Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Troika probe MEPs to visit Dublin

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will be among a group of key stakeholders who will meet a delegation of MEPs

A delegation of MEPs will touch down in Dublin next month as part of its probe in to the troika.

Members of the European Parliament will quiz ministers and social partners during its investigation in to the conduct of the troika in bail-out countries.

Emer Costello MEP claimed there are huge concerns about the lack of transparency and democratic accountability as it does not have to answer to anyone.

She argued the troika goes in to countries and determines what they should do, without measuring the social impact of its fiscal economic targets.

"There should be some kind of monitoring of social policies and the social impact of economic and fiscal policies that are within the terms," she said.

A delegation will be in Dublin on January 16 and 17, when they will meet key stakeholders including Finance Minister Michael Noonan, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, bankers, civil servants, trade unions and social partners

The inquiry, to be carried out by the parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee, will examine the actions of the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB) in Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Ireland and who influenced their decisions.

Mrs Costello said while Ireland has emerged from the programme, it is important to stress this was despite austerity not because of austerity.

"That's one of the many aspects of the investigation," she continued.

"I would be concerned Ireland would be used as a benchmark or for some people to say austerity does work and that it worked in Ireland.

"There was a lot of hardship and people made sacrifices."

Mrs Costello warned Ireland's economy remains fragile, with an unsustainable level of bank debt which she wants repaid.

Elsewhere unemployment, youth unemployment, private debt and the mortgage crisis is hitting households nationwide, she said.

But she maintained Ireland's success was partly down to workers for not staging industrial action and public servants who agreed to cuts through the pay talks.

"There was a partnership approach in Ireland and workers in the Irish public service really did step up to the mark," she added.

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