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Sammy Wilson's derision after SF MEP hails crisis-torn Greece

By Noel McAdam

The DUP has blasted Sinn Fein's praise for crisis-torn Greece and warned it should send shivers down the spines of people here.

The two main Stormont parties returned to their bickering best as their stalemate over welfare reform showed no signs of softening.

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said the people of Greece had "stood up for Ireland, Spain, Portugal and all of Europe - more than their own governments have done."

But former DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson hit back: "Sinn Fein's refusal to accept financial reality and to implement the Stormont House Agreement has parallels with the attitude displayed within Greece towards financial issues."

His comments came after Secretary of State Theresa Villiers told the Belfast Telegraph last week the crisis over Stormont's budget risks plunging Northern Ireland into a Greece-style economic crisis.

The Secretary of State clearly had Sinn Fein in her sights, warning against going down "a path of reckless irrresponsibility" in a clear reference to the on-going crisis in Athens.

Ms Anderson accused International Monetary Fund creditors of wanting to enforce poverty and deprivation in Greece.

Speaking during a fractious debate in the European Parliament on the debt crisis, she argued: "The brave Greek people asserted the primacy of democracy over the technocratic neoliberal order in Europe.

"Even the IMF - no friend of the Left - acknowledged that Greece needs debt relief," Ms Anderson, a former Stormont junior minister, added.

But Mr Wilson countered: "Martina Anderson's description of Greece as a 'shining beacon of hope' should send a shiver down the spine of every sensible person in Northern Ireland.

"In Greece, we see the Sinn Fein vision of economic success.

"Posturing against austerity and leading people up the garden path were obviously lessons that Sinn Fein did not need to take on their visit to Greece."

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