Instead of wasting his time schmoozing with the likes of Angela Merkel, Enda Kenny should secure debt relief for Ireland, MEP Nessa Childers said this afternoon.
‘The European People’s Party congress shouldn’t be about Fine Gael putting on a good show for European big-wigs,’ Ms Childers commented. ‘This is a very real opportunity for our Taoiseach to make a very real difference to the lives of ordinary people in this country – many of whom continue to struggle and suffer on a daily basis.’
The rally began at the Convention Centre in Dublin this morning and will continue into tomorrow. A total of 12 EU heads-of-state are members of the EPP – Europe’s largest political grouping – as are José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
‘We know that our national debt is eye-watering – billions and billions of euro – and we know that we are paralysed by this debt.
‘Improving healthcare; investing in clean energy; bettering public transport links; adequately staffing our police force; increasing the number of nurses and teachers – these have all been rendered impossible in the short- to medium-term,’ Ms Childers added.
‘Debt renegotiation is the single most important issue on the table for Enda Kenny today and tomorrow.
‘He needs to above all else prioritise talks centring on this issue with Ms Merkel.’
Also at the EPP congress, the party’s candidate for European Commission president will be chosen from a short-list of just two, following the late withdrawal of Valdis Dombrovskis from Latvia. Now in the running is France’s Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg, with the latter being most likely to emerge on top.
‘The overwhelming favourite to go forward as the EPP candidate is a certain Jean-Claude Juncker. And some in this country may recall that the very same individual offered Brian Lenihan the stringent terms of Ireland’s €85billion bailout package in 2010.
‘Perhaps then,’ Ms Childers concluded, ‘an Taoiseach could also have a word with the man who could soon be the European Commission president about reflecting on the devastating decisions he made for Ireland three-and-a-half years ago.’