Decision-Making Processes

In relation to the decision-making processes in the state since its foundation, it is fair to argue that the crisis that led to national bankruptcy was not just the result of unregulated, reckless bankers or because Irish people were obsessed with home ownership, but the consequences of the rottenness of the governing culture and vested interests over many decades which allowed public money to be funnelled into profits for private shareholders. The privileging of Irish banks in the influence they were accorded over the state’s finances was also something that had been building over decades. There also seemed to be a determination by some politicians to discourage a robust questioning of the past in this regard- a popular phrase during the crisis became ‘we are where we are.’ The notion of collective responsibility was used when convenient, to distract from the failures of leadership, Brian Lenihan asserting, for example, that ‘we decided as a people collectively to have this property boom. That was a collective decision we took as a people.’ That was a simplification to the point of distortion of reality; people did not collectively decide to ‘have’ a property boom; a relatively small number were able to skew the market through speculation, reckless lending and a refusal to reduce the inflation of the property market, and many were encouraged to borrow beyond their means or panicked into buying through warnings that if they did not move with speed they would fail to get a foot on a much vaunted property ladder.


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