David McWilliams: We're being sold out for cheap economic flattery
When you walk up one of Ireland's deserted main streets, it is difficult to reconcile the talk of Ireland doing well and being the model for other European countries to follow with the reality of living here. The reality here is that retail sales have collapsed and are not recovering. Anyone dependent on the domestic economy is just about surviving. No credit is being made available to anyone and unemployment is devastatingly high, while emigration continues apace.
That is what is going on in the "Real Ireland".
Contrast this with the "Invented Ireland". In the Invented Ireland, we are, supposedly, showing the rest of Europe the way out. We are the poster boys for austerity and the one indicator that the supporters of Invented Ireland obsess about is the bond yield on Irish government debt, which has fallen from 14pc to 8pc in recent months. This is significant but as we are not active in the market because we have been locked out of it, there is not that much value in this figure. However, in the world of Invented Ireland, the economy has "turned the corner", where the skies are blue and Ireland is the star pupil of the EU. This is despite having the second highest level of unemployment in Europe -- but in Invented Ireland unemployment doesn't matter as long as the figure for GDP is increasing.