Wednesday, 23 May 2012

De Ja Vu?

NAMA to invest €2 billion in Ireland over next four years

The National Asset Management Agency has announced proposals to invest €2 billion in Ireland over the next four years.

NAMA chairman Frank Daly said the investment could generate 25,000 jobs in construction and an additional 10,000 jobs in the wider economy.

The planned €2 billion investment was announced at a business breakfast in Galway city this morning.
The money will be used to complete commercial and residential projects and to develop future greenfield sites.
Mr Daly said that 90% of the agency's Irish property assets were located in the greater Dublin area and in Cork, Limerick and Galway.

NAMA will also launch at least one Qualifying Investor Fund this year, to attract big institutional investors.
With regard to residential mortgages, the agency said the 80:20 deferred payment initiative had generated €8.4m since the pilot phase was launched two weeks ago. Rental income is being generated from over 9,000 residential units.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Fiscal Treaty Debate Frontline

Fiscal Treaty Debate, Gilmore, Norah Casey, Mary Lou Mcdonald and Declan Ganley

No sittings: Dáil in recess all next week

THE DÁIL IS to take a five-day recess next week ahead of Thursday’s fiscal compact referendum and Friday’s count.
There will be no Dáil or Seanad sittings after Friday, May 25. The next sitting will be Tuesday, 5 June.
Although the proposal still has to be agreed in the Dáil on Thursday, Leinster House is preparing for a week’s break, starting Monday.
It is understood that no party will object to the time off.
TDs were scheduled to have the week from 4 to 8 June off after the Bank Holiday weekend but it was thought more appropriate to move this forward, giving both the Yes and No sides more freedom to campaign.
Various parties did not take issue with the recess as it give time for TDs to get back to their constituencies to address various issues arising from the referendum and fiscal compact.

TD brings legal challenge against ESM treaty

INDEPENDENT TD THOMAS Pringle brought his challenge against the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty to the High Court yesterday.
The ESM is the proposed permanent bailout fund for the eurozone.
The Donegal South West deputy has initiated proceedings, arguing that ratification of the ESM treaty – which is due to be brought before the Dáil in June and is separate to the fiscal compact – could mean Ireland would lose direct control over its financial affairs.
Speaking to today, Pringle said he believes it is important that the courts review the treaty in terms of the functioning of the EU.
“I think it is also important that the courts have their input on this,” he added.
He has agreed a timetable of document exchanges with the State, which will file its defence on or before 1 June. The next mention in court will be 6 June when a trial date will be confirmed.
Previously, Pringle has said that there is a possibility that the ESM treaty is unconstitutional and would therefore require a referendum in order for it to be passed.
The €7o0 billion fund could require Ireland to contribute up to €11.1 billion  in order to finance the bailouts of other countries – but the €700 billion figure can be raised at the prerogative of the ESM itself, with no apparent limit.

Mandate: Vote No to the Austerity Treaty


THIS was the moment protestors threw eggs at the windscreen of the Taoiseach’s car as he arrived outside a school in Milford today.
A number of groups had mounted pickets and placards outside Loreto Community College where the Fine Gael leader was attending to celebrate a student winning a 
Among the groups holding protests was the Donegal Action Against Austerity and the Can’t Pay Won’t Pay groups.
There was a heavy Garda presence at the scene.
There was also anger amongst parents from schools locally after pupils were held in Loreto Community School because of the Taoiseach’s late arrival.
As a result pupils on shared buses from Mulroy College did not arrive home leaving many parents disgruntled.
However the protest outside Loreto didn’t take away from the celebrations inside.
The Taoiseach addressed more than 700 students and told them they were “leading the way” in bringing the digital age to schools.
The school won the prize after a project by fifth year student Shaun Sweeney on the smart class of the future.
All pupils joining the school this year will now receive ‘Fizz Books’ which is a mini laptop and tablet.
As well as the new laptops, the school will be visited by a PHD student from Dublin City University who will map out the school’s progress using the new computers.
The aim of the project is to partly use the computers, which will be equipped with all edco books, to eventually eliminate the need for old fashioned paper books.
The €150,000 prize was presented by SmartClass, a project run by computer giants Intel, the Educational Company of Ireland and Steljes.
The Taoiseach was at the school to formally hand over the first computer.
* Despite earlier reports, members of Donegal Action Against Cancer Care were not present at today’s protest outside Milford Community College. We are happy to clarify this.

