In a debate in the European Parliament yesterday, the outcome of last week’s E.U. summit was discussed. Both Presidents Barosso and Van Rompuy gave speeches, far from giving more detail or new information on what has been termed a historic deal for Ireland, very little new light was shed on this bank debt ‘deal’. In fact, the only mention of Ireland in either of their speeches, was when Van Rompuy simply repeated the sentence that refers to Ireland from the statement, “The Euro-group will examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with the view to further improving the sustainability of the well-performing adjustment programme”. What the deal will mean remains as clear as mud.
When you read the deal you see that it is long on rhetoric and very short on detail. There needs to be clarity about what was agreed last week. There is a clear gulf between what Enda Kenny has called a ‘seismic shift’ and the reality of the deal. The Taoiseach and Taniste have been quick to proclaim this a massive victory, they have tried to portray this as some sort of reward to the Irish people for having 5 years of vicious austerity inflicted upon us, and that this is the result of their policy of being the poster boy for austerity.
There needs to be clarity about what this deal will actually mean – has there been a retrospective agreement on the Irish bank debt, how much of the €64 billion that was hoisted onto the Irish taxpayer will be relieved and what will the deal mean for banks that are state owned.
The Irish government declared victory prematurely in order to gain some political capital. This could prove to be their Neville Chamberlain moment, proclaiming’peace for our time’ shortly before the outbreak of World War II.