It is a tale of two EU bailouts. When Ireland was hit by the last banking crash and recession we were told we could not default on bank bond holders. No haircuts on senior debt. Instead, the EU would be available to lend us billions of euro in a bailout to get through the crisis.
These would be loans. There was no free money.
This time round and all of Europe is suffering in the economic crash caused by the coronavirus. The European Commission has announced its intention to set up a €750bn bailout fund which will involve €500bn in grants that do not have to be paid back and €250bn of loans.
Under the draft plan, Italy would receive €81.8bn in grants. Spain could be in line to receive €77bn in grants. France is in line for €38bn, Romania €31bn and France €32bn. Countries that got in trouble last time round, such as Greece, stand to receive a lot more of this "free money".
Greece could get €32bn. Portugal, which also needed a bailout last time, could get €26bn and Latvia could receive €4.5bn.
So how much might Ireland be in line for? Well, the figure is €1.9bn and it is the third smallest allocation, ahead only of Malta and Luxembourg.
That is not to say the €1.9bn wouldn't come in handy. We have seen submissions from sectors such as hospitality pleading for greater levels of government financial assistance. The bill for the Exchequer is running to around €30bn for this year. But some hotels will still be on life support into next year and will need a gradual easing of state supports.
Ireland is already in a strong position to benefit from ECB bond-buying operations which should ensure we can borrow the money we need on international markets at low interest rates.
This is an enormous help to our recovery, but they are loans and have to be serviced and then re-financed or paid back in the future.
If the new EU proposal does go ahead, there is even a sting in the tail for Ireland. The EC plans to mutualise or jointly carry the debt of this bailout package on its own balance sheet and pay for it through a range of measures such as climate change taxes, plastic taxes and a digital sales tax.
A digital sales tax could cost us dearly in terms of lost Corporation Tax revenue. So we get hardly any of the free cash but potentially pay more than our share of the cost of funding it. It doesn't look like a good deal at all.
And of course the mood music in Europe is that we owe them big time for backing us to the hilt on maintaining an open Border in Ireland after Brexit.
Of course, it is quite possible this bailout deal will be modified beyond recognition if it goes ahead at all.
Some countries, such as the Netherlands and Finland, are not happy about the EU collectively absorbing or mutualising any new debt. The Netherlands wants any new money to be linked to economic and fiscal reforms (a dig at Italy) and the EU rule of law (a dig at Hungary and Poland).
Under the plan, some of the money from the new fund would be pre-allocated to each of the 27 member states, while further amounts would depend on what specific programmes they pitch to Brussels to get funding.
If at its core this plan is about showing solidarity with fellow European members who need it the most, then so be it. However, solidarity is one thing. Getting seriously short-changed for a second time in 10 years is another.
Central Bank should say more about Quinn inquiry settlement
The Central Bank has not done a great service to the public in how it decided to publicise the settlement reached with former Quinn Group executive Liam McCaffrey.
The settlement was agreed last December and relates to an investigation and inquiry into how guarantees over €1.2bn of assets in Quinn Insurance subsidiaries were given on foot of borrowings from the wider Quinn Group.
The guarantees undermined the ability of Quinn Insurance to rely on subsidiary assets to form part of the reserve of money set aside to meet insurance claims, if it was needed.
As we all know, it was needed. Quinn Insurance collapsed into administration in 2010 and has left behind around €1.6bn of claims to the Investor Compensation Fund which must be met by everybody who takes out a policy. It is a €1.6bn hit for all of us.
The Central Bank reached a deal with Sean Quinn and Quinn Insurance back in 2008 over regulatory breaches resulting in penalty payments of €3.2m. A further fine of €5m was put on the collapsed insurer back in 2013 as part of a settlement.
Then head of enforcement at the Central Bank, Derville Rowland, summed it up in a press release issued in 2013 outlining details of the settlement reached with the company.
"The facts of this case contributed to the failure of one of the State's largest insurers, an event which has had severe financial consequences for Ireland's insurance industry and the Irish taxpayer."
The big question was how did these €1.2bn of guarantees come about. The Central Bank investigated two former executives of the old Quinn Group, Kevin Lunney and Liam McCaffrey.
A public inquiry heard days of evidence about who knew what and when. The issue here is not about reaching a settlement with McCaffrey, as that may well have been the fairest, most appropriate and most reasonable course of action.
The issue is how the Central Bank did not announce last December that a settlement had been reached, but instead simply referred to it in its annual report published during the week.
Furthermore, it did not reveal any details of the outcome of the settlement and declined to elaborate on the nature of the settlement. Perhaps there is a strong confidentiality agreement.
But people have a right to know the outcome of the pursuit of justice in this case.
The Central Bank also declined to comment on whether it may reach a settlement with the other subject of the inquiry, Kevin Lunney.
It may have felt it was premature to comment on Lunney's case or even McCaffrey's case, given that the inquiry has not concluded. Yet, it reached some kind of conclusion of events in relation to its inquiries into McCaffrey's role.
Surely this is a matter of public interest - €1.6bn of public interest in fact.
The Central Bank saw fit to pursue a public inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened, but it is not prepared to disclose the outcome of its settlement with one of the subjects of that inquiry.
Perhaps it plans to make that full disclosure when the inquiry has completed its task. We simply have not been told.
Everyone ponying up towards the €1.6bn deserves better.
Sunday Indo Business