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Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil critical of Euro summit deal

Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil have expressed disappointment with the government’s failure to secure a reduction in the cost of recapitalising the banks.

Gerry Adams gives the media his response to the Eurozone deal outside Leinster House in Dublin today.
Gerry Adams gives the media his response to the Eurozone deal outside Leinster House in Dublin today.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT HAS been accused of failing the Irish people in its negotiations at the EU summit in Brussels yesterday.

Sinn Féin said the government had missed “a clear opportunity” to put the issue of Irish banking debt on the agenda and to negotiate a reduction in the amount of money the State must pay to the banks and unguaranteed bondholders.

Fianna Fáil said it was disappointing that the government had not used the summit to secure a reduction in the cost of recapitalising the banks.

The State is due to pay out €700 million next Wednesday, as part of a €3.5 billion overall, to unguaranteed bondholders at Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

This morning, the Taoiseach said that the deal had recognised the “progress” Ireland had made and that it presented Ireland “with increased opportunities for jobs, job creation, and getting people back to work.”

However, responding to the deal, Sinn Féin president and Louth TD Gerry Adams said: “Sinn Féin is not opposed to the write-down in Greek debt. But what is good enough for Greek citizens should be good enough for Irish citizens.

Irish taxpayers are being forced by this government to endure extreme hardship while paying billions of private banking debt to unguaranteed bondholders. The only people arguing that this should happen is the Government and the Anglo bondholder.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on finance Michael McGrath said it was “deeply disappointing” that the Taoiseach had not secured an “explicit assurance” that the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) could be used by Ireland to honour its guarantee of the banks.

“The Taoiseach should have sought an explicit assurance in the communiqué that new powers being given to the EFSF to recapitalise European banks could be used to reduce the ongoing cost being incurred by Ireland in recapitalising Irish banks,” he said.

There is now a compelling case for this issue to be revisited given that Ireland had to recapitalise its banks at a time when no European fund was available to support it.

McGrath also said the communiqué indicated that the Taoiseach and European colleagues were “preparing the ground” for another Treaty change that could mean a European referendum in Ireland “in the not too distant future.”

Read: EU leaders strike ‘comprehensive’ debt deal after hours of talks >

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Hugh O'Connell

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