Friday 23 February 2018

Kenny dodges row over IMF handling of Greek Crisis

By Lise Hand in Helsinki

The Taoiseach declined to get involved in the row among Troika partners over the handling of the Greek financial crisis.

Earlier today, speaking at an economics conference in Finland, Olli Rehn, the European Commission's economic chief who has been responsible for Brussels' management of Greece's two bailouts, hit out at the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) criticism of the rescue, accusing the fund of revisionist history.

"I don't think it's fair and just for the IMF to wash it's hands and throw the dirty water on the Europeans," Mr Rehn said in Helsinki.

Mr Kenny was in the Finnish capital today to meet with Finland's prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, and at a press conference, but refused to take sides in what is becoming an increasingly bitter war of words between the IMF and the EC.

"I haven't had an opportunity to read the report of the IMF in detail and I'm only hearing of the comments by Commissioner Olli Rehn," he said.

"It's not a case of getting involved in a row here between the IMF and the European Commission. We have situations that we must deal with and that's what leadership is about, decisiveness, clarity and courage," he said.

The Taoiseach added that he had been critical of The previous Irish government's deal with the Troika since the outset. since 2010 when I criticised the deal and the way that this was done in the first place in respect of Ireland," he said.

"It was my lot to inherit that particular deal and the structure and the way that it was put in place, since then this has been a very challenging period for the Irish government in negotiating improvements in what I inherited".

However the Taoiseach pointed to the different deals hammered out by the Troika to countries in need of bail-outs. "Clearly what has now been applied to Cyprus in terms of bail-in situations, had that been applied to Ireland, and it was sought at the beginning, would have lessened our debt problem very substantially indeed."

Irish Independent

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