ECB debt decision an epic failure, says Begg


UNION ADDRESS:THE ECB has been accused of a “reprehensible” position on Ireland’s debt burden by the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions David Begg.

He told the Labour Party conference in Galway at the weekend that the decision to conflate Ireland’s banking and sovereign debt was “a policy failure of epic proportions”.

“The fact that the ECB was complicit in that decision and will not now take its boot off our necks to allow us to ameliorate that debt is reprehensible,” he said.

He said the Ictu was working with Labour Ministers to promote the idea of using some part of the €73 billion in private pension funds to build infrastructure.

“It matters hugely that Labour moved immediately on entering Government to reverse the decision of the previous government to cut the minimum wage,” said Mr Begg.

“It matters hugely that Labour in Government blocked the deconstruction of the Joint Labour Committee System.

“It matters hugely that social protection is in the charge of a Labour Minister who believes in the concept of social justice and a threshold of decency below which nobody should be forced to exist.

“It matters hugely that a Labour Minister held out against breaking up the ESB,” Mr Begg went on.

“It matters hugely that the Labour leadership prevented a fire sale of State assets.

“It matters hugely that education is in the hands of a Labour Minister who believes the integrity of the system must be preserved at all costs to give our children a chance of a decent future.

“It matters hugely that Labour in Government, led by the Tánaiste, will work to ensure that when we emerge from this crisis it will be to a new Ireland in which ethics and good corporate governance, and not just accommodating legal advice, will dictate business practice,” said Mr Begg.