Fine Gael and Labour should strike out now for a new deal

With Fianna Fail now finally swept aide, will the two victorious parties dare  make the one move that would weld them together in an instant and all Ireland with them?  Only the most starry-eyed europhile would fail to give two cheers for the briefings emerging from Dublin that the about-to-be-born FG-Labour coalition really mean it.  They will seriously try to renegotiate the bailout. They may yet confound the ranks of critics in advance who balked at standing themselves, Browne, O’Toole and McWilliams, and  threaten to pull down eurozone’s house down if they don’t get a better deal. Or so the profoundly eurosceptic Daily Telegraph seems to think, and it’s  backed by the normally  staider FT.  which actually quotes Micahel O’Leary approvingly.

At the very moment the Irish people have performed the basic act of democracy, even pro-Europeans must feel it’s pretty galling to be told by an anonymous Brussels bureaucrat –

that the terms of the EU-IMF bailout “must be applied” whatever the will of Ireland’s people or regardless of any change of government. “It’s an agreement between the EU and the Republic of Ireland, it’s not an agreement between an institution and a particular government.

Factually correct it may be, but this is but no way to handle an electorate who have just spoken.  There is something almost revolutionary about defying the mighty eurozone. And if you don’t do it with an emphatic fresh mandate, when will you?   If the crowds in Cairo, Benghazi and Bahrain can get a better deal, why not the Irish people who have voted for one?  To adopt Tony Blair, I know the answer, but the question is better.

Adds Support for renegotiation comes from the Observer

The regime being imposed on Ireland is utterly unrealistic. A depressed and deeply indebted economy with just 1.8 million people at work cannot underwrite private banking liabilities of €200bn (135% of GDP). The parties that will form the new government promised to renegotiate the deal with the IMF/EU. If democracy and European solidarity are to mean anything, they should get a sympathetic and fair-minded hearing.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London