The Irish Government’s Approach to the Euro Crisis

Paul Gillespie writes on this topic in the new issue of the Dublin Review of Books – his article is here.

9 replies on “The Irish Government’s Approach to the Euro Crisis”

Critiquing someone else’s homework is a dodgy business, at best!

Few luverleys in there for PR Guy to get stuck into. I’ll toss my own curve ball his direction later (your a first-class batsman, PR). Just checking!

This Colonial thingy, AGAIN! Ireland was never a colony. How often has this to be said? Seems the intelligentia have very thick frontal bones and very thin ganglia.

You had two elites, English and Irish, who kicked the stuffing out of their respective serfs – normal practice for the time, and the Irl group, with a fiscal deficit in thugs, requested a loan to deal with their downitty peasants. Later, the College Green Elite got ‘brown-enveloped’, and we ‘elected’ 100 MPs to Westminster. KO!

PR Guy, there’s your curve ball. OK! Fancy a Malt!

I do really wonder at our dear leader folk. Are these guys (gals?) naive, anaesthetized, or just plain stupid? I’m not allowed to swear on this site, so please insert that wonderful, colourful and expressive CMcCism in the appropriate places.

Reputation? Who gives a CMcC about reputation! Jesus wept! Reputation wo’nt buy me food and lodging.

Difference between ‘won’t pay’ and ‘can’t pay’. Fraudster and bankrupt.? Guess who we (Irish citizens) are?

We are CMcC’d three ways simultaneously and at the same time. Our income is significantly less than our expenses (and falling!) – that’s Sh***vill territory, = [#1F]. So we borrow, borrow for God’s sake, to make up the shortfall, in the hope/expectation/delusion, that the Growth fairy will put a shiney sixpence (always damn UK currency in these stories) under our pillow, = [#2F]. But when you borrow you get into debt and this compounds nicely, so you borrow more to pay your borrowings = [#3F]. Did I allege naivity, unconciousness or stupidity? Criminal is more appropriate.

So what do our dear leaders do. They shout (you must always shout, it dis-orientates your subject), “Drop you trousers Sean, bend over the table, here’s some Vaseline to apply to the appropriate location (sorry, we have no stick for you to bite down on) and … … …’

In the olde days the torturers had the good manners to wear balaclavas. Nowadays they have Ferragano suits and Gucci briefcases. Torturing must pay!

What should have happened, and what would have happened if yer one Grace O’Malley had been in charge, is that some bankers would have experienced a rapid detachment of a pair of their favourite body parts – sans anaesthesia! One really has to make an example, else one will not be taken seriously.

Persuasion and bargaining – in a sovereign crisis! These folk are unreal. What the CMcC is a sovereign, if it cannot tell other sovereigns to CMcC-off? Sovereigns can take their lumps. Its the crowd of Olli Swift tit-suckers clutching the sovereign’s coat tail who can’t take the punishment.

Gillespie did invoke (the late) Peter Mair; “democracy without choices”. We were mandated a choice (see above), and Democracy? Nice name for a greyhound.

Maybe, if I get the time, I might pen a piece myself, and y’all get a chance to toss bits of rotting veg in my direction. I’ probably deserve it!


Lots in it very interesting, but its a long essay that could do with being more structure; even setting out a short list of topics and covering them one by one, allowing for some flexibility in the organization, would have made it easier to read for me. But the bus didn’t race away without me even though I had to chase it 🙂

It suffers too from the fact the the situation in the EMU is changing by the minute eg Italy at the moment, so I don’t think he gave enough to that aspect, but there again he’s focusing on the government stance.

Only one sentence I could not understand: “”The government’s fundamental weakness as a programme state subject to the EU/IMF bailout package must be acknowledged in any concluding assessment of its policies.” Should be commas after state and package? I taught English at one point 🙂


“The benefit of multilateral actions in preference to unilateral ones has been well flagged by the new government and they have some genuine gains to show for what is a more coherent set of policies.”

Err, he must be joking! But overall, a very good essay 🙂

@ Brian Woods Snr

“(always damn UK currency in these stories)”

– That’s because you have a post-colonial mind-set. I am now running away and hiding.

I enjoyed the paper – it’s good to do a step back overview. Within the government’s stated position, I thought this was a useful remark:

“These included prioritising the EU in lead ministries, effective cooperation between permanent representatives in Brussels and those ministries and good procedures for resolving conflicts between them. Persuasion-based approaches using good quality arguments and problem-solving tend to work better than bargaining, while timely lobbying and appropriate framing of questions also boost influence.”

Christmas cards all round and work out who wants which problem solved.

@Brian Woods Snr

“PR Guy, there’s your curve ball.”

In the nicest possible way, I wish I knew wtf you were on about Brian!

It’s a busy day and I’ve no time to read – deadlines to meet – so I’ve printed the Paul Gillespie article (all 9 pages of it!) to read this evening to see if I can get where you’re coming from….. assuming I’m not press-ganged by Mrs PR Guy to write even more ‘CMcCing’ Christmas cards tonight 🙁

I did read the first and last paragraphs though (a terrible habit I know). The final words were interesting:

“There is ample scope here for political leaders to create a new legitimacy out of their efforts to resolve the crisis democratically.”