Minister Phil Hogan v Cobh No Household Charge Group

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e May 27th 2012

No bond too big, no bond too small, the Irish banks will pay them all. 

Tomorrow, Tuesday, IL&P - a bank deader than any dodo - will pay a bond of €2.2m, unguaranteed unsecured but sure who's watching?

Next Monday, May 28th, AIB will pay a bond worth more than a thousand times that, a bond of €2.25bn taken out four years ago, May 28th 2008, when AIB was still a private bank. 

We now own AIB, just as we now own IL&P, acquired both banks during the recent Troubles. Why? So they could rob us, the Irish people, to pay their bondholders. What's this someone said lately - if you're robbing Peter to pay Paul, Peter is going to be very happy with you. So as the troika continue to pat Paddy on the head, dread-driven Paddy continues to tip the ould forelock.

Gilmore rejects second bailout claim

Eamon Gilmore insisted Ireland was on track to exit its bailout programme by the end of next year, despite claims by Fianna Fáil that the country was likely to need a second financial rescue package.
The Tánaiste dismissed claims by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that Ireland could need a second bailout when money from the current one runs out at the end of 2013.

However, Mr Gilmore did warn that some kind of a second deal may be needed if voters rejected the EU treaty next week.

Mr Martin had said there was always only a 50:50 chance of Ireland returning to the markets to borrow and that the value of euro was plummeting. There was a very strong likelihood that Ireland would need to apply for a second bailout, he told The Sunday Times.

However, Mr Gilmore said he and the Government were confident that Ireland would be able to exit the current programme and access borrowing on the open markets.

"If we don’t pass the stability treaty, I think it is far more likely that we will need a bailout. And in those circumstances we wouldn’t have access to the European Stability Mechanism [the EU’s future bailout fund]. So we’d end up with the worst of both worlds."

Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tobin accused the yes side of using fear tactics on voters.

The independent referendum commission says that Ireland will be unable to access the ESM if voters reject the referendum, as Ireland will not be a signatory to the fiscal compact treaty.

Mr Gilmore said: "We’re on target to exit the programme and therefore not to need a second bailout."

Elsewhere, Greece’s former prime minister criticised recent comments by Finance Minister Michael Noonan where he joked about Greece and feta cheese in Irish shopping baskets. George Papandreou suggested that such comments and language undermined European solidarity and were "flippant".

He said it was inappropriate to address problems through stereotypes.

Mr Noonan defended his remarks, made at a conference last week, and said they were made to distance, in a simple way, Ireland’s connections with Greece.

He told RTE’s This Week that he thought it would be better communication to use the basket analogy rather than statistics. "I just wanted to make it important to an international audience that Ireland does not have strong links with Greece" in terms of the economy, trade or banks. "I’m trying to stop contagion. It’s my job as finance minister to try to protect the economy."

TD says claims of hardship on €140,000 salary 'very regrettable'

GOVERNMENT TD Aine Collins insisted yesterday that comments she allegedly made at a private meeting with constituents about finding it difficult to live on €140,000 a year were taken totally out of context and had understandably caused "great offence".
"My view is that it is all very regrettable. I am very, very disappointed -- the whole thing is very offensive. It is not something that I ever wanted," she told the Sunday Independent.
"It caused a lot of offence and I can understand that. But it was a private meeting. And I don't discuss anything that arises in a private meeting -- I think that is very important," she said. The meeting was arranged between the FG Cork North West TD and a group from her constituency, the 'Ballyhea Says No to the Bondholder Bailout' lobby.
The group has mounted weekly protests over the bank bailout for almost two years.
It was claimed Ms Collins, 42, passed a flippant comment about being glad she was about to receive her Dail wages.
However, after the meeting concluded, one protester posted her alleged comments in detail on a blog.
The blog did not, however, name Ms Collins. "Thank God we get paid today," the blog quoted the politician and mother of three as allegedly having said.
Within 24 hours, the story made the Irish newspapers and went viral on the internet, with Ms Collins being named.
Contributors reacted furiously to the suggestion that anyone would find it difficult to makes ends meet on a salary of €92,672 and allowances and expenses of €50,000 in Ireland's economic climate.
The combined income of €142,672 is more than four times' Ireland's average industrial wage. But Ms Collins -- a certified accountant and first-time Dail TD -- insisted what she said was misquoted and taken totally out of context.
"I have learnt a very valuable lesson this week," she said.
Ms Collins also disputes other matters quoted from the meeting including her view on the outspoken economist Constantin Gurdgiev and the prospect of Ireland getting a 50 per cent debt writedown in four years' time. In Cork North West there was some sympathy and some anger that it was her own constituents who landed her in hot water.
"I think it was very unfair. She probably should have been a bit more careful about what she said but it was a private meeting with her own Cork people," one Macroom voter said.

