In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has said that the call for an international debt conference in Europe, made by the left party Syriza in Greece, has exposed “the spinelessness of the Fine Gael/Labour government’s position on Ireland’s crushing debt burden.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that unless Ireland got a very substantial reduction of its annual €8 billion in debt interest payments, it would not see meaningful economic recovery.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that the dramatic success and rise of Syriza in Greece, and new orgnisations such as Podemos in Spain, also demonstrated the unprecedented opportunity for the left across Europe.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said the left in Ireland must take from the experience of Syriza, the urgency of establishing a new left alliance and grabbing an historic opportunity to challenge the political establishment and the neo-liberal economic orthodoxy that had crashed the economy.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Syriza are doing what our government should have done but pathetically failed to do – demanding justice on the issue of odious bankers debts being foisted onto the backs of ordinary people.
The Irish government have done their level best to kill the issue of Ireland’s crushing debt burden as a political issue and an issue for debate. But with more than €8 billion due to be paid out this year alone in interest on an odious debt, Ireland’s debt burden remains by far the biggest obstacle to meaningful economic recovery in this country. This money could fund a real investment and stimulus programme capable of lifting the burden of austerity and generating serious economic growth and employment.
We should be very grateful that the Greek people -through their support for Syriza – have continued their struggle for justice and fairness on the debt issue, when our own government have failed so abysmally to do so.
The dramatic rise is support for Syriza, and their effectiveness in mounting a serious challenge to the economic orthodoxy in Europe, also poses a serious challenge to the Irish left. Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, have shown that huge numbers of people are now looking beyond the political establishment and to the left for alternatives. All recent opinion polls, and the massive water protests we have seen here, demonstrate clearly that the same potential exists here in Ireland.
The Irish left must learn from Greece that there is now a historic opportunity to construct a new left political force that can offer a real alternative to the huge number of people in this country that are desperately seeking one.”