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Lord Henry's Blog

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So the Taoiseach says there is “ no linkage” between the referendum on the treaty and the issue of the promissory notes. It is an “entirely separate” matter, he announces grandiosely, stating the Irish people will “ not be bribed by anybody”. Baloney. I will be charitable and assume that the Taoiseach and his Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, are playing good cop, bad cop. If this is not the case we are in one hell of a mess.

How refreshing it was to read the reports of Joan Burton’s interview with the Financial Times. Finally we have a Cabinet Minister who is getting real. The burden of debt left by that toxic fiscal cess pit, Anglo Irish Bank, is completely unsustainable, apart from it being utterly immoral to burden the Irish nation with a massive debt for which they bear no responsibility. I know I have been banging on about this week in and week out but let me put it in context. Unless this matter is addressed now we will be pouring 3.1 billion a year in to this black hole until 2023. What kind of sense does that make ? The next payment is due on the 31st March. Frankly, people should be out on the streets.

It really is time to bring all of this out in the open. Already there is a danger that the referendum campaign will be dominated by fear, anger and resentment. This fiscal compact is driven by Germany. It is disgraceful that yet again documents are furnished to the Bundestag before our parliament. However, at the centre of all of this is the simple fact that there is an intellectual bankruptcy at the heart of Europe that results in a failure to recognise that austerity is not working. There is also an inertia which results in a lack of will to deal with the banking crisis. It is and always was a perversion of capitalism to expect an entire nation to pay for the grossly irresponsible and possibly criminal behaviour of the few.

So let’s not have any sanctimonious rubbish spouted from the mouths of politicians. The question of the treaty and the promissory notes are linked. The Irish nation has bitten the bullet. Shown itself to be responsible, but now it is absolutely imperative that our government steps up to the plate. Our debt must be restructured. Asked whether a move on the promissory notes would be helpful, Joan Burton says “ Yes, of course”, and added “because 3.1 bn is almost as much as the cuts that have taken place annually”. She is right.


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