Confusion about whether a new administration can negotiate lower interest rates on Ireland's international loans from the eurozone and EU states could have been defused at an early stage if the Irish government and its officials had been more open about the costs from the beginning.
The negotiations last November with the EU, the ECB and the IMF were of course shrouded in the utmost fog from the start. Everyone recalls the fiasco when a troika of ministers on national television denied any knowledge about talks with international lenders, even as the most junior of bond traders in Europe was already discussing the likely amounts that Ireland would need to draw down.
The officials were only in Ireland for 10 days but they too caught the disease of Irish officialdom.
At the Sunday night press conference announcing the international loans, the Irish or international lenders could have published the terms and conditions of all the interest rates. Publication would have shown that the gap between the IMF and the European rates was closer than first appeared, accounting for the terms of the loans. It would also, perhaps inconveniently, have shown that the variable interest rates can rise depending on market conditions. This is indeed what has happened. Karl Whelan, the UCD economics professor, told an Oireachtas committee last week that the European interest rates from Klaus Regling's Facility and from the EU have since risen to 6.45% and 6.1%, respectively.
More openness would show that lower interest rates, although undoubtedly helpful, would make little difference to the prospects of Ireland's solvency. The markets continue to say that the pile of debt is too large for the country to avoid a default or restructuring.