The treaty is risky and dangerously experimental

THE MOST COMMON misconception about Ireland’s current crisis is that it is basically a financial crisis. While finance is important and it played a large role in triggering the crisis, its roots lay in the institutional changes that were consolidated in the early 1980s. What we are facing is a crisis in the institutions of global neoliberalism.
The main origins of the crisis are in recent capitalist policy including an attack on labour, globalisation, a range of free market policies, including light touch regulation and small government, as well as in a bank-centred economy sometimes referred to as financialisation.
It can be very difficult to stay on top of all of the new developments and day to day manifestations of the crisis. It is easy for professional economists and politicians to get lost in the ever-emerging details. For the ordinary citizen this has been a serious challenge.

‘Establishment’s emotional appeals are inappropriate’

This challenge is especially important in the next few weeks as we will all be expected to vote yes or no in the referendum on the so-called Fiscal Stability Treaty. It perhaps doesn’t help that establishment commentary to date has been based on emotional appeals. This is not limited to the fear of the consequences being denied a second bailout. In fact, there are two appeals being made and both are emotional appeals. The first emotional appeal is one of calm reassurance, contending the treaty is simple common sense and the safe and risk-free alternative. And when this is inadequate, the fear of economic disaster is invoked. Neither of these appeals are appropriate.
The treaty demands that the government pursue further austerity even after we meet the current targets in 2015. The government may be required to remove money from the economy for a further twenty years and beyond. Many of our immediate neighbours and trading partners will be in a similar programme. To impose this kind of policy on an economy in the depths of depression as Ireland is in today is an unprecedented and dangerous experiment.
The government and other advocates of a yes vote ask how we would finance our deficit if we are not included in the European Stability Mechanism. If we believe government projections our deficit will be reduced by the current programme of cuts and tax increases. Compared to the cost of the economic crisis to date, this will be a relatively small amount. Ireland will have a number of options.

‘Ireland has the option of borrowing from the IMF’

First, Ireland is small but scary. A disorderly Irish default would threaten the stability of the European banking system. A European Central Bank intervention to restabilise the system would be considerably more expensive than a second bailout of a comparatively small country. It is highly unlikely that Europe would ignore its self-interest in order to spite the Irish electorate. Secondly, Ireland also has the option of borrowing from the IMF rather than the European institutions. Experience to date indicates that the IMF would be less demanding than Europe in its conditions.
A third possibility is to set about closing the budget deficit. Irish tax take as a percentage of GDP is well below the OECD average. Taxes on wealth and high incomes are considerably underexploited.
A fourth possibility is the restructuring of debt. The Anglo-Irish promissory note payments alone constitute €3 billion in any given year. A fifth under-discussed possibility is the issuance of innovative debt instruments. It would be possible to make Irish bonds acceptable in payment of taxes in the event of any default. This should eliminate the risk premium which makes it difficult for Ireland to re-enter the markets at this time.
Any one of these options alone has the potential to substantially address the budget gap in the event of a second bailout and a failure to access ESM funding. A judicious combination of these strategies would easily finance the resulting deficit with little disruption.

‘There will be no disaster in the event of the need for a second bailout’

The “common sense” retailed by the government and established commentary on the Fiscal Stability Treaty is at directly right angles to reality. There will be no disaster in the event of the need for a second bailout. It is the adoption of the budget provisions of the treaty which is risky and dangerously experimental.
In addition to a more sceptical approach to this Fiscal Treaty, the government needs to be much more aggressive in renegotiating Irish sovereign debt. This is something that needs to be moved up on the agenda. This debt is unsustainable in the medium term. There simply needs to be a Greek style write down – it is unavoidable. When it comes to debt write-downs, it is better to do it early and not often. Hanging on and conceding ground bit by bit is the opposite of what should be done. A bold and decisive action will be better for the economy in the long run.

