Saturday, 27 October 2012

People Ireland are loving Fine Gael!

Is it something in the water? looks like despite all the Austerity people are loving Fine Gael and even returning to the party that caused the mess Fianna Fail.

The Latest Red C poll below.

FG 34 (+2)
Lab 13 (-1)
FF 19 (+1)
SF 17 (-1)
Inds 17 (-1)


What TDs earn: the extras

THE SALARY for a member of Dáil Éireann is €92,672 and that for a Senator €65,621. It’s not bad money in the current climate, but the focus of public resentment in recent days is the expenses and allowances that go with the jobs, especially at a time when other public-sector allowances are under scrutiny.

A Dublin-based TD could have a package worth almost €200,000, including unvouched expenses and two secretaries or parliamentary assistants at a combined salary of €70,000, in the first year after election. With vouched expenses he or she could be pulling in about €210,000. If the TD lived in a far-flung district of Co Kerry, extra travel expenses would bring the figure to about €235,000 – and if the deputy were an Independent there would be €41,152 on top of that, making a total of about €276,000 before tax.

This week the clerk of the Dáil, Kieran Coughlan, suggested that Oireachtas allowances, which are currently subject to policy decisions by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, should be overseen by an independent body.

Coughlan told the Committee of Public Accounts that the total spending on members’ expenses this year will be about €11.7 million, or 11 per cent of the parliamentary budget – and that this figure, combined with just under €20 million on salaries, “represents a tiny fraction – one-thousandth – of total State expenditure for 2012”.

All 166 members of the Dáil and 60 Senators are eligible to receive a public representation allowance, but Ministers, who get tax relief on a second home if they live outside Dublin, do not receive the travel and accommodation allowance.

The travel allowance is paid to members in bands based on the distance to Leinster House from their “normal place of residence”. It covers the cost of travel to and from parliament, overnight stays and, for TDs, other travel expenses. Senators are paid a lower amount, with no allowances for constituency travel.
Questions were raised recently when Joe Higgins, the Socialist Party TD, was allowed expenses for travelling around the State to promote the anti-household-charge campaign. Attorney General Máire Whelan SC told Howlin this was a legitimate claim, but the clerk of the Dáil told the Committee of Public Accounts this week that the allowance “was always to apply to a Deputy going to and from Leinster House and around his or her constituency”.

If they live less than 25km from the Oireachtas, TDs are allowed €12,000 and Senators €7,000. There are 12 bands, paying different rates, the maximum being for distances of 360km or more – in those cases TDs can claim €37,850 and Senators €32,850.

The public representation allowance is payable to all members (including Ministers and Oireachtas office-holders). Members can opt for either the certified unvouched amount or the fully vouched amount. Members opting for the vouched amount must retain receipts for the full sum claimed and may be audited. Currently, TDs can claim€15,000 unvouched or €25,700 vouched; Ministers and Ministers of State can claim €12,000 unvouched or €20,000 vouched; and Senators can claim €9,250 unvouched or €15,000 vouched.
The Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy probably echoed public sentiment when he told the Committee of Public Accounts this week: “If there is an expense for a TD or Senator that is not vouched, then it should be vouched.”

All backbench TDs are entitled to a full-time secretary. (Ministers and office-holders have separate arrangements.) Senators are entitled to a half-time secretary.
There is an additional vouched allowance of €41,092 for secretarial assistance that TDs can use to employ an extra person full time or divide among individuals for a range of services, such as PR, secretarial or computer work.

Alternatively, a TD can claim an annual allowance of €8,888.17 unvouched or €11,591 vouched. Senators have similar options but at reduced rates.

Less well known are the additional allowances paid for other positions within the Houses of the Oireachtas. As of March last year, for example, being the Fianna Fáil whip brought an extra €19,000; the same post paid €6,000 in People Before Profit, Sinn Féin and the Socialist Party.

Assistant whips also get extra allowances. In the Government the sum is €15,000; in Fianna Fáil €9,500; in Fine Gael €7,500; in the Labour Party €6,000; and in Sinn Féin €3,000.

In the Seanad, as of May this year, the deputy leader of the house received an additional €9,500; the Government whip €6,000; the assistant Government whip €4,000; the Fianna Fáil leader €9,500; the leader of the Independent Group of Nominee Senators €6,000; the leader of the Independent Group of University Senators €6,000; the Fianna Fáil Whip €6,000; the Independent Group of Nominee Senators’ whip €4,000; and the Independent Group of University Senators’ whip €4,000.

Read more here

State wont need a second bailout - Kenny

IRELAND will not need a second bailout when the current EU-IMF programme ends next year, the Government insists.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore both said Ireland would not need another bailout after a German MP from Angela Merkel's party raised the possibility.

