Friday 19 January 2018

Are our politicians guilty of kowtowing to Europe?

With people clamouring for Ireland to support Greece Dan O'Brien looks at how the Government has fared against the EU's heavy hitters

Germany’s Angela Merkel
Germany’s Angela Merkel
Greece’s Alexis Tsipras
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

How can Ireland's interests in the stand-off between Greece and the rest of the eurozone be most effectively pursued?

Some commentators have argued that Irish interests would be best served by forging an alliance with Greece on the basis that we could stand to gain if the Greeks get what they want. Some of those urging such an alliance have accused the Government of subservience for not following that course, or, more seriously still, preferring to receive "pats on the head" from powerful foreign leaders over standing up for the people who elect them and pay them.

Such charges carry a lot of weight in Ireland. Although we probably attribute too much importance to how the presence of Britain in this country in the past forged our national character, the odium towards those who are perceived to "tug the forelock" to powerful foreigners is almost certainly a legacy of the long years when our nearest neighbour ruled the roost here. The result is a hypersensitivity to any lack of assertiveness - real or perceived - when dealing with outsiders.

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