Wednesday 28 June 2017

Kenny: 'I will lift lid on bank deal'

Taoiseach-elect says he will examine FF policy on bank crisis 'to see who benefitted'

Enda Kenny leads Fine Gael in a party rally. Photo: PA
Enda Kenny leads Fine Gael in a party rally. Photo: PA

Niamh Horan and Daniel McConnell

THE Taoiseach-elect, Enda Kenny, has vowed to lift the lid on the manner in which the outgoing Government made hugely important decisions on bank policy and other controversial issues.

And he also gave the strongest indication yet that he plans to go into Coalition with Labour.

In an interview last night, Mr Kenny opened up a potentially significant new approach to the bank crisis, with possible political repercussions, when he said it would be his Government's intention to find out what went on and "who benefited on this".

He said he would have loved to have found out about these matters before now.

"I will do my damndest to make that happen. We will re-open and restore that. I think the people are entitled to know how their country has been run, or not run, as the case may be.

"And in respect of the banking inquiry, whatever has to be done, make the truth known to people.

"There is a line of inquiry. We're going to have to open that up, if that be so.

"We're going to find out what went on, who benefited on this, what decisions were made and the way they were made and to tell that to the Irish people," he said.

In relation to just how deep the apparent black hole in the banks is, Mr Kenny said: "Well to be honest with you, I don't have that figure because the stress test isn't until the end of March.

"But I will give you one guarantee -- that the incoming Government is not going to leave the population in the dark about what's happening."

On the issue of the public sector, over which he is at variance with Labour, Mr Kenny vowed to reduce payroll costs over a period of years "and we are confident we will achieve that".

"We have some wonderful administrators but you don't need duplication and triplication within the public service. So many people working in that service have come forward to say 'I can point out where the waste is'."

He added: "Our country is back in action, we are going to have a stable Government, a strong Government. The future is the only place we all have to live in."

In relation to an attempt made to remove him as Fine Gael leader Mr Kenny was dismissive.

"We had our internal difficulties last year, that's all behind us, and now we face a different horizon, a different future with an enormous challenge. A great responsibility rests on my shoulders and the shoulders of others and we are proud to step up to the mark. And I would expect that everybody who is appointed and everybody who is not appointed will play their part in what we have to do."

Meanwhile, speaking in the Burlington last night, Mr Kenny vowed to lead a strong stable Government, the clearest sign yet that he will form a coalition with Labour.

"I'm deeply grateful to the Irish people for the massive endorsement they have given us. I accept that endorsement and I promise to honour it, cherish it and do my very best to get this country back on track. I will lead a change that requires a huge leap of faith, we have to find new courage, to write the next chapter in Ireland's history," he said.

"I will lead a Government worthy of the trust given to us by the Irish people. The people deserve a Government that is strong and clear and that is what the people will get," he told several hundred Fine Gael supporters at the Dublin hotel last night.

"Let us begin again," was the core message of Mr Kenny's victory address.

Initial contacts between Mr Kenny's party and Labour are to commence tomorrow, and all the signs last night were that even if Fine Gael was to get close to an overall majority, it will nonetheless seek to form a Government with Labour.

Sunday Independent

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