It comes as the Government continues to try and get a deal on our €64bn bank debt and after the joint statement from Mr Kenny and Ms Merkel last weekend.

She accepted that Ireland was a "special case" -- after previously appearing to rule out a write down of its banking debt.

But Norbert Barthle, leader of the Christian Democratic Union group on the Bundestag budgetary affairs committee, said new conditions would apply if the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) was used to reduce our bank debt.


Ireland's bailout came from a previous fund, which has since been replaced by the ESM. But Mr Barthle said a deal on bank debt using the new ESM could mean a second bailout.
"I think it would be necessary to ask for a new programme, with new conditionality directed into the future," he said.

It is another headache for the Government, which is planning to get out of the bailout deal by the end of next year.

Its aim is to "restore economic sovereignty" -- which is not possible as long as the bailout providers are imposing conditions on spending decisions and tax policy.

However, Mr Barthle did make positive remarks about Ireland's current position.
"It is important for me to say that we are very happy about the way Ireland goes, Ireland is on the track, we have great confidence in Ireland," he said.

Mr Kenny was quick to quash the suggestion, saying that he would not use a "term" like second bailout.
"I wouldn't envisage a second bailout programme," he said. Mr Kenny said that discussions on bank debt would take place between eurozone finance ministers.

"This is not a sort of troika bailout situation that applies now. Ireland's banks have been recapitalised at the highest level, that is a matter of historical record, and that burden has been put on our public and on our taxpayers," he said.

Read more here

Thursday, 25 October 2012

On - Off- On - OFF here we go again, someone wake Euroboy of the year up!

Europe's planned banking union will not help countries with past banking problems, the Bundesbank's Andreas Dombret said today, dampening Ireland's hopes of tapping the euro zone rescue fund to help its banks.

Euro zone leaders said in June the ESM rescue fund would be able to recapitalise lenders directly once the new banking supervision under the roof of the European Central Bank was in place, which could aid Ireland's full return to debt markets.

But Dombret said the fund could only be used for future losses and damages, striking a similar tone to finance ministers from Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, when they last month laid out the terms under which they would allow the ESM to grant such assistance.

"No doubt, the banking union is an important building block for a more stable monetary union. But, as such, it is meant to mitigate future risks and not to cover past sins," Dombret said in the text of a speech to be given in Dublin.

Read More Here

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Enda wins European of the year! You couldnt make this up.

At first we thought it was a joke, but it does appear the Germans have made Enda their European of the year.

Must be all the bending over he does.

You would have to wonder if this is the prize Merkel wants to give us instead of a cut in debt.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has been named the ‘European of the Year’ by the association representing German magazine publishers.
The Taoiseach was this afternoon named as the winner of the ‘Golden Victoria’ award by publishers’ body VDZ.
In a statement the publishers said they had chosen Kenny as the winner because of his “strong contribution to Europe and commitment to European ideals both as Prime Minister and throughout his many years in public life”.
They added that the award was intended to acknowledge “the achievements not only of Enda Kenny but Ireland and the Irish people”.
“Ireland’s determined response to the current economic and financial crisis has been widely respected, particularly in view of the genuine hardship being experienced by many Irish people.
This award, however, also acknowledges the unique contribution which Ireland has made to the European project since its accession in 1973.
Despite being located at the Western edge of continent, the green island has always been at the heart of Europe.

Read more here.

Politicians to decide if they get to much expenses.

As the government plan to cut welfare to save around 750 Million euro other politicians will decide if anything on what to cut from their expenses which cost the state a staggering 1.5 Billion per year!

PAC to examine allowances cuts

The Public Accounts Committee will today begin to examine how to scale back allowances paid to politicians.

Every year, a total of €1.5bn euro is paid out to ministers, TDs and senators in both vouched and unvouched expenses.

Committee Chairman, Deputy John McGuinness, will be pressing the case for getting rid of unvouched allowances altogether.

He says allowances should be fully accountable. as they are in private businesses.

"I have always believed that there should be vouched allowances only, in other words if you're drawing down an expense you should have a receipt.

Read more here

Government defeats FF Dáil motion to stop sick pay changes

THE GOVERNMENT PARTIES have voted down a Fianna Fáil motion which would have seen the Dáil call on the government not to force employers to cover the sick pay requirements of workers.
Fine Gael and Labour successfully forced through a counter-motion which noted that although no such proposals had come to cabinet yet, the deficit in the Social Insurance Fund for 2012 was likely to exceed €1.8 billion.
“The Department is required to secure further savings on it’s [sic] programmes of expenditure in Budget 2013 and subsequent Budgets”, the counter-motion – tabled by social protection minister Joan Burton – read.
“Conscious of the Government’s wish to maintain, as far as possible, vital income supports to the most vulnerable sectors in society, it is necessary for the Government to examine all aspects of Departmental expenditure”, it added.
The FF motion had come after IBEC and Chambers Ireland called on the government not to proceed with plans first mooted earlier this year, when Burton launched a consultation on the possibility of having employers – and not the state – pick up the bill for the first few weeks’ of sick pay.

