Friday 24 February 2017

Debt forgiveness is the only way to go

Fianna Fail lacks Dev's backbone to slash debt repayments that people are struggling to meet, writes Carol Hunt

It's very kind of the British to offer us a little sterling in our time of need, don't you think? Particularly when one considers what happened the last time we were financially indebted to their exchequer?

Because despite all the blather we've heard over the past few years about the impossibility of defaulting on any of our debts, we have precedent in this area: perhaps not the kind those lining up to throw money at us would like to hear.

In 1932, as a result of the Land Act agreements dating from the beginning of the century, Irish tenant farmers owed about £5m a year to the British (at a time when GNP was roughly £150m annually). When Eamon de Valera's Fianna Fail party came to power in 1932, one of its first acts was to suspend these payments. If it was a choice between paying back foreign debt and beggaring the country Dev was going to choose to renege on the former. He was a patriot, you see.

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