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Commissioner Designate's response at hearing to Lynn Boylan MEP a patronising 'pat on the head' for the Irish Government

7 October, 2014 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan today questioned the Commissioner Designate for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen in Brussels.

Ms. Boylan vigorously challenged the former Prime Minister of Finland during the hearing giving the Commissioner Designate some real life facts and figures from Ireland. Speaking after the Hearing the Dublin MEP said:

"I attempted to clarify a few home-truth facts for Mr. Katainen. I get the impression here in Brussels that the European Commissioner Designates know little of the true story of what has happened in Ireland.

"I told Mr. Katainen that the unemployment rate remains a persistent problem in Ireland and that 250,000 of our citizens have emigrated.

"I explained that if that figure of 250,000 was added to the number of people forced into labour activation measures our unemployment rate in Ireland would now stand at 23%.

"In addition I informed him that in the last 3 years private investment has collapsed and our Department of Enterprise budget has been slashed by an incredible €66 million.

"Mr. Katainen has previously stated that a legacy debt deal for Ireland would be inappropriate. I asked him directly today if he had reviewed his position and if not, could he explain how Ireland could ever publicly invest in job creation when its citizens continue to bear the brunt of saving the Euro.

"To be honest his response was somewhat patronising. He said that 'the Irish people are a brave nation in taking responsibility of the country's own challenges' and that all member states are 'in a similar situation'. No doubt our government will be delighted with this 'pat on the head' which ties in with their sycophantic response to all things European.

"His response once again highlights the vast gulf between the attitude held towards Ireland in Europe and the story our Government brings home.

"Sinn Féin has pointed out time and again that Ireland is now seen as being the poster-boy for austerity in Europe and that Irish Governments tactics in seeking recapitalization of banks has utterly failed.

"The new Commission will constantly point towards Ireland as an example of austerity working perfectly. However they close their eyes to the consequences of harsh cuts and unfair taxes wrought upon families up and down the country, just as our government has.

"We in Sinn Féin will make it clear that austerity does not work and that the issue of bank recapitalization must be urgently addressed by any new Commission.

"Today's hearing was another stark reminder that we need strong voices to speak out on behalf of the Irish people in Europe. All they have been hearing in Brussels through our years of austerity is the obedient voice of the Irish government as it repeatedly bows to its European masters." 

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