Tuesday 23 January 2018

Kenny plays for time on our bailout and FG's toxic debt

Fionnan Sheahan in Brussels

THE geese in the lake adjoining the Chateau de Bouchout were making more noise than Enda Kenny yesterday.

The picturesque castle was the Taoiseach's first stop to meet with his fellow leaders of the European People's Party (EPP) before the EU summit.

Mr Kenny swooped into the grounds and evaded questions from the visiting Irish media.

He ran into the castle to avoid questions about the negotiations on the banking bailout and Michael Lowry -- Fine Gael's own toxic debt.

In a brief bilingual volley in English and as Gaeilge, Mr Kenny said he was waiting for the facts on the banks to emerge in the stress tests next week.

His officials said he was late for the EPP meeting.

Funny, that. Because those arriving after him included Angela Merkel, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

By yesterday evening, Mr Kenny had rehearsed his lines a bit better. He revealed that he had spoken to Mr Van Rompuy the day before and they decided to hold on until all the facts were known about Ireland's banking blackhole before negotiating on the bailout.

"I feel it is much more important to be absolutely clear about the extent of liability before we make any further discussions about negotiations," he said.

"I'd prefer to wait and see what they (the stress tests) do show up. I've heard figures bandied about of an extreme level and obviously I'd much prefer to see what the actual extent of that liability is."

Mr Kenny also had his answer ready on whether Lowry should resign as a TD.

"In an ideal world, yes. But we don't live in an ideal world and my view is that had the Abbeylara question been decided before now this kind of investigative work could have been done at a far earlier time and at a far less cost than the Moriarty Tribunal," he said.

In an ideal world, perhaps the Taoiseach would give a straight answer on a TD who has been severely criticised by a tribunal.

Irish Independent

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