Belfast Telegraph

Government 'has pawned the nation'

The Government has been accused of pawning the country in signing up to the multibillion-euro international bailout.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore branded the deal lousy and a sell-out, and claimed it tied the hands of the next government.

The Opposition rounded on Taoiseach Brian Cowen over the massive rescue package and questioned if he would put it to a vote in the Dail.

"Taoiseach, last Sunday you and your Government took this country to the pawn shop," Mr Gilmore said.

"I can't believe that you come in here and try to convince us that what you got last Sunday represents some sort of a good deal."

In a fiery attack, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the state now depends on handouts after the family silver had been sold off and people's money raided.

Mr Kenny said the deal was an act of national destruction, and added that the country was priced out of the international bond markets because of the arrogance and ineptitude of the Government.

"It (the deal) was done as if the people didn't matter, as if the people didn't count and as if the people didn't exist," the Fine Gael chief said.

"This Parliament, this Oireachtas, wasn't consulted either. Do the deal in Brussels and let them eat cheese and the sleek limousines plough their way through the slush."

But Mr Cowen gave an impassioned defence of the rescue package and the Government's handling of the economic crisis, claiming it was the right deal for the country.

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