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Aidan
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As always with SEO there are some gray areas! My take on directory links is that having them is currently better than having no links, though those mass submit ones that list anything are of little ‘juice’.

I’ve seen some Aussie sites achieve good Google rankings with just on-page seo and a small few links from both good and bad directories!

If they were actually harmful I would stop using them altogether but that is not the case – if it were so, I could sabotage anyones SEO efforts simply by buying lots of low quality directory links to their site!

Google keep assuring us there is no such thing as a bad link because of that sabotage factor! However there are lots of links that have no or very little juice!

I tend to think of link structure as a pyramid – a small few good ones at the top, a bunch of medium ones in the middle and a lot of low quality ones at the bottom. Having your incoming links in a similar structure looks very natural – and Google loves natural!

Hope that helps :)