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Sunday 25 February 2018

Enda Kenny pledges Ireland will make every euro count during European Council presidency

Lyndsey Telford

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has insisted Ireland will make every euro count when it takes up presidency of the European Council next year.

Mr Kenny said the days of fleets of limousines hosting delegates will be gone and warned that there will be a much more frugal budget than when it last had the role.

"It's changed in the sense that we don't have the fleets of limousines anymore," Mr Kenny said in his first address as Taoiseach to the Seanad.

The Taoiseach said that Dublin would play host to up to 12 ministerial meetings during its presidency in order to cut costs.

"We do that in Dublin because of the cost factor," he said.

"We don't have the money to spend that other countries have to spend on the presidency."

But Mr Kenny insisted that Ireland would make the most of its term - particularly local businesses which he hoped would take advantage of the expected influx of European delegates, officials and journalists.

"It will be a huge undertaking for us, particularly at a time of reduced resources - we will make every single euro count," he said.

Ireland has held the presidency of the European Council six times before - most recently during the country's boom in 2004.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny told senators that the future of the Seanad was in the hands of the people.

A referendum on whether the upper house of the Oireachtas should be abolished is in the pipeline.

Despite calls from various members during the address - his first since forming a government 18 months ago - he was unable to give any assurances about its future.

"Its future lies in the hands of the people," Mr Kenny said.

"The Government was elected with a specific mandate.

"Part of that mandate was to put a referendum to the people on the abolition of the Seanad."

Independent Senator Ronan Mullen expressed his uneasiness to the house.

"We don't mind being on probation, but we do mind being on death row," he said.

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