Enda Kenny says Irish economy strengthening but remains fragile

Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger claims Government creating distance with Greece

Ruth Coppinger: “Rather than showing solidarity over the years with the other bullied pupils in the troika classroom they joined in their mockery, with even the Minister for Finance making snide remarks about feta cheese two years ago.

Ruth Coppinger: “Rather than showing solidarity over the years with the other bullied pupils in the troika classroom they joined in their mockery, with even the Minister for Finance making snide remarks about feta cheese two years ago.

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny repeated his view that the Irish economy was “fragile’’ when answering questions on the outcome of the Greek election.

Mr Kenny said he would be happy to engage with Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his people on how Ireland had achieved economic progress.

“We are at a point where the economy is strengthening but it is still fragile,’’ he added.

Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger said the Taoiseach and the Government had been at pains to create a distance between Ireland and Greece.

“Rather than showing solidarity over the years with the other bullied pupils in the troika classroom they joined in their mockery, with even the Minister for Finance making snide remarks about feta cheese two years ago.

“Why have they consistently lined up with the right-wing austerity governments of Europe rather than with the poor people of Greece who have been reduced to scavenging in dustbins and leftover fruit markets for food?’’

Ms Coppinger asked whether the Taoiseach was “more at home with the global elites and the billionaires representing the 1 per cent who gathered in Davos and with whom he rubs shoulders each year’’.

She said a debt conference, as proposed by Syriza, would be an opportunity to outline the injustice of the savage austerity imposed on Ireland, Greece, Spain and elsewhere.

“It would be a chance to show how all of this was done to salvage the rule of the international banks and tycoons. It would be an opportunity to audit wealth and separate out the odious bank debt that was heaped on workers and the unemployed throughout Europe.’’

Mr Kenny said the place for negotiation about concessions or changes to the regime imposed on any country was at meetings of the European Council and various councils of ministers.

His Government, he added, had set out a strategy for constructive engagement on promissory notes, interest rate reductions, changes in the programme such as a reduction in VAT, the use of the proceeds of any sale of a State asset for sustainable employment and so on. That had amounted to €50 billion in structural changes over the next 10 years.

“This would not have been possible if there had not been the capacity to negotiate with our colleagues at a European level,’’ said Mr Kenny.

He said he looked forward to working with the new Greek prime minister at the European Council.