Donohoe rails against 'poster boy of Europe' claim for Ireland
EUROPEAN Affairs Minister Paschal Donohoe has hit out at commentators who describe Ireland as "the poster boy of Europe".
Mr Donohoe said using such a term insults the sacrifices made by Irish people during the last six years of austerity.
"The efforts and sacrifices made by the Irish people have been instrumental in that progress," he said.
"And the label attributed to Ireland by some commentators that Ireland is a poster boy for austerity insult these efforts and demeans the motives of the Irish people. These efforts have been made with one thing in mind; to get Ireland back to work and create a better future for all of our people," he added.
Mr Donohoe was speaking at the annual congress of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) in the Convention Centre, which is being hosted by Fine Gael.
Some 2,000 delegates are attending the two day event, which is being dominated by the crisis in Ukraine.
Several heads of government, including German chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, are due to arrive later.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, will also be in attendance.
Significant focus will be paid to the remarks made by Ukrainian politicians on the crisis that has gripped their country.
Newly elected Ukranian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, freed Opposition leader Julia Tymoshenko, and opposition MP and former boxer Vitali Klitschko are due to speak later.