Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has responded to the Taoiseach’s ongoing input into the unfolding Greek crisis.
Deputy Martin commented, “For months the government has been claiming publicly that it wants a generous and fair settlement of Greece’s debt problems. However, this façade has been exposed in the last few days. Last Monday behind closed doors, our government took a leading role in threatening to effectively collapse the Greek banking sector unless Greece immediately toed the line. This was a position so extreme that even the ECB rejected it.
“Minister Noonan argued strongly and repeatedly that Greece be forced to introduce capital controls before the ongoing liquidity support provided for Greek banks could be continued. He was playing hardball supporting the German Finance Minister who is against concessions to Greece, indifferent towards its place in the Euro and one of those who took a damaging position towards Ireland’s interests in the past. That our government would side with him against Greece is a disgrace.
“Yesterday we had the Taoiseach wading in with more unhelpful comments, raising doubts about the tax raising measures that Greece were considering and also firmly ruling out any debt relief. Instead he asked the Greek government to follow Ireland’s debt example, forgetting that at the time of Ireland’s greatest peril he and his party voted against every measure that was put in place to address our debt.
“The Taoiseach seems to have forgotten or decided to omit the fact that his government have introduced 45 tax increases including increases in tax on income, VAT and the abolition of the PRSI allowance which cost every worker €264 a year.”
Martin concluded “The Taoiseach appears to have abandoned any sense of solidarity with the Greek people and is instead siding with a small minority of hard-line states. He seems to be following the orthodoxy of the EPP rather than representing the views of the Irish people who want to show solidarity with the Greek people who have suffered a great deal since 2010. There is over 50% unemployment amongst their youth and every effort should be made to prevent Greece from exiting the Eurozone as this will cause more instability and jeopardise the weak recovery already taking place across the EU.”