By Aishling Phelan
A DCU economics lecturer who believes the economic policies of the European Union are revolved around the best interests of Germany has said that it is only a matter of time before the euro currency collapses and it is essential that Ireland now exits the euro.
Speaking at the DCU Debate and Law society’s ‘this house believes Ireland should leave the euro’ debate, Billy Kelly said, ‘‘We delude ourselves that were a community of equals’ it is all about the German’s self-interest.’’
Three DCU lecturers participated in the lively discussion on whether or not Ireland should leave the single euro currency along with Fine Gael City councillor for Dublin North-West, Billy Tormey.
Kelly added, ‘Currency unions need fiscal discipline for it to work. The situation for the last couple of years was that countries were allowed to independently borrow with repercussions for other member states.’’
He added, ‘‘We should get out now when we still have the chance to be architects of our own destiny.’’ He believes that we should not question whether the euro will collapse but rather get out before it collapses. He was confident that companies would stay in Ireland if we left the euro because 90 per cent of companies locate in Ireland because it’s a ‘tax haven.’
Lecturer from the DCU School of Law and Government, Dr. Michael Breen speaking for the opposition strongly disagreed. He said he was not naïve and considered that there is a chance the euro will collapse but stated, ‘‘We must try to keep it together. We can’t be the ones that trigger the break up, it should be someone else.’’
He believes there would be major repercussions for leaving the euro. ‘‘All contracts redenominated to punt, mortgages, taxes changed. Counting system, vending machines, coins, notes would have to be all changed.
It would lead to a major upheaval in the Irish economy and the flight of capital and investors. ‘‘People would know their money would devalue. People would take their money out of the country. Deposits in banks would freeze. There would be no money in the banks.’’
He also acknowledged the political cost of being the first to leave the euro. ‘‘We would antagonise other EU countries. We would be considered a second class citizen within the EU.’
Councillor Billy Tormey, also speaking for the opposition said that it was essential that we stay with the euro to ‘protect multinational Europe where we look after each other’s rights.’
He also strongly believes the bank guarantee has plunged the country into an even deeper problem. ‘‘The consequences for ‘the ordinary guy’ is no money for social welfare, public sector pensions and universities.’’
According to Tormey, leaving the euro would result in hospital closures and a 40 per cent cut in social welfare. He pointed out that not having sufficient funds for social welfare would create chaos because the social welfare culture is ingrained in so many areas of society.
In relation to Greece, he predicted that ‘‘it will be written off but it will be disguised as something else.’’
He also agreed with the opposition that Germany fixated on it self-interest and guarding closely its most valuable asset which is its exports. His beliefs are that we are providing subvention to German banks. ‘‘German’s interest is in its exports, the is money given to Europe so we continue to buy German exports.’’
‘‘If we were to leave the euro foreign imports would sky rocket by 30 per cent, every pensioner would suffer, all fuels would go up, the costs in shops would explode. ‘’
Tormey made a reference to the polish economy. ‘There are polish people with PHD’s washing floors, paying for what is happening in their country because they can’t make money in Poland.’
He stated that Ireland needs Germany and that it must save the rest of Europe. ‘‘We’re so incompetent, we need someone to kick our ass into shape.’’
The majority of those in attendance voted in favour of the opposition and believed that Ireland should not leave the euro.