The Troika



(They can take our money but not our spirit.)

So here I am sitting at home, listening to the news and the word Troika being mentioned time and time again. That’s not an Irish word, I thought, nor is it  English. Being interested in words and language I started to  think about how we in Ireland with our own native Irish language found it hard to learn English. Then with the passing of 800 years of Colonial intervention we found it hard to learn Irish. Then we joined the EEC and we were advised to learn French and German. Now we have to learn Russian. The word Troika is Russian, or then again maybe ancient Greek in origin. Who knows? It’s still up for discussion.

Of course what I have learnt is that  it is important to use the [the] when speaking about ‘the troika’.  The Troika is the name for the three organizations which have the most power over Ireland’s future.  These three organisations, in case you don’t yet know are the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB). For ages I used to call the IMF, the MFI. But hubby got upset, particularly when I mentioned it in public, and told me I would have to remember to stop mixing it up with the furniture firm. Then I called it MDF which was the wood I thought I’d use when I wanted to paint the doors on the kitchen presses, now I know exactly what the IMF is because now I need to know. It’s serious business. No more joking here.

Getting back to ‘the troika’ – which means, if you haven’t researched it – a sleigh, and by the way not a nice  Santa type sleigh drawn by reindeer that bring gifts to every household.  No, the troika  is drawn by three horses, hence the number three bit. The troika was only used in the cold weather. It was pulled by the horses in dangerous conditions.

So here we are in Ireland, now being pulled by The Troika, because financially its freezing here, and now we are answering to Germany. They know our budget before we do, we the people of this ancient island, who have not yet celebrated one hundred years of independence.

Why should we bail out German and other bond holders at our own expense?  What legacy are we leaving for our children? Are we going to have to gain fluency in the German language in order to understand our own budgets and laws in the future?  

In fairytale land, writers loved to use the number three. The Genie and the three wishes, The Three Little Pigs; The Three Bears; The Three Billy Goats Gruff.  Three is the significant number for when something important is going to happen. In  The Three Little Pigs, the first house is made of straw, the second made of sticks, both easily destroyed. Only the third house is ‘just right’. In fairytale land only the third option can work. Has ‘The Troika’ come here to ensure that Europe is ‘Just Right’ at our expense?  That only The Trioka can work out our problems?

What is going on in Europe is not a fairytale. These three organisations do not make happy ever after reading – more a nightmarish scenario.

Be careful out there. The Troika may be coming to a country near you.   

(C) Eithne Reynolds


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