Friday 24 November 2017

Thomas Molloy: We must forget blame game and get on with job of saving Ireland

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

ANYBODY popping into a bookie's office in 1922 would probably have placed a bet on Germany surviving and Ireland going under. In fact, as we all know, the opposite happened, with catastrophic consequences for every corner of Europe.

Germany's economy buckled and broke, triggering hyper-inflation, ushering in Adolf Hitler and paving the way for a German default in 1948. That particular default, often forgotten today, was the last time that a country in Western Europe turned to its lenders and said it would not pay its debts.

During the same three decades here in Ireland, one of the world's most conservative revolutions was continuing apace. Men who had once planted bombs in the streets and shot generals in their beds turned out to be among the most fiscally conservative politicians on the planet. Our finances were not always well managed during the 1920s and 1930s, but compared to Germany the heirs to 1916 were careful and prudent custodians of the public purse who invested wisely in projects such as electrification -- while keeping inflation and borrowing in check.

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