ANN CAHILL: EU ‘shocked’ at Ireland’s crisis

INDIVIDUAL European Commissioners have been shocked to learn the price ordinary Irish people are paying for the crisis, Ireland’s Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has said.

She believes Irish people should not blame the EU for the banking crisis as the economic catastrophe would have been the same even if Ireland was not part of the eurozone.

Ms Geoghegan-Quinn will address a special sitting of the Dáil on May 9 to mark Europe Day.

Describing the financial crisis in Ireland to the other Commissioners, she said: “At the beginning they did not realise the price was so high... they were shocked.

“Everyone was shocked that we had got ourselves into this.”

The former Fianna Fáil minister said she was annoyed by anti-EU media coverage and sentiment in Ireland, and disappointed that the Commission was being blamed.

“If there is one thing we can do, it is to educate people that Brussels is more than about the Commission and the Commission has always been Ireland’s friend.”

She refused to comment on former finance minister Brian Lenihan’s claims that the ECB forced Ireland to take a bailout. “I was not there,” she said.

Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said she was unsure if the bailout deal was sustainable and urged that the interest rate on the loan be reduced.


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