Staying in the euro will condemn Ireland to a generation of poverty and emigration, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan wrote in The Daily Telegraph this week.
Because it participates in a single currency, the Republic will always have the wrong interest rates and the wrong exchange rate, he wrote.
"The single currency prevents Ireland from doing what every other country would do in this situation, namely pricing itself back into the market."
Hannan instead suggests the option of a temporary monetary union with the UK, accompanied by an agreement that Ireland’s outstanding loans would be treated as having been issued in sterling.
Hannan cites a recent study that found more than a third of Irish voters are not opposed to the idea. According to his data, more than a third of them want to ditch the euro and adopt the pound.
"My guess is that that figure will shoot up once it becomes clear that the bail-out is really a way to transfer wealth from Irish taxpayers to bankers and Eurocrats. Having been ruined by the euro, the Irish are now being expected to carry almost the whole cost of propping up the European banking system," Hannan wrote.
Deepening the debt of an already over-mortgaged country is no help at all, Hannan wrote. Instead, Britain should be prepared to accept the sterling denomination of Irish loans and – in recognition of Irish sovereignty – to allow Ireland to appoint its share of members of the Monetary Policy Committee, which he called a substantial improvement on the pre-1979 deal.
Hannan concluded: "So far, of course, most Irish voters (and almost all Irish politicians) oppose such a link, and it’s their call, obviously. All I’m saying is that the UK should be prepared to offer a viable alternative if asked. It’s the least we owe our neighbors."
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