Greek crisis: Michéal Martin criticises ‘Syriza sympathisers’

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accuses Government of taking the ‘side of the strong’

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accused the Government of taking the “side of the strong” against Greece in negotiations. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accused the Government of taking the “side of the strong” against Greece in negotiations. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin has criticised “Syriza sympathisers” in Ireland after euro zone leaders struck a deal with Greece.

Mr Martin rounded on Sinn Féin and left-wing TDs who have publicly backed the Greek governing party’s approach.

“Even as news of the scale of this third bailout begins to sink in, there continue to be those in Ireland who champion the approach taken by Syriza and recommend its repetition here and elsewhere,” he said.

“This is dishonest politics and insults the intelligence of the Irish people. The Greek economy is close to total collapse, the banks are closed and it is the Greek people who are bearing the brunt of this failure of politics.

“Meanwhile, we have people in positions of political responsibility in this country praising the ideology.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams accused the Government of taking the “side of the strong” against Greece in negotiations.

Speaking after news of a deal at European level broke, Mr Adams said: “The conduct of a number of EU governments over the past number of weeks has been alarming.

“They have effectively closed down the Greek banking system and held the Greek government and people to ransom.

“To its shame the Irish Government took the side of the strong against those in need of support and solidarity.”

Mr Adams said it was “obscene” for Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil to “lecture” the Greek people while generations of Irish people will be paying off debts that were not of their making.

“The decision is now with the Greek government and parliament. I wish them well in their deliberations.

“Today could well be the day when all pretence of a Europe of equal states and people was lost and replaced by a Europe of the powerful and the wealthy.”

Tánaiste Joan Burton on Monday expressed relief that euro zone leaders had managed to strike a deal with Greece. She also attacked Sinn Féin’s stance on the crisis.

Speaking on her way into Government Buildings, Ms Burton insisted Ireland and the “European social democratic movement” had been extremely supportive of Greece.

“I’ve never been a fan of default. I do know that Sinn Féin, notwithstanding the fact that stupidly they voted for the bank guarantee, they have always indicated that they may favour a default,” she said.

“They’ve twisted and turned on that. The consequences of default for any economy and particularly for Greece if it went outside the euro zone would be one in my view of extraordinary difficulty.”

Ms Burton added: “Sinn Féin’s version of economics and default is seriously lacking in any realistic understanding of the incredible hardship that that would impose on the people of any country where there was a default.”

The Tánaiste said she was “relieved” that the outline of an agreement had been reached after many hours of discussions in Brussels between leaders and finance ministers.

“Obviously the actual decision on this has now to be made by the Greek Government and the Greek parliament,” she added.

Offered a path

Ms Burton said she believed Greece was being offered a path that would help ease the humanitarian crisis, while building the economy and getting people back to work.

“Because certainly at the moment the situation of the Greek economy with the banks effectively closed means that it’s almost impossible to have normal business and commerce running in the country at a time when it’s the height of the tourist season, normally a very good time for the Greek economy.”

She said she would like to see normal economic life resume as quickly as possible.

“We have been extremely supportive of Greece and so has the European social democratic movement because essentially the pathway for a county like Greece is to have growth and investment.”