Wednesday 26 July 2017

Greece Crisis: Taoiseach says door still 'wide' open for negotiations

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a European Council leaders' summit at the European Council in Brussels yesterday. Photo: Getty
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a European Council leaders' summit at the European Council in Brussels yesterday. Photo: Getty

The Taoiseach has said the “door is still wide open” for talks with Greece.

Mr Kenny said the move by the Greek government to announce a referendum for next Sunday, “came as a shock to most people”.

Mr Kenny confirmed that he had made arrangements for meetings this week for the Irish Government to reflect on what a possible Greek exit would mean for Ireland.

However, he said there was a need for “very calm reflection” on the issue. Speaking in Castlebar this morning he said he had received calls from other European leaders on the Greek referendum decision.

“I’ve had calls from other Prime Ministers saying my parliament won’t wear this, if you go outside the bailout terms they wouldn’t be able to get out through their parliaments because of the democratic will of the people there. So this is  very tough, particularly for the ordinary people in Greece,” he said.

However, he said he believed there was still time for further talks.

“Remember over €90bn has been paid to Greece in this area so there is a need for very calm reflection here,” he added.

When asked if the Irish government were putting strategies in place in the event of a Greek exit Mr Kenny replied: “The first thing is you have to look at the willingness of the institutions and the other governments to assist the people of Greece here, but you have to have a response and one that makes economic sense and is sustainable at the end of the day.”

"Ireland made a contribution of €350m here, obviously the interest repayments don’t arise for many years and there is still a willingness I think at the end of the day provided there is a programme in place that makes economic sense and is being implemented to look at the question of re-profiling of Greek debt so obviously every Government will reflect on what this means. I have made arrangements for meetings on that  this week ourselves here in Ireland,” he added.

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