I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

John Sweeney

Hard Landing

Good, old-fashioned speculation on rising asset values did for the Irish banks. Quite traditional regulatory tools should have been sufficient to prevent them getting into deep trouble if they had been vigorously and rigorously used. But they were not. The will to do so was, undoubtedly, also weakened by the traditionally influential role of the construction sector in Ireland’s political culture.