jump to navigation

FAO Hardcore Election Nerds August 31, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
add a comment

I’m not sure if it will be available online here in Ireland but its something that a few of you may be interested in.

This Sat from 9am on BBC Parliament: February 1974 general election. Watch election that resulted in hung parliament and Harold Wilson as PM

Its a fantastic idea and I’d love if RTE were to re run their coverage of previous elections (if they still had the tape) on their RTE News Now channel.

RNC woes August 31, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, US Politics.

Well, that was weird at the RNC (of which more anon). The Clint Eastwood ‘thing’ with an empty chair representing Barack Obama was very odd indeed. And unnecessary – Eastwood is not reknowned for being a comic. It was also undignified and while I’m not one to stand on dignity it just felt wrong. Eastwood who actually in general comes across as more decent than he seemed then seemed to take a strange approach, and the tone was incorrect – not least the references to Obama telling Eastwood to eff himself, or whatever.

But funnily enough the most irritating thing was the realisation that it was pretty much a riff on US comedian Bob Newhart’s approach of one sided conversations or ‘solo straightman’. Thing is that while Eastwood is witty enough in general he’s not witty enough in particular to do the job as Newhart would have done.

And ooops! Newhart noted this himself:

“I heard that Clint Eastwood was channelling me at the RNC,” tweeted comic actor Bob Newhart, known for his one-sided conversations. “My lawyers and I are drafting our lawsuit.”

Speaking of Newhart I first heard him in National School in the early 1970s when a teacher brought in a record of him (and IIRC the Ian Gillan Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack). I relistened to his stuff more recently and it was gentle stuff thoguh still pretty funny and not quite as dated as might have been expected – no question that was a different society, the references to women, family, childbirth and so on were very much of their time, but there was also a sense of boundaries being very slightly pushed back.

It’s remarkable to see how much Newhart actually did over the years, variety shows, sitcoms, films and so on. I wonder if the fact he’s not better known on this side of the Atlantic is due to his humour being very American in some fashion.

Any ideas about this poster? August 31, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Ireland, Irish Politics, The Left.

A poster that I was sent recently (many Thanks) that I have little or no idea about.
I’m not sure when it is from , the circumstances it refers to and if it was produced by the Dublin Council of Republican Congress, its hard to make out at the bottom of the poster.

This Week At The Irish Election Literature Blog August 31, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Election Literature Blog.
1 comment so far

From 1988 a leaflet for May Day in Cork

On then to a 1971 leaflet “Sinn Féin – Yesterday and Today”

Then a leaflet issued (I think ) by the Sinn Fein POW department “Know Your Rights -Advice on what to do if arrested in the 26 Counties”

“Stand up to Britain -Vote McAllister -Vote the prisoners No. 1″– A poster for Tom McAllister an Anti H Block candidate who ran in Clare in the 1981 General Election
and finally a recent “What we have done in Government” Leaflet from Cáit Keane Fine Gael

Speaking of the economy: HSE health cuts. August 30, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

This evening’s announcement of cuts was accompanied by this:

From the HSE.

As part of the overall and unprecedented financial challenge facing the country, the HSE has been set clearly defined budget targets by both the Troika and Government.

In 2010 and 2011 the health services saw unprecedented budget reductions of approximately €1.75 billion. This was followed in 2012 with additional reductions of €750m. These reductions occur at a time when demand for health services continues to grow.

It is well known that the HSE is running a significant budget deficit currently. This deficit exists due to a number of factors, including the increased demand for services. For example, due to increased demand, the HSE has issued 125,000 medical cards over and above Service Plan projections, which is contributing to approximately €100m of the current budget deficit.

The deficit as of 31st August 2012 is €259m. The HSE has a statutory obligation to remain within its allocated budget of €13.2bn for 2012.

Detailed cost containment plans have been in place across the health service since the beginning of the year. However, there has been an increasing demand for services which has contributed in a significant way to the continuing deficit. Should robust cost reduction action not be taken at this juncture, the HSE faces a potential year-end deficit of €500m.

In order to deal with the existing deficit and to remain within budget, the HSE is now obliged to introduce a range of additional cost reduction measures to be implemented throughout the remainder of 2012 and into 2013.

