An article last week in the Sunday Tribune entitled “The Blame Game” questioned where were the realists during the past few years. Marc Coleman (former Irish Times writer and Newstalk economist) was mentioned in the article in this paragraph:
Outside the political spectrum, former Irish Times writer and Newstalk economist Marc Coleman published a book titled, The Best is Yet to Come. And Bank of Ireland economist Dan McLaughlin slammed negative reporting about the economy. He was adamant that we were in for a “soft landing”.
Note: Profits of said book were donated to the Forgotten Irish fund
Subsequent to this he has sent a letter into the Sunday Tribune and CC’d a copy to a large number of people in the Irish Media, check out the dig at the end too, here’s the letter:
Below is a letter written to the Sunday Tribune by myself in a personal capacity in response to an article published on Sunday 4th April last.
“What did you do in 1916, fight? Cower under the bed? Or side with the Brits?” To distract from their own inaction, sleeveens would asked this question of others after the Easter Rising. On the anniversary of it a similar question is being posed now. “What did you do during the boom, warn us of disaster or hob nob with the bankers?” The loudest answers come from self-promoting “Boys who cried wolf”. Those who did the real fighting don’t feel we need to justify ourselves. Until that is, lies are told about us. Last Sunday you insinuated that I was a “player” (causer, presumably) of the recession because I had written a book entitled “The Best is Yet to Come”. Only fools judge a book by the cover. Here is my war record, of which I am proud:
Only a few days in the media after leaving the ECB to become Economics Editor of the Irish Times, I wrote on 13th July 2005 that lending threatened the economy. On July 29th 2005, I wrote that growth was “not sustainable”. On August 19th 2005 I wrote that construction was “hugely disproportionate” in the economy. On March 31st 2006 in a piece that began “Stop the economy I want to get off” I warned that financial regulation had broken down. On July 6th 2006 I warned of an imminent collapse in public finances. On July 17th 2006 at a Fianna Fail conference I challenged Brian Cowen to draw up contingency plans for a possible recession. In October 2006 I told ISME’s annual conference (chaired by George Lee) that a downturn would start in 2008. In the 2007 election campaign I relentlessly wrote about how all party manifestos were based on illusory growth assumptions.
Later that 2007 – in a book praised by TK Whitaker and others – I warned again of the downturn but added that our population would keep growing. With the right policies we could restore prosperity by 2020, which I still believe. The first two predictions have come true. To offset the books short term pessimism, I called it “The Best is Yet to Come”. Judging by Tribune figures, though, I’m sorry to say it won’t apply to the Tribune unless you restore the paper’s reputation for fact based reporting and analysis.