Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said today that the Irish government must seek a meeting with its EU counterparts to discuss a write down of Irish debt. Doherty said the looming spectacle of an Irish finance minister signing off on a Greek debt default at an ECOFIN meeting, then returning to Ireland to implement austerity budgets in order to service a massive debt bill, is unacceptable.
Deputy Doherty said:
“We have a debt crisis in Europe which can only be solved by writing down the debt. This is becoming apparent in Greece, but because of the Irish government's eagerness to please other EU leaders, Fine Gael and Labour are not willing to negotiate a write-down of Irish debt. Demanding a debt write-down would be the patriotic thing for this government to do. Fianna Fáil may have given away our economic sovereignty but this should not prevent any Irish government from acting in a patriotic fashion.
“We now face the looming spectacle of an Irish Finance Minister signing off on a Greek debt write-down at an ECOFIN meeting then returning to Ireland to implement an austerity budget in order to service a mounting debt bill. This is unacceptable. The Greek debt is as unsustainable as the Irish debt and seeing as most of our debt was accumulated as a result of the state taking on private banking debt, I would argue we have an even more convincing case for debt reduction.
“The Irish government must immediately place on the negotiating table a write-down of the Anglo Irish promissory note and burden sharing with the ECB. It should look further at how much debt is sustainable for Ireland. The Irish people recognised the need for such a solution when they manifestly rejected Fianna Fail policies in the last election. The Irish people believed that there would be a policy change, only to have Fine Gael and Labour implement the same sell-out of the Irish taxpayer.
“We need a government that will argue for a new direction in Europe – one of debt write-down, an ECB-led recapitalisation of the banking system and investment in growth and recovery.”