I found last night’s debate a bit depressing. Many people had suspected that the five-way debate would prove to be an unsatisfactory format for useful discussion. In the event, it was worse than I had expected. In particular, the combination of poorly phrased questions from the audience (two of the first three questions were essentially “what are you going to do about emigration?”) and ad hoc and unevenly distributed follow-ups from Pat Kenny, served the audience at home fairly poorly.
There’s two more debates to go, albeit one of them as Gwaelge (as they say in RTE). How about we open a thread for Irish Economy blog participants to suggest questions that could be used in the remaining debates?
Here’s a few starters for ten:
1. Fine Gael are planning to reduce public sector employment by 30,000 and Labour by 18,000. Can this be achieved without breaking the Croke Park agreement ruling out involuntary redundancies or without affecting front-line services? (The core administrative civil service only has about 30,000 employees).
2. The European Commission says that it expects Ireland to be borrowing in the bond market again in the second half of next year. Should Ireland look for a bigger lending package from the EU and IMF to delay this return to the bond market or, if you accept this timeline, how do you plan to raise these funds?
3. It appears that the EU authorities want the Irish banks to repay the almost €100 billion they have borrowed from the ECB and the €50 billion that they have borrowed from the Irish Central Bank and to do this soon. How do you plan to deal with these requests?