Saturday 18 November 2017

A ‘sugar daddy’ and the worst minister in Europe

Fiach Kelly

ONE has been dubbed a "sugar daddy" and the other the worst finance minister in Europe.

Leading international media lined up yesterday to criticise and ridicule two politicians critical to today’s Budget.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan was named the worst in Europe by the influential ‘Financial Times’ newspaper for the second year in a row.

And Independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae, whose vote is needed for the Budget to pass, was called Ireland’s “sugar daddy” by the equally influential business news wire Bloomberg.

The ‘Financial Times’ said Mr Lenihan was overcome by the scale of the economic crisis here and had failed to rescue the banks, despite numerous bailouts.

“Some countries’ problems simply proved too great to handle,” said the newspaper.

“Brian Lenihan was overwhelmed by the crisis in Ireland's banking system and the implosion of the country's economic growth.”

The newspaper ranks the 19 European finance ministers every year and they are judged on their political ability, economic performance and credibility in the international markets and then given an overall score.

One of the judges, Jacques Delpla, a member of the Conseil d'Analyse Economique in Paris, said Mr Lenihan had not thought through the €440bn bank guarantee scheme.

Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble topped the poll, with Poland's Jacek Rostowski in second place ahead of last year's winner, France's Christine Lagarde.

Bloomberg ran an article about Mr Healy-Rae yesterday headlined: “Ireland relies on ‘sugar daddy’ for Budget support”.

It said that the Kerry South TD was known as the “sugar daddy for championing his region”.

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