Fine Gael's Brian HayesGoogle Images

A Minister in the Irish government has warned the county must clear its debts or ‘go back under Britain’s skirts’.

Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes, junior minister in the Department of Finance, issued the warning as he dismissed claims that Ireland should leave the Eurozone.

“The political choice for Ireland is fairly clear. We fight our corner in Europe or we go back under Britain’s skirts,” warned Hayes.

The Dublin South West deputy claimed that Ireland’s troubled economy did not allow a decision to leave the Euro after a loss of financial sovereignty in the wake of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger.

“Effectively that independence is now on hold,” Hayes told the Irish Examiner.

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“The lender of last resort is here. The only way to fully restore our independence is to navigate our way through this crisis by working with the EU and the IMF.

“Unlike previous administrations, our success or failure will not be based alone on the conclusion of a programme for government.

“If ever a programme for government mattered less, it is now. This Government will only succeed when we have returned the country to the markets, to our independence.”

Hayes also ruled out any possibility of a default on the EU-IMF bail-out.

He said: “Our economy is not like Iceland or Argentina, where governments can devalue or print money and give two fingers to the international community.

“Leaving the euro would double our debts overnight. Unlike others we don’t have vast natural resources.

“The politics of ‘ourselves alone’ comes straight from the North Korean school of economics. It is not the answer to Ireland’s current difficulties.”