The range of additional measures amounts to €130 million. In compiling these measures, every effort has been taken to target areas that do not impact on direct client/ patient services, with a view to protecting, in as much as is possible, the most essential frontline services. However, it is inevitable that some impact on service delivery will be experienced through the implementation of these measures.

The €130m of cost reduction measures is in addition to other non-operational measures to be undertaken, that have been submitted to the Troika. These non-operational measures include cash acceleration of receipts from health insurers and the transfer of surplus money within the health group of votes such as the NTPF.

Amongst the cost reduction measures included within the €130m are:

€37m through cash and stock management initiatives;

€26.5m through savings in medical equipment (non-capital), furniture, education, training, office expenses, travel and subsistence and advertising;

€35m through reductions in the usage of agency and overtime in line with the targets set in the HSE Service Plan of reductions of 50% in agency and 10% in overtime;

€6m savings on reimbursements for certain products including Glucosamine, Orlistat and Omega-3-Triglycerides;

€10.8m through the reduction of Home Help hours. This involves a reduction of 5.5% from the 11 million hours (€195m budget) provided annually. The impact of these reductions will be minimised by ensuring that services are provided for direct patient care;

€1.7m through the reduction of 200 Home Care Packages per month. This accounts for a reduction of 3.7% from the 5,300 packages (€140m budget) delivered annually. The impact of these reductions will be minimised by achieving greater efficiency in the packages currently provided;

€10.8m through the reduction of Personal Assistant hours from the current €1.4 billion budget for the provision of disability services;

€2m through savings in the procurement of medical equipment. This relates to non-capital equipment only.

Each of the Regional Directors of Operations is working with their staff to develop implementation plans in order to give effect to these measures. While many of the measures are already underway currently, further plans will be developed and discussed with staff and unions over the coming week.

While implementing these plans the health services will at all times attempt to minimise the impact on frontline services and ensure that patient/client quality and safety is maintained to the highest standard possible.

1913 Committee on Facebook August 30, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

The 1913 Committee is planning events to mark the centenary of the
Great Dublin Lockout.

Funded by the TEEU and SIPTU, the committee is composed of trade union
activists and labour historians. Here’s the Facebook page.

So far there are stories about:

– Rosie Hackett, the 18 year old union organiser from Jacobs biscuit factory
– the four lockout martyrs
– the Irish Citizen Army
– audio interviews with Padraig Yeates, the author of ‘Lockout: Dublin 1913’
– songs by the Dubliners and Christy Moore
– Walter Carpenter, socialist campaigner, ITGWU organiser and General
Secretary of Dublin’s “Jewish Union”.
– a Do It Yourself walking tour of sites associated with the Lockout
and more.

As to the Coalition… August 30, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
add a comment

Pat Leahy has some interesting thoughts about the Government in the SBP, having written an ‘Enda term report’ – ahem. But it’s not a bad exercise in terms of weighing up how from within the orthodoxy (broadly speaking) the government is perceived.

His assessment?

• The government is making steady progress towards the bigger goals, though it faces some significant short-term problems which will require tough politics.
• Some of those problems are of its own making.
• It is nowhere near as reformist as it pretended to be.
• It is – like many other small European countries – at the mercy of events in the eurozone that it has little or no power to influence.
• Its successes in Europe and in addressing the fiscal challenges (albeit following the Fianna Fáil/troika roadmap) mean that it has a realistic chance of ultimate success: emerging from the programme with a growing economy.

Forget, if one can, points one and two. One of the most striking features of this government has been an unnecessary ineptness. That’s odd given that they had a masterclass in the shape of the Cowen government as to what not to do. But it’s a reality. Hogan’s uneasy tenure at Environment et al is only part of it. Health is looking like no picnic either and there are mutterings from points various, including Burton’s bailiwick. All told that’s pretty shambolic. But those short term problems – the property tax, etc included have significant potential to generate political attrition. It’s no small achievement to put forward a policy that sees (largely) passive resistance on the part of hundreds of thousands of citizens. It certainly suggests an significant disconnect between what the Government might like to do and what is actually feasible. It will, almost certainly, be eventually dealt with, perhaps by adding the current charge onto future property taxes and parking that, but its short to medium term outcomes – all largely avoidable – are something else.

