>> 20 Sep 2004

Irish Sea Lampreys

Ever heard of the Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)? It is a large cartilaginous fish which attaches itself to other fish, sucking the blood till the host creature dies. The American Government has identified it as a potential menace in US waters.

Here in the imbroglio of European politics we have our very own 'sea lamprey'. It's called the Republic of Ireland. It coupled itself to the European 'host animal' in 1973 and has been sucking its financial haemoglobin ever since. Yes folks, this apparent gem of economic competence still goes cap-in-hand to the EU cash cow to hoover up vast quantities of money to fund aspects of its pathetically poor infrastructure.

I have brought up this anomaly before, only to be roundly condemned by those who detest having Hibernian home-truths thrown back at them. If we take the word of the Irish government, that country now has a standard of living comparable to several other mainstream EU states. Of the four net recipients of EU funds the Irish have, by far, the highest standard of living. In addition, average wages in the Republic are now higher than those of France and Italy - two net contributors. Yet the Irish not only wallow in greater financial benefits that the Greeks, the Spanish or the Portuguese, they wallow in greater pools of money than any other EU citizen. 'In terms of cash per head, this amounts to net receipt of 391.7 euros for each Irish national.'

Mmm, I wonder if the gradual rise of Euro-scepticism in Ireland has anything to do with the reality that funds will not be so readily available now that 10 realtively impoverished members have joined the fold. Oh how could I be soooo cyncial (tongue in cheek)!!?


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