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Merkel ally: Taoiseach told Irish people truth about 'hardship' they'd face

German MEP, Elmar Brok, said that Fine Gael’s support for some of the previous government’s policies had made it able to “sell” austerity and financial hardship to the Irish people.
Mar 29th 2013, 7:15 AM 11,221 63

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A KEY ALLY of the German chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Ireland’s progress in exiting its bailout programme has been helped by Taoiseach Enda Kenny being honest about the “hardship” that people are facing.

Elmar Brok, a German MEP from Merkel’s Christian Democrats party, told TheJournal.ie last weekend that Ireland has “made incredible progress” in its bailout programme.

He said this was partly down to Fine Gael supporting some measures introduced by the previous Fianna Fáil led government during the financial crisis.

Brok, who chairs the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “Enda Kenny told his people the truth, that it will be very hard job, which made it possible then to sell this hardship as a solution.”

“Therefore it was this relatively stable way forward which is, I think, a good example for a government. It has here a clear picture in front of it.”

Brok said that Ireland is “in a good way” with its recent forays into the normal lending markets and he said that this would create new opportunities for the country.

“[Ireland] comes back to the market which means that it has much more flexibility then. This will create new chances for investment for growth [and] the credibility of Ireland will be important for investment from abroad,” he said.

He agreed that austerity alone was not sufficient to ensure recovery and described a “trinity” of measures that are needed: budgetary consolidation, structural changes to boost competitiveness and then to build on that with growth policies.

- additional reporting Michelle Hennessy

Taoiseach in February 2011: “Paddy likes to know what the story is”

Read: Merkel ally admits European authorities underestimated Cyprus ‘mess’

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Hugh O'Connell

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