Friday 22 September 2017

Kenny won't be drawn on bailout or Fennelly probe

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
John Downing

John Downing

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has again refused to confirm or deny whether he was recalled for a second session of questioning by the inquiry commission examining alleged garda misconduct.

But in a low-key and unrevealing 20-minute interview on RTÉ television last night, Mr Kenny did name the date of the same-sex marriage referendum, which will be held on May 22.

He said he hoped that support for this indicated in opinion polls "holds up" and the referendum would be carried, showing Ireland to be a tolerant and inclusive society.

The garda inquiry commission, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Nial Fennelly, has a remit which includes the unexplained circumstances which led to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan stepping down last March.

On the eve of the commissioner's decision to retire early, Mr Kenny sent the then Justice Department secretary Brian Purcell to his home to convey Government concerns about controversial garda phone recordings.

Mr Kenny has since refused to say what message Mr Purcell was to convey to the commissioner.

An interim report from Mr Justice Fennelly has revealed that three witnesses were recalled for additional testimony.

But in the 'Prime Time' interview with Miriam O'Callaghan last night, Mr Kenny again steadfastly refused to comment on this.

Instead, the Taoiseach said the entire issue was a matter for Mr Justice Fennelly and his proceedings for now remain confidential.

Equally, Mr Kenny on several occasions deliberately dodged a direct question on whether his Government had directly applied for bank debt reduction from the EU-ECB.

In response, Mr Kenny kept repeating successes in reducing the debt interest burden and the clear signs of economic recovery on jobs and economic growth following the bailout exit.

"You cannot expect to do that kind of deal unless you're able to negotiate," the Taoiseach said.

"This Government has brought political stability, which is absolutely essential for confidence and investment," the Taoiseach also insisted.

The interview was put back 35 minutes because of the culmination of the 'Who killed Lucy Beale?' plot in 'EastEnders'.

Mr Kenny was due to be grilled at 9.25pm, but then was delayed until 10pm after a late announcement by the BBC.

Irish Independent

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