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Labour cannot ‘cherry pick’ IMF programme – Ferris

3 February, 2011 - by Martin Ferris TD

Sinn Féin has accused Labour of attempting to portray itself as being radically opposed to the IMF bailout while intent on entering government to implement it.

“While we welcome Labour adopting our position on pushing back the deadline for reducing the deficit, and its criticism of the IMF being brought in, Labour needs to follow the logic of this and come out and join Sinn Féin and others in saying that they would refuse to implement the IMF austerity programme if in power.

“During a conference on December 17 Chopra stated that Labour had accepted the basic parameters of the IMF bailout. That will not only include massive cuts in order to pay for the bank debt but will also include privatisation of state assets. He also ruled out any renegotiation of the IMF loan. Nor has there been any indication from the EU that they are willing to renegotiate the interest on their loan. Privatisation would also lead to large-scale job losses and damage public services.

“What exactly will Labour renegotiate?

“Labour have said that they will oppose privatisation while Fine Gael have indicated that they will look at the option of selling off state companies in whole or in part.

“Given that Brian Lenihan has admitted that the IMF has already met with Irish government officials to discuss the privatisation of state assets, and that this would be a live option as part of the IMF programme (Dáil PQ replies 231, 234, 235, January 12), any new government will have to make its position clear on this before it takes office.

“Sinn Féin is totally opposed to a fire sale of viable and valuable state assets as part of its principled and total opposition to the IMF/EU bailout.” ENDS

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