I would hazard a guess that his fourth point is the most important, that ‘it is at the mercy of events in the eurozone’. It is striking, is it not, how the Governments fortunes in terms of banking debt improved – albeit so far only rhetorically, as Leahy notes the deal is by no means done yet – in the wake of events in Greece and the Hollande election. Neither of those were anywhere within the reach of the Irish government. Each could have, and still could, go a different way. It is this reality that makes the bellicose language used in the run up to the last election still the yardstick against which the outcomes will be measured, because that language promised so much more to those who listened to it. Indeed one could argue that it is events beyond the eurozone which will be crucial. Global economic problems will cut the already remarkably rosy expectations of growth which the government (and others) have made. That being the case…

Indeed, contextualised like that, and one can see that everything else is essentially minimal. Reformist? How significant is that really? And in relation to what? Public sector reform? Political reform? Economic reform? We hear much less of the last than the first two. And the Government is tellingly hesitant about all three. It’s probably a good bet that a lot of what we’ve been promised (or threatened with, depending upon viewpoint) will not come to pass in this Dáil term. And perhaps that’s no bad thing either. A crisis is not necessarily the best time to make into an opportunity, not least because attention may be misdirected.

Then there’s his last point, the ‘realistic chance of ultimate success: emerging from the programme with a growing economy’. Well, perhaps, but if you read Richard Curran in the same edition – referenced here – talking about mortgage arrears figures (now creeping up to 1 in 4 mortgages – and more on this soon) you’d be forgiven for not being filled with optimism. Curran rightly notes that we’re facing into another Budget (and he mentions the one after that, and one can mention the one after that again). Of course the other aspect of that is that ‘the realistic chance of ultimate success’ means the prospect of reelection for one or both of the Government parties.

For Fine Gael I would have thought that even as matters stand today that is probably more likely than not. But for Labour? Well, I guess that should FG need to make up numbers a much diminished LP will do the trick. Though what good that is to the LP is an useful question and one given the mutterings amongst the troops something their leadership might want to think about long and hard.

And his conclusion?

Some trends have emerged in the first half of the year which are likely to be more pronounced in the rest of the year.
One is Labour’s need to assert its own identity in the administration, which will be partly done through social policy changes like abortion legislation and gay marriage which are deeply discomfiting for the Fine Gael base.
The other is the transition to ‘normal’ politics. By normal politics, government insiders say they expect the administration to become unpopular and its poll numbers to dip. With no end to austerity in sight, they’re probably right about that.

I’ve already pointed out that social policy changes are unlikely to be enough for the LP base, whatever it may be at this stage – and arguably not enough for a tranche of their members. And whether when it comes to any future election that will work with the electorate any better than, say the rather substantial achievements in the wake of the 1990s Rainbow coalition remains to be seen.
But isn’t his point about ‘normal’ politics somewhat at odds with his thoughts of ‘chance of ultimate success’? Or is it that the impact upon party support of austerity will somehow melt away in the face of growth three years down the line? I can’t be alone in thinking that that’s more hope than expectation.

There’s one other thought that strikes me. Perhaps I’m wrong, but all this suggests that far from any element of the Government seeking to cut and run anytime soon, the dynamics at play here will lock them fairly tightly into prolonging the life of the Coalition. The election has to be held in 2016 at the latest, though one might wonder if they’d be entirely keen to go quite that far given the interesting coincidence of dates and the potential outworking of that on other parties votes. But with a Budget this year, one next and so on, and each containing – for some time to come deflationary measures in greater or lesser degree – how long can they afford to wait for a) signs that growth is starting again and b) that it is sufficiently evident to ensure a fair wind behind them at a subsequent election?

While we’re talking about the RIC and Home Rule… August 30, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

There’s a fair lesson in ambiguity in last weekend’s Irish Times editorial over the ‘unofficial’ memorial service for RIC and DMP members who were killed during the Independence struggle. It would be difficult to determine exactly where the writer of the piece falls on the issue. And in particular the concluding lines are masterful.

The memorial service is being organised by two former Garda Síochána members who believe that, after 90 years, “a few prayers should be said for these men who, for the most part, were honourable and honest police officers”. It is a generous, Christian sentiment. Policemen tend to be alert to the ethical dilemmas that may confront their colleagues at times of strife and civil unrest.

The public and politicians are less understanding and operate to a different compass. Accepting the past, warts and all, is a sign of maturity. Learning from it, however, takes time.

