Tuesday 25 October 2016

Burton urges resolution of Kenny's 'seismic deal'

Published 08/06/2014 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said it is too early to speculate on the next budget
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said it is too early to speculate on the next budget

So is there an air of Gilmore and 'Labour's way or Frankfurt's way' surrounding Joan Burton's warning that securing a final resolution of Enda's famous "seismic deal" will be her priority?

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The answer has to be "No", for, whilst Eamon was talking about dreams in the sky, Enda, we are told, had secured a concrete deal.

Plenty of other elements of logic surround Burton's warning today that "finalising the 'seismic deal' secured by Enda Kenny is as politically critical as the 'Prom note' deal of two years ago''.

On a political level, Ms Burton's declaration that securing a final resolution of the 'seismic deal' on legacy banking debt will be her political priority if she is elected Labour leader, is likely to increase Coalition tensions.

Within Fine Gael, the high-profile role of the Taoiseach, and of the Finance Minister Michael Noonan in this affair means it is seen as very much "a Fine Gael issue''.

However, if Labour is to be more assertive in Government it must put its stamp on securing a final resolution where, as Ms Burton notes, "the Irish people must recover the losses they suffered because of the bad Fianna Fail bank deal''.

Much logic also surrounds her claim that "legacy bank debt is the significant brake on financial recovery'' and that "we have unfinished business with the debt over-hang that has been caused by taking one for Europe and bailing out the banks''.

The importance of securing a deal is justified because "a bank deal would free credit to ensure we can build houses for those who need houses and create a future for our largest unused labour resource – all those construction workers who lost jobs''.

A belated implementation of the 'seismic deal', she noted, would also "finally free up credit for small business and retail''.

Ms Burton added: "A very significant amount of our total debt has been caused by the bank deal we are owed by Europe."

In what will be seen as a side-swipe at Alex White, Ms Burton also noted that when it comes to relations with Fine Gael she was "not interested in exit strategies; instead the 'seismic deal' will be secured by skilled negotiation, not careless confrontation''.

She also admitted that "whilst people intensely feel their losses, like the peace process, the ongoing negotiations will be tortuous, and will take a great deal of time''.

Sunday Independent

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