Bailout a 'flawed plan' forced on Irish people


THE EU-IMF bailout was a “flawed plan’’ forced on the Irish people, Pádraig MacLochlainn (SF) told the Dáil.

“It amounts to nothing more than inflicting massive pain and suffering on ordinary people in order to pay off monstrous debts incurred by reckless banks at extortionate rates.’’

He asked how a country with a population of 4.4 million and a working population of less than half that number could cope with a debt that was escalating by billions at what appeared to be a weekly rate. “It is lunacy,’’ he said.

Speaking during a debate on the recent EU Council meeting, he accused the EU of leading the Government by the nose into an exploding economic depression.

“The policies it is following amount to little more than further deregulation of labour markets, wage cuts, tax increases and reductions in Government spending. Elite policymakers across the EU are responsible for the euro zone debt crisis and it is time we confronted them and told them so.’’

Describing demands that Ireland increase its corporation tax rate as “economically illiterate’’, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin warned it would immediately damage the Republic’s economy and destroy its reputation as a country with a reliable, long-term corporation structure which could attract and retain globally-mobile investment.

Mr Martin asked Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore if he regretted his general election campaign comment that it was “Frankfurt’s way or the Labour Party’s way’’. They now knew that the bondholders had not been burned.

Mr Gilmore replied: “I do not regret anything I said during the general election campaign.

“If there is a cause for regret, or expressions of regret, it is probably for Deputy Martin, his party and the other side of the House.’’

Labour, he said, favoured negotiation rather than unilateral action on the issue.

It was important, said Mr Gilmore, to concentrate on the recovery process because that was what the people wanted to engage in.

Seamus Healy (ULA) said there was a need to recognise that, in this instance at least, the EU was not a good Samaritan coming to help a neighbour in trouble.

“German, French and British banks gambled recklessly and lost but they are now demanding an each-way bet.’’

Mr Healy said that, one way or another, there would be a default.

“We need to negotiate a structured default, because if we default unilaterally the resulting situation will be absolutely dire,’’ he said.

Shane Ross (Ind) said he welcomed the tone of Mr Healy’s contribution, adding that he had unapologetically introduced the word “default’’ into the debate.

“It is time this option was put centre stage in Europe as well as in this chamber.’’