Monday, February 23, 2009

In the proverbial tent

Some day perhaps we'll have a property market truth commission in Ireland. The tribunals certainly haven't served that purpose, at least not on a time scale or cost that people could live with. But how soon we forget there was one man in charge of Ireland for 11 years, 1997-2008, Mr Bertie Ahern, TD, who apparently is still dining out on the Celtic Tiger, at least in countries where news of its demise must be arriving by pigeon post.

There were many angles to Bertie's "whatever you're having yourself lads" approach to governing. But one was the love-in with Irish-American politicians. Things are different under Barack Obama (note that the St Patrick's Day shamrock ceremony has still not been confirmed for this year).

Interesting question: what role did the property market play in the ties to Irish American politicians? Consider Senator Chris Dodd (Democrat of Connecticut) whose name comes up every so often in the US mortgage disaster.

Here's former Connecticut State legislator Kevin Rennie (with a disclosed party affiliation) putting together a dossier which suggests that Dodd's Connemera cottage has been subject to some strange dealings (found via Glenn Reynolds). Rennie doesn't go into the fact that there is an AIB mortgage on the cottage as he focuses more on the transactions with the original co-purchasers.

But one comes away with the sense that even if it's all legit, there was an overly cosy connection between Dodd's property dealing, horse racing, and political backscratching -- which is pretty much the essence of Ireland's cute-hoor collapse (lingo explained). If we can't get any real investigations in Ireland, maybe the US Senate could consider an Irish dimension to whatever they investigate?

Photo: Peter Morenus, U Conn Traditions magazine

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