independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Taoiseach brushes off 'disquiet' over cabinet committees

26/11/13 Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured at Government Buildings this afternoon where they announced results of the seventh progress report under the Government's Action Plan for Jobs..Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

THE TAOISEACH has credited the use of cabinet sub-committees for delivering a host of achievements last year despite unrest about some ministers being "kept in the dark".

Enda Kenny said the committees, which consist of a small number of ministers, had been effective in tackling "some quite difficult issues".

A number of Fine Gael and Labour TDs have privately complained about being kept in the dark over decisions made by these sub-committees.

There has been particular unrest about the influence enjoyed by the Government's mini-cabinet, known as the Economic Management Council (EMC). The EMC consists of Mr Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin.

But it has been described by some TDs as a "cabal", and even senior cabinet members have expressed disquiet over the workings of the EMC.

DECISION

As revealed by the 'Sunday Independent', ministers were only told that Ireland was making a clean exit from the bailout without a credit line the day after the decision was actually made.

However, despite the disquiet, Mr Kenny insisted that the use of sub-committees was vital to the work of the Government.

"I am glad to say that that is a system that I find works very well in terms of being able to timeline and focus pressure points and deal with them."

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny has told how he adopted a persistent approach with European politicians during Ireland's holding of the EU Presidency in the first half of 2013.

He said at times meetings "lost focus" and that ministers in Ireland took a proactive approach to ensuring objectives were delivered.

"I have to say that it was quite draining, mentally, to deal with all the range of meetings that had to be dealt with," Mr Kenny said. "I have to say that some of those meetings that took place at sectoral level with different ministers were very technically complex, and by the time they came up to EU Council level, some of them had lost focus, or whatever.

"But I was in a position actually to ring leaders early in the morning, they might be an hour or two ahead of us, and to say 'Look, if you want this thing across the line, then you had better talk with minister X or Y,' as the case may be. And I think most people were pleasantly surprised at the extent of delivery that came through."

Irish Independent

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