Hmmm… But what is to be learnt in this context? To be honest I think that official recognition of the RIC is taking pluralism just a step too far. It is useful to consider how the (near) successor organisation to the RIC in Northern Ireland, the RUC, was eventually disbanded due in no small part to overwhelming lack of support (to put it mildly) from one community. In a context where there was essentially overwhelming societal antagonism to the RIC it seems somewhat perverse to try to refashion history at this remove. The RIC, like the RUC – whatever about individual officers in both – passed into history for good reasons. That said if some seek to commemorate them unofficially there’s no point in – and no means of – stopping that.

Another sentence that struck my attention was the following:

These men served the British Crown and sought to prevent the emergence of an Independent State. During that struggle, terrible things were done on both sides. But the atrocities committed by some RIC members and particularly by their supporting auxiliaries, the Black and Tans, still resonate.
Just how polarised the situation had become, following six years of guerrilla warfare, was reflected in a decision by the Free State government to disband the RIC and the DMP and to replace them with the Garda Síochána.
That decision flowed from the “reinforcement” of the RIC by the Black and Tans and the terrorising of local communities. Some RIC members objected to what was going on.

I find it a bizarre proposition that the Free State government would have retained the RIC and DMP. Such a decision would have made no sense given that the nature of the Free State government – which for all its flaws did cleave to a path to independence – and the text of the Treaty which in Article 10 said the following:

10. The Government of the Irish Free State agrees to pay fair compensation on terms not less favourable than those accorded by the Act of 1920 to judges, officials, members of Police Forces and other Public Servants who are discharged by it or who retire in consequence of the change of government effected in pursuance hereof. Provided that this agreement shall not apply to members of the Auxiliary Police Force or to persons recruited in Great Britain for the Royal Irish  Constabulary during the two years next preceding the date hereof.  The British Government will assume responsibility for such compensation or pensions as may be payable to any of these excepted persons.

Implicit in that is an change in the nature of policing and police forces in the Free State.

Nor was it a matter of polarisation that developed during warfare but the result of a long standing antagonism to a militarised and garrisoned force (it’s notable how other police forces in the then United Kingdom were unarmed). Chris Ryder in his fairly sympathetic history of the RUC noted that the RIC in addition to the attributes just noted:

…was regarded as being the eyes and ears of Dublin Castle…[although] individual members of the force were respected figures of substance in their local areas.

It’s also worth noting in passing that the RUC wasn’t a simple continuation of the RIC, but instead a merging of former UVF, the Ulster Special Constabulary (formed in 1920) and northern based units of the RIC.

Interestingly, the DMP was a vastly less despised organisation despite its noxious activities during 1913. When in 1916 members of the DMP were issued with rifles following the Rising they held a march from Kevin St. to Dun Laoghaire with their batons in a coffin. At Independence it continued in a sort of half-life as the Políní Átha Cliath and was not subsumed into the Gardai until 1925 (I once talked to a Garda archivist on this very topic and his assessment was that it was the unarmed nature of the force that allowed for its partial continuation). This division was so stark that the PAC had different uniform and helmets and, of course name, to the RIC. But it’s also worth noting albeit under a different name and command). That it was the intelligence arm of the DMP which incurred the greatest losses during the Independence struggle is telling.

Stephen Collins at the weekend followed up the editorial with one of his increasingly narrowly focussed pieces on the topic. For him there is no question about commemorating the RIC and doing so ‘officially’.

The past is a different country but it is surely about time to give some recognition to those who have been ignored in the dominant popular historical narrative. After being forgotten for so long, those who died in the first World War can now be commemorated openly. If the Irish State cannot find it in its heart to commemorate those who served and died at home as policemen trying to keep the peace, the decade of commemoration will lack completeness.

But as noted above the RIC were explicitly not ordinary ‘policemen’ but a garrisoned and militarised force – and the only one in the then United Kingdom. The idea that they served and died ‘trying to keep the peace’ is a nonsensical phrase in the context of the actual history. Their history was one of repression from their foundation and this continued right up to their disbandment. To ‘honour’ them as being analogous to the Gardai does the latter force a deep – almost existential – disservice. For all their flaws the Gardai are democratically legitimised in a way that the RIC were not.

