An Irish Tragedy - Greek Style

De Facto
An Irish tragedy – Greek style

De Facto
Liamy Mac Nally

RECENTLY we were invited to bail out the Greeks to the tune of €400 million.  We did not want to miss the party so we agreed.  When we went to sign on the dotted line the actual amount was more than three times as much - €1.3 billion.  What’s a few hundred million between friends?  Will we get it back?  Will we say anything?  Come back James Gogarty of Flood Tribunal fame, all is forgiven!
It is amazing that there was never a word of ‘may we?’ from the Government before this financial commitment to Greece.  It is a repeat of the €4 billion commitment to Anglo Irish Bank last year whilst we were being tossed in the waves of bankruptcy under the spectre of the International Monetary Fund.  We were told that we had to put up the money and it would not be written off against national debt.  Someone was telling porkies because it now transpires that we have to write it off as part of our national debt.  In so doing, we are automatically ‘plummeted’ to the top of the debt-ridden league in Europe.  Will we say anything?  Ha!  James Gogarty! 
Remember the Lisbon Treaty?  And all the jobs that were promised?  Especially by Fine Gael?  Ha!  Will we get jobs?  James Gogarty!  Will we - !  Where is the panacea of the Lisbon Treaty?   
There have been comparisons of late between the Irish and the Greeks.  The Irish are so docile that the Greeks do not want to be associated with us!  There was a sliver of activity outside Dáil Éireann last Tuesday.  Some people saw an opportunity to express themselves by attempting to enter the hallowed grounds of Dáil Éireann.  They were beaten back, truncheoned into submission by some Gardaí.  Some thought this a strange act in a so-called living democracy.  The same people never visited north Mayo on an active day in the Corrib gas saga!  The suits were present for the so-called Northwest Community Forum recently – to what avail or purposes?  One really has to wonder how Government Ministers and officials can be present for such a non-event when the country is haemorrhaging dignity, respect and honesty.              
At the same time the mandarins of Europe now tell us that we must first submit our national budget to the European Commission for ‘peer review’ before, yes, before, the budget is laid before the Dáil.  Will we say anything?  Are we a sovereign nation?  Ha!  Think of James Gogarty!  On the other hand let us hear what Richard Bruton FG has to say:
“Proposals which would give the European Commission a final veto over Irish Budgets could jeopardise Ireland’s low rate of corporation tax and see the introduction of brand new taxes”.  Fine Gael is opposed to any such measures and he was astonished that Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan seem willing to roll over and surrender crucial decision-making powers.  Having first allowed Ireland’s public finances to fall into a state of ruin, the Government is now on the point of ceding control over crucial financial decisions to other countries.  This would be an extraordinary development.  It seems to me that Fianna Fáil has made such a botch of the economy that it’s now happy for the European Commission to come in and clean up the mess. 
But this proposal could leave Ireland open to manipulation by larger competitor states on areas like our low Corporation Tax rate.  … ceding democratic control over the Irish finances to the European Commission and other countries, each of
which has their own agenda, is not an option…  The Dáil should be the first arbiter of all future Budgets and should have access to an independent fiscal council to scrutinise and expose dubious Budget assumptions, before any peer review at European level.
On another level one can get down to brass tacks and hear what Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh has to say:  “The slashing of Home Help is nothing short of government-sponsored abuse of the elderly.  The time and motion proposal is symptomatic of an absolutely dysfunctional health system and a government that is rotten to the core.  I know of women and men in their nineties in this constituency who are currently being ‘investigated’ to ascertain their home help is really necessary.  This is a frightening and intimidating experience for the most vulnerable people in our communities.  I plead with the unions not to allow their members to take part in this slash and burn exercise.” 
Either this Cllr is talking nonsense or else we have a very serious problem on our hands.  It would appear that we are losing the plot as a Government, a nation and as a country.  Beware of Greeks bearing gifts?  Ha!  Sure the Greeks aren’t the worst!