President Higgins advisors' pay 'exceeds salary cap'

It has emerged today that the Government has allowed another breach of the pay cap it established for high earners within the public sector. 

The Sunday Times newspaper has revealed that two members of Michael D Higgins' Presidential staff, his special advisor and his communication's director, are being paid more than €20,000 and €10,000 in excess of the pay guidelines. 

Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohue has defended the increase, saying that overall pay rates have decreased significantly, and also defended the fact that the President has a special advisor.

"President Higgins has a huge variety of additional responsibilities," said Donohue.

"For example he is the person that has the ability to make a decision about a piece of legislation, he has the Council of State, he has the capacity to accept or refuse a decision from the Taoiseach to go to a General Election, 

"I mean, he has a huge variety of other posts and responsibilities, at home and abroad, not as public, but are of huge importance."

Pat Rabbitte denies saying 'Government has no plan'

A number of leading businessmen have told the Sunday Independent that Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte  has said that the Government is unable to formulate a plan to deal with the economy such is the speed and ever-changing nature of the crisis.
In an alarmingly frank admission, which was made on condition of confidentiality, Mr Rabbitte is said to have stated that the Government has been pre-occupied with challenges as they arise and has not managed to construct a strategy for recovery in the medium to long term.
Mr Rabbitte asked that his remarks, which were made at a luncheon attended by figures drawn primarily from the energy sector, not be repeated outside of the meeting.
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources set aside his speech and/or speaking notes at a specially arranged luncheon at the headquarters of Ernst & Young in Dublin on April 11 last, which was attended by around 25 business people.
According to one of those present, Mr Rabbitte said: "The Government don't have a plan. We don't know what we're doing. This is an unprecedented time. Things are moving so fast."
Another said: "I came away with a definite sense that the Government is in reactionary mode. The minister said the Government is 'very reactionary at the moment', that it is 'not dictating policy at all' and that it 'can't plan'."
This source added: "The minister said the Government was not sure day to day, week to week, what might happen, that there were curve balls coming at them all the time.
"He said something about it being difficult to have a plan, that they were in reactive mode all the time, that they were doing what they could in terms of what they were in control of, but that, basically, they were working on the hoof all the time."
Another businessman present said: "He was talking in the spirit of a meeting which was being held in private. He was saying, 'look, we are living in unprecedented times and we are dealing with these challenges as they comes at us'.
"He was saying that, as opposed to saying, 'we have a strategy for the next five years and we know from month to month and year to year what it is we are hoping to achieve'."
Yesterday a spokesman for Mr Rabbitte said: "The minister is happy to confirm that he attended that meeting in Ernst & Young on the date in question. But he flatly denies making any of the comments as suggested."
Mr Rabbitte declined an opportunity offered to paraphrase what he believed it was he had said at the meeting.
Last night the Sunday Independent reported Mr Rabbitte's categoric denial to one of those who had attended. He said: "Ah well, fair enough then, but I can tell you for a fact he said this, verbatim, 'we don't have a plan'. It was off the cuff stuff.
"It's a bit scary at one level, when you think about it, but it was refreshingly honest too. He knew there was no point bullshitting the people in the room."
Another attendee said last night: "If somebody said they recall him saying verbatim, 'we don't have a plan', then I'm not going to deny that's what was said. For my part, I know I heard him say the Government 'can't plan'."
The luncheon took place in the boardroom of Ernst & Young on Wednesday, April 11, last. It got under way at 12.30pm and continued until 3pm. It was hosted by Tony Spollen, the former AIB auditor, now of Ernst & Young.
Mr Rabbitte took notes while guests spoke and then he replied towards the end of the lunch, making a point to set aside what was said to be either his prepared speech or speaking notes.
The Sunday Independent has established that, among others, the meeting was attended by representatives of Bord Gais ; ESB ; Coillte; Bord na Mona ; An Post ; Eirtricity; Irish Wind Energy Association; Retail Ireland; Mason Hayes Curran solicitors; a Canadian diplomat was also present, as was a representative of the New Zealand  and New South Wales  Lotto.
Guests were invited to "talk freely" and in "full confidence that what was said in the room stays in the room", one source said. Another source added that Mr Rabbitte invoked the "Chatham House Rule", which governs the confidentiality of the source of information received at a meeting.

