British media hindering Irish recovery - McCreevy


IRELAND’S EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy has accused the British media of running a campaign against Ireland which is making the task of restoring economic confidence more difficult.

“There is nothing very new about this but these campaigns used to be designed to titillate readers of their tabloid press. Now their wider press has joined the fray,” Mr McCreevy told the annual dinner of the Revenue Division of the Association of Higher and Public Servants in Carlow.

“Everyone knows that at some vulnerable moments in our history our immediate neighbours have tried to take us on. But they should remember this: They have never managed to take us out. And we must make sure that they never will.”

Mr McCreevy said it was essential that Irish policymakers recognised that the world’s capital markets were watching the country.

“Neither those with whom we trade nor those from whom we borrow owes us a living. The yawning gap between what we earn and what we spend that has now opened up is not remotely sustainable. The capital markets have been telling us that in clear and unmistakable terms.”

He said the signals sent by those markets had been unambiguous and painful. “The yield on Irish government bonds has risen steeply. The price of insuring our debt against default has risen steeply too. That is why there are actions that must be taken in coming weeks – purposefully and determinedly – to reassure investors that we are serious about getting our public finances back in good order as quickly as practically possible.”

He said the reality was that if we didn’t narrow the gap between what we spend and what we raised in revenue the price of raising debt would get higher and the task of raising debt would get harder.

“Investors and prospective investors in Ireland are looking for action on a phased but credible basis, starting in coming weeks,” he said.

Mr McCreevy added that in spite of the problems he rejected gloom and doom.

“This nation is full of people who are entrepreneurial, imaginative, educated, and creative. That’s why the notion that the best days are behind us is ludicrous.”