Ten years on from when the country went to the wall, Philip Boucher-Hayes has a new series called Boom Bust Broke, a social history of the crash and its aftermath from the point of view of the people who lived it - listen to the latest episode above, and Philip introduces the series below...
Out of sheer perversity let me start by telling you what this series is not. It is not a long queue of politicians and bankers lining up to tell you why you don't understand what happened to the country ten years ago.
That is what RTÉ asked me for. And that is what I failed hopelessly to deliver, but we should all be thankful that I couldn’t. It wasn’t for a lack of effort on my part. I wrote long personalised letters to everyone I wanted to interview. Followed up with countless calls, and calls to their friends and confidantes to convince them of my bona fides, and so on and on.
But it would seem that all the central players of that time have closed the book on their role in our national bankruptcy, and don’t see what they have to gain by giving a confessional account with the benefit of hindsight. Fair enough, frankly. If you were them would you? But the journalist in me thinks it's disappointing that history will only have the hit and miss Banking Inquiry, and not a proper detailed broadcast documentary account.
We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
Listen: Boom Bust Broke, Episode 1: For whom the banks were guaranteed
So six weeks into the project I pivoted completely. Threw out the brief I’d been given and came up with an entirely different approach. How about a Social History of the Crash, and the impact the decisions made around cabinet and boardroom tables had on the lives of ordinary people.
What you get is a map of the butterfly effects of the crash. Like a decision made by a risk committee in a bank in Germany about which Irish builders to withdraw credit from leads to sewage bubbling in to the ground floor of a block of Dublin flats.Or a row between a mother and child at the supermarket checkout over buying sweets can ultimately be traced back to the preference of key Eurozone politicians for one school of political economy over another.
We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
Watch: RTÉ News - a look back at the Irish Bailout
It was also impossible to make a series about our last big crisis and ignore that we are in the middle of an arguably even bigger one. So wouldn’t it be useful to get a better fix on what happened in 2010/11 so that we can better fix what is about to happen?
With that in mind each episode in the series is themed around questions we asked ourselves both back then and now. Are our banks going to be able to withstand a wave of insolvencies and mortgage defaults? Or will they come running to us for help again? If austerity worked why isn’t everyone doing it now? Is emigration an opportunity or still a crucial safety valve?
I can’t promise categorical answers, but I will deliver some great yarns as we try to get there.
Boom Bust Broke is available to download as a podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts - the first two episodes are available now. It is also broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 at 18.30 on Fridays.