Everyone across Europe, it would appear, with the exception of politicians and officials here, is talking about the inevitability of Ireland, and not just Greece, needing to restructure or reschedule its debt repayments.
Reuters reported last week that the new adviser to Angela Merkel had told German newspapers that it was inevitable that Greece would need to restructure. But the comments about Ireland by Lars Feld, an economist designated by the German cabinet as a member of its team of "wise men", were not widely reported here.
"I don't believe Greece will manage without a cut in its debt. And then German guarantees will be needed," the business daily Handelsblatt's website quoted Feld as saying.
Feld was also quoted by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as saying he doubted Greece could meet its debt payments and that Greece and Ireland would need a debt rescheduling or restructuring rather than a long-term rescue facility, said Reuters.
Talk privately to senior advisers here and they will tell you that the EU – meaning Berlin and Paris – will have to resolve Europe's debt crisis by starting with Ireland and Greece. The debt pile here is just too large for a weakened economy to bear. Yet, as has been noted elsewhere, the election campaign here will unlikely feature much of this crucial debate. Irish electors were the last to know about EU-IMF bailout even though the most junior traders on Europe's government bond desks knew early last year that Ireland would need international support.
Sovereign interest rates tell the same story about the inevitability of Ireland needing to negotiate with its creditors. The 10-year rate was this weekend at a subprime-style 8.5%. Feld is merely repeating what the markets have long realised.