It’s been a tough week on the homefront. We’ve had the AGM’s for AIB and Irish Life & Permanent. Very angry shareholders. Directors facing the music. And an additional €1.5bn privision by AIB.
However our Finance Minister has been out doing his stuff – on tour getting the Ireland message across. Frank Millar assures us in today’s Irish Times that Lenihan has been well received and has demonstrated an indepth understanding of his brief.
I have heard plenty of objections to NAMA recently – developers, press, opposition parties. In fact the head of the NTMA caused some concern by making it clear he does not have the resources to push forward with NAMA. Nationalisation of the banks has a great deal of logical appeal at this stage – if the State is to put in significant funding then the State should participate (proportionately) in the upside.
However the government cannot sit still – and needs to formulate and execute plans. This feedback would at least indicate that we have someone in charge who can explain what they are trying to do – in direct confliect with much of what is reported in the dedia and suggested by opposition politicians. I think all of this supports points previously made in this blog – there is a need for a National Agenda – preferably supported by a National Government.
Attended a great conference yesterday in Dublin Castle: Governance and the citizen, Dubliners and their City. Svend Auken (Former leader of the Danish Social Democrats and current party spokesperson on EU affairs) gave an excellent presentation re the Aarhus Convention - and Michael Ewing provided the summary of his research into adoption and compliance with Aarhus in Ireland. Conor Skehan (Head of Department of Environment and Planning, Dublin Institute of Technology) was very direct in his concerns that people are becoming over concerned with the appointment of a directly elected Mayor for Dublin – and that more correctly we need to understand Dublin and its hinterland). Gabriel Metcalfe (Executive Director, San Francisco Policy and Urban Research Association) explained the role played by his organisation, SPUR, in setting and driving the citizen led agenda in San Francisco.
My take on the day was that like in many things we find ourselves somewhat behind the curve. However as citizens we are not using all of the devices at our disposal to participate fully and effectively in setting the agenda for Dublin and its development. Yes it is very disappointing that we will be the last country in the EU to ratify Aarhus. And we have some nasty charges built into the system making it costly to pursue matters…and the legal route is scarey and too costly for almost all…but we are not using all the avenues available to us.
Congratulations to all those involved. David O’Gorman did a great job in giving us the opportunity, through the conference, to compare the Danish, the US (multiple cities) and the Irish experience. A real wake up call to citizens of Dublin.