Ireland, the Euro and the dog that didn’t bark in the night



Michael Dwyer 


There is a silence across the kennels of Ireland. From Malin Head to The Hook the air is full of the sound of dogs not barking.

The European elections have come and gone. The results in our small island and across the continent have been pored over, analysed digested and finally pronounced upon by the great and the good, the wise and the otherwise.

However what was truly remarkable about the election has passed uncommented. The country is weighed down by debt. This debt was assumed by the Irish tax payers and their children and grand children when the state socialised the debts of bankrupt banks. This was done at the point of a financial gun held by a European Central Bank whose policies have been consistently hostile to the needs and interests of the Irish economy. The Irish tax payer was sacrificed for the good of the European banking system.

Yet not one even half way serious Euro sceptic party has made an appearance on the Irish electoral landscape. None of the persons elected to the Parliament , left or right , were elected on a platform of hostility to the EU or the Euro. Certainly there were harsh words about expense accounts and red tape and accountability. But no serious questioning about the institutional relationship between Ireland and Brusells or the Euro.

You might say ‘and a jolly good thing too’. You might say that the last thing we need is the rise of a nasty nationalistic right with xenophobic anti immigrant policies. Well certainly I have no desire to Golden Dawn style politics in Ireland. However, the lack of even a notional debate about where we are and how we might proceed in Europe suggests an unhealthy control of the political narrative in our media and amongst our politicians.

Meanwhile in Leinster house the gears are whirring and the politics smoking in preparation for what is probably the most widely anticipated parliamentary inquiry in the history of the state. The long awaited Banking Inquiry is taking shape.

Having listened to the Dear Leader and those in opposition one thing is clear. This will be an inquiry about accidents and contingencies not the real substance of the Irish economic crisis. It will probably have a rare old time pillorying bankers individually and as a class. There will be shock and outrage at comments’ made over coffee ten years ago. What there will not be is any desire to ask why conditions pertained in the first place that allowed the credit expansion to happen and asset bubble to inflate.

That is a not an acceptable line of inquiry. To pursue that line would inevitably involve questioning our monetary policy, who makes it and who executes it. It would involve looking at our membership of the Euro from a purely economic perspective rather that a religio-political act of faith .

Cormac Lucey

Cormac Lucey






But soft……

Maybe I was too pessimistic. For here comes Cormac Lucey and he is barking his head off. He has just published a book whose title is Plan B: how leaving euro can save Ireland . If nothing else it should start a conversation.


plan b

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