Sunday 4 December 2016

Spirit of partnership is now a sick joke

The Nyberg report will be used in Europe to confirm the 'delinquent Irish' were to blame for the bank crash, writes Anthony Cronin

Published 24/04/2011 | 05:00

THE gods may or may not be against us. It would seem the European establishment certainly is. You might think that lecturing somebody who is down was akin to putting the boot in. Surely you should pick them up, dust them down, and then deliver the lecture. And common sense would certainly suggest that when someone has borrowed money from you and is honestly and painfully struggling to pay it back, you say 'attaboy', 'that's the stuff', and even 'wow, you're doing great', to keep the poor devil going.

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But the tone of the constant lectures and admonitions we are getting is peevish, impatient, abrupt, and sometimes downright insulting. Mind you, we have been saying -- I know this because I was one of the first to say it -- that our debt is part of a European problem and that they should bend their minds and talents to finding a European solution. And I said further that if they didn't, then we should do everything we can to drive the message home, short of defaulting. Some of this of course might be against the spirit of partnership. But many people are rightly beginning to feel that the spirit of partnership is now a very sick joke indeed.

All this is ironic and strange and sad when you consider the high hopes with which we set out on our European adventure. One of these hopes was that membership of the European Union would free us in certain matters from the pressures, distortions and restraints of our own politics, national and local. And so indeed it did. A whole raft of liberalising measures, which would otherwise have taken vastly longer to come about, was forced on us and facilitated by our membership of the European Union, and our subjection to the European Court of Justice. Freedom from purely national and local pressures hastened the advent of a new and more enlightened Ireland greatly different from the Ireland of the past.

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