Noonan’s comments about Greece and feta utterly disgraceful and callous
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett, TD for the People Before Profit Alliance and Finance spokesperson for the United Left Alliance, said a YES vote to the Fiscal Treaty would not protect Irish citizens from a Greek style economic tragedy but on the contrary would propel Ireland further down a trajectory towards the disastrous economic situation now facing Greece.
Deputy Boyd Barrett condemned the current attempts of the ECB and European political establishment to bully the Greek electorate into voting for a continuation of the austerity programme and the re-payment of odious debt. He further condemned Minister Michael Noonan’s comments about Greek feta cheese as utterly disgraceful and callous.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that Greece faced it’s currently disastrous situation precisely because its government imposed the first raft of EU-IMF austerity not because its people resisted it. He said the Greek people were entirely right to resist further EU-ECB-IMF bullying and austerity.
He said the lesson we must learn from Greece is that we should reject a treaty that sought to make unfair austerity policies legally-binding.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Since the radical left party, Syriza, won the largest number of seats in the Greek elections last week, the political establishment have been working overtime to support their banker buddies for fear that the Greek people will oppose the repayment of odious debt and stand-up to the disastrous policy of austerity. The TROIKA—the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank are trying to squeeze the very life out of Greek workers and Greek society, and the Greek people are absolutely right to stand-up to this madness.
If you look at what’s happening in Greece now, the mainstream parties, New Democracy and Pasok, which are the Greek equivalents of Fine Gael and Labour, are using scare tactics to force Syriza to break its election promises and join them in a government of so-called ‘national salvation’. In other words, the Greek establishment, who remain ideologically tied to the dogma of financial markets, are doing the exact same thing that our government is doing here: twisting language to bully people into voting a certain way.
Michael Noonan’s glib comments about Greece and feta cheese are utterly disgraceful and callous. To make light of the suffering of the Greek people is an outrage. But, of course, it mirror’s the similar contempt shown for people who have lost their jobs displayed by the Taoiseach in Athlone earlier this week. It makes absolutely clear that this government is living in an entirely different world to that inhabited by ordinary Irish citizens that have been devastated by the current economic crisis and the policies of austerity. Quite simply, it shows that this government does not give a damn about the suffering being experienced by ordinary people in this country.
But let’s look calmly at the course of events: Greece only reluctantly imposed the first austerity program and was then forced into a second austerity program which massacred an already suffering economy. The Greek economy is in the dire state that it’s in now precisely because it implemented the first round of austerity, not because its people opposed it.
Enshrining austerity into law, as this Fiscal Treaty would do, would therefore be to imitate the Greek model of cuts which brought Greece to its knees.
I would appeal to the Irish public not vote out of fear on May 31st but to take a stand against failed policies that have already savaged one other EU country and will do the same to this country if allow them to be signed into law. The people of Europe are uniting against failed policies and can reverse them. The Irish people can play an important part in building the European movement of resistance to the disastrous policy of austerity by voting NO on May 31st.”