I have seen no evidence so far this year to suggest that those political leaders have any intention of siezing such an opportunity. More like ‘benign dictatorship’ I would say….. oddly enough, I think that’s a concept that was invented by Germans in the 19th century, though it existed in practice well before then I would guess (though I’m no historian).

Does the Irish government actually have an approach to the Euro crisis? Looks to me as though they are just spectators…. and potentially, victims.

There are several serious errors in this piece, the most egregious being that while Ireland accepted the Maastricht Treaty, the UK rejected it. This is not the case. The UK is a fully paid up member of Economic and Monetary Union but it has negotiated a permanent opt-out from the obligation to adopt the euro while retaining the right to change its mind. It is as bound as any other Member State with regard to the procedures for the establishment of the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPG) and the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP).

A second error relates to the proposal to use the wording of Article 126.14 TFEU to adapt Protocl 12 on the EDP. This did not imply any changes to the treaty but availing more fully of them, including a differentiated approach between the EU17 and the EU 10. Berlin rejected the option even before the summit. One must assume that either it did not wish to go that route or felt bound by the understanding to go the “inter-governmental” route the importance and supposed advantages of which are continuously underlined by Sarkozy. Cameron rejected the element of treaty change which this would have involved imagining that this gave him leverage with Merkel. He was to be gravely disappointed. We now are where we are with the Commission trying to pick up the pieces.

The article by a legal expert in today’s IT is well worth a read. The only comment that could be added is that it is not correct to say that the Crotty judgement is “wrong” with regard to the transfer of competences to the EU. It interpreted the phrase “necessitated by” in the Constitution correctly i.e. while it was rather (too?) tightly drawn, it did not mean that the treaties remained frozen and required the opinion of the Irish people for any change. Indeed, this has been the case relating to all the treaties governing the enlargement of the EU which have never required a referendum in Ireland although they involved major changes.

The judgement was in error by requiring a referendum for the adoption of the inter-governmental arrangements relating to the then common foreign and security policy which, by definition, contained no transfer of competences. (It would have been equally logical to argue that Ireland’s decision to join the UN required a referendum).

This initial judicial error, combined with the unwillingness of the Irish political establishment to face up to its responsibilities to clarify the situation, is the source of the long-running saga with regard to referendums in Ireland. It seems, it has many more chapters to run.

@Paul Gillespie

‘The timing pits system integration against social integration, market efficiency and technocratic modes of governing against democratic accountability.

Yes. This is the battlefield. Systems of Money and Power are Whipping the Lifeworlds.

@ PR Guy. You do seem to get to the gist of things, is all, and post thoughtful replies as well.

The curve ball was the contrast between what is conventionally described as ‘post-colonial behaviour’ (whatever the hell that is), and what we are experiencing now. Deep, dark and looney. Empathise: got the missus in bed with a bad cold.

@GC: 6p stuff: Its when I lost my milk teeth Gavin. These events are a tad salient. I’m deathly serious about that ‘colonial thingy’, though.

I am in a state of utter disbelief at the behaviour of so many. This crisis was totally avoidable. Not all of it, but the really bad bits. And we get tanker loads of slurry laced claptrap about systemic institutions, global financial collapse, loss of confidence, need to keep you reputation (as if we were virgins or something), and the top dog turd of all, The Markets.

So where was the Dead-Man’s Hand then? I can only conclude that I am in the midst (present company excepted) of a bunch of loons.

If I purposefully designed a large structure so that it had a 1.0 probability of failure. And it got built, and then BLEVE’d* – well? The mind boggles.


*Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion. V-nasty!

Just like Colm (Brazel) I also managed, with effort, to keep up with the “bus” except when it came to the following re UK:”….refusing to join European Projects from the beginning and then being forced to do so later”.

I know the UK was not interested in joining during the 1950`s but, as I understand it, Ireland`s application to join the the EEC in the late 1960ś was delayed because France was not over eager to speed up Britains accession.

By 1973 (when UK, Denmark and Ireland joined the EEC) it was more a case of the UK being “forced” to stay in the “wilderness” for a number of years.

A speech by a French leader of the EPP in the European Parliament this week reminded me that when it comes to France and the UK modern Germany often appears to be comparatively benign when it comes to Western Europe.

I fully appreciate that Paul Gillespie was also dealing with modern internal UK politics (eg Scottish referendum) in the same paragraph.

He also very likely had not witnessed the EPP leader`s speech when he wrote this but IMHO that particular paragraph could have been better if it was broken into two paragraphs with the subsequent one expanding, slightly, on European Politics in the years immediately prior to UK accession.

I feel it was well worth my time to read this work and feel more informed as a result.:)

@Brian Woods Senior

I see what you mean. Post-colonial behaviour works two ways though: the behaviour of those dishing it out and the behaviour of those on the receiving end. I’ve never understood why the Irish as a nation are so passive generally but take an individual and give him a couple of beers and he’ll fight anyone. It would be nice to see a bit more fighting talk at a national level.

I didn’t get round to reading the article. With Christmas party tonight, Santa trip tomorrow and a heavy workload next week, it’s going to have to wait until the holidays I suspect. Along with about sixty others…….

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