29/11/2010

Irish Bailout Branded Appalling 'Sell Out'

The main opposition parties have termed the €85 billion bailout from the EU a "national sell out" and an "appalling deal".

The Government have been leveled with a swathe of criticism after releasing the details of the bailout, which will see Ireland paying a 5.8% interest rate on the huge loan, despite winning an a limited extension to 2015 before needing to return to a deficit level of 3% of GDP.

Yesterday, Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore said the deal announced yesterday evening was a "national sell out" that would leave the citizens of Ireland with a "crippling level of debt" for years to come.

"The rate of interest accepted by Fianna Fail is penal and is significantly in excess of the rate that Greece was required to pay. The Irish people will now have to come up with annual interests payments amounting to billions of Euro."

Meanwhile, the response from Fine Gael was no less derisive, with the party's Finance Spokesman Michael Noonan describing the outcome as "a hugely disappointing result for the country".

"It's hard to imagine how this deal could have been much worse. People are right to feel frightened, and worried about the future, when our own Government has sold out the country on such lousy terms."

Mr Noonan added that the Government was "cleaned out" in the negotiations and had not acted in the best interests of Ireland.

"At the very least we could have expected a low rate of interest on the loans, EU agreement on a jobs and growth package, and agreement to share the cost of rescuing the banks with the bond holders. The Government came away with none of these."

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams added to the negative reaction, saying the Government had negotiated a "terrible deal" and said: "The 5.8% interest rate is unaffordable. The decision to force the state to take €17.5 billion out of the Pensions Reserve Fund to pour into black hole that is our banking system is a disaster.

"Sinn Féin had proposed €7 billion be taken from the Pension Reserve Fund for a jobs stimulus programme. The Government refused to do this. But now they are prepared to rob the pension fund to give a digout to the bankers."

Speaking yesterday after emerging from negotiations in Brussels, Brian Lenihan said the financial assistance offered to Ireland to deal with the economic crisis was on the same terms as assistance offered to Greece.

He claimed the interest rate to be paid by Ireland is only proportionately higher due to the extra length of time the money is being borrowed.

(DW/BMcC)

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