… or “scoping reports” as they’ve more recently been referred to.
The narrative An Taoiseach and Minister Lenihan are attempting to set appears to be: “this scoping exercise says it was solicitors, bankers and auditors” and “we must focus the inquiry on the areas found to be clearly to blame”. That helpfully excludes policy implementation, i.e. Government. And it doesn’t stand up when reading the actual documents.
A summary of the Regling-Watson report is now available here. The one for Governor Honohan’s report will be completed later.
Domestic policies did not act as a sufficient counterweight to the forces driving this unsustainable property bubble. Bank regulation and financial stability policy clearly failed to achieve their goals. Neither did fiscal policy constrain the boom. Indeed, the increased reliance on taxes that could only generate sufficient revenue in a boom, made public finances highly vulnerable to a downturn. Specific tax incentives also boosted rather than restrained the overheated construction sector. And, with surging labour demand, wage rates in both the public and private sectors moved well ahead of what could protect international competitiveness.