Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has hit out at Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore’s “diplomatic initiative”, branding it a “charade”.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “When the Government’s “Diplomatic Initiative” was announced in conjunction with the ECB/ EU/ IMF Memorandum of Understanding, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamonn Gilmore outlined what he called a “coordinated diplomatic drive by Ireland to win political support for the discussions we are having with the European Central Bank”.
“This was a pledge from the Tánaiste to embark on a drive to gain support for a better deal for the Irish people. In his own words, he was going to ‘put it right’.
“Conversely, however, comments made in the Dáil today by Minister of State for Europe Lucinda Creighton confirm that the focus of this Diplomatic Initiative focus is to deliver a different message – the one sent out by the Taoiseach in recent days that “we will pay our debts”.
“This weak message reinforces the ECB-driven narrative that the Irish people as a whole were reckless and feckless. Is the Tánaiste’s project, which he launched with great fanfare on April 3rd, anything more than a PR exercise? The question has to be asked. What has the Tánaiste achieved since the launch of this project? What concrete objectives have been achieved? The only outward sign of work done has been giving meaningless prep talks to Ambassadors, Diplomats, and delivering a weak message that Ireland is a good country? At this crisis point in our nation’s history, Ireland needs so much more than this”.
“It is clear that this Government has no real strategy to stand up for the interests of the Irish people in Europe.
He concluded: “Respected international opinion, such as that of Nobel Prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, have heavily criticised the crippling impact of the ECB/ EU/ IMF austerity programme on the Irish economy and people. The Irish Government needs to utilise the immense reputation of these economists and many others domestically and internationally to support Ireland’s call for a better, fairer deal. We are not with friends and indeed advocates. However, judging from the comments of Minister Creighton today, the government would prefer to dismiss these opinions, continue to be the obedient ‘partner’ in an unequal union, and pay up”.