17/11/2010

Ireland 'Full Of Blarney' Over Debt Crisis

A former president of the European Parliament has accused the Irish Government of not being fully forthcoming with its citizens and of engaging in "too much spin, delusion and wishful thinking".

In effect former European Parliamentarian Pat Cox was saying that the Dáil is full of 'Blarney' over a growing crisis that now threatens the whole Euro zone.

His comments have since been slammed by the Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan. He rejected the accusation that the Government has not given the public a clear message on talks in relation to a possible bail-out for Ireland and his calls for events to be "spelt out in plain language".

Minister Lenihan said he had made every effort to explain what was happening and insisted Europe was behind the Government's strategy to date.

The Minister also confirmed this morning that talks on the stability of the Irish banking sector, involving the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Irish Government will start tomorrow in Dublin.

The decision to hold the talks was made last night in Brussels at a meeting of the Eurogroup, after which Mr Lenihan said that while there is no deadline for completion of the talks are "urgent".

In what is understood to be the most explicit admission that the Government would be seeking EU assistance, the Minister said that the purpose of the meetings will be to decide "whatever action is needed to safeguard financial stability throughout the Euro area".

The statement is also considered to be an indication of the amount of pressure the Government is facing from the European Union to accept financial help.

However, Mr Lenihan said that what may be required may not in fact entail an actual transfer of money now, but just a demonstration of how much money can be made available if "further difficulties materialise". A move that would hopefully placate international traders, whose uncertainty has been aggravating Ireland's heavy borrowing costs.

Minister Lenihan stressed the European Central Bank "fully supports" the Irish banking sector and reassured depositors they need have no fears in relation to their money.

(DW/GK)

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