Gavin O’Reilly – a propagandist to his soul

Gavin O’Reilly has presided over a huge collapse in the value of Independent News and Media. Here are his opinions on Ireland, Brian Lenihan and the government. It is a listing of problems with an autoabsolution to the progenitors of the problem. I hope I have got him wrong and that this is satire. O’Reilly is seriously wrong about the competence of Brian Lenihan. Most of the articles in the Sunday Independent give the lie to his attitudes. This is blinkered plamas in its most cliche ridden wishful thinking genre. Plasmas for those abroad is the Gaelic word for sycophantic self deluding platitudinous verbiage. I just hope that his tongue is firmly in his cheek.

When will Denis O’Brien sort this out?

Gavin O’Reilly

CEO of Independent News and Media

This Government has been faced with a global financial tsunami over these past 18 months. They have been, in the view of most international commentators, and Brian Lenihan most particularly, very adept at dealing with what is quite an extraordinary crisis — particularly in trying to stabilise our banking system.

I know this is not necessarily the populist view and cuts across conventional wisdom, but at a time when the Government’s efforts have been rightly recognised and commended internationally, the criticism at home is at near deafening levels (and no more so than in the media). While such criticism obviously “comes with the job”, I’d suggest that all of us need to — if for no other reason than enlightened self-interest — actually capitalise on the growing international optimism and goodwill that, in fact, exists towards Ireland.

Obviously, when times are as unbelievably tough as they have been, we’re all out looking to find someone else to blame, be they the builders, bankers or politicians . . . But, that’s too easy. After a decade of unparalleled growth (when few of us were actually complaining!), we all got caught up in a vortex — with inflation, in wages, in property, in consumer goods spiralling upwards — and for the past 12 horrible months, surprise, surprise, we’ve been in reverse.

Sure, property and financial services were huge catalysts to our economy — but that wasn’t all we were good for. What about the multinationals and the small and medium-sized businesses who employ hundreds of thousands? Let’s not also forget our huge export base — being one of the largest pharmaceutical exporters in the world — and a growing and innovative IT sector, and, of course, a private sector workforce which, in my experience, is proving responsive and focused. Then look across the big names of Irish commerce — and you’ll see some world beaters — Ryanair, Smurfit, CRH, Ayzta, Kerry, and Paddy Power to name but a few. There’s a depth and quality to the Irish economy which deserves much more than today’s rather tired, doom and gloom.

So, last week’s ‘question marks’ about the quality of Ireland’s financial recovery actually had much less to do with Ireland and more to do with news flow coming out of the US, over unemployment figures and the need for further stimulus there. There’s no surprise that if the world’s biggest economy isn’t yet firing on all cylinders it’ll have some significance to a small open economy like Ireland — but we do need to keep some perspective.
From my experience, America will do whatever is required to sustain the recovery, and Ireland will ultimately benefit.

“So, what can the Government do?” Well, firstly, we can’t have it both ways
— on one hand, just sit back and ask the Government to sort everything out and then complain when they try to do just that . . . They are certainly not infallible, nor have they found (or are likely to find) that magic wand. But their first and overarching priority must be to create a stable financial market — and we all have to support that.

As we’ve seen with Nama, they are doing that, however painful and expensive it is proving — and it is providing essential capital to our banks. The flipside of that is, of course, that the banks must now redouble their efforts to restore credit to small and medium-sized businesses, which, day after day, are taking real risks, employing people and fuelling the future of this economy. While everyone’s working to that game plan, there’s always more to be done and faster.

Happily, despite the sense of gloom, there are tentative signs that it’s beginning to work through the economy. If you need proof, just look at the pages of our newspapers and you get a sense of how the retail and brand market is returning as it seeks to stimulate and support growth.

As much as we’d like them to, our challenges won’t just vanish overnight — but perhaps less of the blame game and more of playing to our real strengths as well as the foundation for a stable banking market, and a Government-inspired programme that delivers real additional liquidity for small businesses and homeowners. All very much common sense, but key to Ireland’s sustainable recovery in the short-term.