Like Greece, Ireland has suffered enormously under the austerity programme imposed by the Troika, a programme that has seen our national debt rise significantly while vital services are cut, new taxes and levies are imposed.
At worst Ireland should have maintained a neutral position on the efforts of the democratically elected new Greek government to renegotiate its position; at best we could have offered our support (and we still could, at informal Council meetings).
To do as An Taoiseach has done, however, to suggest that Mr Tsipras and his government should backtrack on the promises made during the election campaign, that they should renege on the mandate they have been given by the Greek people and instead continue to subject themselves to an austerity programme that is patently not working, is – in our view – the equivalent of kicking a friend when he/she is already on the ground.
If the EU is truly a community, then the strong help the weak. While both Ireland and Greece have the potential to be again among the strong in Europe, currently – and despite the spin and propaganda emanating from Ireland – we are both among the weak. If we’re to regain our rightful position we need debt write-down, and the same applies to many other EU countries.
With this in mind, we reject the statement made by An Taoiseach, and instead offer our support to Mr Tsipras and his government, and to the Greek people especially, as they seek to find a sustainable solution to the current crisis.
This will involve significant commitment on both sides to make the necessary changes.
A GREXIT from the Eurozone would be a disaster for everybody concerned. To quote the journalist Martin Wolf, ‘Creating the euro zone is the second-worst monetary idea its members are ever likely to have. Breaking it up is the worst. Yet that is where pushing Greece into exit might lead’. All of us who sign this wouldn’t necessarily agree with Martin, but all of us, Enda Kenny included, need to be part of the solution.