Tuesday 6 December 2016

Who really caused the bust? We did.

Published 15/04/2011 | 07:49

During the boom, many Irish people bought holiday villas like this one in Florida
During the boom, many Irish people bought holiday villas like this one in Florida

I SPENT much of the last week abroad. It was refreshing to be out of Ireland, and away from the negativity so prevalent here. Being overseas also presented an opportunity to hear the external viewpoint on Ireland's situation.

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During the Celtic Tiger years, every man, woman and child in this country enjoyed the spoils to some extent. What were the consequences? People had more money in their pockets, and much of it was spent on lifestyle improvement or non-productive assets such as cars and property.

We bought landmark buildings in London, holiday villas in Spain, Portugal, Florida, Croatia, etc. We owned more BMWs per capita than Germany. In investments, people sought to make a killing rather than a living. We became a people who confused debt burdens for wealth. Now the bubble has burst. The tide has gone out and many people were left exposed and naked, seeking somebody to blame for their misfortune.

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