Saturday 23 September 2017

Stephen Donnelly: Smiling Irish eyes mean nothing when tens of billions are at stake

Gormless strategy of ingratiation has failed and it may be too late to play hardball, writes Stephen Donnelly

On Friday afternoon, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was sucker-punched by Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the end of a two-day summit in Brussels, a summit at which Team Ireland was desperately trying to get movement on the return of our €64bn, the German Chancellor stated that "there will not be any retroactive direct recapitalisation". In other words, the €64bn you chumps poured into your ridiculous banking system is gone. Thanks for taking the hit for Europe, now be gone back to your peripheral little country and stop whining.

The damage-limitation exercise sprang immediately into action. Government officials pointed out that Angela was talking about the Spaniards, and not us. The Tanaiste emphasised the statement from the June summit, which was very clear on the need to separate banking and sovereign debt, and which mentioned Ireland specifically.

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