Greek deal: War of words in the Dáil

The Greek deal set off a bitter war of words in Irish politics with the Coalition using it to brand Sinn Féin as economically “stupid”, while Gerry Adams hit back describing the Government’s attitude towards Athens as “obscene”.

Greek deal: War of words in the Dáil

Tánaiste Joan Burton laid into Sinn Féin over their support for the hardline policies of Greece’s ruling Syriza party before Athens largely abandoned its anti-austerity stance in the face of massive pressure from Germany.

“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.

“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” by the turn of events as she believed exit from the euro would have brought much more hardship to the Greek people.

“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.” Ms Burton said.

Sinn Féin leader Mr Adams insisted the Coalition had decided to support the strong over the weak during the Greek crisis. Mr Adams insisted it was “obscene” for the Irish Government to lecture the Greeks.

“The conduct of a number of EU governments over the past number of weeks has been alarming,” said Mr Adams. “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. It is obscene for Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil to lecture the Greek people while generations of Irish people will be paying off debts that are not of their making.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the experience of trying to keep Greece in the eurozone as “bruising”.

“But it is the basis for a third agreement for Greece which will allow for the Greek economy to thrive and prosper and continue to remain a member for the euro zone,” Mr Kenny said.

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