John Downing: Despite ups and downs, we still belong at the heart of EU
LET'S start by shamelessly stealing and adapting John Hume's great phrase about Northern Ireland in the dark days of the Troubles. "Anyone who is not confused about Ireland's relationship with the European Union doesn't know what is going on."
For years, the Irish had a dangerously simple relationship with the European Union as we got direct farm and development aid. Then it got a little complex as Ireland became prosperous and no longer qualified for such volumes of aid.
Finally, it became difficult as we stupidly banjaxed our economy, over-using cheap loans that were available through the one-size-fits-all eurozone interest rates. When we sought to default on some of that enormous bank debt, the European Central Bank said we could not.