Bertie Ahern: “If you ask me, my view is you’re better doing it my way…”

Now that the notorious gambler, and former Taoiseach, Bertie ‘Lucky’ Ahern, has confirmed his decision not to contest the next Irish general election he obviously feels freer to be critical of his party colleagues in government.  From the Belfast Telegraph report Mr Ahern, a columnist for the Irish News of The World, told the newspaper Mr Cowen’s administration failed to communicate properly with the public throughout the crisis. He said he carried out daily doorstep interviews with the media when he led … Read more

Angela Merkel: “now we need more in common in our economic policies…”

EU leaders met in Brussels last week, for their last summit of 2010, and agreed the text of a “narrow revision” to the Lisbon Treaty – the conclusions of the European Council (16-17 December 2010) [pdf file]. In Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s view, “There isn’t a change of competence or a transfer of competence, so our strong view is that it is compatible with the Constitution.”  That would be without the need for a referendum.  And from the same Irish Times … Read more

Olli Rehn: “We are now in the decade of fundamental reforms”

As the Irish Times notes,  EU economics and monetary affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has joined the head of the IMF in calling for “well coordinated action to safeguard stability in the euro area”.  From the Irish Times Mr Rehn told the conference [in Athens] that the euro area was determined to agree thorough reform to set up a new system of economic governance. “We will not stop until we have accomplished our mission. We are now in the decade of fundamental reforms,” … Read more

“Hollow nationalist rhetoric will not do.”

In the Belfast Telegraph Sinn Féin MLA Mitchel McLaughlin responds to Ed Curran’s question on the cost of a united Ireland with some hollow nationalist rhetoric, and indulges in some fantasy economics. An analysis of the expenditure by ‘regions’ along with a series of estimates of the revenues from the regions by Oxford Economics shines some light on the actual subvention by the British Exchequer. The main findings demonstrate that total ‘identifiable expenditure’ for the North was £14.1bn in 2004/05. This is … Read more

Euro crisis: “So something is afoot.”

While a furious Irish taxpayer [on the Clontarf dart] discovers just how bad it’s going to be, RTÉ notes that EU finance ministers have formally approved the €85billion bail-out for Ireland. While bond investors still appear unconvinced that the politicians have a clear strategy to restore the euro’s fortunes, there is growing political division over the best solution. Belgium, which holds the EU presidency, and which has seen its own bond yields increase, wants the €750bn fund increased. Luxembourg and Italy … Read more

IRISH TAXPAYER (Séan): “I am really furious right now, Helmut…”

As I mentioned yesterday, the markets were distinctly unimpressed with the details of Ireland’s bail-out.  The Irish Times today notes that Although banking stocks rose yesterday, global stock markets closed lower as markets failed to be convinced that the €85 billion package for Ireland would solve the euro zone debt crisis. EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said yesterday that Spain may need further austerity measures to reduce its deficit if growth was lower than forecast next year. And the paper … Read more

Details of Ireland’s €85 billion bail-out agreed

As RTÉ reports, European Union finance ministers have agreed the €85 billion bail-out for Ireland. Of the total package €35bn is to be used to support the banking system. Of that €10bn will be used immediately to inject fresh capital as a buffer against expected loan losses. The remaining €25bn will be made available as a contingency fund, effectively a massive overdraft facility, to be drawn down by the banks as and when required. And the other €50billion?  The Irish … Read more

Counting the cost of bailout

As flagged up by Mack yesterday, the Irish Times reports that the EU/ECB/IMF team is examining how to force bondholders to share the burden with Irish taxpayers of the 15 billion euro deficit reduction plan. At present attention centres on two similar schemes. In the first, bank debt would be converted into equity shares. In the second, bond investors would be given the choice of injecting fresh capital into banks or face a cut in their investment. This seems an … Read more

Euro crisis: “Come on, Frau Bundeskanzlerin, history is knocking at your door.”

The Irish Times reports the comments by chief of the European Financial Stability Facility, Klaus Regling. “There is zero danger,” Klaus Regling, chief of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), told German daily Bild  when asked if the euro zone could break up. “It is inconceivable that the euro fails. “No country will give up the euro of its own will: for weaker countries that would be economic suicide, likewise for the stronger countries. And politically Europe would only have … Read more

Ireland’s Four Year “National Recovery” Plan

The Irish Government has announced details of its, IMF/ECB agreed, four year national recovery plan [pdf file].  The BBC provides some key points.  And The Guardian continues its live-coverage of Ireland’s financial crisis. 2.37pm: Cowen has explained that negotiations with the IMF are based on the assumption that €6bn of the €15bn cutbacks will be implemented in 2011. That means that 40% of the total programme is ‘front-loaded’. The aim is to slash Ireland’s deficit to 3% of its GDP. … Read more

“It is the long term nature of this crisis that is just beginning to gain recognition.”

