42% of Europe's banking crisis has been paid by Ireland.
Read that figure again. Ireland, a tiny island off the coast of Europe with a population of just four million, has paid for fully 42% of the entire European banking crisis that wrecked its economy.
On its face 42% is already such a disproportionate burden that it would be laughable if it wasn't so infuriating. The figures show that while the banking crisis cost Berlin 40 billion euro, Ireland is still being held liable for 41 billion.
Recall too that the property speculators, the high flying bankers, the failed so-called regulators and the incompetent politicians who in concert brought Ireland to its knees are all still free, all still walking around, and still in most cases even walking through the raindrops.
Is it any wonder that the people split the government and guillotined its mandate to govern with a majority in the last election in February?
Recall how the banking crisis did catastrophic damage, both seen and unseen, sending tens of thousands of young Irish people to the emigrant boats and planes (Ireland has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe, particularly among young men, which many experts have linked to the fallout from the crisis).
Recall how the major players in property development world held inordinate influence on our pliant politicians, to the extent where the construction industry accounted for an unprecedented fifth of the Irish economy during the Celtic Tiger years. The projects that resulted were financed by massive loans from European financial institutions.
Now the hangover has arrived and so the country with only a tiny fraction of the population and GDP of Germany finds the crisis has cost it 25% of its GDP (and Germany just 1.5%).
There is no end in sight either. Ireland, one of Europe’s better performing economies, will not be getting any write-offs. Although Greece is likely to raise the question of debt relief this week, the Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has ruled it out for Ireland.
Ireland “got what we wanted”, he told the press this week, having secured extended maturities on our EU bailout loans and a refinancing of IMF borrowings. The choice was between a rock and a hard place.
Read more: Remember the Celtic Tiger? Now it’s the ‘Celtic Phoenix.’