Enough is enough. Let’s pick ourselves up and get on with the business of living

THE late Ben Dunne used to say “opportunities create problems... problems create opportunities”.

I think that about sums up where we are and what has happened in Ireland particularly over the past 10 years or so.

We all know what has happened… we were all part of the crazy Ireland that developed. We turned into a greedy nation, a greed fuelled by reckless bankers, ineffective regulators and stupid politicians who thought it was cool that ridiculous levels of stamp duty from off-the-wall property values could continue indefinitely to fund the exorbitant cost of running this tiny country.

It is now time to move on. Let us be thankful that we are alive and perhaps in the past few years we have started to understand there are more important things to life and living than buying shares in companies we knew nothing about or buying properties in places that were hard to find on the map.

Some very positive and important things have also happened during our perceived period of boom. From Cork we can drive to Dublin in about two-and-a-half hours. We can drive under the River Shannon to Galway and to Rosslare over that wonderful new bridge at Waterford. The time and fuel savings in the years ahead will be considerable.

It is fashionable to bad-mouth the building contractors who have rejuvenated in a wonderful way so much of Cork city.

Looking across the now sweet-smelling River Lee to the wonderful new complex of buildings overlooking the river must give us some degree of hope and confidence for the future.

The skills and experience of the best of these developers must not be lost to this country as their expertise will be needed to rebuild confidence in the construction industry into the future.

When someone dies there is a funeral and a time for reflection and then everyone tries to move on. If some bankers or regulators need to be jailed, then for God’s sake let it happen. If some property developers need to be made bankrupt, then let that happen too.

Let us change the bankruptcy laws now so that in a much shorter period of time the good ones can play a useful part in the rejuvenation of the Irish property market. Ireland is indeed in a big hole. We can be buried in it and wallow in self-pity for years or we can do something now to turn this problem into a glorious opportunity.

For almost 40 years we have been running a small family business. These past three years have been extremely painful and extraordinarily difficult for us and our customers, but is vital for the future of our business that we use these difficult times to learn from what has happened and to make sure our costs are reduced so that we can survive in business.

We have seen in this time how wonderfully resourceful the people employed in our company can be. For less money and longer hours we have seen great loyalty and incredible effort. I have no doubt this is a reflection of what is happening today in thousands of businesses all around Ireland.

The politicians now have to stand up and be counted. They have a job to do and they must do it now. The country needs to be competitive. The cost of running the country has to be reduced. The opportunity has been forced on us – we don’t have a choice. It has to be done, costs have to be slashed.

The news media must play a part too. We are all depressed with bad news stories. We cannot take – or want to take – anymore. Lyric FM is a wonderful alternative to boring economists telling us our country is doomed to failure. From now on they need to get positive and encouraging and if that is not possible, then let them keep quiet.

It might be hard to believe but in five or 10 years we might feel this crisis was perhaps the best thing that has ever happened. We might develop into a kinder and more considerate people enjoying the more important simple things of life. Things like a stroll along one of the wonderful new walkways that have been created along the River Lee and the magnificent safe haven for ships that is Cork harbour.

And maybe, just maybe, our children and our children’s children will be able to get jobs at home that will pay them sufficient to enable them to buy the much more keenly priced houses that will be available at that time.

Yes, this is definitely a time for action and for dreaming positive thoughts.

Elvis Presley was right… “it’s now or never”.

Ted Dwyer

Director

City Life Wealth Advisors

Nore House

Bessboro Road

Blackrock

Cork

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