Monday 23 October 2017

Democracy sinks to keep federalist fantasy afloat

This is Ireland's future, and the eurocrats are no longer trying to hide it, says Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

It's hard to know which is more worrying: the fact that people were so willing to believe that Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan had given the Germans a draft version of the Budget before showing it to Irish parliamentarians; or that this is still so, despite the Government's protestations to the contrary.

Perhaps they're manifestations of the same problem. The belief that we are weak in the face of European leaders, the Germans in particular, and that handing up our Budgets to Angela Merkel for approval, like a schoolboy having his homework marked by Miss, was the logical next step. That's why Germany wants changes to the Lisbon Treaty next year, after all. So it can do this to the budgets of every member state.

Gilmore, with that instinctive grasp of oratory which has made him such an inspiration to the nation in this time of crisis, declared that he was "quite annoyed" that details of austerity measures had been revealed by German MPs. No doubt he wanted to say "annoyed" but Brussels insisted he add the word "quite" in front to dilute potential criticism of his European handlers. Though quite what the Tanaiste was annoyed about is a separate mystery. The Government advanced a draft budget to Brussels which, in an apparent slip-up, forwarded it to the finance ministries of all EU states. Either way, Europe was getting to see it long before we did. The Irish Government is merely arguing the toss about how it was caught out. It feels the indignation of the guilty.

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