The arrival of José Manuel Barroso at UCC, where he will today be conferred with an honorary degree, has been described by sitting MEP Nessa Childers as “hugely insulting to the Irish people”.
“When President Barroso addresses a gathered crowd of admirers – including our Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore – at UCC, he will tell them that ‘the European Commission has always been on the side of Ireland’; that the European Commission is one of our country’s ‘best friends’.
“Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth,” Ms Childers said in response to the release of key passages from the Portuguese politician’s speech.
“A friend of Ireland has the best interests of this country at heart – but the painful austerity inflicted on Irish people has been devastating for hundreds of thousands of us.
“Friendship had nothing to do with the EU/IMF’s bailout programme – that programme had much closer to its heart the interest of financiers rather than ordinary people, and the ultimate survival of the euro currency at any cost.”
She added: “Mr Barroso’s career has been littered with a number of eye-raising decisions that certainly do not come with the unwavering support of MEPs in Brussels.”