Wednesday 29 March 2017

Ireland must draw first blood or we'll be bled dry

Willie Kealy assesses our negotiators' tactics at the vital IMF talks but doubts they can secure the best deal

THE most important negotiations we have ever been involved in are about to finish -- and we haven't a clue what is going on behind closed doors. Our negotiators -- the most incompetent Government in the State's history -- are telling us nothing coherent and we have to rely on leaks from the EU, the ECB and the IMF.

Our negotiators started off by distracting us with promises that our 12.5 per cent corporation tax would be defended. It was never really under attack. Apart from that, the tactic seems to be to secure a loan of €85bn at any price, so that we can continue paying off the bondholders the billions we still owe them.

The people across the table from our negotiators call us a contagion -- a diseased entity with the capacity to spread economic illness. We are no such thing. The market is the real contagion. Greece collapsed because its government allowed its finances to run out of control while lying about the true situation. Then we collapsed because we lived in a dream bubble. We did not catch a contagion from Greece. Portugal is now under pressure to accept a bailout, not because it caught our contagion, but because of its own internal economic defects. In the longer term the fear is they will come for Belgium or Spain, then Italy and France and eventually frighten the Germans into going solo. End of the euro.

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