Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has expressed dismay at Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s rejection, again today, of the proposal for a European Debt conference.
In the Dáil this morning, Mr Adams pointed out that the Tánaiste, Joan Burton, has supported the debt conference initiative. He said ordinary citizens could not understand Mr Kenny’s refusal to pursue options that could make the State’s debt burden sustainable and fair.
Addressing the Taoiseach in the Dáil this morning, Gerry Adams said:
“The Government’s narrative is all about the next election. Government-speak is all about how the sacrifices of our people are now being rewarded; that the recovery is underway; that it is fragile; that not everyone is feeling the benefits yet; but leave it to our two heroes, Enda and Joan, and it will be alright on the night.
“Of course, the other narrative is that a third of our children are living in consistent poverty. Inequality is rife. Half a million taxpayers have been forced to emigrate.
“That public money that should be used to tackle the crisis in our hospitals, to rebuild our public services, to house our citizens, to stimulate the economy and to create jobs has been used instead to repay private bank debt.
“This unsustainable debt burden which has been forced upon our people is the single biggest cause of our economic misery. This is not just an Irish problem. This is a European problem. It needs a European solution.
“There is nothing whatsoever to lose if the Taoiseach endorses a European Debt Conference. It makes sense. There can only be gains. I understand the Tánaiste still believes it has merit. But Mr Kenny has again today rejected it.
“Irish citizens should not have to suffer deprivations, inequality, poverty and the denial of their rights to pay private banking debt. This is not the Irish people’s debt. The Taoiseach, in Davos, tried to explain it away by claiming “Paddy went mad”.
“But the financial and economic crisis in this State was caused by a small, unrepresentative, wealthy elite. €62 billion in bank loans were in the hands of just 190 borrowers. 50% of the Irish loan book of Anglo Irish bank was held by just 20 individuals.
“The Government repeatedly rejected Sinn Fein’s consistent call for ‘burden sharing’. This is now EU policy. The Government has had the option, since December, to formally apply for retrospective re-capitalisation of AIB and Bank of Ireland. But they have not done this.
“Ordinary citizens cannot understand the Taoiseach’s refusal to pursue options that could make our debt sustainable and fair.”