Of course, no one is suggesting that all RIC men at all times were wrong, but their function, their history and their use was one which cannot simply be waved away under the notional cover of ‘inclusivity’.

And while the most obvious response to Collins is what his thoughts are about a commemoration organised for the Black and Tan that in a way is too glib. For Collins that would be a bridge too far:

As Conor Brady pointed out in this paper yesterday, the RIC men generally conducted themselves with forbearance and dignity in the face of a ruthless terror campaign directed against them by Collins. Their unwillingness to respond in kind prompted the British government to import the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries to wage a counter-terror campaign. While few members of the RIC or DMP joined the Garda on the foundation of the new State, in time many of their sons and grandsons followed the family tradition. At least five Garda commissioners had ancestors who were in the RIC, and the policing methods and ethos of the Garda owes an awful lot to its predecessors.

But if the logic being used here is that the RIC are worthy of commemoration because they served and died ‘trying to keep the peace’, why not the Black and Tans who did likewise? That they did so in a more energetically murderous fashion is surely just a matter of degree rather than principle.

In any case the ethos of the Garda actually owes remarkably little to the RIC, being unarmed, open, subject to a reasonably more direct democratic legitimacy and so forth.

But Collins point is, as always, shaped towards a (blindingly obvious) political end.

In his groundbreaking essay for the magazine Studies written in advance of the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising in 1966, but not published until 1972, Fr Francis Shaw SJ addressed some of the key problems created by a narrow nationalistic interpretation of the past. One of the difficulties he identified was that the dominant nationalist interpretation of history in the 1960s required the Irish people of that decade to disown their past and censure as unpatriotic the majority of their grandparents’ generation who were not attracted by new revolutionary ideas in 1916.
The then professor of early and medieval Irish at UCD summed it up by suggesting that the accepted canon of Irish history “asks us to praise in others what we do not esteem or accept in ourselves”.
In other words the majority of law-abiding people who live by democratic standards are required to despise those in earlier generations who adhered to the same values while honouring those who rejected them.
In political terms it means that political leaders from Daniel O’Connell to John Redmond are airbrushed out of popular history while revolutionaries such as Pádraig Pearse and Michael Collins are elevated to iconic status.

The central problem with this thesis is that it ignores one pertinent fact in relation to ‘democratic standards’ and ‘political leaders’ who supposedly adhered to same.

As I’ve noted previously on this site they failed. They failed utterly.

The Home Rule Party (I should really call it the IIP) didn’t break due to a rejection of ‘democratic standards’ on the part of Republicans, it broke due to the inability and unwillingness of the British to implement an Home Rule policy in relation to Ireland (and more specifically the Third Home Rule Bill) – policy that it had promised but long delayed and then did not realise. If those had been granted, as they were meant to be, and implemented in full it is possible that advanced nationalist thinking would have been delayed by years – though given the cauldron of World War One and all that that implied perhaps not. Moreover, WWI is essential to this history, and in particular the way in which those who went and fought for ‘democratic standards’ at home in Ireland felt betrayed by British inaction on Home Rule. And there are broader issues too. Was British democracy in 1913 to 1922 a paragon which was beyond reproach? This was, after all, a state which denied the exercise of the franchise to women, which in its actions beyond its borders was profoundly imperialist and so on. In relation to this island there was the Curragh Mutiny, overlooked by the British Government of the day. The threat of political violence a product of political unionism. And so on.

Had Home Rule as a project not failed then of course Redmond would be more than what is effectively a footnote in Irish history. But that’s not how history played out and to implicitly point back at Republicanism and ‘revolutionaries’ as being those at fault in this process is absurd. There were a myriad of factors at work here and many of them pre-dated the appearance of Republicanism as a serious force.

But Collins ignores how Home Rule itself set the ground for what came after. From a perspective a little less limited than his own the distinction between Redmond and Pearse was much less clear cut than he appears to believe. I’ve noted previously how an Unionist reading, as offered by Peter Robinson this year at the Carson Lecture, offers a view that is not to the liking of the Collins et al of this world. Robinson noted that:

Those who see the response of Carson and his fellow unionists as an over-reaction to Home Rule fail to recognise that the inevitable outcome of Home Rule was complete independence. Unionists in 1912 saw their very way of life as being under threat and, consistent with the modus operandi of the age, were prepared to go to whatever lengths necessary to defend their position.

