Rehn concludes visit to Ireland

Opposition parties, employers and trade union leaders will hold separate meetings with EU Economics Commissioner Olli Rehn today on the final leg of a two-day trip to Dublin.

Sinn Fein will hold early morning talks followed by Fine Gael’s economic delegation headed by Michael Noonan and the Labour Party led by Joan Burton.

Mr Rehn met Finance Minister Brian Lenihan last night for discussions centring on next month’s Budget and the Government’s €15bn four-year plan.

After the meeting Mr Rehn called for political consensus on the measures, claiming it would be of great benefit to Ireland.

He also urged all parties, “irrespective of party political differences”, to support structural reforms.

The Finnish-born politician will today give an address to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) on the economic governance debate in Europe, and discuss its implications for the EU, member states and citizens.

Yesterday, Mr Rehn was accused of insulting Ireland’s poor and vulnerable by refusing to meet the Community and Voluntary Pillar that represents the less well-off in social partnership.

Sean Healy, Social Justice Ireland director, said that by refusing to meet, Mr Rehn was signing up to the Government’s Budgetary strategy.

“It is totally unacceptable that the European Commission supports an approach which will see Ireland’s weakest groups take the major part of the hit for the reckless actions of greedy bankers, incompetent regulators and an inept Government,” Mr Healy said.

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