Archive for May, 2009

Danger, Keep Out Crosby

Danger, Keep Out Crosby

Fianna Fail’s poster hangers offer a subtle warning to the people of Ringsend.

I almost missed it, but back on May 10th the Irish Independent carried a story about the rents that the state is paying. The Indo in true tabloid fashion got hung up on all the well known rich people who are earning this rent. As if that were important.

The real interesting part of the story was the amount we spend on empty office space.

the OPW keeps one per cent of its property portfolio vacant so as to maintain a degree of flexibility in case a new tribunal or agency is formed

There you have it. At a time when there has never been more empty office space available to rent, and at a time when we should be cutting down on the number of agencies, we’re renting empty offices “in case” a new tribunal or agency is set up.

And how much are we wasting on this empty office space?

€1.127m spent renting empty office space

At a time when we apparently don’t have €10m to fund cervical cancer vaccines, we can blow over a million needlessly on empty office space.

On top of that, we’re overpaying by about €15m a year because the government hasn’t renegotiated rents despite huge falls in rents since the bubble burst. They of course excuse this by citing “Upward Only Rent Reviews”.

You’re the government for goodness sake, the biggest tennant in the country. You make the rules. If you can’t parlay that power into a bit of action, what good are you?

It’s not that there isn’t any way for the government to save money, it’s that there isn’t any will.

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National House Week

Posted: May 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

I was thinking recently about the number of days in the year that seem to have some special fundraiser attached to them.

Daffodil Day (Cancer)
Hard Hat Day (Niall Mellon Township Trust)
Sandwich Day (Africa)
Volunteering Day (Volunteering)
Car Free Day (Alternative Transport)
Earth Day (The Environment)

There are even whole weeks blocked off
Game Playing Week (Dyslexia)
Bike Week (Cycling)
Science Week (Science)

You get the picture, I could go on…and on.

In thinking about all these special days and weeks, I wondered to myself whether it might be
time to create a fund raiser to tackle the next huge crisis that’s sweeping Ireland. Negative Equity.

What I’m think here is National House Week with the funds raised going to people who find themselves in negative equity. Like Daffodil Day and Hard Hat Day and the rest you buy a little trinket to show you support the cause. I’m thinking a pyramid pin or a monopoly house.

The twist is that unlike those other fundraisers, you immediately turn around and sell the trinket to someone else for a profit. This buying and selling continues for the duration of National House Week. Who knows how much these trinkets will change hands for, or how much wealth can be created in that one week of feverish buying and selling.

Of course at the end of National House Week all trading will come to a complete halt. Those left with pyramid pins at the end of the week will not be able to sell them. They won’t have any way of getting their money back. That’s the risk of National House Week.

On the bright side the trinkets can be worn, so they have a utility value.

I don’t know if it would raise much money, but after 4 or 5 years of running it, people might get their heads around what a speculative bubble really is.