100 things Ireland could have got for the price of one Anglo Irish Bank…

With the #anglotapes this week it seemed to me a good time to recall those heady days of August 2010 when we had spent only 25b on Anglo. At that time Ronan Lyons and I penned this little piece in the Sunday Business Post…

This week, it was announced that the EU had approved a further injection of our taxpayer money into additional capital for Anglo-Irish Bank . This brings the total as of now to  almost €25bn. This is money going into a bank that is essentially in wind-down over the coming decade, money that the Irish citizens and taxpayers will not see again, as it is shoring up the balance sheet of a bank that had too much imaginary wealth. And that is not the end of the money, many fear.

So just how much is €25bn that we are having to borrow for Anglo? In one way, it’s small change, compared to what will possibly be €200bn in borrowings by the State to fund the non-banking deficit between the onset of the crisis and 2020. But to any rational mind €25bn is still a mind-bogglingly large amount of money. The State has limited borrowing capacity, limited by a combination of what the taxpayer can repay. In putting €25bn into Anglo, the government, on our behalf, has spent money that can not be used for other projects. Here is a list, then, of 100 things – grouped into various categories – that the government could have spent €25bn but chose not to.

Ireland could make a major contribution to Fight Global Poverty

world-poverty

€25bn would go a long way in the fight against global poverty. Here are a few suggestions:

100. Buy enough malaria nets to protect the entire malaria-affected population of the world (half a billion people) for 80 years (based on NothingButNets figures of $10 a net)

99. Completely fund the World Food Programme for five years

98. Repair twice over the damage done to Haiti in the recent earthquake

97. Fund enough clean water and infrastructure projects to meet the Milliennium Development Goals in those areas

96. Buy up and extinguish the national debt of Bangladesh

95. Fund the UNESCO “Information for All” Project for 1200 years

94. Provide food aid to Niger for 1000 years

93. Asphalt every trunk and regional road (110,000km) of substandard road in sub-Saharan Africa

Ireland could become a World Science & Technology Hub

leneyeMajor scientific and technological projects cost a lot of money. But rarely €25bn. Here are a few ways Ireland could have used the €25bn to become a global hub for major breakthroughs in science and technology.

92. Start our own space programme, with twenty €1.2bn space shuttles

91. Foot the bill for a century of global research into nuclear fusion (the current 30-year global ITER project is expected to cost €5-10bn)

90. Research & develop 5000 new drugs….one of em’s bound to be useful

89. Construct 6 Large Hadron Colliders – one for each Green Party TD

88. Build 5 James Webb Space Telescope (the successor to Hubble), and revolutionise astronomy

87. Build two magnetoplasma space vehicles which in theory could get to mars in 40 days

86. Build a space elevator

85. Build two ITER nuclear fusion reactors and provide the world with cheap, abundant energy..

We could decide to give ourselves a break

holidaysWhat about using the €25bn to give ourselves a break? Here are a number of things that €25bn could pay for, while we take a break.

84. Pay the interest on everyone’s mortgage for 4 years (€147bn of mortgages at 4% is €5.88bn a year)

83. Abolish income tax for two years (based on 2009 gov income tax receipts of €11.8bn)

82. Offer everyone on the live register €100,000 to emigrate (we could afford a 50% take-up by the 466,000 on the dole)

81. Abolish VAT for two and a half years (based on 2009 receipts of €10.8bn)

80. Remove exise duty from fuel, tobacco and alcohol until 2015 (based on exise receipts of €4.7bn a year)

79. Pay the grocery bills of everybody in the country for 2.5 years

78. Scrap all fares on all forms of public transport, intercity and commuter trains and buses for 33 years

We could just treat ourselves

scrooge-mcduck (1)We could just treat ourselves with the €25bn windfall. Here are some suggestions as to how.

77. Run the world’s best ever lottery – every Irish citizens is entered into a draw where 25,000 people become millionaires!

76. Give every OAP a pension of 55,000 for a year….

75. Fly the adult population of Ireland to Las Vegas, give everyone 10k to gamble with

74. Give every person in the country €5,555.56

73. Buy half a million ecofriendly Nissan Leaf cars and have enough for a 5GW nuclear power station with the cash left over

72. Provide a new laptop every year to every second level student for 147 years

71. Buy a 32GB iPhone, a 64GB iPad, a 13″ 2.13GHz MacBook Air and a 27-inch iMac for every man, woman and child living in Ireland

We could treat the world

icecreamTreating ourselves is probably a bit selfish. Here are some ways to make the rest of the world like us more!

