With direct flights from Frankfurt Hahn Airport to Kerry, my local airport, it was only a matter of time that I would visit Frankfurt.
Ever since the Frankfurt’s Way or Labour’s Way pre-election declaration in 2011 by the then Irish Labour Party leader, I’ve taken a particular interest in the German city which is home to the European Central Bank (ECB), the Irish taxpayer’s nemesis during recession times.
In an affront to the basic fabric of commerce, Frankfurt got its way by forcing Ireland’s terminally-ill Finance Minister into unfairly burdening Ireland with private bondholder debt.
In an affront to democracy, the ECB failed to co-operate with the Irish Banking Inquiry despite contributing to Ireland’s financial crisis. Even the IMF has criticised the ECB’s actions towards my home country.
FRANKFURT’S WAY: POINTS OF INTEREST
The old ECB HQ building (Eurotower) is located near Willy Brandt Platz in the heart of the city centre.
The new ECB main building is located on Sonnemannstrasse in the south eastern part of the city. It cost €1.4 billion with EU taxpayers footing that bill. The walk along the River Main into the city centre from the new ECB comes recommended.
What Frankfurt bankers lack in humility and democracy, the locals more than make up for in terms of friendliness, helpfulness and cultural endeavour.
Helmut Kohl championed peace, unity and equality in our continent and it was he who canvassed for Frankfurt as the location of the ECB during his tenure as German Chancellor. He may have done the city a disservice considering the vested-interest elite the seemingly unaccountable ECB now harbours.
However, we need to separate the friendly city reality from the negative reputation the ECB thrust upon it. Despite this conundrum, my love for Germany remains intact.
I’m not a Europhobe. In fact, I strongly identify with being European and deeply care about my home continent. My comments here reflect the reservations I have about the democratic deficit that has developed in some EU institutions giving rise to an inequality in Europe.
Irish journalist and writer Fintan O’Toole says the EU “is turning itself from a community of equal nations into a fiscal penal colony with creditor guards and debtor prisoners. It is inequality – mostly but not exclusively economic inequality – that is making the western world increasingly anarchic”.
Widespread unease exists regarding matters in Sonnemannstrasse. But I have no complaints about the rest of Frankfurt.
Frankfurt Hahn Airport is located approximately 120 km from Frankfurt city centre and is served by low-cost airlines such as Ryanair. Bus is the only public transport option from Frankfurt Hahn Airport to Frankfurt city centre and Frankfurt Am Main airport.