Euro membership not negotiable
Sir -- UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is very unlikely to welcome Ireland back into the sterling area as suggested by Ulick McEvaddy (Sunday Independent, Feb 20, 2011)
Since Ireland left the sterling area in 1979, it tried floating its own currency and printed hideous bank notes before becoming a fully fledged member of the eurozone in 1999 and giving up its own currency in 2002.
We all know how disastrous this liaison has been. However, Ireland has been bailed out by the EU/IMF and membership of the eurozone is not now negotiable. The rescue conditions are harsh but as the French say, when the bottle is opened, you must drink the wine. Also, the UK economy is shaky and dear George is not in a position to 'write the cheque' which Mr McEvaddy thinks would sort Ireland's economic woes. The only alternative to EU membership is to pull out unilaterally and re-introduce our own currency again; Ireland would then be shut out of the money markets and have to start printing money, leading to hyper-inflation and social chaos.