Sunday Independent 29-5-2011, Analysis section, p22.
Eamonn Blaney is emigrating, not by choice but by necessity, because of the economic mess we’re in
MANY times in my youth, while arguing with my late father Neil T Blaney about ineffectual government, he always maintained, much to my confusion at the time, that every government is truly representative of the society and the electorate which put them there.
That being the case, maybe it’s time for each of us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and ask what contribution we have made? What will we do differently and what personal commitment will we make towards building Ireland Version 2.0?
There is nothing that can overrule the will of the people, if they go to the trouble of making it known. The problem as I see it is that most of the people in this country simply want to leave it to somebody else to solve their problems.
As a nation we have to start the discussion of how we resolve the mess we’re in and where we are going after we get through it. We need to make tough, courageous decisions. Remember, this crisis was caused specifically by either incompetent or dishonest bankers. On that fateful night when the Government promised to underwrite the banks, it was because the top brass from the banks promised that they had a ‘liquidity’ problem, and not one of capitalisation. They either lied about the situation or were so incompetent they didn’t know what was going on in their own companies! If either party to a contract withholds material information then that contract would be deemed to be null and void in any court.
As for me and many others, our contract with the State has been terminated by ourselves, due to a lack of trust, and the State’s contract with the banks should be terminated for similar reasons. Leave them to the ECB. They took risks and they lost. Bigtime. Banking is a ‘risk’ business, so get over it guys, you will not be allowed to win them all, with us picking up the bills for your pathetic attempts to pretend you know what you’re doing.
The solutions to our nation’s problems are relatively straightforward and simple in concept but will be difficult to implement unless we, the people, take the time to understand exactly what is required. There have been warnings of a significant drop in our living standards by many of the so-called ‘experts’. I would prefer to call this a drop in consumption (which is long overdue) and it is essential that we now learn to live within our means. No matter what course of action is taken now it is going to be difficult for all of us. However, this period of discomfort will be worthwhile if we take this opportunity to build a nation which prospers and of which we can be proud.
So, here it is. Quietly and behind-the-scenes the Government must decide to show real leadership. The type of leadership that will galvanise the people behind the Government, the type of leadership that inspires and, most importantly, demonstrates that what is right by the many, must come before what is profitable for the few. This leadership will have to make the most difficult decision faced by any government since the founding of the State.
That decision is that they inform the ECB that, due to the illegality of the banks representatives’ behaviour, we must withdraw the bank guarantee and the Irish people cannot be expected to pay for a private company’s losses. Simultaneously, we must withdraw from the euro and return to our own currency which we would devalue by about 20 per cent and, most importantly, peg its exchange rate to sterling.
As a result of the recent visit by Britain’s head of state, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (all at the same time. Coincidence?),it is clear to all Irish men and women, including nationalists such as myself, that our future lies within Europe, but outside of the euro currency. In order for this to succeed we need to
mount a united front when dealing with Europe and this means doing so with our nearest neighbour, Britain. There are a lot of very practical reasons why we should take this approach, primarily because it’s now time to be pragmatic and mature enough to bury the hatchet with Britain and get on with building Ireland Version 2.0, with their help.
Until such time as the majority of the voters in this country come to the same conclusion I have been left with no practical alternative but to emigrate and join the 70,000-plus Irish people who have gone already. Bank of Ireland refused to open a deposit account for either my Enterprise Ireland-backed company or, for that matter, my election expenses account. When I asked why, I was informed that they don’t have to tell me.
Quite simply, AIB and BoI are closed for business. Who does the Government expect to generate the wealth that will pay the pensions of our rapidly ageing society? By 2020 there will be a ‘hole’ in the nation’s pension fund running to €10bn (punts?). And the reason for this is because we gave it to financial institutions who (according to the ECB) must not be allowed to incur any losses. Wake up, Mr Kenny, this problem is not going to disappear as handily as those of us who emigrate.
Meanwhile, the Government keeps bleating on about upskilling the workforce, when the reality is that thousands of highly qualified people have to leave in order to find employment. I’m fortunate as I did not take up a chance to buy a house in 2006 and so am not an economic slave like so many unfortunate people in this country, so I can leave. Nevertheless, I shall go not by choice, but by necessity.
Mind you, when you have collectively started the revolution, give me a ring. I will gladly fight to build a new Ireland, just as soon as the majority of you have decided that that is what you want.
Alternatively, just keep believing your elected ‘leaders’, pay your mortgage, stay in at the weekends and have a big pint of ‘shut the feck up’! www.EamonnBlaney.com Eamonn Blaney, MBA