herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Irish rugby star backs Greek efforts to combat austerity

Trevor Horgan
Trevor Horgan

Former Leinster rugby star Trevor Hogan is backing a campaign supporting Greek efforts to win an acceptable financial deal with its foreign creditors.

Hogan said many Irish people sympathised with Greece, despite the Irish Government's failure to support Greece's efforts to fight further austerity measures.

"Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny are worried if the Greeks succeed it will encourage people in Ireland who oppose austerity," he said.

WORRIED

Hogan (35) will attend a public lunch event today at the Corfu restaurant in Dublin organised by the Greek Solidarity Committee.

"A lot of people in Ireland sympathise with the Greeks," said the retired player.

He believes some of Greece's huge foreign debts should be written off and pointed out that Germany had a massive war debt written down in 1953.

"Irish and other EU leaders want people to believe there is no alternative to right-wing capitalism," he said.

The former Leinster and Munster lock said he had not ruled out entering politics some time in the future.

"But I'm now focusing on qualifying as a secondary school teacher," he told the Herald.

Hogan and his wife - UTV news anchorwoman Claire Brock - are expecting their first baby next month.

The 'souvlaki in solidarity' lunch will be attended by trade union activists, academics, members of the Greek community in Ireland and prominent figures such as author and Aosdana member Philip Casey, poet Michael O'Loughlin, and Robin Hanan, director of the European Anti-Poverty Network.

"My involvement in the event was inspired by how the Greek people and its government are standing up against massive pressure from institutions in trying to get justice," he said.

The Greek Solidarity Committee is emphasising that Greece needs to be given a deal in Europe "that allows it to breathe - rather than another austerity memorandum which has destroyed its economy in the past six years", said committee spokesman Ronan Burtenshaw.

MARCHED

Burtenshaw said 4,000 people marched in support of Greece in Dublin on Saturday.

"We support the mandate for change given to the Greek government by its people," he said.

International efforts are continuing to save Greece from economic collapse. The country's fate could yet be decided at an EU summit today.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is attempting to devise a package of reforms that would secure emergency funds and avoid the nation defaulting on its massive debts.

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