70. Buy 6.7b copies (one for everybody in the world) of Joyce’s “portrait of the artist as a young man”

69. Buy a pint of guinness for everyone in the world to celebrate Arthurs Day (and it would count as exports)

68. Buy every child in the world a 99 ice-cream cone every day for a week

67. Send every adult in the world on an MSc in Social Media in NCI

66. Send 225,000 people to do the Harvard MBA

We could truly become the world’s biggest sports fan

10BestClubs_2012Sport is big business. But not that big. With €25bn, we could…

65. Buy the world’s 20 most valuable soccer clubs, worth €9.6bn, wipe their debt (€2.3bn) and move them to Ireland, building each a 75,000-seater stadium (€600m each, based off cost of Aviva stadium)

64. Host two Olympics games, based on the London 2012 cost of €11.2bn

63. Buy Tonga and Fiji, which would have obvious rugby advantages

62. Construct 25 Bertie-bowls (one for each county except Dublin!)

61. Buy 83,300 McLaren supercars

60. Buy the entire stock of tickets and merchandise for all premier league clubs for the next 12 years

We could decide to really become a major player on world markets

2374Banking and finance got us into this mess. Surely they can get us out?

59. Buy €600bn in Credit Default Swaps on Ireland (could pay off nicely in the next few years!)

58. Buy two of Asia’s largest banks – Bank Central Asia and Malayan Banking

57. Recapitalise ALL the banks in europe that failed the stress tests

56. Purchase Monsanto, as a present for the green party, or (buy Nokia as a present for Ivor Callely)

55. Give each one of the 10,000 most senior bankers a round of golf on old head kinsale, the most expensive course in europe, every day for 20 years, and hope that they come up with some ideas!

54. Subsidise the US postal service for ten years

53. Allow the Italian Government to not put in place its 3 year austerity plan

52. Pay the salaries of TCD and UCD academics for 100 years.

We could just do it  because we can…

Burj+Khalifa,+Dubai+-+828mWhile the Government says it’s not a waste of €25bn, many people believe it is. Here are ten ways to really spend €25bn.

51. Buy Steve Jobs (€25bn is actuarial value on his life) and get him to work for Ireland Inc.

50. Buy gold plating 1.75mm think for O’Connell Street

49. 25,00 carats of red diamond, enough to encrust a mercedes….

48. Build a shed 10k long by 4k wide and put it around Tullamore…

47. Buy every one of the 5.8m cattle in the country, and to keep their little feet cosy two pairs of jimmy choos each

46. Detach the People’s Republic of Cork from the Republic of Ireland, by constructing a 10-metre wide moat – the per-kilometre cost of the new Gothard Tunnel in Switzerland suggests this may cost €30bn but I’m sure we could haggle them down in a recession.

45. Cover the entire county of Dublin a foot deep in corn

44. Hire Bertie to speak for 95 years

43. Purchase carbon credits to allow us to burn 3000 sqmiles of hardwood forest

42. Build 20 copies of the Burj Khalifa Dubai, the worlds tallest building

We could just splash the cash

item0.size.queen-mary-2-100488-1When people win the lottery, there’s naturally a tendency to splash the cash. Winning a €25bn lottery would certainly allow us to splash the cash. Here are some ideas.

41. Buy 1,000 luxury yachts to kickstart the Upper Shannon Rural Renewal Scheme (78-footers, 2nd-tier Russian oligarch standard)

40. Buy over one third of Denmark, 10% of France or three Luxembourgs, based on 2008 land costs

39. Send 833 people into space (or perhaps just 1666 one way trips…)

38. Stay in the most expensive hotel room in the world for 3400 years (it’s the Atlantis resort, Bahamas in case you were wondering)

37. Build 50 ginormous cruise liners akin to Carnival Splendour or Queen Mary 2

36. Make 100 Avatar-type films, which lets remember made back its money x4 at the box office!

35. Buy every TD a boeing dreamliner, ideal for those trips to glenties

34. Purchase 35 of the world’s most expensive mobile phone (goldstriker iPhone 3GS supreme) for every member of the oireachtas!

33. Build four Libraries of Alexandia in each county

32. Endow one university to the level of Harvard

31. Tile Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown totally in nice porcelain

30. Buy five Nimitz Class Nuclear supercarriers to scare the bejaysus out of the Spanish trawlers

29. Or buy 17 Virginia Class nuclear attack submarines, if we wanted to sneak up on the Spanish Trawlers instead

28. Supply the water needs of Galway City, for a year…with Perrier water

27. Purchase four Birkin Hermes bags for every adult female in the country, one for each season’s wardrobe

26. Buy and install 100 sq yards of parquet flooring for every single dwelling in the country.

25. Fill the Jack Lynch Tunnel with Midelton Single Cask whiskey

24. Purchase 225,000 kg of the most expensive truffles in the world

23. Buy every house and apartment listed on DAFT.ie and still have 12bleft to refurbish them

We could transport ourselves  out of this mess

98962638.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeWith €25bn in our back pockets, all those pie-in-the-sky superprojects would no longer be pie in the sky! Here are ten ways Ireland could put itself on the global superproject map.

