Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan has warned that people could end up starving to death or scavenging for food in bins in the event of a default.
Noonan has again dismissed the suggestion that Ireland Inc should default as he debated the issue with Independent deputy Shane Ross in the final sitting of the Irish parliament before the summer recess.
The Minister again warned Ross that suggesting a default is a ‘soft’ option was only misleading the Irish public.
“I remember when Argentina defaulted and it wiped out the savings of every middle-class family in Argentina,” warned Noonan.
“And they were searching the rubbish bins to try and feed their kids. People who never had a poor day in their lives were in penury and they got totally wiped out.
“People died of hunger in Russia when Russia defaulted. Elderly people died by the hundreds when they defaulted.
“I mean default isn’t some kind of soft option. Default is a frightful thing.
“It’s grand to say that ten years later the markets decided they could afford to lend again but the price paid by ordinary people in both Argentina and Russia at the time of default, and for a couple of years after was a very, very high price indeed.”
Deputy Ross insisted he wants Ireland to consider a structured default - like the Greeks - and not a sudden one.
“The reality is this - default is on the agenda,” claimed Ross. “I understand the minister’s reluctance to talk about it because he regards it as a humiliation for the nation but it will be more humiliating if we don’t regard it as a reality when it actually happens, if we could keep making these extremely obstinate criticisms as a no-go area.”