Friday 25 May 2018

No clashes here -- political rivals have a quiet word

Mark Hilliard

A year after ousting him from office, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was spotted having a more private tete-a-tete with Brian Cowen yesterday.

Sightings of the former Fianna Fail leader have been rare since his departure from the Taoiseach's office but yesterday gave the country a brief snapshot of the old and the new.

Not always known for his attire, Mr Cowen looked sharply kitted out and appeared at ease in conversation with his former rival.

However, while speaking at Athlone Institute of Technology in Co Westmeath, Mr Kenny chose something far more pressing to discuss than past political dogfights.

After speaking to students on the campus, he said that the "vast majority" of them hoped to find employment in Ireland.

"I've asked a number of them; their qualifications will allow them to be employed in areas like medical devices, innovation and research and the vast majority would expect to be employed here in Ireland," he said.

Mr Kenny was attending the launch of a new €36m engineering block at the college where the future of Irish youth was a subject he was unlikely to avoid.

"Some of them (students) have said to me that if they did go away, they will go away to gain experience and come back and I hope that that is the case," he said.

"It would be wonderful to come here to Athlone or to any other location around the country and say that everything is rosy in the Irish garden, it's not."

He again stressed the message of Ireland's desperate need to correct its fiscal deficit.

"That's a problem for Ireland because the repayments on that borrowed money is money that we should be able to use for expenditure on education and on social protection, in health and in job creation and investment."

Irish Independent

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