The People’s Movement held a demonstration outside the Dail on Monday 9th May to coincide with the special “Europe Day” rededication sitting taking place inside presided over by Lucinda Creighton. A wreath was laid in memory of Irish democracy now supplanted by EU/IMF rule.
In a statement the People’s Movement said, “Sociologists call the phenomenon of increased commitment to a batty theory, at the very hour of its destruction by external evidence, “cognitive dissonance.” Such a phenomenon can be guaranteed to be on display during Monday’s “Europe Day” special Dail sitting. As the gloss comes off the “European ideal”, the Fine Gael/ Labour Government and the Fianna Fail Opposition are guaranteed to drop all pretence of political difference and join together in paeans of EU enthusiasm, loyalty and rededication.
It is not unreasonable for those of us not afflicted with the condition to ask members of the Government and the Oireachtas by what insane logic it was decided that it is more important to hold a special sitting of the Dail to launch a EU propaganda week than to give priority to trying to come to grips with the 15% unemployment, massive emigration, collapse in property prices, negative equity for tens of thousands, unsustainable debt burden on the public finances and general economic contraction that threatens social and economic havoc to the country.
Monday’s events will not even scratch the surface at providing solutions to these core problems because that would require asking serious questions about how certain policy positions common to Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail contributed to landing us in our present indebted state.
For example, how wise was it to abolish the Irish pound and join the eurozone thereby abandoning the economic safety valves of an interest rate and exchange rate policy that suited our interests? Also how did the adoption of Eurozone negative real interest rates at the height of the “Celtic Tiger” boom inflate the Irish property bubble with disastrous consequences for our society? And now how are we going to be able to address our problems within the Eurozone and thus without policy flexibility as regards interest rates and exchange rates except by way of unemployment, emigration, austerity and sales of national assets?
The elitist nature of the politics of “Europe Day” is best illustrated at the moment by the united determination of Government and Opposition not to allow the people to decide in a referendum on a measure that would impose an obligation on our indebted State to fork out some €9.87 billion as its contribution to fund a dubious new permanent EU “bailout” Fund from 2013.
The Fund, called the European Stability Mechanism, will do nothing to lessen this country’s economic and social distress nor the pain of last December’s EU-IMF stitch-up. The EU authorities are dead set against a referendum in any EU State on this Fund even though it will mean changes to Treaties that little more than a year ago EU Heads of State and Government were promising would not be changed for the foreseeable future.
The Government case for not holding a referendum is based on the opinion of the last Attorney Paul Gallagher SC. It was the same Mr Gallagher who advised the Fianna Fail/Green Government in September 2008 that a blanket State guarantee of all the debts of Ireland’s private banks was legal and that Irish law required that the creditors and bondholders of the Irish banks should not be touched in view of such a guarantee.
This opinion fitted in neatly with the European Central Bank insistence on a guarantee that no Irish bank could be allowed to fail in case the German and French banks from which the Irish banks had borrowed would not be paid back.
It also opened the floodgates for payments of billions of euros to senior bondholders of Anglo-Irish Bank without any question of them being asked to take a “haircut” or make any sacrifice at all.
It will be fascinating to see how the “Europe Day” enthusiasts twist and turn in their efforts to justify their disastrous enthusiasms best encapsulated in their all too recent pro-Lisbon Treaty, “Yes for Jobs”, and “Yes for Recovery” promises, which are now starkly exposed to be the cons that they always were.