independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

'State of Nation' speech to mark bailout exit

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is considering a landmark 'State of the Nation' speech to mark the exit from the bailout this weekend.

The Government has scheduled a range of events this Friday to highlight the end of the three-year troika programme, involving several cabinet ministers.

However, Mr Kenny is playing no active part in these engagements at Government Buildings.

It is believed he is considering a public address on the actual official date of the end of the three-year bailout on Sunday, December 15. An option on the table is delivering a live televised address.

Mr Kenny made such a speech almost exactly two years ago before the first Budget was delivered.

CHALLENGES

The speech on December 4, 2011, was aimed at outlining the challenges ahead of the hairshirt Budget introduced by the Government that year.

Mr Kenny told viewers: "You are not responsible for this crisis."

Significantly, the Taoiseach's spokesman did not deny a State of the Nation speech was under consideration.

"The Taoiseach's arrangements have yet to be finalised," the spokesman said.

The Government has planned a full itinerary of events for this Friday.

"In response to the high volume of media interview requests and general international media interest around the time that Ireland formally exits the EU/IMF programme, a series of high-level briefings have been organised," a spokesman said.

In Government Buildings on Friday morning, a series of ministers and officials will hold briefings on the exit from the bailout.

Enterprise Minister Joan Bruton and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton will start the day, followed by a press conference by Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin.

Speaking in Brussels yesterday, European Commissioner Olli Rehn described Ireland's successful exit as a "joint effort".

"First and foremost by the Irish people and the Irish authorities.

"But also by Ireland's partners, who first provided the country with financial assistance and then strengthened their support by eliminating lending margins, and twice extending average maturities on Ireland's loans to almost 20 years," he said.

Irish Independent

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