Enda feels the foot of history on high-wire act
Michael Noonan licked his finger, held it to the prevailing economic wind and decided conditions were right for a tightrope walk
Government backbenchers wasted no time telling him that not only did Fianna Fáil keep them in the dark about the impending arrival of the troika to our shores, but some ministers denied it was even happening.
The Opposition called, and duly lost, a vote on whether the statements should take place or not.
“Not even a phone call,” grumbled Micheál.
Ministers trickled in to vote and left again to make a big entrance for Enda’s speech.
The Great Blondin rose to his feet, looking over that tightrope stretching far into the coming years.
“The Government has decided that Ireland will exit the EU-IMF assistance programme on December 15th, without the precautionary credit line from our EU and IMF partners,” began Enda, feeling the foot of history on his high-wire.
“We still have a long way to travel, but we are clearly moving in the right direction” he said. “Today is just the latest step.”
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who’ll be wobbling along the wire with him, also tested the tension on the rope.
“This is an important decision on our country’s road to recovery. It is an important milestone, and now is the right time to make this decision and take this step.”
But like the Taoiseach, Eamon knows a dangerous balancing act lies ahead. “Today’s decision is historic, important and welcome, but there will be no celebration until our economic fortunes are fully recovered.”
Exiting the bailout without strings will not mean “any windfall of cash”, said Enda.
Still, he said that Angela Merkel had offered her encouragement, and the balance pole of access to the German development bank.
Micheál Martin, who was part of the Fianna Fáil administration at the time of the bailout, reacted rather sulkily. He condemned the Government for criticising his party for bringing in the troika and then implementing its programme when they got into Government.
The Opposition was incensed, seeing as it was Fianna Fáil’s handiwork which forced them to do this.
Micheál just couldn’t bring himself to see anything good in yesterday’s announcement. Sinn Féin, on the other hand, issued a qualified welcome.
With a fair wind, The Great Blondin (and the Mighty Gilmore) were confident that Ireland can successfully reach the other side.
They’ll be hailed as heroes if they do.