Sinn Féin changes position on support of IMF funding

Ireland should rely on the IMF for funding instead of Europe, if it cannot return to private market borrowing next year, according to Sinn Féin.

The suggestion marks a change from the party’s position before last year’s general election when leader Gerry Adams said the IMF should “go home and take their money with them”.

Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the country does not need access to the EU’s permanent rescue fund — the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) which will have a lending capacity of €750 billion.

The Government has argued a failure to ratify the EU Fiscal Compact Treaty in a referendum will mean access to the funding pot will be blocked.

Mr Doherty described this as a “blackmail clause” and tabled a Dáil motion last night calling for the condition to be removed. “The ESM is not the only funding option for Ireland. It is not the only funding option at this point in time and it will not be the funding option in the future.”

He said the IMF have “a number of programmes that Ireland would be able to participate in”, if the country needs a further injection of money when the current bailout ends.

Mr Doherty said Sinn Féin “wants a change of direction so we won’t require a bailout”, but if one is needed the IMF option is available. He said the argument that the IMF should “go home” was made by the party one year ago and circumstances have changed since.

“At that point in time we had billions of euro in our National Pension Reserve Fund before this Government injected €20bn of that funding into the banks,” he said.

But that no longer exists because the Government did not impose burden sharing on bond holders,” he said. “So the reality is that this state is reliant on emergency funding and we’ll have to deal with that.”

The Dáil last night debated his motion urging the Government to veto the establishment of the ESM if it is only available to countries who ratify the fiscal compact treaty.

The Oireachtas will have to pass legislation ratifying the establishment of the fund.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government will be deciding “shortly” on the arrangements for the referendum.


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