Tuesday 17 January 2017

Enda Kenny throws down the gauntlet to Bertie Ahern on Banking Inquiry evidence

Taoiseach also pledges not ‘to buy’ the next election

Published 16/07/2015 | 11:30

Enda Kenny speaks with Sean O'Rourke (Photo: RTE Radio One)
Enda Kenny speaks with Sean O'Rourke (Photo: RTE Radio One)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Bertie Ahern

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has said Bertie Ahern must today explain why he did not “stay with the enterprise economy” during his 10-year term in office.

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Mr Kenny also insisted he will serve the full government term to spring 2016 – and there will be no lavish promises to voters in efforts to get re-elected.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.

Speaking just hours before Mr Ahern is due to testify before the Oireachtas Bank Crisis Inquiry, the Taoiseach said his predecessor’s involvement in benchmarking pay rises in the public service were part of the cause of the economic crisis.

Mr Kenny particularly zoned in on social partnership deals which he claimed excluded the democratically elected parliament from the process.

Bertie Ahern
Bertie Ahern

“We used to ask the Taoiseach about this in the Dáil. There was never an answer at all. It was all done behind closed doors,” Mr Kenny told RTE’s Today With Seán O’Rourke.

The Taoiseach rejected allegations by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that Ireland was among “the most energetic enemies” of his country getting debt forgiveness.

Mr Kenny said Greece had made great progress dealing with its problems until Syriza was elected last January. Then “populism” took over and the Greek people were told they did not have to pay their debts, but he hoped a lasting remedy was now in sight.

The Taoiseach again brushed aside speculation about an early election. “This Government has a mandate until 2016. It has always been my intention to go the full distance. I see no reason to change that,” Mr Kenny said.

He insisted there would be no government spending splurge to buy votes. The leeway available to Government was between €1.5bn and €2bn split evenly between tax cuts and public spending increases.

Asked about allegations about Nama from Independent TD Mick Wallace, Mr Kenny said it was the Wexford TD’s obligation to bring these to the Gardai and the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.

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