Wednesday 28 January 2015

Kenny tells German MPs that Ireland needs bank debt deal

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Published 08/01/2013 | 13:09

Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel's CDU, listens to his guest Taoiseach Enda Kenny during the CSU winter convention in Wildbad Kreuth, southern Germany. Photo: AP

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has told German MPs that Ireland needs a bank debt deal to exit the EU/IMF/ECB bailout programme at the end of the year.

He was speaking at the annual gathering in Bavaria of the Christian Social Union - which the more conservative sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

Mr Kenny said that Ireland was fully complying with its conditions under the bailout programme and was seeing a rise in exports and a return to economic growth.

But he emphasised the need for a deal on Ireland's legacy bank debt of €64bn to help it exit the EU/IMF/ECB bailout programme and return to borrowing on the markets.

"Solidarity is not a one-way street and the funding countries giving assistance to Ireland are not doing so in vain. But as it is a two way street, the support that has been committed to by Europe needs to be followed through to ease our exit from the programme," he said.

The CSU, which has 44 MPs in the Bundestag (German Parliament), is traditionally wary of any calls for further help for countries in bailout programmes. CSU MP Gerda Hasselfeldt, head of its parliamentary group, said that the negotiations on the bank debt issue would be decided by the European Central Bank and the EU leaders.

But she praised the Irish Government for bringing in a plethora of austerity measures and reform measures which were "quite successful".

Mr Kenny also spoke about the comments by Pope Benedict, who expressed his “dismay” at the proposed introduction of abortion legislation “in various countries, even those of Christian tradition”.

Mr Kenny said that as the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict was perfectly entitled to make his comments. But he said the Government was not introducing legislation which would allow for abortion on demand.

"What the Government is about here is setting in place a framework and a process so that legal certainty will apply to medical personnel who have to make decisions where the life of a mother is threatened, and also to introduce regulations that restrict a move towards abortion on demand particularly in the case where suicide is involved," he said.

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