A Nation of Slaves without a Bean Left to Its Name

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Byline: COmmENTARy by Senan Molony

ONE thousand years after the Battle Of Clontarf, Ireland has been comprehensively defeated by an assembled force of outsiders.

The Danes are now making landfall, along with the IMF, the EU, the German-dominated European Central Bank, the Swedes and the British.

Some of the occupiers may be more friendly than others, genuinely wanting to help, but it does not detract from the absolute bitterness of conquest.

And the conquerors are demanding the complete emptying of the Irish treasury as the initial price of their 'assistance'.

Only then will we be completely yoked to their service at a punishing interest rate of 5.8 per cent.

Brian Cowen read out the terms of the unconditional surrender forced on Ireland yesterday. The fact that he sounded rational and even statesmanlike at times does not detract from the horror of what will be inflicted.

Mr Cowen will pay the ultimate political price for the economic serfdom to be imposed on the Irish people, as will his party, along with the Greens, in the General Election next year.

But the terms of the 'Programme of Assistance' mean that the incoming government will be a puppet administration.

We will have a Vichy coalition of Fine Gael and Labour which will have absolutely no room for manoeuvre because our own cash reserves will have vanished. That means no 'stimulus programme' of the sort that Eamon Gilmore has spouted about for years.

And no job creation package for Fine Gael, which was to have been sourced from the National Pensions Reserve Fund. When they get there, the cupboard will have been emptied - apart, perhaps, from a cowering and shamefaced Bertie Ahern.

When there is not a bean left in the storehouse, it means that any job creation fund would have to be sourced from extra taxation - which is just not affordable, given the taxation straightjacket the economy will have to don under the plan. If such job creation monies were still to be raised, it would obviously depress economic activity and hit employment.

So the Fine Gael plan would be a job eradication plan in the first instance, before somehow being intended to enable re-hiring out of the taxes that forced people out of work in the first place. It's a circular operation which would be madness now to engage in.

Therefore the new government becomes a mere custodian of the handcuffs and shackles about to be placed about the Irish economic prisoner. It will not be able to unlock any of them.

Gilmore and Kenny will be answering to Brussels and Washington, the headquarters of the IMF, and not to the Irish people. They will have responsibility without power. Both have longed to become taoiseach, but now it will be a hollow office for either man to occupy. …