“People being sold into economic bondage” – Ó Caoláin
Speaking in the Dáil against the IMF/EU deal, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Fianna Fáil/Green Government “couldn’t negotiate snow off a rope”.
“Thanks to the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and – above all – a craven Fianna Fáil/Green Government – the people are being sold into economic bondage.
“We will be burdened with an average interest rate on this loan of at least 5.8% with the Government admitting that this can vary according to market conditions. These conditions will almost certainly see this interest rate rise. What are the interest rates for the different elements within the plan? We do not know what the real cost of this loan will be.
“The IMF representative has also made clear that funds can be shifted between elements of this deal. In other words funds supposedly allocated for the public finances can be added to the billions to be thrown into the black hole of the banks.
“The extension by a year to 2015 of the time set for the reduction of the deficit vindicates what Sinn Féin had said, uniquely among the Dáil political parties, that the four year timeframe was totally unrealistic. Yet we were dismissed by the Government for taking that position.
“This deal protects bond-holders while being linked to a four-year plan that punishes low to middle income earners in Ireland and which will devastate public services.
“It is appalling that this deal is to take money from the National Pensions Reserve Fund to shovel yet more resources into the black hole of the banks.
“In Sinn Féin’s economic recovery plan 2011 ‘There is a Better Way’ we called for the transfer of €7 billion from the National Pensions Reserve Fund for a State-wide investment programme. This would be a three-and-half-year employment and infrastructure development package to provide stimulus and to protect existing jobs and create new employment.
“Instead we have an EU/IMF deal to raid the Fund to bail out the banks and we have a so-called ‘Recovery Plan’ for four years with no stimulus for growth and no strategy for jobs.
“I note that the Taoiseach again today at Order of Business referred to our proposals as ‘rubbish’. If this Taoiseach and Government had shown less arrogance and more willingness to listen to alternative viewpoints and alternative proposals then it would not have led this State into the current perilous position.
“My party has some experience of negotiations. I’ll tell you this. Looking at this rotten deal I can only conclude that this Government couldn’t negotiate snow off a rope.
“The consequences of this deal are so huge that I can only compare it to the Act of Union. In that case there was a vote in the Irish Parliament and the British Government had to bribe the members to vote for the Union. This Government saves itself the trouble of bribing the members by denying a vote.” ENDS