Read more here

Ombudsman’s role to be extended as Oireachtas approves reform bill

THE ROLE of the Ombudsman in scrutinising the behaviour of public bodies is to be extended, after the Oireachtas approved a bill extending the number of bodies over which the office has oversight.
The Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill completed its passage through the Oireachtas yesterday evening and is now likely to be signed into law by President Higgins this weekend.
The Bill will mean that, for the first time, the Ombudsman will have the power to scrutinise the actions of VECs, universities and colleges, as well as other bodies which had been set up after the Office of the Ombudsman itself – including FÁS and the Courts Service.
The Bill has also been written such that any public body created in future will automatically fall under the Ombudsman’s remit, unless the legislation setting it up gives it an automatic legal disclaimer.
The legislation was originally tabled by the last government, and had been cleared through the Dáil in 2010 – but the legislation had not been presented to the Seanad before the government collapsed. It was restored to the Seanad’s agenda last month and has now been approved in its entirety.

Read more here

The Letters that screwed us all, Lenihan asks for a bailout.

Teachers protest about unfairness of new wage structure

Despite Enda Kenny standing up in the Dail today suggesting the protest outside had nothing to do with wages it clear and obvious to all it had everything to do with wages.

Teachers protest outside Dail over new wage structure

THOUSANDS of protesting teachers have warned they will fight further education cuts that target the most vulnerable.
Students and newly qualified men and women also joined the rally at the Dail to demand equal pay for equal work after the government slashed their starting salaries.
Gerry Breslin, president of second-level school union Asti, told about 2,000 supporters that education cuts affect children and young people's lives today and in the future.
"They affect student well-being and student attainment," he said.
"They hinder economic recovery.
"They hurt the vulnerable the most.
"Our children, our young people, our young teachers are being hurt. It is essential that we send a clear message today. There can be no more cuts to education."
Anne Fay, president of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), said primary schools were already on the breadline.
"Education funding has fallen off a cliff in recent years while the system is coping with more and more pupils every year," she said.
"The school system is at breaking point and we need to send a message to government today that education cuts don't heal."

Read more here

Are the Unions finally about to stand up for the people?

SIPTU president: Congress should not meet again with Troika

SIPTU PRESIDENT JACK O’Connor has described further dialogue between the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Troika as ‘at best, pointless’.
He made the comments following yesterday’s meeting between Congress representatives and the EU/ECB/IMF in Dublin.
He commented:
These meetings serve no useful purpose whatsoever. Indeed, their only motivation is quite clearly to provide some veneer of consultation. The fact of the matter is that these people are simply bagmen for the big European banks who are not interested in hearing any alternatives to their wage devaluation strategy.
O’Connor said that this “agenda”, “is impoverishing working people in Ireland and across Europe” and is being driven “with relentless ideological zeal and in total disregard for the overwhelming evidence that one sided austerity is not working”.

Read more here

What did Merkel really say to Enda?

Taoiseach coy on content of telephone chat with Angela Merkel

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY is remaining coy about the exact matters discussed in his telephone conversation with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, prior to the two leaders issuing an unexpected joint statement.
Kenny kept his cards close to his chest when pressed on the nature of the conversation by the technical group’s Shane Ross in the Dáil today.
“Surely you don’t expect me to tell what questions I had for the Chancellor, or what questions the Chancellor had for me,” Kenny remarked.
The Taoiseach added to Ross, who was speaking from the back row of the opposition benches: “That’s why you’re up there.”

Read more here

EU issues €3 billion bond to fund Irish and Portuguese bailouts

THE EUROPEAN UNION has today issued a €3 billion bond to pay for the latest instalments of the bailouts of Ireland and Portugal.
One third of the proceeds will fund the €1 billion in loans that were approved to Ireland under the last quarterly review of its bailout programme.
The bond, which matures in 15 years, achieved an average yield of 2.621 per cent – barely over half of the interest rate that Ireland would be charged to take out a similar loan by itself.
The funds will be passed on to Ireland and Portugal without any extra profit margin being added by the EU.
The auction was carried out by the European Commission on behalf of the EU under the European Financial Stability Mechanism.

