Dáil debates

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Ceisteanna - Questions

Ukraine War

4:10 pm

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE) | Oireachtas source

From the start of Putin's horrendous invasion of Ukraine, we have raised the need for the State to call clearly for debt cancellation as a significant act of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We tabled a motion in the Dáil to that effect, pointing out that, annually, 12% of all Ukrainian state budgetary income is currently going on debt repayments and that that was utterly unsustainable. At the start of the war the IMF said that Ukraine's economy could contract by as much as 35% in 2022 but that the debt would remain sustainable if there were a fast end to it. Unfortunately, and tragically, there has been no such fast end to the war, and the result is a deeper crisis for Ukraine. The consequence, in the absence of a full debt cancellation programme, is that Ukraine has been forced to apply for a new special IMF loan programme, which will come, as we understand from our own experience, with onerous restrictions, if the country is even able to get it. Is it not past time, therefore, for cancellation of Ukraine's debt? Let us look at who the debt is owed to. The biggest creditor is the IMF, which was due to be paid more than €2.5 billion in 2022. Then there is a series of private creditors, hedge funds, including the likes of BlackRock, Fidelity International, Amia Capital and Gemsstock Limited, all holding Ukraine's foreign debt. Is that not a real act of solidarity that could be made with the Ukrainian people to lift this unsustainable and odious burden?


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