Barroso blames Ireland for euro woes


Sir, – Donal McGrath (December 21st) criticises José Manuel Barosso’s recent comments on the grounds that German and French banks “fuelled the property bubble here by irresponsible lending to Irish banks”.

In fact, in its report last September, Profiling the Cross-Border Funding of the Irish Banking System, the Central Bank found just 1 per cent of foreign lending to our banks during the property bubble came from Germany. Institutions in France contributed just a fraction of a percent of the total lending to our banks during that period. Several other studies by the Central Bank and independent economists have shown likewise.

So Mr McGrath’s letter begs the question: why is it constantly repeated, as a matter of established fact, that enormous levels of German and French lending to our banks took place during the boom, when this claim has consistently been shown to be entirely false? And more to the point, why are so few commentators willing to challenge this falsehood when it is constantly repeated?

Five years on from the collapse a section of Irish society still seems to be trying to blame foreign bogeymen for a crash which was largely caused by foolish decisions made by Irish politicians and Irish voters. Deep down I think we all know this, and perhaps this is why Mr Barosso’s comments seem to have struck a nerve. – Yours, etc,



Clontarf, Dublin 3.

Sir, – Occasionally a letter appears that makes one want to cheer the writer, clap him/her on the back and say “I wish I’d written that”. Such was Donal McGrath’s letter (December 21st) regarding European Commission president José Manuel Barroso.

That a man in his exalted position should hold such simplistic views is alarming. He adds insult to the injury done to the Irish economy through endorsing the scandalous manipulation which allowed European banks (mostly German) to get off scot-free after speculating on unguaranteed Irish bonds.

They gambled, lost and got their money back at the Irish taxpayers’ expense. I believe Barroso’s views make him unfit for the position he holds. – Yours, etc,


The Crescent,


Co Dublin.

Sir, – I would have thought that Irish expatriates deserve the most credit. Balancing the government books is always that bit easier as long as emigrants continued to oblige. Nothing new here. – Yours, etc,


Heasman Close,


Suffolk, England.