Comedy commentary from Kelly

Simon Kelly has a few classics in his column on the back page of the Sunday Tribune‘s Business section this week.

He writes about the DDDA in broadly positive terms. There are a few laughs in there, including…

The local authority planning system causes daily damage to Ireland and this damage is far in excess of the final cost of the DDDA. I forecast reform here shortly because Nama will not put up with the rubbish that developers had to deal with over the years from the planners.

Eh. It’s not quite clear what exactly Mr Kelly means by “rubbish” but to me it seems is he suggesting the planning system was overly regulated and restricted during the boom years, which caused developers hassle. If so; seriously, Mr Kelly?

What do you make of it?

Either way; reform is predicted because of Nama, not because lack of reform. Not because the culture that lack of reform allowed prevail. The culture which is, you know, one of the main reasons there is now a need for a Nama.

Further on in the piece…

The private sector has the incentive of profit, whereas the public sector has the incentive of self interest. These look the same but are very different. The profit motive drives activity and creativity, whereas the self-interest motive drives inaction and maintains the status quo.

Profit; not equal to self interest, says Simon Kelly. Public servants not driven by profit; a bad thing, says Simon Kelly.

The private sector makes decisions and takes action whereas the public sector delays decisions, and actions, for fear of scrutiny in the future.

“Scrutiny, can’t be having have that when it comes to planning and development in this democracy. The less the better. Have I said a public oversight body should be scrapped yet?”

The best stuff is nearer the top though – where Mr Kelly does say a public oversight body should be scrapped. The following paragraph, which I’ve split into four below, is the best part…

The DDDA was given its special planning powers to facilitate the fast-track development of the IFSC and the docklands area. It was given these powers because the local authority planning system was and still is dysfunctional.

Translation: The Government wanted to attract financial services multinationals. It thought it could so with a well-serviced hub in which international companies paying minimal amounts of tax could then base their HQs – or a few desks they could call HQs for tax purposes – so they gave the DDDA powers to allow planning which could develop this. In short, the Government were not prepared to invest in reforming the dysfunctional planning process, so they decided to bypass it, that’s why the DDDA was given these powers.

Try explaining to CitiBank that it cannot build its new headquarters because a local resident has an objection to the building.

Translation: The locals are plebs, try telling Citibank they’re not.

It is in the context of this stupid right of objection that DDDA was formed. We needed a professional planning authority, not subject to An Bord Pleanála, and that is why we got the DDDA.

Translation: It’s stupid to allow plebs a say. An Bord Pleanala – tasked with ensuring infrastructural and physical development is open and sustainable – slows stuff down, so we needed to ignore them and get professionals in, and that’s why we got the DDDA.

Before we hang it, let’s reform the planning system and implement a professional system to replace the current political one.

Translation: Before we hang the DDDA let’s reform the planning system that we ignored during the boom in giving the DDDA the powers under which they fucked up, and replace it with a planning system more like the DDDA. There’s no important financial services companies even half-considering Ireland anyway now, so we have time to do it!

Nonsense from Kelly.

Neil Callanan’s piece on the same topic and the same page, is in stark contrast.