Have you ever heard of the expenditure benchmark? Do you know how to calculate a structural deficit? Can you explain the interaction between the debt and deficit rules?

If the answer to these questions is no, don’t worry. You are obviously a well-grounded person with a good work life balance.

If the answer is yes, well you clearly need to get out more.

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Fine Gael and Labour’s economic recovery is a tale of two Ireland’s.

GDP is rising. Bond yields are falling. Property prices are recovering. Jobs are being created. People are even buying new cars.

According to Michael Noonan ‘austerity as we know it is over.’

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Speaking last November at a Sinn Féin Conference in Clondalkin Gerry Adams called for a ‘realignment of Irish politics’.

He said, ‘Let those on the left who really believe that a government without Fine Gael or Fianna Fail is possible, begin working now together towards that end.’
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How unequal is our economy? How does our gap between rich and poor compare to EU and OECD counterparts? Are we following the global trend towards higher income inequality?

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The politics and economics of austerity have failed to deliver a fair recovery. However anger or apathy are not the way forward. Opposition to unjust taxes and demands for increased public spending were never enough. We need to promote our workable alternatives to fiscal waterboarding Irish style.

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The significance of Syriza’s victory in Greece cannot be underestimated. It represents much more than opposition to the failed policy of austerity. It is a direct challenge to the social and economic consensus that has dominated Europe and the liberal democratic world for decades.

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Like Robin Hood in reverse, Fine Gael take from the poor and give to the rich. To be more precise they take from low and middle income earners and give to the top 10%.

They are ably helped by their very own Friar Tuck but again in reverse. Labour are the jovial mendicant’s alter ego, slavishly bending to the authority of Frankfurt and Brussels.

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