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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Patriotic Duty or Duty Free? Lenihan cuts 4th Green field adrift.

Patriotism is always the last refuge of the rogue. Once more our urbane Minister for Finance is pointing the finger across the border at southern shoppers who go north for a bargain. It’s his view that we should not go north, to further put revenue into “Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise”. Simple really, it’s not patriotic to go up the M1 anymore. This from a Minister who was elected in 2007 on a platform to build a motorway through Tyrone funded by southern tax payers is just another FF double standard. We can pay for the roads but whatever you do, don’t use them! minister Lenihan's real problem is that retail confidence has colapsed and that while in Britain & the North, Brown is trying to do something about it, Brian can do little other than wrap the green flag around himself.

As one of the 3% citizens in the Republic who’s the son of a northerner I beg to differ. I do not think there is anything wrong in the slightest with a citizen going north to shop. I’ve worked along the border and there has been a traditional trade across the border since before the border was set up. Every town has its hinterland and always will. Some of my relatives work in shops in border towns, they’re entitled to a living. Many of the products which are cheaper up north aren’t made in Irealnad or indeed the EU. Why should competition be good for every other EU citizen but not for us? Why is FF against consumers benefiting from a good exchange rate? As George Lee showed in his documentary globalisation means items made for a dollar a day in the far east is put in a container and the middle man makes a mint by moving that container half way around the world. Many of the retailers in Ireland losing sales to the north are multi-nationals. Transferring profits within the chain and out of the state. Where is the loyalty of some of the retailers Minister Lenihan wishes to protect to our community?

What the Minister conveniently forgets is that trade is often 2 ways. While shoppers for some items move north more than £100M is lost to the British exchequer by northern motorists travelling south for fuel. Add to that the revenue generated for the state by Slab Murphy as he legitimately purchases fuel in this state so that it can be “re-exported” with a minimal processing and turns up on forecourts all over the North. Slab must be asking himself what does a man have to do to get any recognition from this ungrateful state for developing his added value business that generates the hard cash that keeps schools, hospitals and FAS execs in clover!
Given the global and open market that exists since 1992 why should Irish citizens not be able to take advantage of what every other EU citizen is entitled to? I always thought FF were a party that wanted a 32 county state and were themselves a 32 county party? Republican during a boom but little Irelander during a bust.
Strange that these people’s money is good enough to accept in Drumcondra when they come south to Croke Park on All Ireland final day but ours is not to be shared for Christmas Day. Come Cheltenham in Spring every builder in the country will queue in the almost completed Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport to head off to represent this state at the racing and card playing festival, you won’t here any reminder here about patriotism. Indeed if you look closely you’ll probably see one waving a tricolour as an Irish winner is led into the enclosure. So; a woman going north to save a few bob to make ends meet when family finance is tight is unpatriotic, a man over in Cheltenham blowing cash to beat the band is one of the lads. Spare me the wrap the green flag around me guff, Peoples living standards are more important. Our republic is getting stranger.

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