Feature

Ireland: Why we voted for fiscal union

“Our masters in Europe” have no cause to celebrate.

EditorialIrish Independent

“Our masters in Europe” have no cause to celebrate, said the Irish Independent. As the only country to put the European fiscal compact to a vote, Ireland was being closely watched last week for signs of rebellion. In the end, we approved the pact, despite its painful requirement to keep spending firmly in check. But “the sullen Yes this referendum secured from a grudging citizenry was an act of despair.” We voted not for Europe, but against what we were told would be even more “immediate and terrible” austerity measures should the referendum fail. It would have been admirable had we been the one country to stand up to the Germans’ self-serving devotion to fiscal rectitude. Yet “for all our self-mystification as a rebel nation,” when it comes to the choice between passion and reason, we usually duck our heads and go with reason. We are again playing a typical Irish role, the girl who gets in a family way and is vilified for it, while the married bloke responsible keeps his reputation. The rest of the EU has already forgotten that “the prudent Prussian banker in the serge suit played no small role in Ireland’s fiscal sin.” We, however, have not. 

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