Adams accused of economic 'ignorance'


Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was today accused of displaying “an ignorance of economics” over his ideas on how the State's budgetary problems should be handled.

Fine Gael communications spokesman Leo Varadkar said Mr Adams's insistence that Ireland should act unilaterally over its debt and leave the banks to take care of themselves was incorrect.

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin would not have invited the International Monetary Fund (IMF) into Ireland. He said the Finance Bill should not be passed as Ireland could not afford the Budget it underpinned or to give a dig out to private bondholders.

“We should let the private bankers sort out their own debt,” he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland. “No man, woman or child should have to pay for the sins of the bankers.”

Mr Adams also said his party would "act unilaterally" in dealing with the crisis. "We would say to the banks that we are closing down Anglo Irish," he said.

Mr Varadkar said the Finance Bill had nothing to do with bondholders. “I think nothing has changed in the last five years and since the last election when Mr Adams showed his ignorance of economics," he said.

Mr Varadkar said taking a unilateral approach would not be successful as the European Central Bank and IMF would “cut us off” and force Ireland to return to the bond markets where massive premiums would need to be paid to secure funding.

He said that if the ECB withdrew its support for the Irish banking sector, any savings put away by members of the public would be wiped out.

Mr Adams said Fine Gael would rather stand with the banks than with the lower and middle income families of the State. “We would negotiate with the bond market after we have straightened out the crisis in our own economy,” he said.

He said Ireland needed to punch above its weight and “put it up to” the ECB and IMF. “The Germans and French understand the entire euro zone could be affected by [this],” he said.

Mr Varadkar said Fine Gael would seek to renegotiate the terms of the bailout if it entered government. He also said the Finance Bill could be altered after an election if any issues arise.