Britain throws down the gauntlet as Kenny jokes
Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30
The access to the corridors of power afforded to the Taoiseach in Washington DC continues to be impressive. From The White House to Capitol Hill, the VIP reception is genuinely unique for a country of our size and influence in the world.
The US president only makes two scheduled visits to the Hill each year: the State of the Union address and the Friends of Ireland luncheon, hosted by the Speaker of the House. Long may the tradition continue.
On this occasion, President Barack Obama even strayed from protocol to address domestic matters as he bemoaned the "vulgar and divisive rhetoric" of Republican candidate Donald Trump. While the vast majority of people in this country would agree with those sentiments, of course, if Trump is in the Oval Office in a year's time our Taoiseach will be knocking on the door.
Who the Taoiseach will be at that time remains to be seen. The 'Acting' Taoiseach joked at a reception that he doesn't want to return to Ireland to face a fresh round of government formation talks after getting the red carpet and limousine treatment stateside.
"Bejaysus, I wish I didn't have to go back and face what I have to face but c'est le vie."
There'll be more than a few citizens of this country who would be quite happy if he didn't come home.
Nevertheless, the need for the TDs - on all sides of the Dáil - to resolve the impasse around the formation of a government is increasingly urgent.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, slashed business and personal taxes yesterday, throwing down an unprecedented challenge to efforts in this country to attract foreign direct investment and business start-ups.
Osborne will cut Britain's headline rate of corporation tax to 17pc by 2020, from the current 20pc, he said in his Budget speech at Westminster.
Whether in or out of the EU after the Brexit referendum in 100 days, Britain poses a major threat to Ireland's competitiveness and ability to attract foreign investment. The point at which workers hit the marginal tax rate is now nearly twice as high in Britain.
Meanwhile, we have no government setting policy as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil engage in a phoney war.