The three-year reliance on official lenders (the EU and the IMF) is coming to an end and the government naturally wants to see Ireland’s exit from the programme as a cause for celebration. At one level perhaps it is; Ireland has managed to reduce the budget deficit, more or less, in line with what was expected. But the economy remains in a deep slump, with economic growth for 2013 likely to be negligible.

The State debt is daunting, the banks remain fragile and credit availability is weak or non-existent. At European level, there has been no delivery on promises to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns.