Monday, May 28, 2012
Later this week on May 31, the citizens of Ireland will vote on ratification of the European Stability/Fiscal/Austerity Treaty (the name depends on your view of the treaty here in Ireland). The treaty will allow Ireland to receive additional financial aid from the EU to help it recover from the recession, but comes with strings attached which will mean more belt tightening. Irishmen and women who describe themselves as practical believe they must vote in favor because the money is needed, while the other side argues that austerity measures have already been tried and are not working. Both sides are angry at the banks for making bad loans and essentially "getting away with it" while the citizens have to suffer cuts. There is also concern about the effect of the ill health of banks in Greece and Spain on Ireland. The countryside is plastered with posters such as those shown here urging citizens to vote one way or the other. The polls show the "yes" vote has it, and my informal talks with friends and acquaintances here in Ireland gives me the impression the polls have it right, although many people have commented that they will be voting "yes" while "holdin' their nose."