Sunday 21 January 2018

David McWilliams: Government has sold us out to neo-gombeen man

David McWilliams

David McWilliams

Over 100 years ago, JM Synge described the gombeen man as follows, "groggy patriot/publican/ge-neral shopman who is married to the priest's half-sister and is a second cousin once removed of the dispensary doctor ... the type that is running the United Irish League anti-grazier campaign, while at the same time they are swindling the people themselves in a dozen ways and buying back their holdings and packing off whole families to America".

When we see the closing of businesses and the emigration of our neighbours and relations while deeply entrenched "insiders" disguise national robbery in the emotional language of patriotism, it is not difficult to conclude that the gombeen man never went away.

Even in terms of the detail of Synge's gombeen man buying up the peasants' holdings, it is obvious that, for NAMA to work, the State will have to trade land cheaply at some stage in the future. And guess what? To get the market going it will have to sell stuff at way below the price NAMA bought the stuff for in the first place -- that's how to generate liquidity. So like Synge's gombeen, the very people who caused the mess will be given the opportunity to buy the stuff back cheaply in a few years' time.

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