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EU policy hasn't done the Republic any favours

There are many reasons why the Irish economy crashed. Their banks had become too big and too dependent on foreign loans. Banks lent too much to buy property, which fuelled an unsustainable boom.

The Government became too reliant on property taxes, leaving it with a huge deficit after the crash and, finally, the level of public and private debt was massively out of control and stands at a massive 700% of GDP.

However, these reasons alone can't explain the crash. The UK suffers from all of these problems.

Why then is one country the recipient of an IMF/EU bailout and the other is strutting round as Ireland's saviour?

The answer is that, when faced with these problems, the UK had the economic tools to react - namely an independent currency and a central bank.

The painful reality is that Ireland's economy bears little resemblance to its European counterparts and so the EU's monetary policy will rarely - if ever - suit Ireland's needs.

The EU's monetary policy is, from Ireland's perspective, counter-cyclical. In short, it exacerbates both booms and busts.

This is as true for Northern Ireland and the UK as it is for Ireland. That is why it continues to be a bad idea for the UK to join the euro and why the south would benefit from introducing its own currency, or joining a currency which more accurately reflects the needs of their economy.

ALEXANDER REDPATH

Chairman, Lagan Valley Young Unionists

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