Irish Republican News · May 12, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Coalition’s inaction saps confidence, claims lives

26-County Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of not standing up for Irish interests following secretive emergency meetings of the European Union.

The Dublin government is facing mounting public unease over its failure to deal with the mounting debts from the bank bailout and the budget deficit -- now over a quarter of a trillion euro.

Speaking in the Dail, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams highlighted one such meeting last week in Luxembourg with select European Union finance ministers, involving France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, the European Central Bank and EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn. Ireland was not involved.

He said that today [Thursday] “EU Commission president Barroso and German chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU Council president are to meet, not to discuss the Irish situation but to discuss the Greek situation”.

Mr Adams called on Mr Kenny to “stand up for Irish interests. You’re not at this point doing it.”

He also said during Greek demonstrations protesters held up placards saying: “We are not the Irish,” and that was the issue. Mr Kenny replied: “We are not the Greeks. We are the Irish, and we will deal with our problem in our way.”

The two men clashed amid renewed public and international concern over the grave financial crisis facing the 26-County state.

There is a growing acceptance that Ireland cannot afford the 85 billion euro bailout loan agreed as part of a package with the IMF. However, the Dublin government has so far failed to express an alternative strategy, and has refused to countenance either calls for an orderly or partial default or withdrawal from the Euro, as strategies to deal with the crisis.

In one hugely discussed opinion piece, independent economist Morgan Kelly warned that Ireland’s only means of survival would be to walk away from the EU/IMF bail out.

Kelly, who is credited with speaking out about the dangers of the property bubble in 2006, also controversially blamed US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Irish Central Bank chief Patrick Holohan, among others, for the fact that Ireland did not get a better deal on its debt.

Meanwhile, a jobs initiative announced this week was widely welcomed, although the news that privately pension funds were being expropriated in order to pay for the plan has alarmed the public. A new levy will see the government take 1.8bn from private pension holders over the next four years, to pay for the training schemes and subsidise employment.

But public anger deepened when it emerged that the types of retirement funds used by wealthy employees and rich company bosses would not be subject to the levy.

Meanwhile, Kenny today [Thursday] also ruled out debt forgiveness for struggling borrowers, despite a High Court warning that banks are hounding their own customers to suicide.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and several Cabinet ministers struggled to defend the coalition’s response to the personal debt crisis after the startling intervention by one of the country’s top court officials.

Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan, a brother of the Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan, accused lenders who were “cheerleaders for the Celtic Tiger” of pursuing debtors to the bitter end.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the comments set out very clearly the “catastrophic consequences” of aggressive banks pursuing desperate people laden with debts they cannot meet.

She said present bankruptcy laws were clearly inadequate and accused the government of failing so far to act to protect the interests of distressed debtors and mortgage holders. She also called on the government to “address this matter with some urgency” and give a commitment that new legislation would be published “with the haste it requires”.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News