If there was any uncertainty about the markets’ reaction yesterday to Ireland’s bail-out, and to subsequent events, today’s plummeting Irish bank shares and more evidence of the fear of contagion in the markets should remove all doubt. The euro has hit a seven-week low against the dollar and global stock markets retreated today on fears that the Republic’s debt crisis may spread to other European countries with large budget deficits. Investors fear that Portugal and Spain may also have to seek financial help. The Spanish … Read more

Stephanomics: “broad lessons for the eurozone are already clear, and not encouraging”

Market Moves notes the reaction to today’s events in their London Market’s closing comments Worries over stability in the Emerald Isle are being compounded as the bailout becomes more and more political by the day, with the opposition party Fine Gael calling for a snap general election, citing public distrust over the handling of the crisis. The risk of contagion still lingers over European markets, with traders now eyeing up the next sacrificial lamb. Spanish and Italian markets are down … Read more

Van Rompuy: “We’re in a survival crisis”

The Irish Minister for European Affairs, Dick Roche, tells European finance ministers not to “panic“… as the EU President, Herman Van Rompuy, panics? A Guardian report indicates the extent of the concern “The Irish problem is spreading, but it could get more volatile,” said Ashok Shah, chief investment officer at London Capital, a fund management firm. “They have to get this bailout, they have a period of time before it gets impossible, before nasty things happen. The longer they leave it, … Read more

Guardian poll supports British help for Ireland

 Is this genuine, generous solidarity, the like of which would not be extended to any other country or a cunning Irish write-in? Ireland bailout: should Britain foot the bill? 59.2% Yes 40.8% No Bearing in mind…  Ireland bailout: UK taxpayers could face £7bn bill But the Wall St Journal plays down the threat to sterling… Debt stresses in nearby Ireland therefore are unlikely to derail the pound’s outlook for now at least. In fact, they are “something of a small positive … Read more

Latest- Pressure coming from ECB.. EU about to make an offer Ireland can’t refuse?

3 pm . While RTE reports only the Commission saying ” it isn’t us” The Irish Times reports that the pressure for a bailout is coming from the European Central Bank in order to ease pressure on Irish banks rather than the State directly.. European Central Bank vice president Vitor Constancio said Ireland could use the European Financial Stability Facility to help prop up its banking system to restore investor confidence. “The problems of the Irish banking sector are not … Read more

Olli Rehn says consensus would be of great benefit to Ireland

The ECB might have “the keys to Ireland’s silver”, but there may be some loose ends to tie up.  There’s also a counter-argument to Morgan Kelly’s analysis here. The European Commission’s Internal Markets Commissioner, Michel Barnier, can “see light at the end of the tunnel…” Not excluding the possibility of an oncoming train… And as RTÉ reports European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn has called for political consensus to back the Government’s four-year economic plan and the Budget. Which is … Read more

“I see light at the end of the tunnel…”

That was the optimistic assessment the European Commission’s Internal Markets Commissioner, Michel Barnier, gave to the Oireachtas European Affairs committee today. Of course, it could be an oncoming train… Pete Baker

Karl Whelan: “They have taken far too long to admit the scale of the fiscal problem that we are facing”

Today the Irish Economy blog called for a little escapism, with Irish 10-year bonds at 7.601%…  And the Irish Independent noted yesterday that Irish yields had risen for six days in a row. [Make that seven? – Ed] “The amount of selling has been relatively small, but the market is all sellers and no buyers, which drives up the yield. The ECB has come in to prevent this becoming a rout,” said Padhraic Garvey, Head of Developed Markets Debt at … Read more

“The market obviously doesn’t believe the position at the moment”

Andy may fear for the children and idealists, but Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s main concern, as previously acknowledged by his Finance minister, is re-establishing lost international market confidence. And while a national consensus may prove elusive, despite the re-assurances of EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, those markets have given their initial verdict on the Irish Government’s judgement that a total cut of €15 billion is needed over four years to reduce the budget deficit to 3 per cent by 2014.  The iol report has … Read more

Irish Times: “For Ireland’s political class the prospect of another [EU] treaty referendum is nightmarish”

Whether the European Commission succeeds in introducing its proposed directly levied EU taxes, including a possible EU-wide value-added tax (VAT), in the face of opposition from a number of national governments, remains to be seen. But we’re still looking at interesting EU times ahead… In agreeing new sanctions for countries in breach of EU budgetary rules, France and Germany are now calling for a permanent bail-out facility for Eurozone countries, before the current one expires in 2013. As the Irish Times reports … Read more