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on 30 September 2012
As the writer himself declares at the beginning of this book, it is intended to be a polemical rather than a historical or academic work. Thus it is somewhat different from, say, [...]', which looks at the current financial crisis from the Greek point of view, in that it does not provide any footnotes, though the the writer does list his sources. However, I do like to be able to see the sources for myself and I began to miss the footnotes. There is however an excellent index at the back.

While both books condemn the corruption and (democratic) underdevelopment of both nations, they both miss the fact (or simply downplay it); corruption is not confined to simply Ireland and Greece. The main problem is that both countries (as I write) remain in the euro, making it much more difficult to sort out their economies. Iceland is bouncing back nicely. But then it simply told its creditors to clear off and controlled its own currency. Further, its own leaders are less tied in to the eurozone corruption.

One of the main subjects of this book is former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern. He is constantly portrayed as a corrupt and power-hungry politcian who takes little or no responsibilities for his actions and cares only about himself. I like the quote when Bertie Ahern visited Shanghai and admired how much power the mayor of city apparently had, "Naturally enough I would like to have the power of the mayor [of Shanghai] that when he decides he wants to do a highway and he wants to bypass an area, he just goes straight up and over." Ahern clearly overlooked the fact that he went "straight up and over" (by ruining it) the Irish economy!

But then is Ahern any more different that Jose Socrates (former prime minister of Portugal) or even Jose Barroso, current head of the European Commission and himself a former prime minister of Portugal. Were the Irish banks any worse than the American, the British, the Icelandic and a few others? No.

The problem isn't with these people; the problem is with the people who vote for them. They are the ones who stick their heads in the sands of unreality and allow their politicians to get away with lying, theft and, sometimes, even murder. Like the Greek politicians in "Greece's 'Odious' Debt", few if any Irish politicians have been prosecuted for their crimes.

Chapter nine deals with the financial collapse of the Anglo Irish Bank (and the others) and those who are interested in a detailed description of the events might also want to take a look at [...].

While the book is highly enjoyable to read, and it is clear that the writer has has strong feelings about the subject, I am left wondering what is point of the book. If he has such strong views, then why doesn't he put himself up for office? Further, he does not offer the one strong solution to the Irish (and some other nation's, like Greece, Portugal and Spain's) crisis: leave the euro (adopt its own currency). It's easy to make suggestions when you don't have to take the risks!

The book possibly deserves at least 4 stars, but I just think there are better books about same subject. Does a polemical really change much? We can all rant after the event! Isn't that what Hitler did ([...])? Does anyone remember what happened to him?
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on 17 May 2010
Not being Irish, I only knew from the odd report in the British press about ireland's boom and bust from the early 1990s to 2008.O'Toole's book fills in many of the blanks.
I knew about corruption in Irish politics,and the mind-bending criminality of Charles Haughey,but reading how he stole from the fund for raisng money from a colleague's liver transplant put the tin hat on for me.His sucsessors are not much more ethical and/or competent either.
The incompetence and stupidity of economic management in this time period is well illustrated,particularly the incomepence of the Central Bank and how private banks were allowed to engage in tax fraud and cooking the books on a wholesale fashion,despite the Central Bank's knowledege of the scams.
It is a hatchet job,no doubt about that,and it's main targets are Fianna Fail,the non-tax paying super rich,the idiotic politicians who thought the good times would go on forever and the mendacious bankersand other members of the business class.
However,despite the correct assertion towards the end that the crisis in Ireland is a moral one-the Irish people are entitled to ask for a political and business elite who acknowledge that the law applies to them and that there are such things as right and wrong-O'Toole also argues that only a political upheaval that dethrones the,as he puts it,"Fianna Gael" duopoly that has ruled Ireland since the 1920s will cause such a moral revolution.The chances of that happening any time soon are,in effect,zero.
Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln who said "People get the government that they deserve"?If so,God help Ireland
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on 26 November 2014
The Stupidity and Corruption in the Irish Government and Banking services has been there, with Religion, since I was a child
in the Fifties. This seeming "stupidity" hides a multitude of sins, you know, "we didn't realise we were screwing everybody to
to the floor" but what can they do about it anyway?. Terry Rafferty
Good Book!!
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on 5 March 2010
Excellent read, cut-to-the-bone-clear, skeletons flying out of the cupboard in all directions. If you want to get into the mind of politicians, this is the book for you. Hope the author's next target is Westminster, or perhaps that would just be more of the same, just change the names!!
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on 6 November 2014
Ironic and revealing FOT tells us what everyone suspects/know about
those in government in Dublin. This of course could apply to governments
all over the world, the fools that supposedly govern in our name mand we keep
re-electing them.
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on 5 November 2015
I found this book an excellent read.
For the first time I understand what happened in the Celtic tigers years explained in a clear and simple way.
This book has made me feel angry and sad in equal measures.
I would highly recommend this book.
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on 7 January 2015
Entertaining description of the Irish Celtic Tiger years. Lots of parallels can be drawn with the situation in the UK at the time, as many of the criticisms levelled at Irish politicians are just as applicable to English (and Scots) ones.
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on 15 January 2011
This is a book that cuts through the blarney of the so called economic miracle of the Celtic Tiger. Massive tax fraud and corruption and a see nothing culture are entertainingly revealed .
Highly recommended
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on 20 December 2012
A real good read, corruption exposed at all levels of society in Ireland.
Without doubt an 'unputdownable' book.
And as usual good price and fast delivery from Amazon.
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on 8 February 2010
A comprehensive and well informed critique of the "celtic tiger" years. An enjoyable read and courtesy of Amazon, at a very reasonable price. Buy it!
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