Bruce Arnold

Chief Critic of the Irish Independent, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

We need to strengthen UK ties before EU strangles us

Ireland has closer connections with Britain than with any other European country. We do more trade with Britain. We speak the same language. We have, or had, the same democratic standards, our own emerging, with independence, from the British model. The same applies to our laws and a good deal of our legislation.

There are few men and women of even moderate means who do not rely on the British financial markets and hold investments. These are quoted on the London Stock Exchange, the affairs of which are closely followed. Share prices, comment on the market and practical advice are all part of the reporting in the main Irish daily and Sunday newspapers. Read More...

Ten wishes for what will be a difficult year ahead

I preface these aspirations by saying that 2011, under the combined administration of Fine Gael and Labour in a powerful coalition, has turned an important corner.

It has established sound government, given clear political leadership and made an effective start on reform and change. The Government has not done enough but the start made is reassuring.

The disaster that preceded this is becoming a dim but still bitter memory. It created massive problems and left us stripped of sovereignty and of real wealth. Yet one of the good results, a year ago, was that a spirit of recovery and unexpected determination emerged and will underpin what we do in the coming year. Read More...

Our new place in Europe must be closer to Britain

The real headache facing the Government, as ministers like Leo Varadkar have indicated, is not the Budget. Other ministers are less sure of themselves about what will happen at the forthcoming EU summit and whether or not we can screw our courage to the sticking point as the euro crisis deepens. But the summit is very much our crisis as much as everyone else's and recognising this as well as knowing what to do about it overshadows our lives as nothing before has done.

Moreover, we are as much part of the solution as Germany is, and whereas Germany represents herself as being on a special level, enjoying the solitary splendour of supremacy and dictating the non-democratic terms of its fiscal empire, we are representative of a majority of the other nations. Read More...