Read more here

10 EU states to bring in financial transaction tax legislation

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has agreed to introduce the first step in bringing a financial transaction tax (FTT) to ten EU member states.
It has been estimated the tax could yield as much as €57 billion if introduced on a EU-wide basis – but concerns remain in Ireland that its introduction could undermine its competitiveness and see jobs transferred to the UK and other countries.
Read more here

Debt deal best done in Private, just like the past 18 months?

Brian Hayes is now telling us that the bank debt deal is best done in Private,  Just like you have been doing for the past 18 months Brian?

When are you actually going to deliver?

Bank debt deal negotiations best done in private

JUNIOR FINANCE MINISTER Brian Hayes has said that negotiations on addressing Ireland’s legacy debt are best done in private.
Hayes was responding to quotes attributed to a German government spokesperson yesterday that Ireland did not enjoy ‘special status’ when it came to bank debt which appeared to partly contradict a joint statement from Taoiseach Enda Kenny and German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.
The Minister of State said that the debate on whether or not Ireland would get a deal to reduce the burden of its €64 billion bank bailout debt had reached “farcical proportions” and said that the country needed to concentrate on what was said in the joint statement at the weekend.
He told “I just think now is the time where we continue to negotiate and it’s better that these are done, effectively, behind closed doors.”
In a significant statement issued at the weekend Merkel and Kenny acknowledged that Ireland “is a special case” with regards to the sustainability of its bailout and the June 29 statement from EU leaders which committed to breaking the link between banking and sovereign debt.

Read more here

Now the French think were special, but wheres the deal?

French president Hollande: Ireland’s bailout is ‘a special case’

FRENCH PRESIDENT Francois Hollande has further bolstered Ireland’s hopes of being able to recoup some of the costs of its bank bailout from other Eurozone countries – by describing Ireland as “a special case”.
The comments from Hollande came at the end of a bilateral meeting between the French president and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who visited Hollande at the Elysse Palace today, a day after speaking by phone with German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Hollande echoed Merkel’s comments in a joint communique last night, saying Ireland was “a special case and should be treated as such”.
Enda Kenny, elaborating on Hollande’s comments, said the ‘special’ aspect of Ireland’s situation was the fact that it had a bailout “imposed” on it as a direct result of the banking collapse, and not necessarily as a result of its fiscal position.
The Taoiseach said the Irish public had been asked to repay the full debts, with the government not being given the opportunity to impose losses on its sovereign bondholders.
Both Merkel and Hollande’s comments about Ireland being a “special” case refer to the deal reached by the three leaders, in conjunction with their 24 counterparts from elsewhere in the EU, at the European Council on June 29.
That deal saw leaders agree to improve the terms of Ireland’s bailout, and simultaneously to “break the link between banking and sovereign debt”.
Ireland has spent €64.1 billion so far on rescuing the country’s banks, of which €34.7 billion has been spent on IBRC, the successor to the defunct Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

Read More Here

More Government Spin over Jobbridge?

Over half of JobBridge finishers are in paid employment

SOME 52 PER CENT OF JOBBRIDGE participants are currently in paid employment after fully completing their internships, according to a report published by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton.
Burton said the figure was “one of the best outcomes in Europe for work placement programmes”.
“JobBridge was a pillar of the government’s Jobs Initiative,” she said. “It’s goal is to help people seeking emplyment to gain valuable work experience and enhance their prospects of getting a job.”
54.1 per cent of those who undertook their internships in the private sector have secured employment while 49.9 per cent of those who had their placement in the public sector have secured jobs.
The report also showed that the take-up of the scheme has been particularly strong in the SME sector with this sector accounting for 58 per cent of all placements to date.
51.6 per cent of non-graduate interns have secured employment after finishing their placement and 89.3 per cent of interns felt the scheme has given them new skills.
The proportion of interns who failed to complete their placements was high with 3,297 or 59 per cent of participants ending their internship before the scheduled timeframe. However the report said the main reason for early completion was that they secured employment.
One third of participants cited dissatisfaction with their placement as a reason for finishing their internship early.

Read More Here

Over 1.3 million adults have less than €50 left after monthly bills

MORE THAN 1.3 MILLION adults in Ireland have less than €50 left over after paying essential bills each month.
According to the latest Irish League of Credit Union’s What’s Left? income tracker, disposable incomes have continued to fall in the past six months.
There has also been an increase of 18,000 in the number of working adults with nothing left at the end of the month after bills are paid. Those living on €100 or less has risen to 1.9 million.
And looking ahead to winter, households are worried about heating costs and Christmas expenses.
About 70 per cent of respondents said they are unable to save money, the highest level recorded since the research began last year, and more than half of adults are now struggling to pay their bills on time.
Altogether, 42 per cent of consumers have had to borrow money to pay bills over the past year. This figure has also risen since the June data was released. Of those who reached out for loans, 58 per cent turned to family and friends for help, while 24 per cent used credit union services.
The TV licence, bin charges and television and telephone bills are the most likely to be put off.
During each month, utility bills are now the second most expensive essential bill (behind mortgages/rent) and eight in ten people are worried that they will not be able to cope with increasing energy costs this winter.

