| 9.1°C Dublin

Bring back sterling if EU treats us badly -- McEvaddy

LEADING businessman Ulick McEvaddy has said Ireland should threaten to leave the eurozone and go into the sterling zone if our European partners refuse to give us a better deal on the €85bn bailout.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, the aviation tycoon insisted that the country had alternatives in the event that the EU tried to "screw with us too much".

"I don't think we're in a powerless position. I think our European partners have to treat us with the respect we deserve. We have alternatives. If we look across the water to our biggest trading partner, Britain, and talk to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he might welcome us back into the sterling zone if they [the EU] screw around with us too much," Mr McEvaddy said.

Giving his own view on what the incoming government's negotiating team should tell our partners in Brussels, he said: "The option [in relation to the EU] is 'look guys, we're not happy with the way you're treating us. We're going to leave the eurozone'. Ok, it's going to be a bit of a mess for a while, but the Chancellor of the [British] Exchequer would write the cheque for us in the morning because we're actually his largest trading partner."

Asked if there was any solution to be found for Ireland's economic difficulties by looking to the United States, Mr McEvaddy said: "No, America has its own problems trying to get down their multi-trillion dollar debt."

He added: "The UK has had similar problems to ours, but they have a much bigger economy and they're able to absorb it better. They could absorb ours in a heartbeat too. Chancellor [Angela] Merkel may want to protect German banks, but we have alternatives and we shouldn't discount them."

Asked what Fine Gael -- a party with which he and his family have long been associated -- might make of his view, Mr McEvaddy said: "The problem with them [Fine Gael] is, the Republican tail will try to wag the Fine Gael dog, but that's about that. We can't be too proud of the fact that we are in trouble, but we can look to Britain.

"If we're going to take the Republican flag and say 'we're going to stand on our own', that's all very well but the economy suffers," he added.

Sunday Independent