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Fine Gael/Labour fear Greek write down would expose their own failure – Adams

30 June, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that Fine Gael and Labour are opposing a debt write down for Greece because it would expose the failure of the Irish Government to demand the same.

Mr Adams said the real concern of the EU, IMF and ECB, and the Fine Gael/Labour government, is political and he called the Government to set aside party political concerns and support the Greek government request for more time to negotiate a fair solution to the debt crisis.

Raising the matter directly with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil this afternoon, Gerry Adams said:

“Taoiseach, the crisis around Greece is about power and punishment. The Greek government is upholding the values of solidarity and co-operation that underpinned the foundation of the European movement. They are being punished for this.

“They are standing up for Greece and the Greek people, who are being punished by hostile EU institutions, the IMF, and some EU governments, including the Irish government.

“Taoiseach, the Irish government has contributed to the current crisis. Last Monday, according to the Financial Times, Minister Noonan along with the German Finance Minister pressed for emergency financial support for Greek banks to be stopped unless capital controls were imposed.

“On Sunday Minister Noonan got his way when the ECB froze it's funding line to Greek banks.

“Last week you railed against the idea of debt write down or of debt relief for the Greek people. That’s no big surprise. You have never asked for a debt write down for the Irish people either.

“Taoiseach, you have written off hundreds of millions in debt for companies in this state, including write downs from state owned and nationalised banks.

“Greece owes this state €300 million - Denis OBrien secured that much in debt write downs from IBRC – a state owned bank. So, you believe that debt write down is ok for some but not for the people of Greece.

“Is it not true that Fine Gael and Labour oppose a write down for Greece because it would expose the failure of this government to demand the same? Will the government set aside your party political concerns and support the Greek government request for more time to negotiate a fair solution?”

Mr Adams later said that he was not surprised by the Taoiseach’s refusal to adopt a more reasonable and compassionate position toward the people of Greece:

“Taoiseach, despite your protestations, you show no empathy for the people of Greece.

“The Greek government has presented reasonable proposals to grow the economy while protecting pensioners and those on low and middle incomes. You don’t favour that.

“They called for a debt conference and a debt write-down. You are against that also.

“Why? Because you chose to impose austerity on those who can least pay for it.

“Last week you claimed that in tackling the economic crisis here that you did not increase income tax, increase VAT, or increase PRSI. That is untrue. You did raise income and consumption taxes.

“You have also introduced water charges and a property tax. You opted for forced emigration and now half a million of our citizens are scattered across the globe.

“One third of our children are living in consistent poverty. The sick and the elderly end up on trolleys instead of hospital beds. They pay the price for your austerity policies.

“The real concern of the EU, IMF and ECB, and your government, is political. The Greek government has made clear its desire to remain within the Eurozone. Is it not now time for the EU to make clear its desire to keep Greece in the Eurozone by negotiating a solution that doesn’t impose years of economic depression on the Greek people?”

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