Brendan Keenan: How Ireland can succeed in a United States of Europe
FEW now probably remember the stir caused by the then Governor of the Central Bank Maurice Doyle, when he said in a speech that Ireland did not join the Common Market to become the North Dakota of a United States of Europe.
At the time of the speech, in the early 1990s, it was Mr Doyle's reference to a possible USE which caused most controversy. Twenty years on and knowing what we know now, the comment about North Dakota may be the more relevant.
I suspect the late Mr Doyle thought so too. If so, he was ahead of his time. The Maastricht Treaty was still in gestation and monetary union was only a dream. Now, in the middle of the worst western European economic crisis since the war, the warning about the very differing fortunes of regions within nation states, never mind the rarer examples of pure monetary unions, could not be more apt.