Bruce Arnold

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

Kenny's strength lies in his singleness of purpose

In plain language, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, has told us that the proposed Fiscal Stability Treaty, which the heads of state and government are expected to agree today, will result in a diminution of sovereignty over budgetary policy in participating countries.

This really draws a line under the massive and sustained deception that has gone on through the past four years as a deeply undemocratic Europe, together with the giddy and deceitful politicians who led us through the crucial Lisbon Treaty years, tried to cover up the true implications of what they were deciding and recommending. Read More...

Frustration growing as debate on Europe stifled

Public recognition that a national debate is needed on Ireland's future in Europe is growing despite attempts to throttle or pre-empt it. Last Friday, in the Dail, at a meeting of former Oireachtas members attending a seminar on Ireland and Europe, there were references to the growing dissatisfaction felt about bad leadership or no leadership or secretive leadership. A tide of public reaction is building.

Notable contributors included Alan Dukes, who heads what was once Anglo Irish Bank, and Geraldine Kennedy, former editor of the 'Irish Times'. Alan Dukes made a statement about us being 'led by the nose', notably by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, referring to the former as "a very substantial lady who knows what she is doing". Read More...

Why we need someone like Ganley in Europe

We all face crisis decisions in our lives. We save and borrow to buy a house. We change houses, if we can afford to, as our families grow or we enjoy success. Sometimes this decision is made to meet a reversal in fortune. We bank our earnings and savings and trust the banks to treat us truthfully and with respect for our custom. We make other important investments -- all of them on some kind of trust. And in all of this, we depend on the law and on the part we can play in the shaping of this through the democracy to which we belong.

Most of us have pride in this system and want it protected by those who govern us. That is the nature of our society and the nature of human response to it. Out of its proper working, in good times and in bad, has been fashioned our love of country and of the places to which we belong. Older people have known bad times more than good ones. The early creation of what we hold dear was not easy; it was fashioned out of emigration, labour abroad, hard times, wartime isolation, and even, in the 1950s, misgivings about our survival as a society. Read More...

Like Lemass, we should not be in thrall to Europe

Whatever Lucinda Creighton may have meant in her reference to the possibility that we might 'revert to clinging on to the coattails of the UK', this is not our position

Ronan Fanning developed an interesting argument in the 'Sunday Independent' a week ago. It was two-pronged. It had a debating dimension that attempted to be rational and historical, dealing with Ireland's relationship with Europe and invoking Sean Lemass as the main force in what he had to say. Read More...

Europe steering a course that will drive us to ruin

What I will describe as 'conventional wisdom', using the term in its most pejorative way, is still being applied -- and widely applied -- to an economic and political crisis that is in the process of devouring us. Its ingredients are as follows:

The wisdom is: we must stick together. That means the states that are in the eurozone. They have stuck together, tightly, through an increasingly long chronology of failed measures and have been failed by these. Read More...