Sunday 24 September 2017

Taoiseach: 'Greece must work within certain constraints for debt solution'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD
Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD
Daniel McConnell

Daniel McConnell

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted he wants to help Greece stay within the European family but that Greece must do its part.

Speaking on his arrival at the EU leaders' summit in Brussels, Mr Kenny said the meeting was a chance for all 28 leaders to hear from new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Earlier, Finnish Prime Minister, Alexander Stubb, speaking to Independent.ie said that Greece cannot be given any "free rides" as this would be "unfair" to Ireland.

The gathering of leaders began as the European Central Bank raised pressure on Greece today to extend a bailout deal with its international creditors.

Mr Tsipras' message to his fellow EU leaders is that austerity is "killing" his economy and they must find an alternative.

But Mr Kenny said, Europe is only willing to help Greece if it works within "certain constraints".

"This is an informal meeting of the EU Council, and it is an opportunity to listen to the new Greek Prime Minister, to hear what he has to say," Mr Kenny said.

"Everyone of the countries wants Greece to have a sustainable economic future. Arising from the meeting of last night, this is the first opportunity we have all had to listen to the new Greek Prime Minister."

"We all want to work with the new Greek government within certain constraints to work out a solution for the people of Greece," Mr Kenny added.

Mr Kenny said he would wait  to hear from Mr Tsipras before expressing a view as to what financial help he would favour extending to Greece.

"Well the ministers had a meeting at some length yesterday, and obviously that didn't conclude in the way people may have thought. So that is why it is important we listen to the Prime Minister himself, hear what he has to say, how he views his country and how he views the way forward," Mr Kenny said.

He also said that he had spoken with Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday about the proposed takeover of the former national airline, Aer Lingus.

He referred to IAG boss Willie Walsh's appearance before the Oireachtas Transport Committee but said he was not aware of its outcome.

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