Read More Here

IBEC Barking orders again.

IBEC demands ‘pro-jobs Budget’ as forecast for 2013 is lowered

THE EMPLOYERS’ GROUP, IBEC, has demanded that the government do its utmost to concentrate on job creation in the 2013 Budget – saying some of the proposals being considered go against the government’s objective of getting people back to work.
The calls come as the groupreleases its latest Quarterly Economic Outlook, in which it lowers its expectations of economic growth in Ireland next year – a reduction it attributes to “anaemic economic growth in the rest of Europe and heightened consumer worries at home”.
The group now predicts that the Irish economy will grow by 0.8 per cent in 2012, having originally forecast growth of 1 per cent. Its forecast for 2013, which had previously stood at 2.3 per cent, has been lowered to 1.8 per cent.
IBEC says some particular proposals reportedly under consideration – such as Joan Burton’s initiative forcing employers to cover the first few weeks of employee sick pay, and the possibility of increasing PRSI – could cost jobs, and undermine ambitions to create new employment.
“Companies are putting together budgets and business plans for 2013,” IBEC chief economist Fergal O’Brien.
“If employment costs rise they will be much less likely to take on new staff. Some will be forced to downsize or go out of business.

Read more here

Ahh, were special !

Ireland is a special case’: Kenny and Merkel commit to improving bailout

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY and the German chancellor Angela Merkel have issued a joint statement affirming that Europe remains committed to splitting Ireland’s banking and sovereign debts.
The statement comes after the two leaders spoke by telephone this afternoon.
Their joint communiqué says the pair had “discussed the unique circumstances behind Ireland’s banking and sovereign debt crisis” and the deal reached by EU leaders four months ago, where they agreed to end the ‘vicious circle’ of banking and sovereign debts.
The two “reaffirmed” that deal, where heads of state told the 17 Eurozone finance ministers “to examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to further improving the sustainability of the well performing adjustment programme”.
The statement said Ireland was recognised as “a special case”, given the circumstances under which Ireland was frozen out of the bond markets, and said the finance ministers would take this into account when examining how to improve the terms of Ireland’s bailout deal.

Read More Here

the Troika DID demand that we repay the bank bondholders says Noonan.

Do as your told, not as you were voted into office for.  Well thats the Noonan seems to see it.

FINANCE MINISTER Michael Noonan has again insisted that policies adopted by the Troika mean Ireland’s state-supported banks are forced to repay the unsecured and unguaranteed bonds.
Noonan’s denial contradicts statements from independent TD Stephen Donnelly who was this week told by the Troika itself – during its ongoing quarterly inspection of Ireland’s progress under the bailout deal – that the policy was one adopted by the previous government.
In a blog post published on his website, Donnelly said he had met the Troika as part of a delegation from the technical group, and had been told that “it was the previous government and not the Troika that insisted on payments to unseen unguaranteed bondholders of the pillar banks.”
This meeting took place on Wednesday of last week – the same day that Noonan went on the Dáil record to insist that the policy was, in fact, determined by the European Central Bank.
“When this Government took office it attempted to implement burden sharing with senior unguaranteed bondholders, in particular institutions that were no longer core elements of the Irish financial system,” Noonan said in response to a written Dáil questionfrom Donnelly himself.

Read More Here

Eamon Gilmore hard at work fixing the Irish economy, Oh wait....

Eamon Gilmore hard at work fixing the Irish Economy, coming up with ideas and plans on how to grow jobs, tell Europe its Eamons way, preparing a fair budget for all?

Nope, he is too busy dealing with this sort of rubbish.

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has said Ireland will use the remainder of its time as the chair of an international security group to tackle any violation of the rights of transgender people.
The commitment came as the Tánaiste spoke at the International Gay and Lesbian Association’s annual European conference in Dublin, taking place in Dublin this weekend.
Gilmore said Ireland was using its term as chair of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe – an international security body of which Ireland is the head for 2012 – to prioritise the “human dimension of the OSCE, which addresses human rights, democratisation and the rule of law”.

Read more if you really want to here!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Deal off deal on. WTF is going on?

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke together this afternoon.

They discussed the unique circumstances behind Ireland’s banking and sovereign debt crisis, and Ireland’s plans for a full return to the markets. In this regard they reaffirmed the commitment from June 29th to task the

Eurogroup to examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to further improving the sustainability of the well performing adjustment programme.

