Tuesday 6 December 2016

Austerity junkies are playing out a big €2bn charade

Shane Ross

Published 22/06/2014 | 02:30

REALITY SUSPENDED: Joan Burton and Alex White (with his wife, Prof Mary Corcoran) at the first in a series of five Labour Party leadership hustings. Photo: Colin Keegan
REALITY SUSPENDED: Joan Burton and Alex White (with his wife, Prof Mary Corcoran) at the first in a series of five Labour Party leadership hustings. Photo: Colin Keegan

THE heavies are hovering. Our bailout friends are showing signs of panic. The IMF, the European Commission and our own Fiscal Advisory Council (FAC) are queuing up to warn us: triumphalism is premature.

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The economy is still fragile, they say, growth looks groggy. The austerity junkies, in charge for so long, haven't gone away, you know – they are competing for the megaphones, as they loudly warn that Ireland's politicians could fritter away what they see as our "hard-won" gains.

Ireland's politicians are trying to pretend that they were never austerity junkies. Labour Party rivals are cheeking their foreign bosses. The party's leadership contest has suddenly featured on the IMF radar. Last week, Craig Beaumont (their commission chief for Ireland) went so far as to give the IMF seal of approval to the runaway favourite, Joan Burton. Craig would be as happy as a pig in ... if Joan becomes Tanaiste. He told the media approvingly that Joan "has indicated her intention to remain in the Coalition and to maintain the fiscal targets for 2015, while also emphasising the need for social repair alongside economic repair".

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