Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Banks bailout right, says Clinton

Former US president Bill Clinton joined hundreds of influential figures for a forum at Dublin Castle

Former US president Bill Clinton has told the Irish government the bailing out of the banks was the right decision.

Mr Clinton joined hundreds of influential figures from the Irish diaspora for the second day of a major forum in Dublin to help Ireland's economic recovery.

He told delegates the world thinks better of Ireland than many Irish think of the country, with a lot of resources and wealth still untapped.

"This country made a big macro economic decision when you made up your mind that you would save your financial structure and not be seen as defaulting on your debt," he said.

"And I'm sure it made a lot of people mad because they thought we're helping people who profited out of our misery. It was the right decision."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore greeted Mr Clinton in the historic courtyard of Dublin Castle before they entered a packed St Patrick's Hall.

Almost 300 delegates - including top names from the worlds of business, culture and industry - waited anxiously inside for their keynote speaker.

In his 35-minute address, Mr Clinton revealed he intends to host a special summit in America to bring together senior business leaders and economic experts aimed at promoting foreign direct investment in Ireland. A date will be announced in the future.

He also advised Ireland to use its diaspora to better the country, to find countries it was not yet exporting to, to implement aggressive government policy to attract manufacturing back, and to chase investment from American based multi-nationals.

"Target the companies rolling in the dough," he added.

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