They recognise in this context, that Ireland is a special case, and that the Eurogroup will take that into account.  

‘Ireland is a special case’: Kenny and Merkel commit to improving bailout

Well this looks more positive.

That said only appear to be covering this statement, nothing on RTE or the Taoiseach`s website.

But at least it confirms that kenny has been actually doing something this weekend in trying to secure a deal for us.

hopefully this will be sorted fairly soon otherwise its just more hot air.

Hopefully this isnt just spin, but if it is  One good thing may come from this.

Enda clearly has been feeling the pressure all weekend, Obviously he has had to get off his lazy arse and contact Merkel and somehow manage to get her to make a statement about us being special.
Hopefully Enda may now realise that when backed into a corner the Germans also cave in and if he pushed harder for a deal we may just get one.

Time to fight Mr Kenny and force something from them. No more Mr Nice guy, the milky bar kid is in town.

Noonan insists: No, the Troika DID insist

FINANCE MINISTER Michael Noonan has again insisted that policies adopted by the Troika mean Ireland’s state-supported banks are forced to repay the unsecured and unguaranteed bonds.

Noonan’s denial contradicts statements from independent TD Stephen Donnelly who was this week told by the Troika itself – during its ongoing quarterly inspection of Ireland’s progress under the bailout deal – that the policy was one adopted by the previous government.

In a blog post published on his website, Donnelly said he had met the Troika as part of a delegation from the technical group, and had been told that “it was the previous government and not the Troika that insisted on payments to unseen unguaranteed bondholders of the pillar banks.”

This meeting took place on Wednesday of last week – the same day that Noonan went on the Dáil record to insist that the policy was, in fact, determined by the European Central Bank.

“When this Government took office it attempted to implement burden sharing with senior unguaranteed bondholders, in particular institutions that were no longer core elements of the Irish financial system,” Noonan said in response to a written Dáil question from Donnelly himself

Debt deal stands despite Angela Merkel's remarks - Pat Rabbitte

Speaking on the This Week programme on RTE radio this afternoon, Pat Rabbitte said the Chancellor's comments were specifically about Spain.

He said he was concerned about the comments and for that reason he said the Government was in contact with the German Chancellor's office over the last couple of days.

He said he interpreted positively the Chancellor's statement yesterday where she commits to strong support for Ireland to improve the sustainability of the Irish bailout programme.

Minister Rabbitte said he would rather Chancellor Merkel had not made the comments.

However he said the Germans were heading into a general election and he said it was not possible to stop European leaders conducting their domestic political affairs as they think appropriate.

Earlier Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said he did not regret using the words “game changer” to describe the outcome of the European summit in June.

He insisted it remained a “game changer” in terms of separating sovereign and banking debt.
Mr Gilmore said it was a change in European policy that had been recently upheld at last week's European Council meeting.

However, he said he is concerned by the comments of Angela Merkel on Friday.
The German chancellor ruled out the retrospective recapitalisation of banks - a core objective of the Government's bid to reduce Ireland's debt burden.

Mr Gilmore said there needed to be a distinction made between the comments of one European leader at a press conference and the agreement between 27 EU member states including Germany.
He said there was practical work to be done and there was on-going contact between the Irish and German administrations at official, political and diplomatic levels.

Appeasing Merkel has cost us the Bank deal

IRELAND'S "social stability" will fragment into Greek-style street protests if the Government fails to get tough with Europe on the €64bn bank debt, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been warned.

Opposition leader Micheal Martin, along with a senior Fine Gael minister, warned Mr Kenny that middle Ireland is at the brink and needs to "see light at the end of the tunnel.

"If we bring middle Ireland onto the streets then it will be 'Goodbye Fine Gael'," the Minister said.

Banking expert and Fine Gael TD Peter Mathews yesterday said Mr Kenny's and Mr Noonan's overselling of the June 29 summit compared to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy before World the Second World War.

He said: "Chamberlain innocently sold his people, a pup rather than face the stark reality in front of them. It is the same here now."

Mr Kenny was"sucker-punched" by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Friday insisted that there would be no bailout of legacy bank debt, says TD Stephen Donnelly in today's Sunday Independent.

As Government 'spin' went into overdrive in the past 48 hours, insisting that Ireland's debt plea is still alive, business leaders, leading economists, opposition TDs and even members of the Government showed a sustained unity of purpose.

They called on Mr Kenny to abandon the current "inept strategy" of talking up Ireland to our European partners.

And as Ms Merkel firmly shut the door on using the new EU bailout fund for a backdated injection of funds into banks, they described as "naive, wishful thinking" Mr Kenny's assertion that the June 29 statement represented a "seismic shift". They also dismissed Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's talk of it being a "game-changer".

