IRELAND would have suffered many of the same austerity conditions even if we had managed to reduce borrowing costs and stay out of a bailout, the former special adviser to the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said yesterday.
NUI Galway economist Alan Ahearne said many of the conditions imposed by the Troika were already contained in the National Recovery Plan, drawn up by the Fianna Fail/ Green Party coalition in 2010, and designed to halt the rise in borrowing costs.
Mr Ahearne told the Dublin Economics Workshop in Limerick that a lot of the measures in the bailout were "cut and paste" from the four-year recovery plan.
"It was designed and issued in order to try and convince the markets that Ireland had a plan and try and convince them not to push up our borrowing costs.
"Obviously the markets didn't go for it. But in there was a programme, a plan, designed in Dublin," he said.
"So the programme that we have been following, the Troika programme, far from being imposed from the outside, it was exactly the plan that was designed and would have been followed roughly speaking had Ireland continued to borrow from financial markets."
Mr Ahearne, who served as adviser to Mr Lenihan while he was Finance Minister, said the country needed to reduce its Budget deficit and therefore, as onerous as the conditions were, they would have had to be met.
The conference was also addressed by chartered accountant Cormac Lucey, a former special adviser to former Justice Minister Michael McDowell.
Mr Lucey said Ireland should pull out of the EU and revert to the punt.
He claimed by remaining we were condemning ourselves to "permanent deflationary impulses".
"It's time we said bye bye to the euro," he said.