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Guest KingCharles1st

Really Good Bit Of Pathlaying..

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Guest anorthosite
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Is that a ****-up or a really well crafted piece of modern art? Its difficult to tell from the photo.

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it's cubism.. that's an anorexic panda?

i went to see a house the other week, with crazy paving... mortar painted bright yellow. nice

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Is it a pig at a trough?

Sunday July 26 2009

The Government has decided to stand aside as Ireland's banks, which owe their continued existence to the taxpayers, prepare to increase mortgage interest rates. Already Permanent TSB has announced a half-point increase and it is inevitable that the other banks will follow over the coming weeks. The increases have nothing to do with European Central Bank interest rates, which are at historically low levels to help ease the impact of the recession, and all to do with the banks' need to make money.

The increase in mortgage rates will be a savage blow to homeowners, many thousands of whom are still coming to terms with the reality that their loans far exceed the current value of their homes. They are trapped, unable to sell without crystallising a massive loss, and now they are being held to ransom by the banks.

The half-point increase may seem small, given the sharp declines in interest rates over the past year, but it will not be a temporary increase and it will be the first of many.

This increase represents a permanent widening of the margin charged by banks for lending money and it mirrors the outrageous charges already levied on customers for personal loans, overdrafts and business loans.

It is shocking, though sadly not surprising, that the banks' response to their self-inflicted wounds is to gouge their own customers. It is more than surprising, however, that the government should be so blind to the consequences of its own acquiescence. It has agreed that the banks, who are being kept alive by the injection of billions of euro of public money and a State guarantee, should be allowed to recoup their losses from ordinary homeowners.

For all the changes at the top of the banks since they came with their begging bowls last year, there is no genuine sense of contrition. They failed, we paid and now, at a point in the economic cycle when homeowners are at their most vulnerable, they will be allowed to rack rent their way back to profitability.

Brian Lenihan, the Minister for Finance, would appear to have lost his political antennae. His priority should be to ensure that the banks lend money -- our money -- at realistic rates of interest to viable businesses. He should ensure, too, that they have exhausted every possible cost-saving measure internally before they hit their own customers for easy takings. It would appear, however, that the ordinary customer is just an ATM for the banks.

The increase brings closer the day when mortgage defaults become commonplace. Ireland has a tradition of honouring home loans, but that tradition was fostered in a different place. Negative equity -- when the value of a home is less than the mortgage -- is now a reality for thousands of homeowners, and there is no prospect of it disappearing for many, many years.

For those owners who have already lost their jobs, the temporary reprieve of low interest rates meant that default could be avoided for a time. Now, however, the Government has allowed that cycle to end. A steady increase in mortgage costs over the next two years will cause devastation and should have been prevented.

The Government will not be able to prevent the ECB from raising rates once Europe's larger economies start to recover, but it could and should have prevented Irish banks from profiteering at the expense of their customers

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Is that a ****-up or a really well crafted piece of modern art? Its difficult to tell from the photo.

Or is it just one of those fashionable 'manhole cover' doormats, discarded on the path?

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I think that the very small fence makes what would otherwise be a tiny bit of scrubland into quite an attractive outdoor living space. I'll take three.

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