Government makes request to extend bank guarantee

THE Government has formally asked the European Commission for permission to extend Ireland's infamous bank guarantee scheme until the end of the year.
The Department of Finance  confirmed last night that it had asked to extend the €93bn scheme beyond the end of June on the same "general conditions" that are in place now.
The extension request comes as Greek banks report a massive outflow of deposits with €800m withdrawn last Tuesday alone, while deposits in Spain have reportedly also come under pressure.
Irish banking sources last night stressed there had been "usual" deposits trends at the Irish bailed-out banks this week, despite the unrest in the eurozone.
Irish bailed-out banks suffered a massive flight of deposits in 2010 and 2011, as international deposits fell by almost €100bn and Irish deposits dropped about €60bn.
Deposits have stabilised in more recent months, and banking sources last night said there had been no "unusual" movements as a result of this week's eurozone woes.
The Department of Finance nonetheless decided to renew the guarantee scheme, since Ireland's banks are still believed to be too weak to hold mainstream deposits and issue bonds without a safety net.
A spokesman for the department confirmed the extension notification had been submitted to the EC's Competition division and a response was expected in June. The guarantee fees will stay at current levels - about five times higher than those charged by the original blanket guarantee.
The sums guaranteed have also fallen significantly.

More than 600,000 not paid Household Charge

More than 600,000 people still have not paid the new Household Charge. 

The latest figures from the Department of the Environment show that so far, more than 940,000 people have paid the controversial €100 tax.

The figures also show that fewer than 25,000 homeowners have paid the charge, since the March 31 deadline. 

The news comes as the Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes holds its first national conference today, in Dublin.

Bruton Admits on Radio we will vote again if we vote no.

What will happen if Ireland votes NO to the Fiscal Compact Treaty?

Sole ambulance assigned to serve population of 70,000

A sole ambulance is to be assigned by the HSE to cover a population of over 70,000 in east Cork.
And, if emergency cover is required, ambulances from Cork City or from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, will have to provide back-up.

The Irish Examiner has learned that from May 28, the ambulance based in Youghal will be replaced by a paramedic response car.

Furthermore, a Midleton based ambulance will be relocated to Youghal but its crew, at the start of a shift, will have to drive it back to the Midleton area for deployment.

Sources within the ambulance service described the relocation as "a waste of valuable time". They also point out paramedic response cars cannot transport casualties to hospitals.

As a result, there will be only one ambulance based in the region to ferry patients to hospital.

Cllr Michael Hegarty (FG) described the HSE decision as "ludicrous". He is calling on Health Minister Dr James Reilly to reverse the decision.

He said it would be a major mistake to reduce cover with so many large industries operating in the area, such as the Conoco Phillips refinery, Bord Gáis, and the ESB power station in Aghada.

The people of Cobh and Great Island, who for years have been fighting for an ambulance, are also expected to resist the move.

The area of 13,000 people has been receiving cover from Midleton. Locals now fear the cover will be further diluted.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Richard Bruton V Pearse Doherty

Richard and Pearse battle it out onver the stabilty treaty, Richard gets owned by Pearse

