Taoiseach denies bailout talks

 

The European commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are coming to Ireland “effectively to dictate the terms of a bailout to the Irish Government and the Irish State”, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has claimed in the Dáil.

He said “the white flag has been raised. The towel has been thrown in and like the prowler waves of the west coast they’re coming on Thursday. And they’re not coming in here to say ‘well done Brians, well done lads, keep at it, you’re doing a great job.”

But Taoiseach Brian Cowen insisted “there has been no dictation from anybody. What we’re involved in here is working with colleagues in respect of currency problems and euro issue problems that are affecting Ireland, they’re affecting other countries. They’re particularly affecting Ireland at the moment.”

He stressed that “there has been no question, as has been stated all over the weekend, of a negotiation for a bailout”.

During leaders’ questions the Fine Gael leader said “we’ve been told by you and your Government on more than one occasion that the bank bailout for which the Irish taxpayer has paid, was the cheapest and most effective and best around”.

“We were told time and again that no outside help was needed, that our country could manage its way out of our difficulties. We had the specter of not one but two Cabinet ministers this weekend telling us that discussions and talks about technicalities and talks about conditions at European level were fiction.”

Mr Kenny pointed out however that “the Minister for Finance said it’s important that where assistance might be forthcoming from Europe that those involved in that assistance should be given the full facts”.

But he said “this House was never given the full facts. This country was never given the full facts. The people were never given the full facts. And now we’re told that it’s all about structural deficiencies in the banking system, despite the fact that time and again the Government said that everything is now fine. Green shoots coming out of the tunnel, we’re on the way up, we’re on the way back. What’s good for Fianna Fáil is good for the country.”

“Well now we know the truth. The White flag has been raised the towel has been thrown in and like the prowler waves of the west coast they’re coming on Thursday.”

But rejecting his comments Mr Cowen said Mr Kenny was attempting to find “some means of suggesting that there is less than full transparency in relation to these matters”. He said “there is support from European colleagues in respect of all the policy initiatives that this Government has taken to address these issues.”

“What we want to concentrate on now is in a focused way, over coming days to sit down and see what way can assistance be provided to ensure that these issues are dealt with appropriately and properly in present circumstances. There has been no question, as has been stated all over the weekend, in a negotiation for a bailout.”

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said what was going was “serious stuff’’, adding that he wanted to know what the Government’s position was relating to the intended outcome of the discussions.

“Is it the case that what is to be discussed is the provision of additional money for the banks ?,’’ he asked.

He also asked if conditions applying to the State would be discussed with the IMF and the European institutions.

Mr Cowen said if the Labour leader thought it was in the national interest for him, as head of government, to indicate a negotiating position, then he was not a very clever man.

Mr Cowen said the Government’s objective was to ensure, as quickly as possible, that the Republic had a banking system which could access funds on the open market…and that those markets were providing funds, not only to Ireland but to the EU area generally at reasonable and affordable prices.

Former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox has accused the Government of “political waffle and spin” in its communications regarding international efforts to agree a rescue plan for country’s debt crisis.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show this morning, Mr Cox said: “I think we’re at a moment of some national drama and definition, and the Irish people deserve a clear, intellectually rigorous and honest explanation in the plainest language: Who will do what? How will they do it? When will they do it? And why are they doing it?”

“And we don’t need that to be political waffle, spin, wishful thinking, illusion, or delusion. And unfortunately we’ve had too much of the latter and nothing of the former in terms of intellectual rigor and honesty.”

The uncertainty over discussions between Irish officials and a joint European/IMF mission is also undermining the argument for staying in Government, the chairman of the Green Party said today.

"There is a questioning of trust and an adding to uncertainty that is making the basis for being in government much more difficult," Dan Boyle said on his Twitter account.