Trevor Hogan says Ireland should support Greece

Former rugby player calls on the Government to do more at Dublin rally

A rally in support of the Greek people was held on Dublin’s  Parliaent Street today. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

A rally in support of the Greek people was held on Dublin’s Parliaent Street today. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Government should support a debt write-down for Greece as it could benefit the Irish people, former rugby international Trevor Hogan has said.

Speaking a rally in Dublin on Monday in support of the Greek people, he said the media’s narrative had been that the crisis facing the people of Greece was their own fault and that the rest of Europe did not support them.

“I think in fact the majority of Irish people would like to see them get some space and some kind of a deal. The Greek people are being hammered by these demands for more and more austerity and ordinary European people see that.

“The Irish Government absolutely has not done enough to support the Greeks but I think that’s because it would reflect badly on them. The Irish people would be asking why our Government didn’t fight hard enough for a deal for us. If they were to support the Greeks, and they got a deal, it could be good for us.”

Among those also at the rally, which was organised by the Greek Solidarity Committee (GSC), were academics, artists, journalists and social activists.

Poet Michael O’Loughlin said the crisis in Greece underlined the extent to which democracy had been eroded by the European project.

“It doesn’t matter how people vote anymore,” he said. “The Greek people gave Syriza a mandate to negotiate in Europe and end the austerity in their country. But then they find they are negotiating with unelected bureaucrats in Europe who don’t care what the people have voted for. It is not just an economic crisis, it’s a political crisis.”

‘Radical experiment’

Helena Sheehan, academic at Dublin City University, said Greece was at “the cutting edge of a radical experiment” being perpetrated on it by the EU “to see how much it is possible to expropriate from a ‘first world’ country”.

“We have seen the international monetary community do it to ‘third world’ and ‘second world’ countries. Now they are doing to it a ‘first world country’.”

Dr Eugenia Siapera, a Greek sociologist working in DCU, said Greece needed “respite from desperation”.

Describing the negotiations between the Greek government and the euro-zone leaders as “a sword of Damocles” she said Greeks needed space “to begin picking up the pieces and rebuilding their lives and their country”.

Ronan Burtenshaw, co-ordinator of the GSC, said: “The austerity era has been devastating for Greeks and they have rightly rejected it. Their vote for change in January must be respected.”