Pointing how just badly our government fails..

There are so many things on this list which would change the day to day lives of either all of us or a huge amount of us, enough to change our futures in many positive ways. But it has been squandered.

100 ways to spend the Anglo €25,000,000,000
15 August 2010

The €25 billion of our money that the government is pouring into Anglo Irish Bank could have bought us 20 space shuttles, or extinguished the entire national debt of Bangladesh. It could also have built 35 new children’s hospitals or a 400-station metro in Dublin, write Brian Lucey and Ronan Lyons.

The EU has approved a further injection of taxpayers’ money into additional capital for Anglo Irish Bank. This brings the total now to almost €25 billion. This is money going into a bank that will essentially be in wind down over the coming decade, money that the Irish citizens and taxpayers will not see again, as it is shoring up the balance sheet of a bank that had too much imaginary wealth. Many fear that is not the end of the money.

So just how much is €25 billion that we are having to borrow for Anglo? In one way, it’s small change, compared to what will possibly be €200 billion in borrowings by the state to fund the non-banking deficit between the onset of the crisis and 2020.But to any rational mind, €25 billion is still a mind-bogglingly large amount.

The state has borrowing capacity limited to what the taxpayer can repay. In putting €25 billion into Anglo, the government, on our behalf, has spent money that cannot be used for other projects. Here are 100 other ways to spend €25 billion.

Ireland could make a major contribution to fight global poverty:

100 Buy enough malaria nets to protect the entire malaria-affected population of the world (half a billion people) for 80 years

99 Fund the World Food Programme for five years

98 Repair – twice over – the damage done to Haiti in last January’s earthquake

97 Fund enough clean water and infrastructure projects to meet the Millennium Development Goals in those areas

96 Buy up and extinguish the national debt of Bangladesh

95 Fund the Unesco ‘Information for All’ project for 1,200 years

94 Provide food aid to Niger for 1,000 years

93 Asphalt every trunk and regional road (110,000km) of substandard countries in sub-Saharan Africa

Ireland could become a world science and technology hub:

92 Start our own space programme, with 20 €1.2 billion space shuttles

91 Foot the bill for a century of global research into nuclear fusion (the current 30-year global ITER project is expected to cost between €5 billion and €10 billion)

90 Research and develop 5,000 new drugs . . . one of them’s bound to be useful

89 Construct six large hadron colliders, one for each Green Party TD

88 Build five James Webb Space Telescopes (the successor to Hubble) and revolutionise astronomy

87 Build two magnetoplasma space vehicles which, in theory, could get to Mars in 40 days

86 Build a space elevator

85 Build two ITER nuclear fusion reactors and provide the world with cheap, abundant energy

We could decide to give ourselves a break:

84 Pay the interest on everyone’s mortgage for four years (€147 billion of mortgages at 4 per cent is €5.88 billion a year)

83 Abolish income tax for two years (based on 2009 government income tax receipts of €11.8 billion)

82 Offer everyone on the live register €100,000 to emigrate (we could afford a 50 per cent take-up by the 466,000 on the dole)

81 Abolish Vat for two and a half years (based on 2009 receipts of €10.8 billion)

80 Remove excise duty from fuel, tobacco and alcohol until 2015 (based on exise receipts of €4.7 billion a year)

79 Pay the grocery bills of everybody in the country for 2.5 years

78 Scrap fares on all forms of public transport, intercity and commuter trains and buses for 33 years

We could treat ourselves:

77 Run the world’s best ever lottery – every Irish citizens is entered into a draw where 25,000 people become millionaires

76 Give every OAP a pension of €55,000 for a year

75 Fly the adult population of Ireland to Las Vegas, and give everyone €10,000 to gamble with

74 Give every person in the country €5,555.56

73 Buy half a million eco-friendly Nissan Leaf cars and have enough for a 5GWnuclear power station with the cash left over

72 Provide a new laptop every year to every second-level student for 147 years

71 Buy a 32GB iPhone, a 64GB iPad, a 13’’ 2.13GHz MacBook Air and a 27inch iMac for every person living in Ireland

We could treat the world – it might make the rest of the world like us more:

70 Buy 6.7 billion copies (one for everybody in the world) of Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

69 Buy a pint of Guinness for everyone in the world to celebrate Arthur’s Day (and it would count as exports)

68 Buy every child in the world a 99 ice-cream cone every day for a week

67 Send every adult in the world on an MSc in Social Media in NCI

66 Send 225,000 people to do the Harvard MBA

We could truly become the world’s biggest sports fans:

65 Buy the world’s 20most valuable football clubs, worth €9.6 billion, wipe out their debt (€2.3 billion) and move them to Ireland, building each a 75,000seater stadium (€600million each, based on cost of Aviva Stadium)

64 Host two Olympics Games, based on the London 2012 cost of €11.2 billion

63 Buy Tonga and Fiji, which would have obvious rugby advantages

62 Construct 25 Bertie Bowls (one for each county except Dublin)

61 Buy 83,300McLaren supercars

60 Buy the entire stock of tickets and merchandise for all premier league clubs for the next 12 years

We could decide to become a major player on world markets. Banking and finance got us into this mess. Surely they can get us out . . .

