In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett, People Before Profit TD, and Finance spokesperson for the United Left Alliance has said that the derogation given by the EU to Spain on failing to reach previously agreed deficit targets, once again exposed the “spinelessness and servility” of the Irish government’s position when it came to dealing with EU-IMF demands for austerity and the re-payment of private banking debt.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that the concession given to Spain, and that previously won by Greece on bondholder debt, was to very large extent explained by the enormous level of popular protest and industrial action against austerity in both countries. He said that given the “spineless” stance being adopted by the government with the EU authorities, Spanish and Greek style protests were the only way that ordinary Irish citizens would see any meaningful relief on austerity and the immoral re-payment of private banking debt.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “It is simply incredible that Spain could now simply tell the EU that it would not meet its deficit target, and that before that Greece could be allowed to default on more than 50 per cent of bondholder debt, but that the Irish government meekly submit to every EU-IMF demand on bankers’ debt and crippling austerity. It is absolutely pathetic. Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore have made door-mats of themselves and Irish people are paying the price with massive unemployment, emigration and savage cuts in incomes and services.

Following this concession to Spain, Enda Kenny should simply insist that Ireland also get significant relief on unsustainable austerity demands and the re-payment of private banking debt. It is absolutely clear from both the Greek and Spanish examples that mass popular protests played a major part in forcing domestic governments and the EU authorities into relaxing demands for austerity and the re-payment of bondholders. It is no coincidence that today’s announcement about relaxing Spain’s deficit target was preceded by massive protests in Spain at the weekend – protests that saw more than half a million people take to the streets of over sixty cities.

We need massive protests in this country, like those in Spain and Italy, to stop Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore behaving like door-mats and making door-mats of us all. The EU-IMF and their bondholder pals are literally wiping their feet on the ordinary people of this country because of the spinelessness and servility of our government.

The national demonstration planned in Dublin for the 31st of March, the day the government plan to hand over 3.1 billion for the Anglo promissory note, the deadline day for household charge registration, and the day of the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin, provides the ideal opportunity for the people of this country get out and show their opposition to the madness stupidity and unfairness of EU and government austerity policies. Those who have had enough of this austerity madness and the government’s betrayal of ordinary citizens interests need to take to the streets on that day.”