Saturday 19 October 2019

Kenny lays down law to ministers after Varadkar's gaffe on bailout

Fionnan Sheahan and Colm Kelpie

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny warned his Cabinet ministers yesterday to watch what they say about the economy after Transport Minister Leo Varadkar's bailout blunder.

But Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said Mr Varadkar's statement that Ireland could struggle to return to the markets and may yet need a second bailout had been picked up by 2,200 media outlets around the world.

"The problem is, Taoiseach, that loose talk costs jobs," Mr Martin said.

"They cost jobs because companies make decisions on where to invest and they're watching this kind of stuff and they're filing reports," he said.

Mr Kenny said he had spoken to all ministers, warning them about what they say in public regarding the country's economic position.

"Yes, of course, I can confirm that I have spoken to all of the ministers, all of them, about the importance of this," he said.

But the Taoiseach's spokesman could not provide any details of where, what or when Mr Kenny had said this to his ministers. The matter was not discussed at the formal Cabinet meeting yesterday.

The Taoiseach and Finance Minister Michael Noonan have moved to calm market fears by stressing that Ireland will not need another international rescue package.

Mr Varadkar said the country may need another international loan as it might not be able to borrow from the bond markets next year. This prompted Mr Kenny and Mr Noonan to strongly refute any fears of a second bailout.

A spokesman for Mr Varadkar said his comments, reported in the 'Sunday Times', were a "hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question" and had been made in the context of funding for transport projects.

Mr Martin questioned whether the Taoiseach had spoken to his ministers to explain why "solo runs" were damaging. Mr Kenny again stressed that Ireland would not need a second bailout next year.

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan yesterday said the country must stick with the EU/IMF deal if it is to return to the markets. He would not be drawn on whether Mr Varadkar's comments were damaging.

Irish Independent

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