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Gerry Adams Interview on RTE’s This Week

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The reason Enda is keen on a five-way debate was put on show on today’s This Week programe on RTE radio. Gerry Adams was interviewed at length and in detail by Colm O Mongain, despite the Sinn Fein griping afterwards, there was nothing unexpected in O Mongain’s questioning and the baron once again failed to impress.
Listen to it here if you missed it.

Criticism like McDonalds

Lets have rte grill all the party leaders in the type of detail normally reserved for finance spokespersons.

isn’t justified for a few reasons;
1) Adams has not run in the Republic but now runs as head of a major political party which already has seats in the Dail. That the burden of knowledge he is expected to have should reflect the depth and breadth of any session of leaders questions or the kind of major Finance Bill speech is not an unreasonable position to take.
2) Adam’s was found to be weak on the economy and on many elements of the states interaction with citizens already in 2007. It is pretty acceptable to try to figure out if he has improved on that point.

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4 Responses to “Gerry Adams Interview on RTE’s This Week”

  1. # Comment by Eddiel Jan 31st, 2011 10:01

    Adams could not be any weaker on the economy than Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour or the Greens who all want the Finance Bill to be passed but then try to distance themselves from the consequences.

  2. # Comment by Veronica Jan 31st, 2011 12:01

    Sin Fein’s formula is clear: Kick out the IMF and tell them to take their dodgy loans with them; tell the EU to take a hike; renege on banks debts which is now classified as sovereign debt (ALL bank debt including guaranteed senior bonds); close ANGLO, INBS and merge AIB and BOI into new nationalised bank; use NPRF and existing cash reserves to keep paying for public services in the meantime; return to bond markets looking for loans at reasonable rates when cash runs out.

    Thus, having terrified the bejaysus out of the EU, the IMF, and the western capitalist world in general, they’ll all quickly come to heel and bail Ireland out on fair and equitable terms as defined by Sinn Fein.

    Unfortunately, the strategy falls at the first hurdle: the assumption that ordinary Irish citizens with bank accounts in AIB and BoI would rally to the nationalist cause and not immediately stampede into a domestic run on the banks is highly risky and flies in the face of most known models of human behaviour. After that the dominoes really begin to fall, since the Sinn Fein government would have insufficient funds to recapitalise its newly nationalised entity of the AIB/BOI; so there would be no banking system. The fact that Ireland is part of a common currency zone also appears to have escaped their analysis, and the consequent limitations that being part of the euro imposes on such independent action as they propose; all made even more incredible by the fantasy idea that one year on, the same bond markets that Sinn Fein has robbed would be happily doling out new loans to Ireland. More likely, the senior bondholders would be clogging up the courts sueing Sovereign Ireland to get their money back.

    Now this would all make a great script for a political thriller about a proud and independent people struggling for their sovereignty at the beginning of the ..ah, twentieth century. In the real world it’s more reminiscent of the path followed by Argentina in the 1980s than anything before or since. And look what happenned to them? Actually, better not to;it hardly bears looking at.

    Fair enough though, at least what Sinn Fein are proposing is clear and unambiguous unlike the disingenuous jiggery pokery of those who pretend there’s some easy road back to prosperity, strewn with the rose petals of no increase in taxes and no cuts in public expenditure, and a unliateral possibility of ‘renegotiation’ of sovereign debt interest rates and other such fairy stories. As the GE takes shape, the direction of public opinion in response to the politically competing formulae on how to get out of the fix we’re in should become more and more interesting.

  3. # Comment by Peter Feb 1st, 2011 07:02

    Veronica,

    You raise an interesting case study in Argentina. But why bring up the 1980s when a more recent and relevant event in Argentina’s economic history occurred in the last days of 2001. Argentina defaulted on $132 billion of public debt and every year after that achieved economic growth until 2008 when it’s GDP surpassed the level which had preceded the crisis.

    Whilst the circumstances surrounding Argentina’s default are different to those which face Ireland now, it does prove the point that in some circumstances, a default can be the best of bad options.

    I listened to the Gerry Adams interview, and while he did sound a little out of his depth on the numbers. He did make an important point. Burning senior bond holders of the banks may not necessarily lead to higher borrowing costs by the state. On the contrary, if I’m an investment fund manager, i may be delighted that bank debt is off the state’s balance sheet and get back into the Irish bond market.

    However, this leads us with a seriously broken banking system, but, what would you call what we have now? The only source of funding the Irish banks have is the ECB.

    Whatever way you slice and dice this, and to quote Deputy Paul Gogarty “Ireland is screwed as a country”. But I’d rather be screwed and debt free, than just simply screwed.

  4. # Comment by Veronica Feb 1st, 2011 08:02

    Peter,

    You’re right – my dates are wrong! Apologies for any confusion. Argentina has been out of the bond markets for the past decade though, which rather undermines SF’s argument that a year after Ireland defaults and ‘burns the bondholders’, those same capitalists or their brothers and cousins would be happy to start writing cheques to us again.

    From the debates I’ve been following in the media, the SF strategy is based on a number of assumptions – that the markets would open again to Ireland within a year, that Irish citizens with bank deposits would not do an immediate run on the newly nationalised entity of AIB/BOI at the first hint of trouble and that there’s enough money in the national kitty to recapitalise a banking system that the ECB would no longer prop up and no-one else in the markets would lend a bob to – any or all of which might turn out to be badly mistaken with catastrophic consequences for our society.

    The SF policy has its attractions – and its risks. What people need to sort out is if the risks are more acceptable than the other alternative which is to work within the EU, of which we are part, and within which we have responsibilities as well as rights. It follows that the best hope for an equitable solution for Ireland’s debt crisis lies within the EU framework not in a ‘go it alone’ strategy which carries too many attendant risks.

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