Sunday 26 February 2017

TD Shane Ross issues warning on Lagarde in IMF role

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

French finance minister Christine Lagarde. Photo: Getty Images
French finance minister Christine Lagarde. Photo: Getty Images

Supporting French finance minister Christine Lagarde to head up the International Monetary Fund would back Ireland into a corner, Independent TD Shane Ross has warned.

Europe Minister Lucinda Creighton has signalled the Government may endorse the Parisian for the role after Dominique Strauss-Kahn stood down amid sex assault charges.

But Mr Ross claimed Ms Lagarde was aggressive towards Ireland and opposed to its controversially low 12.5pc corporation tax.

"If we support someone who is so hawkish against us, we will be cornering ourselves," he said.

Despite calls for a non-European to replace Mr Strauss-Kahn, who is on bail after being charged with a criminal sex act, attempted rape and sexual abuse involving a maid in a New York hotel, Ms Lagarde's name has been touted as a possible candidate.

In the Dail Mr Ross asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny if he would consider opposing her potential nomination, or ask her views on reducing the interest rate before the Government makes a decision.

Mr Kenny said no decision has yet been made by the Government, but he claimed people could change their minds when they take office.

"It's fair to say that the French minister for finance articulates what the French government's position might be," Mr Kenny said.

"That's not to say were she to be appointed to the IMF that she would continue French government policy."

The Dublin South independent TD took a swipe at the Taoiseach, claiming people often changed their minds when they assumed new roles.

But in a humorous come-back that drew laughter from both sides of the Dail, Mr Kenny took to his feet armed with comments that Mr Ross made in 2004 backing Irish Nationwide.

"You're actually right about people changing their views when they change jobs," Mr Kenny said.

"I recall on the 28 March 2004 now Deputy Ross said Michael Fingleton's Irish Nationwide published a cracking set of figures. If you recall, you followed it by saying all Fingleton's figures are spectacular."

And he also quoted the former Senator saying he should have bought into Irish Nationwide.

A government spokesman later said any views expressed by Ms Creighton on Ms Lagarde were personal and general.

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