Greek MP calls for No vote


A prominent member of Greece’s radical left party Syriza has called on the Irish voters "to revolt against austerity" by rejecting next week’s treaty referendum.

At a press conference in Dublin hosted by the United Left Alliance, Despina Charalampidou said Greece was "a living example of the economic disaster" of austerity.

Ms Charalampidou, who was elected to the Greek parliament earlier this month as part of a surge in support for anti-bailout parties, said austerity policies were destroying her country and the living standards of low and middle income workers across the continent.

"In Greece, 50 per cent of hospital beds have been cut, 50 per cent of young people are unemployed. We are seeing more suicide, homelessness and even malnutrition."

She said Europe was at "very critical crossroads due to the financial crisis" and voters faced two clear options.

"Either submit to the policies of austerity, unemployment, and fiscal barbarity or fight for a new Europe."

Ms Charalampidou said if the Irish people vote No on May 31st they would not be alone as there was a revolt and a struggle across austerity ongoing across Europe.

"A No vote will be welcomed by millions across Europe who are fighting against austerity."

Ms Charalampidou, a trade union activist and a member of Syriza central political committee, said Irish voters were being subjected to propaganda about Greece, referring to suggestions by those on the Yes side who sought to use what is happening in Greece as an argument to vote Yes.

She claimed Greek television had showed isolated incidents from recent riots and protests in Athens in order "to terrorize the Greeks and the world around it" so people will not take up the fight against austerity.

Asked if she thought Greece would leave the euro zone, Ms Charalampidou said: “We don’t want to leave the euro. We like the European Union, it is our home.”

However, she said her party wanted a Europe based on equality and justice, and stood against the current policy agenda being imposed on other countries by Germany.

At the conference, Socialist MEP Paul Murphy, who is calling for a No vote, said the Government and the pro-treaty side were “outrageously attempting” to use what was happening in Greece to scare people into voting Yes.

This was incredible, he said, as Greece was the first country to ratify the stability treaty and “look at the stability that has resulted”.

“What’s happened in Greece is a product not of left-wing policies being implemented, not of burning the bondholders, not of implementing policies in the interests of ordinary people who are struggling against austerity.”

“What’s happened in Greece is a consequence of austerity heaped upon austerity and two memoranda with the troika which have devastated society.”

People Before Profit TD and ULA member Joan Collins said after four years of austerity people in Ireland were reeling from the effects of cuts and extra charges.

"Like the people of Greece its time Irish people stood up and said they have had enough."