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'The Greek people needed the steady hand of Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan'

Fianna Fáil senator Terry Leyden made his comments as the Seanad discussed the Greek crisis this morning.

Ireland Financial Crisis Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan Source: Associated Press

A FIANNA FÁIL senator has said the Greek people needed “the steady hand” of former taoiseach Brian Cowen and the late finance minister Brian Leniahn.

Terry Leyden said that the deal hammered out with creditors this week would prove to be “very hard medicine to swallow” for the Greek people off the back of the election of a left-wing government and the recent referendum.

Speaking during the Seanad’s Order of Business, Leyden said: “It’s very hard medicine to swallow for the Greek people after having a referendum and then electing this left-wing government.

In fact what they needed was the steady hand of the former taoiseach Brian Cowen and the steady hand of the late former finance minister Brian Lenihan who steered the ship of state so carefully through troubled waters.

He said the actions of the previous Fianna Fáil government had prevented a situation where the Ireland ran out of money as Greece has come perilously close to doing.

“We would have been in dire straits as far as our international position is concerned and what company would invest in Greece at the moment when there is such uncertainty about it?” he asked.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 12.19.04 Terry Leyden in the Seanad this afternoon Source: Oireachtas TV

Fine Gael senator Paul Coghlan said that the referendum held over a week ago was  ”unnecessary” as the question that was asked was already off the table.

He said Fianna Fáil’s calls for a debate on the situation would be “pointless” until various legislative measures are moved through the Greek parliament this week.

Fine Gael senator Jim Darcy said the failure of successive governments in bringing through necessary structural reforms had landed Greece in its current predicament.

Sinn Féin senator David Cullinane said the Syriza government wanted to “clean up the mess of previous governments” in Greece. He also disagreed with Leyden’s earlier remarks, saying:

What the Greek people need is not Brian Cowen or anybody else being sent over to heap any more misery on them. What they need is debt restructuring and debt reprofiling.

Read: 11 things we learned on Brian Cowen’s final day at the banking inquiry

WATCH: Brian Cowen explains THAT infamous bailout denial

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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