THOSE days when a junior minister could be forced to resign over the accidental leaking of budget information mere minutes before its official publication seem almost comical now, given the nonchalant exposure to a global audience this week of the Government’s planned VAT changes.
But the indignation that greeted the discovery that German MPs — and by consequence the international press corps — were poring over the plans a full three weeks before Irish TDs even had wind of them is pointless.
The fact is that our finances are no longer our business. They stopped being so as soon as we signed up to the EU/ECB/IMF rescue deal, and trying to pretend that we can keep a level of privacy under the troika’s searchlights is delusional.
That is not to say that it is palatable, but the humiliation of what happened this week should serve as a reminder of what we have lost in terms of our independence.
It also shows that while we are quick to capitalise on praise for the responsible way in which we are facing up to our economic failings, we have not yet managed to unblot our economic copybooks.
We remain on life support, and those who are keeping the plug in the socket see no reason why our medical files should be confidential. If we want to regain a healthy respect for our integrity, we need to get our finances healthy.
Getting hung up on who knows our vital signs and treatment regimen in the meantime only diverts from the real problem.
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