Open thread: your questions for FG economics frontbenchers

Fine Gael this morning announces launch of their 2011 election campaign (for Dáil elections likely the last Friday of March) with a new website.   I’ll be at the Dáil tomorrow to interview two of their economic team, Deputies Brian Hayes and Richard Bruton.  I’ll after be talking to Professors John O’Hagan and Brian Lucey, both economists at TCD.

If readers might have questions for them, please share them in comments, and I’ll be sure to pose them and post the replies.  My interview will principally revolve around how we might expect an FG-Labour economic policy to differ from that which is in place at the moment.

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  • Dewi

    How much annual debt interest payments can the state afford?

  • The Word

    To FG

    If they are opposed to any kind of default on the financing arrangement FF have arrived at, will they get their reasoning and logic hardened in time for an election. It seems to me to be confused at the moment.

    Also, will they and all Irish parties confirm their intention to follow the advice of Gordon Brown, British Labour Party leader, in his internation campaign for increasing aggregate demand in the world’s economies to avoid a decade of stagnation in Europe and America.

    See “Beyond the Crash” and I hope they also take the hint that Mr Brown gave about controlling the international banking community (by being mature about the fault of FF in the matter) and co-ordinating economic policy to avoid nation states collapsing rather than leaving this to the markets.

  • Mack

    @The Word –

    Your question is confused 🙂

    If the state were to announce an intention to default on IMF / EFSF financing before it is received, then the finance would not be received.

    Presumably what you mean is will they countenance a default on bank debt? Some clarity would be nice, although I got the impression that FG & Lab were in favour of negotiating bond holder burden sharing with our European partners.

    You appear to be arguing for a Europe-wide (or at least international response) with your second ‘question’ while advocating unilateral action on the first?

  • The Word


    I’m glad to be analysed by such an emminent contributor on economic matters.

    “I got the impression”

    Their position needs hardened is my point too.

    Yes, they need to protect the economy, one way or another. But Brown has assessed this international crisis in a very sensible way and Ireland should ahead of the posse in encouraging international action on aggregate demand, economic cooperation (sovereignty sharing if you like) and banking regulation ethics and legal binding agreements.

    But I’m not an expert.

  • Mack

    @The Word

    That all sounds reasonable.

    I think you can separate out two internally consistent approaches. The nationalist ‘ourselves alone’, burn the bondholders regardless of the costs it imposes elsewhere and the reactions or the internationalist pro-Europe approach – which relies on the kindness of others.

    I’m not sure which approach is actually best, the threat of the nationalist view gaining supremacy might aid the internationalist / European approach. But if we don’t get the right kinds of support then we’d all be worse off.

    It would be great if the prudent European core would spend more to offset the impact of credit contraction / austerity in Ireland & the other PIIGS. I think the Germans are worried about their aging population. Maybe they need to encourage familes to have more kids and immigrants at the same time…

  • Mack

    But I’m not an expert.

    Is anyone?

  • andnowwhat

    My question is simple.

    What was wrong with Ireland before it had a rush to the head?

    Is not gently going in the right direction better than running in to the dark?