Guru hobbs blames cowen as homeowners face 10 year wait for property price recovery...
Financial guru Eddie Hobbs has lashed Taoiseach Brian Cowen for the "leadership vacuum" that has prevailed for the past year.
And he warned that it could take up to 10 years for Irish property prices to return to anywhere near their pre-recession levels.
In a hard-hitting critique of the country's leaders, Hobbs claimed the Government had failed to lead the nation for the past decade.
"There was a lot more they could have done but I don't think the Government have properly governed the country for the past 10 years," he told the Herald.
"Ireland has been governed by other forces instead, like developers and public sector income through the partnership process. Now that that process is fractured, the Government is only beginning to govern again.
"I find it no coincidence that we're finally beginning to see leadership from Brian Cowen within days of the fracturing of the partnership process." He continued: "We have only had a Government reacting to a crisis and now they're being pressurised into making a decision."
The TV presenter and financial consultant went on to say how the current climate of fear among the Irish people needs to be urgently tackled.
"One thing Brian Cowen needs to do to convince his sceptics is to get rid of the public's fear of spending money. If six months ago, the Government had come out with a radical plan to combat the dire economy, then the atmosphere in Ireland today would be so different," he continued.
"If there were like 'We're in it together, here's the plan', but there wasn't any of that -- there was a leadership vacuum. It has created an enormous degree of fear that we shouldn't be feeling and Brian Cowen must bear enormous responsibility for that."
The Cork commentator, who was at the Dylan Hotel for the new Independent Directory launch, is bringing out a book on how to survive the recession. However, he reckons that people can get their finances under control -- providing they face up to their debts.
"They need to put a debt proposal together and do a frank and honest assessment of their balance sheet -- what they own and what they owe and their cash flow. They need to take out all of their self delusion and then go and talk to their creditors.
"The alternative is, you stick your head in the sand and start getting those letters from solicitors and then debt-collecting agencies and court orders, then sheriffs arrive and you're not in control."
In time, he said that the property market will bounce back -- but it may not be until 2020. "Negative equity is not essentially a problem as long as you make the repayments because house prices will inevitably come back up but it could take between eight or 10 years."
Report by Melanie Finn - Evening Herald.