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Thursday 22 March 2018

EU deal doesn't mean soft Budget, says Kenny

Lise Hand

THE Taoiseach last night ruled out any possibility of a less draconian Budget this winter in the wake of the cut to Ireland's bailout rate.

Although he estimated that the new rate would reduce the bailout costs by "up to €800 million", Enda Kenny said there would be no let-up on the raft of cuts expected to be introduced to save approximately €4bn.

"The unfortunate circumstances in which we find ourselves are that we're spending between €18bn and €20bn more than we're taking in and we've got to deal with this," he said.

"So that means we have to do an analysis which we're carrying out in respect of all public money, all programmes, and it means by September or October we're going to be in a much clearer position to decide what programmes are gotten rid of, what programmes are maintained and what are enhanced."

And Mr Kenny, who was speaking at the opening session of the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Donegal, also backed up the tough stance taken by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton who was criticised for saying that, for some school-leavers, going on the Live Register was a "lifestyle choice".


"As the Minister for Social Protection has already pointed out that persons who are on the Live Register -- and I don't want to see people unemployed -- but people who refuse to take up meaningful training courses, meaningful upskilling or meaningful jobs, will have their social welfare cut and that process has already started," he said.

"This is a situation where Ireland's call has to be answered by everybody, everybody can play their part in this, and as head of government I want to see that everybody gets an opportunity to contribute to what is Ireland's national challenge," he said.

However, he insisted there wouldn't be any change in the headline welfare rates.

The Taoiseach also revealed that he had had a huge response to his unprecedented attack on the Vatican last week in the wake of the publication of the Cloyne Report into clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese.

Although he confirmed there had yet been no response from the Vatican, he added, "I've had 2,500 messages from around the world which have been exceptionally positive".

"And I have to tell you, quite honestly, I've had several hundred messages from parish priests from around this country who've said, 'It's about time somebody spoke out like this and we do our duty to the best of our ability'.

"And from that point of view I'm very happy to see that. I await on behalf of the Government and our people and our country the response from the Vatican," he said.

Irish Independent

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