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Government’s EU negotiation strategy in tatters: McDonald

26 September, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Following last night’s statement by a number of European finance ministers that the ESM bailout fund will only deal with future banking problems, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said it is clear now that the government’s negotiation strategy with the EU on the states banking debt is in tatters.

Deputy McDonald said:
“When an agreement was reached on bank debt at the European Council summit in June the Taoiseach described it as a ‘seismic shift’. The Tánaiste described the deal as a ‘game changer’.

“The government told the Dáil and the Irish people that this deal would, through the ESM, lift the burden of bank debt from the Irish taxpayer. They told us that this deal was to be retrospective.

“Sinn Fein warned that this is not what the European Council’s statement said. We said the government was over selling the implications of the agreement for Ireland.

“Last night’s statement from the finance ministers of Germany, Holland and Finland states that the new permanent EU bailout fund, the ESM, would only be able to deal with future banking problems, and not those which occurred in the past.

“It is clear the government’s so-called negotiation strategy on the banking debt is now in tatters. It has not sought a bank debt write down despite pre-election commitments.

“Labour and Fine Gael continue to pay out unguaranteed bondholders in full. Next week another one billion euros will go to unguaranteed bondholders in AIB.

“Government’s approach has been one of smoke and mirrors. Now at the end of 18 months of bluff and hyperbole it seems we are back to square one.

“The Taoiseach needs to set out clearly once and for all what exactly is its strategy to remove the burden of bad bank debt from the shoulders of the Irish people?” ENDS

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