No country for old men
Fifty years ago, I was one of many thousands who emigrated to the UK, and I have empathy with those 70,000 who departed this year.
A few years ago, we were at last able to retire back to Ireland. Now we contemplate returning to England, where my pension would go further and I could avail of the NHS, if only our house could be sold for anything like what was invested in it.
Staggering corruption, incompetence and greed among the financial and political elite has brought this country to its knees.
The current government, breaking promises made to get elected, is desperately trying to balance the books on the backs of taxpayers, and have no courage to stand up to the Merkozy alliance, whose no/low interest policies created the conditions for the tsunami of credit and debt across the EU.
Now, while Europe burns, the fiddlers contemplate another referendum and another set of rules.
How can we possibly have a set of workable financial rules that are the same for Germany, a large, industrial-based economy, as for Ireland, a small, agricultural-based economy -- or the same for Greece or any of the other countries, all of which have very different economic make-ups and habits?
No wonder, then, that the UK has rejected the Merkozy pact.
The German and French banks have to write off their bad debts, built up by eagerly providing loans to banks around Europe, and allow us to do the same.
The last government made a catastrophic mistake trying to rescue Anglo Irish Bank, probably the most corrupt and incompetent business in the history of the State, instead of letting it go down.
Until the banking bad debts are written off across Europe, there will be no stability in the EU or the euro.
We don't need a referendum for that any more than we need impractical rules to force disparate economies and peoples into a budgetary straitjacket.
Meantime, debt and emigration are again certainties in Irish life, alongside death and taxes.