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Yesterday evening (October 5th), the Dáil heard statements on recent developments in the Eurozone in advance of the next Eurozone Heads of State and Government meeting. In his speech, Mick again highlighted the fact that austerity is not working and called on the government to stop payments to senior unsecured bondholders and instead use the money for investment in the domestic economy. See below for the transcript or watch Mick's comments here.

We can accept at this stage that all is not well in Europe. We have the threat of a Greek default and the insolvency of the banks and now that Italy has entered the equation, the current problems have dramatically worsened. Austerity fatigue has set in both in Greece and elsewhere and will probably come to a town near all of us. Bailout fatigue has emerged in Germany and growth is slowing because austerity is killing it. While I accept that not everything wrong in Europe is the Minister’s fault and it would be unfair to blame him for everything, the Government needs to take a new approach. It is time to challenge current thinking in Europe. The failure of austerity will be accepted eventually and the European Union will change tack. Unsecured bondholders will not continue to be paid because the sums do not add up. Most people accept that, regardless of what form it takes, Greece will default.

One need not be a mathematician to see it is impossible for that country to pay its debts. It would be wonderful if our country was the first to stand up and say this is not the way forward. It is difficult because we are a minor player but we would gain much respect for doing that.

Our next payment on an unsecured bondholding is €700 million. Let us keep that for ourselves and spend it on the domestic economy, investing it in our own society. After the Great Depression in the 1930s and the problems Europeans had after the Second World War, the attitude was different. John Maynard Keynes’s philosophy was to restore economies and save societies. It worked. There was 3% growth from 1936 until 1971, when we invented neoliberalism. Average world growth has only been 1.9% since then.

I find it hard to credit that the markets and the neoliberals are being allowed to dictate how we think about all of this because they have been proved inefficient. I refer to one section of an article yesterday by Fintan O’Toole on how people coped in the post-Depression years. He states: “Crucially, it focused very heavily on the human and social consequences of the crisis. Its primary insight was that you can’t save an economy by destroying a society. Jobs, housing, pensions, healthcare and education were at the very heart of the response to the crisis, not as the areas to be attacked but as the springboards for recovery.”

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