Retired civil servant on €60k pension re-hired for €6k a month

A SENIOR civil servant who retired in 2010 before returning to his previous job on a part-time contract has been earning €6,000 a month -- on top of an annual pension of over €60,000.
Martin Heraghty, assistant secretary in the Department of Agriculture, has earned almost €121,000 on the part-time contract since taking an incentivised early retirement package in October 2010
Immediately after he retired Mr Heraghty was "re-engaged" in his former position.
He told the Irish Independent yesterday that the department had come to him asking him to continue in the post but he had fully intended retiring from the position.
"I am restricted in the number of days I can work . . . but other than that I am doing the full job within the department," he confirmed.
Under public sector rules, when pensioners are re-hired their pay and their pension cannot be more than their salary when they retired.
Normally, their pension is reduced to stay within this limit, but Mr Heraghty's hours are being restricted instead.
His current contract is due to run out in October, and Mr Heraghty could not say yesterday if the department would want him to stay beyond that, or if he would be willing to sign another contract.
As well as drawing a pension based on his years of service up to 2010, he is now paid on a daily basis for his work which includes responsibility for the meat and milk sectors.
The department declined to give the daily rate.
Mr Heraghty's duties included accompanying Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney on his trip to China last month.
Mr Heraghty took early retirement in 2010.
A long career in the department would have netted him a pension of close to half his previous salary which was on a scale between €131,748 and €150,712.
The department said that it had lost six assistant secretaries since the moratorium on recruitment was introduced and that only two of these had been replaced.
It added that Mr Heraghty had been reappointed with the approval of former finance minister Brian Lenihan
Given the importance of food production and exports to economic recovery, along with Ireland's presidency of the EUnext year and reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, the department needed to be well positioned at senior level to cope with the work involved, a statement said.
The department could not say if it would be necessary to extend the arrangement beyond October.
Mr Heraghty is one of six assistant secretaries in the department and he has responsibility for meat and milk policy and hygiene, dairy controls, food safety liaison with Northern Ireland and food industry development.
He took early retirement under the Incentivised Scheme for Early Retirement which was made available in 2009-10 to civil servants over 50 years old.
This offered them an immediate pension based on years served plus a 10pc lump sum, with the 90pc lump sum balance to be paid at normal retirement age of 60 or 65.
Mr Heraghty is also the department's representative on the board of farm education and research body Teagasc, but said that he did not receive any additional remuneration for that post.
He said that the number of assistant secretaries was down to six from around 11 or 12 a few years ago.

EU compact will be 'extremely painful' if implemented

COMMITTEE ON EUROPEAN AFFAIRS: THE FISCAL compact is a “dangerous experiment” that will be “extremely painful” if implemented, an Oireachtas committee was told yesterday.
Prof Terrence McDonough of the school of business and economics at NUI Galway told the Committee on European Affairs the compact was “completely without historical precedent”.
Forcing a country at the bottom of a depression to run budget cuts and tax increases year after year, and forcing the same policy on its neighbours, was not “the safe option”.
“If the Irish people are against permanent austerity they should reject this treaty.”
The fiscal compact, on which Ireland will vote in May, aims to place financial limits on how much countries can borrow in proportion to their revenue.
Megan Greene, senior economist at economic research company Roubini Global Economics, said the treaty was Germany insisting all other countries look more like Germany. “It is completely misguided, but I still think Ireland should support it.”
She said rejecting the treaty would put important relationships with EU countries in jeopardy. Ireland would “absolutely need a second bailout” and she did not believe that if Ireland rejected the treaty the IMF would “break ranks” with the troika and provide funding.
Michael Taft of the union Unite said while the treaty may not mean “permanent austerity” it would feel like that for a generation.
Prof Brian Lucey of Trinity College Dublin said we need to “think long and hard” about the implication of the treaty for the bond markets. A large stock and flow of relatively low-risk assets, like government bonds, were required to support pension and investment funds. A shrunken market, which would be created if countries complied with the fiscal treaty deficit restrictions, would be “less able to fulfil that role”.
Prof Gerry Whyte from the school of law at Trinity College Dublin said if it was intended to introduce a rule into the Constitution on limiting the budgetary deficit, the current amendment would not be “fit for purpose”. However, it would give protection to legislation subsequently introduced to provide for the rule.
Asked by Paschal Donohoe TD (FG) if future governments could then change or abolish that legislation, Prof Whyte said there was no explicit provision in the treaty which allowed for states to withdraw from it. Once passed, breaching it would have legal consequences at international level.
Dr Andrew Storey from University College Dublin highlighted the European Trade Union Confederation’s opposition to the compact, the first time it has opposed a European treaty. It was “particularly pertinent for Labour Party deputies and Senators”.
Ian Talbot, chief executive of Chambers Ireland, said his organisation would be “vigorously” supporting a Yes vote. It was more likely to deliver enhanced confidence in Ireland, which would lead to increased spending.

The Pathetic Insularity of Michael Noonan

hey’re our EU neighbours.
Sinking into poverty and destitution.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan has insisted that Ireland is unlikely to be affected by the Greek crisis because the two countries have no economic connections. Speaking at a Bloomberg event in Dublin, the Minister said Ireland is not on the frontline for contagion from Greece.
Apart from holidaying in the Greek islands, I think most Irish people don’t have a lot (of connections with Greece),” he said.
“If you go into the shops here, apart from feta cheese, how many Greek items do you put in your basket?”
That’s alright then.