Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has responded to comments made by Professor Christian Kastrop, a former official in the German Finance ministry and former President of the Economic Policy Committee of the Council of European Finance and Economic Ministers.
The former official said that the Irish people were hit with unjustifiably harsh austerity measures following the financial collapse as a result of ideology.
Speaking today, the Donegal TD said:
“The comments made by Professor Kastrop, a former high-ranking Finance official in Berlin and Europe will be of little consolation for those workers and families who have suffered under the long years of austerity.
“We still live with the scars of the austerity measures and cuts that were inflicted on the Irish people by the Fine Gael and Labour Government, with a recovery that that has failed to carry those who suffered the most.
“Our public finances are still saddled with the bankers’ debt that Fianna Fáil foisted on the Irish people.
“A recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General found that the outstanding cost of the bank bailout is €42 billion. It will cost the Irish people €1 billion a year to service this debt for the foreseeable future; money that could otherwise be spent on public services and priorities of the people.
“What this and the comments of Professor Kastrop make clear, is that the losers of the crash and years that followed were the workers and families of this country, who have been badly served during the past decade.
“His comments vindicate the positions that we in Sinn Féin took in the long years of austerity. Austerity policies were not only socially devastating and morally reprehensible, but as he acknowledges, purely ideological.
“The best way to hurt an already hurting economy is to impose austerity. That was true then and is true still.
“I welcome the former officials warning regarding the EU fiscal rules, which he said, may ‘mutate into a monster’.
“The fiscal rules are not fit for purpose, especially as we seek to respond to the climate crisis. The challenges we face require big ideas and radical investment.”