Celtic Meltdown certainly deserves attention for its clarity, factual depth and an ability to pull together differing points of view and proposals into a coherent structure.
The book opens with analysis of what transpired during the years immediatly preceding the economic collapse. O'Dalaigh is superbly direct in summarising how the Celtic Tiger was built on quicksand of institutional and cultural nationalism, clientism, and historical backwardness of the political elites.
He gives the Tiger its legs of straw: wrong economic policies, venal greed of the public and State-protected sectors and vested interests, and the internecine nature of our belief that the State can lead us to salvation. O'Dalaigh traces these roots of the crisis directly to the banking sector. After retelling of the Anglo Irish Bank disaster, he argues that the current plans to rescue the major Irish banks will destroy the economy.
'Any attempt by the government to set up a "bad bank" to transfer ownership of the bankers toxic debt to the Irish taxpayers will simply mean that the heroin addict is being allowed to call the shots, because rehabilitation will hurt more than continued dysfunction,' he says. "The only way out of this mess is to let the failed banks fail", according to O'Dalaigh
He concludes: "'What was the Government's priority in April 2009? Bailing out the reckless bankers, whose corrupt gambling debts had destroyed the wealth of a generation".
Eoghan Harris - Sunday Independent
"A recently published powerful polemic by Cearbhall O Dalaigh, Celtic Meltdown makes a lot of sense. Unlike his presidential namesake, Cearbhall O Dalaigh is a man of the world and does not mince words. Cearbhall proposes cutting public sector pay and pensions, letting bad banks go bust, and using the money to help people re-finance their mortgages. This would free them to start spending again.
He also has sound views on new sources of energy, not excluding nuclear power. But his core challenge is one that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan should take seriously. Why should the taxpayers pay off toxic debts run up by reckless bankers who now walk into the sunset with millions in bonuses and gold-plated pensions? Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is a likeable man, but he must find the dark side of himself when dealing with greedy bankers who have brought the Irish economy to it's knees."
"With the Irish government’s bank guarantee in September 2008, the death knell sounded for Celtic Tiger Ireland. We watched in disbelief as the bubble burst: tax revenues collapsed, unemployment soared and the Irish people were made liable for huge gambling debts of bankrupt and corrupt bankers. This book will change your mind on many aspects of modern Ireland. In Celtic Meltdown Cearbhall O'Dalaigh goes behind the headlines to tell the inside stories the bankers spin doctors have to date successfully covered-up."