Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Ireland seen from Iceland – and Greece

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I’m in Dublin again – was here in December 2010 just as the effect of Ireland’s bank bailout had forced Ireland to be bailed out by the EU and the IMF. And the UK, which has staunchly refused to be drawn into the eurozone debacle, did add to the bailout package.

An organisation, Claiming Our Future, is organising an event tomorrow, on “Reinventing Our Democracy” – as the title says, to discuss these issues and the way forward for Ireland. The same attempts have been going on Iceland, in particular related to writing a new constitution, a process that’s still not finished.

The spirit here seems rather bleak. Not much optimism, as often is when unemployment is high – 14% here at the moment – and not much change in sight. This is a country where privately held debt – accumulated by bad banking and unsound speculation – was allowed to migrate over to the public sector.

But how about writing down this debt? The leading political parties aren’t too keen on it. Isn’t that just for countries who in reality are bankrupt? For countries in a really horrid situation like Greece?

Maybe – but why look at it so negatively? Is Ireland safe and sound over the worst? No, I don’t think so. There are rumours of a second unavoidable bailout looming. The pain has increased when the unsustainable situation isn’t solved but only mended. Then things drag on, the situation again gets unsustainable and yet another bailout is negotiated. It is very costly not to solve the real problems.

Greece has already restructured its private debt. Why shouldn’t Ireland consider doing the same?

*Last night, I was on a panel at a political chat show here, Tonight with Vincent Browne. You can watch it here – in the first bit the focus is on Iceland and Ireland. Then the discussion moved to EU.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

May 25th, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Posted in Iceland

One Response to 'Ireland seen from Iceland – and Greece'

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  1. I have just watched the Political chat show, you were in Sigrun and I highly recommend others do the same.
    I think Sigrun, you have a way of discussing facts and positions in such a clear and precise manner that those who didn’t understand before can certainly pick it up.
    It would be useful to Politicians if you did many such debates as part of the problems stem from Politicians not comprehending nor seeking to inform themselves about serious issues.
    Discussion leads to comprehension.
    We all watched it and frankly, learnt a lot. thanks!
    Please give us more links of the sort and do more discussions .

    George Ward

    26 May 12 at 10:18 am

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