Saturday 21 April 2018

Sinn Fein is far from bulletproof on economy

Standing up to Europe is one thing, but Sinn Fein would still have to find a way to pay the bills, says Eilis O'Hanlon

SINN Fein has had the political initiative ever since Pearse Doherty's victory in November's Donegal South West by-election, but the manner of the countdown to the imminent general election -- with Fine Gael and Labour falling over themselves to meekly facilitate the rushing through of the Finance Bill -- has handed the Shinners a golden opportunity to present themselves as the only people truly offering an alternative to the Brussels bailout.

The problem is, they're dead right. Sinn Fein is indeed the one party promising to tear up the deal with the IMF/EU and start again. Fine Gael and Labour are still pinning their hopes on getting some vague agreement with European partners who have no incentive whatsoever to make things easier for us. Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan flew out to a meeting on Friday with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to press for a lowering of the interest rate on the bailout -- but what if Europe keeps saying no? There is no Plan B.

Boston radio host Michael Graham, a regular guest on Newstalk's Right Hook show, raised that question last week. Europe's obsession with trying to have a 'one size fits all' approach to widely different economies was a major factor in Ireland's collapse, Graham pointed out. Europe forced Ireland to seek a bailout when the people and the Government didn't want one, and rubbed salt into the wound by punishing the country with a vicious rate of interest on the loan; so where are the candidates who are saying enough is enough and urging Irish voters to tell Europe where to get off?

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