ireland from at least the early 1980s and which still holds power today.

People like Wilbur Ross are ruthless businessmen coming in to suck as much blood as possible from the rotten carcass of the first republic which received its final and fatal blow from its corrupt political system on 29 September 2008.

Looking at the big picture Irish citizens have just two things to consider.

Are they going to meekly accept severe poverty for the coming three or four decades?


Are they going to allow the corrupt political system that brought them to such poverty to continue to exist?

Time will tell.

2 thoughts on “Vulture capitalists, corrupt politicians and poverty”

  1. This blog should be compulsory reading for all Irish citizens. The information here will never be seen in a newspaper or heard on Radio and TV. I don’t have the solution but I would love this to reach a wider audience.

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