Following frantic calls from Mr Kenny's office on Friday, a statement was released yesterday from Ms Merkel's office, which reaffirmed its "support" for Ireland.

Leading economist Colm McCarthy described the statement as "crying out to be ignored".

This, however, was immediately dismissed as a sop by the opposition.

Fianna Fail Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said the spinning of Ireland's progress had gone too far and had actually damaged our chances of obtaining a deal on our bank debt.

Yesterday, opposition leader Mr Martin said Mr Kenny should seek an immediate meeting with Mrs Merkel and "lay it on the line" that Ireland has a case.

"We are in real danger of blowing a deal on bank debt.," he said. "The question being asked now is whether Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan are capable of the sort of rough trading that is required."

Mr Martin also warned of unrest if a deal is not struck.

"The social solidarity which has characterised the Irish response to the crisis will not last if we do not see any light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Mr McGrath said: "They need to stop saying everything is fine, when in truth things are extremely grim.

"They have been giving a false impression of how good things are to our European partners and that has to stop."

One senior Fine Gael minister said that unless a bank deal is secured, middle Ireland could be forced on to the streets in protest.

"The people are sick of austerity and not fit for it anymore. The people who are suffering are the people of middle Ireland. They want to see some light at the end of the tunnel," the minister said.

The minster also warned that if Ireland does not obtain a deal, the consequences for Fine Gael could be disastrous.

"If we bring middle Ireland on to the streets then it will be goodbye Fine Gael. We will go the same way as Fianna Fail".

The Fine Gael TD Peter Mathews said Ireland should stop trying to be the best boy in the class and called on his own leadership to play hard ball, including by refusing to pay the remaining €36bn to bank bondholders.

"We must claim an inability to pay. By being the good boys in the class, we are being lost in the melee.

"We must shout through our megaphones and get a deal on our debt," he said.

Mr Mathews also lashed out at Angela Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Shauble -- who he described as "brain dead" -- for placing the interests of Germany ahead of Europe.

Using the historical analogy once more he said: "Chamberlain naively gave his nation false hope in 1939, he didn't want to face the reality of going to war.

"It is the same here, they don't want to face the reality that the situation is very, very serious."

There is now acceptance within the Government that we will not receive any writedown of the €32bn of taxpayers money sunk into the former Anglo Irish Bank. But ministers are clinging to the hope of getting a deal on the other €32bn given to the 'pillar banks' of AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Separately, it is hoped that Ireland can abandon the controversial annual €3.1bn promissory-note arrangement for a longer-term bond. However, the agreement of the European Central Bank (ECB) has yet to be secured.

Writing in today's Sunday Independent TD Stephen Donnelly said Mrs Merkel's comments on Friday represented a "sucker punch" to Enda Kenny, while UCD economist Colm McCarthy writes that Ireland's best case for debt relief is to plead an "inability to pay".

"The insistence that things are going fine, budget adjustments are on schedule ... is a servable domestic political message. But it is also an open invitation to our European 'partners' to offer no assistance whatsoever outside the terms already agreed," Mr McCarthy asserts.

Publicly yesterday, several government ministers sought to insist the deal of June 29 still stands and that Ireland's debt-reduction campaign remains on track.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton claimed that there remained a recognition in the EU that the Irish demand is fundamentally legitimate.

However, business leaders have reacted with anger and disappointment. Dave Fitzsimons, head of Retail Excellence Ireland said: "If we can't negotiate the bank debt, it is likely that we will remain in recession for the next decade or more."

RTE - Governments mouthpiece?

Angela's ashes bury Kenny's illusion

Last Friday night,RTE's Six-One News gave Sharon Ni Bheolain a script which began as follows: "The German chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have created confusion around Irish hopes for a deal on bank debt." But of course, it was Enda Kenny and not Angela Merkel who had created the confusion.

RTE News helped Kenny spread that confusion for the past five months. Every second bulletin seemed to begin with gung-ho stories about the bank debt deal from Sean Whelan, Paul Cunningham, and somewhat more restrained reports from Tony Connolly. Even even after Merkel dropped her bombshell on Friday afternoon, RTE News failed to come to terms with the fall-out.

Friday's bulletin was full of fudge. We were told the Taoiseach felt it was "better not to be fixated on dates". Sean Whelan asked rhetorically how concerned should we be -- apparently not that much. Paul Cunningham said he'd been told (presumably by the Taoiseach's staff) that Merkel's statement merely concerned Spain.

To give him his due, Tony Connolly courageously pulled the plug on that one. He told Sharon Ni Bheolain that Merkel was not just talking about Spain. And to give Sharon her due, she believed Tony and took no nonsense from Noonan in a follow-up interview.

