Taoiseach will urge Greeks to stay in the euro zone

Enda Kenny will stress need for stability in address to Ireland’s overseas ambassadors in Dublin Castle

Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice-president of the European Commission, at Iveagh House in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice-president of the European Commission, at Iveagh House in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today tell Ireland’s overseas ambassadors he hopes Greek people vote to stay in the euro. He is also expected to stress the need for stability to underpin economic recovery in Europe.

Mr Kenny will be speaking at the launch of a review of Ireland’s foreign policy in Dublin Castle, which sees all Irish ambassadors return for a special conference for the first time since 2011.

Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who is also a vice president of the European Commission, has already addressed the gathering.

Ms Mogherini also held a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan in his department in Iveagh House, Dublin.

The prospect of the left-wing Syriza party coming first in Greece’s election on January 25th has led to concerns about a Greek exit from the euro zone and Syriza’s approach to restricting debt. Its leader, Alexis Tsipras, has called for a “European debt conference”.

Mr Kenny is expected to use his opening remarks at the conference, entitled “Representing the Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World”, to underline the need for stability across Europe.

“From the beginning of its term of office, this Government made a strategic decision to invest the time and resources needed to rebuild Ireland’s reputation internationally, particularly in Europe,” Mr Kenny will say.

“Driven by a dispassionate analysis of Ireland’s national interests, my Government chose the path of constructive engagement, not confrontational unilateralism.”

While stressing the forthcoming elections are a matter for the Greeks themselves, the Taoiseach will say he hopes voters choose an option which keeps them in the euro zone.

Political instability can reverse economic gains made, Mr Kenny will say, adding membership of the single currency will provide stability and prosperity for Greece.

The review of foreign policy is the first since 1996 and “considers how the Government safeguards our peace, security and economic prosperity and promotes reconciliation and cooperation at home”.

At their meeting in Iveagh House, Mr Flanagan and Ms Mogherini discussed the recent attacks in Paris, as well as the threat posed by Islamic State and other jihadists, and other issues such as Ebola and the Middle East peace process.

Mr Flanagan said the Government would adopt a “zero-tolerance” approach to any potential terrorists in Ireland, and said Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was due to meet Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan on the issue.

Mr Flanagan said Ms Fitzgerald “insisted gardaí were on top of the situation regarding radicalised Irish nationals recruited to jihadists groups”.

“I am aware of reports there has been some involvement on the part of Irish citizens,” Mr Flanagan said. “We are on alert. Legislation has been prepared by the Department of Justice for early processing through the Dáil.”