Sunday 19 November 2017

Banks mirror an adolescent state

THE promise by Michael Noonan, that when the troika leaves, Ireland can get back to "running our country in the normal way", will have sent shivers down the spine of all thinking citizens. Given that our version of "normal" is what landed us on the rocks, one might have dared to hope Mr Noonan and his colleagues, would aspire to some different way of governance. Sadly, evidence concerning the existence of any real reforming zeal in this administration is becoming thin to the point of nonexistence. Instead, the critique by the Central Bank's Fiona Muldoon of our adolescent banking system is unnervingly applicable to a political and mandarin officer class which continues to embrace the ethos of "hunting with the pack"; engages in "too much activity, not enough outcome"; and has succumbed to a culture of "denial" which fails to understand that "hope is not a strategy".

The one wrong to which this State has been subjected was the foisting upon it of the bailout in the first place. All is not yet clear in this picture. But if we are ever to do a moral inventory of our finances, it would be better if the full correspondence from Jean-Claude Trichet, which led us to this state, were placed in the public domain. Because when it comes to the outworking of Mr Kenny's "seismic" deal, Ireland should, obviously, put forward as strong a case as possible. If we need to be more honest with ourselves, so also does Europe need to be more honest. As Enda Kenny, Taoiseach of this bankrupt State, prepares to press our case on Angela Merkel, it would be no harm if he assumed the aura -- the body language, perhaps -- of one who knows a wrong has been perpetrated, and who wishes it to be acknowledged, before insisting on restitution. This can be done without assuming the mantle of victimhood. Because presumably we will have to make sacrifices to secure this boon.

In recent weeks, certain European mandarins have sought to make fiscal indigents of us, as if we are entitled to nothing. If we are to govern ourselves in a responsible manner when the troika leaves, Europe first needs to acknowledge how it used and abused us.

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