There’s no point in dancing around that issue. For Unionism Home Rule was hardly less revolutionary than outright Republicanism (sufficiently so to see Unionism shift to an essentially dissident, oppositional and ultimately armed stance), and once set in train that engine – almost certainly – would not stop short of ultimate disengagement from the Union. And this explains why unionism both in its Irish and British variants was so adamantly opposed, to the point of insurrection, against the half-measure of Home Rule. How does Collins think that in a world absent Republicanism that particular series of events would have been played out?

But Collins excises this from the story because it is only by doing so that he can present a tale of purity untainted by reality.

And let’s not ignore his explicit linking of the past with the present:

The reality is that most of our modern political leaders have far more in common with the values of the old Irish Parliamentary Party and its leader than they have with those who directed the activities of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Yet our current generation of politicians still finds it difficult to acknowledge their political predecessors while falling over themselves to pay obeisance to revolutionary leaders whose values they don’t actually share.
This approach to our past means that those who served as policemen before 1922 are either denigrated or ignored, while those who killed them are accepted as heroes.
Yet when similar events happened in modern times most people were firmly behind the police and opposed to modern armed revolutionaries who at times showed as little compunction about killing gardaí as Collins’s squad had about killing RIC men.

It is interesting to reflect on just how open Collins now is in this thinking. For him it clear the Independence struggle has no clear legitimacy. A curious position to adopt some might think.

I think what irritates me most is the sheer laziness of the analyses on display in relation to these matters. The narrative is that Home Rule – presented as democratic and untainted and, most absurdly of all, attainable – was supplanted by undemocratic ‘revolutionaries’, the RIC must be commemorated because the political context within which Home Rule operated must be made appear as normal as possible in order to exaggerate the rupture that was Republicanism with the pre-existing order.

There’s little doubt that Republicanism was a rupture with that pre-existing order, but that pre-existing order was profoundly dysfunctional in and of itself – as, ironically, the existence of an armed and garrisoned police force indicates.

1974 Radio documentary on The Limerick Soviet August 29, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish History, The Left.

RTE Radios Documentary on One series recently rebroadcast Kevin O’Connors 1974 documentary on The Limerick Soviet.

Well worth a listen.

Economic crisis: Sobering thought of the day… August 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

I’ll just post this up as a sobering thought of the day from CMK who wrote the following comment here (I’ve edited it down just a little).

My understanding is that the government will keep cutting/increasing taxes & charges until they reach the deficit target of 3% of GDP agreed with the Troika under the bailout. And, when they get there, they’ll then have to implement the Austerity Treaty (thanks, Labour) and keep cutting/taxing until we get to the .5% target under THAT treaty. Oh, and while we’re trying to get there we’ll have to start paying down the colossal national debt at a rate of 5% per year in a context where our GDP and GNP gap is about 23% and we have to use the resources of the smaller measure (GNP) to meet targets denominated against the much larger measure (GNP) (EDIT: CMK has amended that to read as follows: The debt reduction under the austerity treaty is, I think, a twentieth every year of the difference between the national debt and 60% of GDP. Not 5% of GDP as I stated in my comment. The gap between GNP and GDP was covered recently by the ILR). It’s a case of the application of the old maxim, on an entire advanced society, of “the beatings will increase until morale improves”.

Let’s assume it pans out exactly as CMK says, it might be interesting to start a discussion here as to what people think the limits of this as practical achievable politics actually are in terms of whether any government can implement that and what sort of resistance to it we might expect (whatever about he economics which seem absurd in terms of meeting targets)

And note today’s latest growth projections from the European Commission, down yet again).

Even the Irish Times admits that:

The forecast cut raises fresh doubts as to whether the economy can grow fast enough to service large debts. Ireland, which returned to long-term bond markets ahead of schedule last month, has avoided joining most of the euro zone in recession but needs growth to accelerate to tackle debt set to peak close to 120 per cent next year.

And what of this gem.

Looking ahead to 2014 and 2015 for the first time, the commission sees GDP growth of 2.5 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively, similar to government projections as it predicts unemployment will fall to a still-high 13.1 per cent from 14.8 per cent this year.

‘Still high’?

%d bloggers like this: