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Eamonn Walsh | 15:45 UK time, Monday, 21 February 2011

Will the death of Ireland's boom-time economy spell big trouble for the UK?

Fergal Keane returns home to find out why Ireland went from being one of the richest countries in the world to the brink of bankruptcy.

Bailing%20out%20Ireland has put Britain on the hook for billions, but will it be enough to save one of our most important business partners?

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  • Comment number 1.

    I saw no mention of personal responsibility.
    Yes the banks were offering 110% mortgages but people were taking them. People were signing the contracts, selling houses at exaggerated amounts due to the boom, buying houses overseas (as shown in the programme) and not saving atall.
    The politicians and the bankers and developers are at fault, but so are a huge number of people who dived right in. Noone forced them to take out mortgages, as every investment says the value can down down as well as up.
    It was NOT just the elite. MANY people have guilt on their hands.

  • Comment number 2.

    Light touch regulation of our banking system and access to cheap funding on the wholesale markets fuelled the boom in the Irish housing Market.

  • Comment number 3.

    Unfortunately we in Ireland have lived in a Utopia with European money being given to us for too many years,we now have to go from being the Celtic Tiger to returning to be the Celtic Lion and hopefully the pride of lions (europe) will still come to our aid.If not maybe we will need to help the Uk decide if proportional representation is the way to go,look where it got us !!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Just as there was a lot of profits being shared by many, there is also a lot of blame which should be shared by many. It's as if everybody "dropped the ball" at the same time. The banks no longer acted as the responsible lenders but instead actually made their own markets by lending to developers on an agreed basis that the property being developed would be sold/leased for outrageous amounts, the borrowers were welcomed with open arms no matter their income, and lenders added to home mortgages with additional loans for new furniture and new cars and all they cared about was taking in those up-front fees which their bonuses became based on. Then there were the experienced developers who really didn't see beyond the next week. And how about the inexperienced ones who wanted in on the high profits - they knew they had no knowledge. Let's not forget the buyers who couldn't see beyond the dream of living in a mini-mansion with 4 or 5 en-suite bedrooms, 4-car garage, ponies in the stable and of course the requisite holiday apartment in Portugal, along with the quick shopping trips to London, Paris or even NY.

    There's an entire generation in Ireland who are absolutely and totally bewildered by this down-turn, it's beyond their experience, and they don't know how to handle it. They don't know what to do in a country that doesn't have a surfeit of available highly-paid jobs. They've never heard of anyone who didn't get a needed mortgage or loan to develop land. Nobody has ever told them "no" before. Hols at 17 in Majorca? 'Sure, here's my card, now don't over-do it, see you in two weeks sweetheart, have a lovely time'. Now they all have to grow up and there's really nobody willing to show them how to.

    Lots of blame, but still no personal responsibility.

  • Comment number 5.

    I found the Panorama report to be poorly constructed. Brian Gowen was Minister for Finance and responsible for the light-touch financial regulation, then Taoiseach when the blank-cheque bank guarantee was introduced, yet unbelievably his role was not mentioned. He led, and is still leading, Ireland into a catastrophic economic crisis, but your documentary didn't feel he was worthy of a mention. Lazy journalism. Would Panorama do a documentary about the Iraq war without mentioning Tony Blair?

  • Comment number 6.

    Very predictable, no real insights here from Fergal Keane and very lazy journalism. Where indeed was Bertie Ahern in this story??

    The lack of anyone taking personal responsibility is breath taking - imagine a generation forced to emigrate because they cannot get jobs in the construction/ property development sectors when they were promised everything....it goes without saying the political and business elite have a lot to answer for, I heard no-one complaining in the boom years and everyone just expected it to last forever.

    Not sure this Panorama documentary really adds anything to the debate, apart from stating some of the obvious.


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