RTE was not alone in falling for the Kenny spin. Even the normally shrewd Irish Examiner told us on Friday morning that "EU leaders bicker but debt deal moves closer". And all day Friday no print political correspondent told any radio show that the Taoiseach's five-month campaign for a bank debt deal was as dead as the dodo.

The pundits had no excuse for this evasion. Because Derek Scally had burst the balloon on Kenny's bank debt bluster the previous day (Thursday) in the Irish Times. The hammer-blow heading on what was clearly a well-sourced story said it all: "Germans say no deal agreed on Irish debt."

Scally, who is totally trustworthy on all things German, got the goods from one of Dr Merkel's senior officials. He told Scally that

last June's meeting of the European council of EU leaders "did not involve a deadline for Irish debt relief or even the nature of any possible relief". And while Merkel's mouthpiece delicately did not mention the Taoiseach by name, he said anyone who thought differently was suffering from an "illusion".

Last Thursday morning anyone with a political antenna knew that Scally's story would stand up. But still Thursday and Friday passed in a kind of media blackout about the bad news from Europe. None of the pundits on RTE's or Newstalk's shows came out cleanly to say the bank debt deal was dead.

But on Friday afternoon, Angela Merkel gave the political correspondents a reality check they could no longer ignore. She told a press conference that the European Stability Mechanism fund would not be used to take over liability from member states such as Spain for past bank rescues. It was all over.

But not for RTE News. As we have seen, they tried to keep the five-month fudge from melting up to the last minute. Admittedly, even if RTE had called in the print political correspondents it is doubtful that cheerleading crew would have been willing to reverse their credulous coverage over the past five months.

Credulous hardly covers it. Last June, Enda Kenny began a personal PR campaign, promising bank debt relief on the basis of nothing more than verbals from a few EU ministers. At the same time he ignored consistently negative signals from the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who faces an election next year.

Eamon Gilmore, the leader of the Labour Party, backed the Taoiseach to the hilt in selling the vapoury verbals of a few EU ministers. Last June, Gilmore described the deal that never was as a "gamechanger". Last Thursday, Gamechanger Gilmore was still telling a still credulous media that any talk to the contrary was so much "noise".

The political correspondents' lack of scepticism about the bank debt deal over the past five months was shameful. It was caused by two factors: groupthink and a reluctance to challenge the RTE News agenda. Common sense should have told the political pundits that Merkel could not deliver without going down at home.

Led by what I call RTE Rabbitte, most of the media let Kenny and Gilmore get away with murder.

Giving Gilmore an easy ride is now second nature to RTE. That is why, two weeks ago, it buried our front-page story which proved that James Reilly had kept Gilmore in the loop leading up to the shafting of Roisin Shortall.

Since he became Taoiseach, each major move made by Enda Kenny has been a fresh mistake. He should not have gone into government with Labour without laying down the law on the public sector unions. He should not have wasted his massive majority but used it forcefully to challenge the degrading Croke Park deal. He should not have become a prisoner of a personal PR machine. Time the political correspondents took off the rose-tinted spectacles.

* * *

Politically, Gene Kerrigan and myself hardly agree on the time of day. But we have one thing in common: crime fiction. He writes it and I read it. A lot of it.

Six years ago when I read his The Midnight Choir I knew the Crime Writers' Association would soon have to give him at least a silver dagger, like George Pelecanos (The Way Home), Peter Hoeg (Miss Smillas Feeling for Snow) and Scott Turow's (Presumed Innocent).

But last Thursday the CWA gave Gene the coveted Gold Dagger for The Rage. This puts him in a pantheon of authors whose classics line my shelves. Eric Ambler's Passage of Arms, John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, James Lee Burke's Sunset Limited.

Madeleine Keane, our books editor, can confirm I had a premonition. Last Wednesday, the day before the CWA announcement, I emailed her asking if I could do a crime round-up to plug Gene Kerrigan. Pity I didn't call Paddy Power too.

But I'm glad Gene is not giving up the day job. At my age I need all the aggravation I can get to keep me sharp. As you can see from what follows. * * *

Last week, demented by love of Posy and Dolly, my two terriers, and in a ham-fisted attempt at humour, I stupidly wrote that councillor Richard Humphreys had described remarks by councillor Victor Boyhan, during a debate on the new Dun Laoghaire beach laws, as "Stalinist". Naturally Humphreys said nothing of the sort.

Although he has not asked me to apologise, I am anxious to do so. Not least because when he is not talking about dogs, Richard Humphreys is one of the people in public life I most admire. He has been particularly prescient on Northern Ireland.

That is why I helped launch his book Countdown to Unity: Debating Irish Reunification, one of the few works on modern Irish politics worth reading as we come up to the commemorations. And that's why I hope he's in the Dail by 2016.