Martin heckled after calling bailout announcement ‘political stunt’

FF leader says Kenny refused to give the pros and cons of whether Ireland should have a precautionary credit line

Micheál Martin speaking in the Dáil

Micheál Martin speaking in the Dáil


Fianna Fáail leader Micheal Martin was heckled by Government backbenchers when he criticised the Government’s announcement that Ireland would exit the bailout in December with a precautionary credit line.

He described today’s evetns as a “political stunt”.

Mr Martin said the Dáil deserved the fundamental presentation of a case justifying the Government decision not to seek a backstop and not to seek a precautionary credit.

He said the Taoiseach had refused to give the pros and cons of whether Ireland should have a precautionary credit line because €53 billion was needed over the next three years.

The Government has put political strategy over what’s rights for the country. He said there had not been a single piece of paper presented to anybody about the merits of this move, whether by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste or Minister for Finance.

There was no discussion about how much Ireland would save in interest payments if it had this conditional funding available.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the emergency Cabinet meeting, the announcement at short notice showed “once again this Government has been bounced into a decision”.

But he said Sinn Féin had consistently called on the Government not to take a conditional precautionary credit line because it would be akin to a second bailout.

He provoked much laughter when he told the Government “you appear to be taking the Sinn Féin position”.

Mr Adams said however that while “the troika may be leaving but the troika mindset remains”.

He said Fine Gael and Labour had blamed the troika for all sorts of decisions the Government had made in direct breach of its election mandates, bringing in many austerity measures not recommended by the troika.

Stephen Donnelly (Ind) said it was a bitter-sweet moment for the Irish people.

“At the start of the crisis, we had very low national debt, very high employment, very low emigration, no negative equity and no mortgage crisis,’’ he added.

“Five years later, we have heartbreaking unemployment, particularly for the youth, an entire generation has been financially destroyed, very high emigration and the losses of professional investors around the world have been shouldered on the Irish people.’’

Shane Ross (Ind) said an important decision had been reduced to the level of political bravado. Nobody in the House could judge properly, whether it was the right or wrong decision, because they did not know what terms had been offered to the Government for a credit line.