Analysis: Kenny’s bland reaction ignores ECB’s bullying tactics

Taoiseach response may reflect behind-the-scenes battle over national debt

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: fighting a different war

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: fighting a different war

 

When asked for his view on Trichet’s letter, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was careful to skirt around the real issue.

Namely, did the ECB overstep its authority in forcing a member state to accept a bailout?

Having an unelected bureaucracy assume the authority to heap three years of austerity on the Irish taxpayer is the stuff of eurosceptic nightmares.

At very least, this was a decision the Government should have been allowed to make in the absence of explicit threats from Frankfurt.

However, responding to the publication of the letter today, Mr Kenny said simply it was a “stark reminder of the cold and dark place” that Ireland was in, back in 2010.

Avoiding any direct criticism of the ECB, he opted to remind us of who caused the mess in the first place.

The root of the State’s financial problems began with the election of the Fianna Fail-led government in 1997, he said.

“Prior to that the country was lean, competitive, export driven with a very good cost base and structure; then all was let go to the wind by the assumption you could run the country on taxes coming from property.”

In any case, he said by the time the letter had been written, the Governor of the Central Bank had already been on Irish radio, saying that the IMF were here, “the dye was already cast”.

The injustice of how Ireland was unceremoniously bundled into a bailout was not mentioned.

His reaction is instructive of what’s going on behind the scenes in Europe regarding Ireland’s debt.

He has no interest in antagonising Frankfurt while the Government manoeuvres to pay back €10 billion of its IMF debt ahead of time - something its needs the rest of the troika, which includes the ECB, to acquiesce with.

The Government has also got the ECB to essentially look the other way in relation to its Anglo promissory note deal in terms of whether it breached state aid rules.

Mr Kenny is fighting a different war, it seems.