22. Construct our own “Channel Tunnel” from Rosslare to Pembroke (based on the cost of the Jack Lynch tunnel)

21. Build 1,000 km of high-speed rail, serving all major coastal cities on the island (based on recent costs in Spain)

20. Build 11,150 miles of dual carriageway

19. Put in place a 400 station metro (if we could build it for the cost of porto’s metro)

18. Put in place a Maglev train from Belfast to Cork via Dublin

17. Build our own Three Gorges Dam, complete with turbines

16. Put in place 12 new Luas lines

15. Build just short of two Hong Kong International Airport (€15 bn each)

14. Build 12 New York-style “Freedom Towers” at €2bn each

13. If we didnt want a tunnel we could five Oresund-style 20km long bridge (Denmark – Sweden, €5b)

We could pay for improved public services

childrenshospitalAnd lastly, ten slightly more practical ways to spend €25bn

12. Build 75 brand new 50-teacher schools and run them for 75 years

11. Build 35 new Children’s Hospitals (based on €700m cost of new Children’s Hospital in Dublin)

10. Pay for an extra 5,000 hospital consultants for 62.5 years, based on Finnish wage (or for 29 years based on Irish wages)

9. Pay for cervical cancer vaccines for every girl going into 1st year for the next 8333 years

8. Reduce the pupil teacher ratio in primary schools to 1 in 10 for the next 20 years

7. Given an ultra highspeed fiberoptic broadband connection to every single house (including ghost estates…)

6. Buy 8,500 years of private speech and language counselling and really help autistic and speech problematic children

5. Introduce free pre-schooling for 32 years, based on an average cost of €700 a month for two years of 10 months, for all 110,000 children in the country

4. Make education properly free – the current cost from primary school to degree graduation is €70,000 per child. €25bn would bring nearly 400,000 students through their entire education

3. Give medical cards to everyone, for 25 years based on €500m cost in 2009 to cover 1.5m people

2. We  could use the money to renew and replace the drainage and water system of all mains

1. Or we could buy one broken bank…oh, hang on…..

So, a mixture of the bizarre, the stupid, the deeply practical, the useful, all tinged with a sense of lost opportunity. A bit like the governments solution to the banking crisis really! What this list shows us is that choices matter. Its unlikely that any government would have #50, paving o’connell street in gold, as a priority (well, not perhaps unless its leader was from Dublin Central…), But wouldnt it be nice if we had a government with the courage and vision to do #18, a maglev on the east coast, which would catapult ireland into a world leading techological position and cement the all ireland economy? or decide  #96 to lift Bangladesh out of poverty? Or …the list goes on, a list of lost opportunities.  And when one considers the additional €100b that represents the structural element of the governent debt, well…While Colm McCarthy is correct, that anger is not a policy, its hard to be anything but enraged when one considers the sheer scale of wasted opportunities.

Note: Ronan and Brian would like to thank all the dwellers in Twitterland for suggesting these, and other more unprintable suggestions. Particular thanks to Lorcan Roche-Kelly and CG for good ideas well costed. We are open to more suggestions.

Brian Lucey and Ronan Lyons

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16 Responses to 100 things Ireland could have got for the price of one Anglo Irish Bank…

  1. rod1015 says:

    I don’t know why I’m laughing at this. I should be crying…..

  2. Pingback: 100 things Ireland could have got for the price of one Anglo Irish Bank » Bock The Robber

  3. Absolutely fanstastic! Ok to reblog? :)

  4. Reblogged this on actuallymaybeyeah and commented:
    Laughing when I should probably be crying…

  5. Bernie says:

    Funny at initial gland but sad sad sad. And the tapes add anger that doesn’t even come close to that of Angela Merkel.s

  6. Lauren says:

    An oireachtas inquiry is a big major no no !! Dont let them corrupt politicians pick an inquiry model which will protect them

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Want_an_Independent_European_body_of_inquiry_to_investigate_Banking_scandal_in_Ireland_1/?copy

    Click the link and sign the petition for an independent European body of inquiry to investigate banking scandal in Ireland copy link to family and friends if you want to help .!!

  7. mememe2u says:

    I’m crying. And not always tear of laughter. And so will my kids. And perhaps their kids too…

  8. Sean says:

    Entertaining I’ll grant you, but not entirely accurate.

    You commented before about “just googling” research, I believe you have made the same error here. A medical consultant in Finland is paid 90k/year, and in Ireland, the new contracts are 116k/year, and don’t get paid for overtime, or many of their professional development obligations, thus bringing them on par, at best, with Finland. Somehow I don’t think that equates to a ratio of 62.5:29, go back and do your research properly! No English speaking country in the World pays their doctors less than Ireland!

    You do realise Steve Jobs is dead? Not so sure hiring a corpse would work very well…

  9. brianmlucey says:

    because Sean I dont have time to do the costings. Feel free….

  10. How may chess sets could Waterford Chess Club have bought for that? We could have challenged Russia in five years….

  11. Pingback: Who's Buying Ireland - RTE Documentary (9/12/13) - Page 11

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