59 Buy €600 billion in credit default swaps on Ireland (could pay off nicely in the next few years)

58 Buy two of Asia’s largest banks –Bank Central Asia and Malayan Banking

57 Recapitalise all the banks in Europe that failed the stress tests

56 Purchase Monsanto, as a present for the Green Party, or buy Nokia as a present for Ivor Callely

55 Give each of the 10,000 most senior bankers a round of golf at Old Head, Kinsale, the most expensive course in Europe, every day for 20 years, and hope that they come up with some ideas

54 Subsidise the US postal service for ten years

53 Allow the Italian government to scrap its three-year austerity plan

52 Pay the salaries of TCD and UCD academics for 100 years

We could just do it because we can . . . ten ways to really spend €25 billion:

51 Buy Steve Jobs (€25 billion is the actuarial value on his life) and get him to work for Ireland Inc

50 Buy gold plating 1.75mm thick for O’Connell Street

49 25,000 carats of red diamond, enough to encrust a Mercedes

48 Build a shed 10km long by 4kmwide and put it around Tullamore

47 Buy every one of the 5.8 million cattle in the country and, to keep their little feet cosy, two pairs of Jimmy Choos each

46 Detach the People’s Republic of Cork from the Republic of Ireland, by constructing a ten-metre wide moat – the per-kilometre cost of the new Gothard Tunnel in Switzerland suggests this may cost €30 billion, but we could haggle them down in a recession

45 Cover the entire county of Dublin a foot deep in corn

44 Hire Bertie Ahern to speak for 95 years

43 Purchase carbon credits to allow us to burn 3,000 square miles of hardwood forest

42 Build 20 copies of the Burj Khalifa Dubai, the world’s tallest building

We could just splash the cash

41 Buy 1,000 luxury yachts to kick-start the Upper Shannon Rural Renewal Scheme (78-footers, 2ndtierRussian oligarch standard)

40 Buy over one third of Denmark,10 per cent of France or three Luxembourgs, based on 2008 land costs

39 Send 833 people into space (or perhaps just 1,666 one way trips . . . )

38 Stay in the most expensive hotel room in the world for 3,400 years (it’s the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, in case you were wondering)

37 Build 50 cruise liners akin to Carnival Splendour or Queen Mary 2

36 Make 100 films like Avatar which, remember, made back its money four times over at the box office

35 Buy every TD a Boeing Dreamliner, ideal for those trips to Glenties

34 Purchase 35 of the world’s most expensive mobile phone (goldstriker iPhone 3GS supreme) for every member of the Oireachtas

33 Build four Libraries of Alexandria in each county

32 Endow one university to the level of Harvard

31 Tile Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown in nice porcelain

30 Buy five Nimitz Class nuclear supercarriers to scare the bejaysus out of the Spanish trawlers

29 Or buy 17 Virginia Class nuclear attack submarines, if we wanted to sneak up on the Spanish trawlers instead

28 Supply the water needs of Galway city, for a year . . . with Perrier water

27 Purchase four Birkin Hermes bags for every adult female in the country, one for each season’s wardrobe

26 Buy and install 100 square yards of parquet flooring in every single dwelling in the country

25 Fill the Jack Lynch Tunnel with Midleton Single Cask whiskey

24 Purchase 225,000 kg of the most expensive truffles in the world

23 Buy every house and apartment listed on Daft.ie and still have €12 billion left to refurbish them

We could transport ourselves out of this mess With €25 billion in our back pockets, all those pie-in-the-sky superprojects would no longer be pie in the sky. Here are ten ways Ireland could put itself on the global superproject map:

22 Construct our own channel tunnel from Rosslare to Pembroke (based on the cost of the Jack Lynch Tunnel)

21 If we didn’t want a tunnel we could build five Oresund-style 20km long bridges (Denmark to Sweden: €5 billion)

20 Build 1,000kmof highspeed rail, serving all major coastal cities on the island (based on recent costs in Spain)

19 Build 11,150miles of dual carriageway

18 Construct a 400-station metro (if we could build it for the cost of Porto’s metro)

17 Start a Maglev train service from Belfast to Cork via Dublin

16 Build our own Three Gorges dam, complete with turbines

15 Build 12 new Luas lines

14 Build just short of two Hong Kong International Airports (€15 billion each)

13 Build 12 New York-style ‘Freedom Towers’ at €2 billion each

We could pay for improved public services – here are some slightly more practical ways to spend €25 billion:

12 Build 75 new 50-teacher schools and run them for 75 years

11 Build 35 children’s hospitals (based on the €700 million cost of a new children’s hospital in Dublin)

10 Pay for an extra 5,000 hospital consultants for 62.5 years, based on the Finnish wage (or for 29 years based on Irish wages)

9 Pay for cervical cancer vaccines for every girl going into first year for the next 8,333 years

8 Reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools to 1:10 for the next 20 years

7 Give an ultra-high-speed fiberoptic broadband connection to every single house (including those in ghost estates)

6 Buy 8,500 years of private speech and language counselling and really help autistic and speech-problematic children

5 Introduce free pre-schooling for 32 years, based on an average cost of €700 a month for two years of 10 months, for all 110,000 children in the country

4 Make education properly free – the current cost from primary school to degree graduation is €70,000 per child. €25 billion would put nearly 400,000 students through their entire education

3 Give medical cards to everyone for 25 years, based on €500million cost in 2009 to cover 1.5million people

2 Renew and replace the drainage and water systems of all main cities

1 Or we could buy one broken bank.Oh, hang on. . .

* Ronan Lyons and Brian Lucey would like to thank all the dwellers in Twitterland for these and other more unprintable suggestions. Particular thanks to Lorcan Roche-Kelly and CS for good ideas well costed. We are open to more suggestions.

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