The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide – H.W. Longfellow

The I.M.F. have arrived together with our E.C. colleagues and are pledging what Brian Cowen is calling a a��85 billion a�?overdrafta��. Our economic sovereignty is in question. Our nearest neighbour, Britain, is pledging a a��7.2 billion loan. The four year plan revealed today announces huge cuts in capital spending, increased taxes and cuts in social welfare. The budget in two weeks time will consolidate these austerity measures. Our Government will then resign. Incumbents will be replaced by incompetents. We have been accused of a�?tax piracya�� for our low rate of corporation tax that extends to multi-nationals. Our unemployment rate is at 13%. Our two main banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland are just short of being nationalised with a share value 1/100th of their value five years ago. The National Asset Management Agency will become the biggest toxic debt collector in the world. House prices have plummeted. Negative equity is everywhere. We have thousands of unoccupied houses throughout the country which are in neither sustainable nor desirable locations. There are several thousand more houses which are incomplete and decaying into dilapidation day by day. Other a�?ghosta�� estates have a minority of occupied houses, with occupants heavily mortgaged, and largely incomplete infrastructure. Resolving Ireland’s personal debt crisis “seems to be beyond the scope of human invention”, Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan stated last week. Today Standard and Poora��s lowered our credit rating to A-1. We all want to know have we reached the bottom? Like the impatient child in the back of the car we keep asking, a�?are we there yet?, are we there yet?, are we there yet?….a�?

Ita��s time to stop worrying and to start planning. We need a Plan where social, economic and spatial first principles are re-examined. The Spatial Planning Graduate Network is open to discuss and advance innovative ideas in the field of spatial planning.

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.
a��Sir Winston Churchill

by Paul Hogan

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