Taoiseach gives backing to under-pressure Perry
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has given cautious support to embattled junior minister John Perry by saying "confidence in him is not an issue" – but only as far as his work rate is concerned.
Mr Perry (inset) is under growing pressure to resign over crippling debts totalling €2.5m and contacts he made with senior officials in state-owned AIB about his financial difficulties.
The Small Business Minister, who also ran up personal tax arrears of €125,000, has been given until September 2 by the courts to discharge his debt.
Mr Kenny agreed Mr Perry had "problems", but said he must be given the "time and space" to deal with the court order.
The Taoiseach said he spoke to Mr Perry about his financial difficulties last week, adding: "I believe from any sense of fairness that the minister is entitled to deal with his professional people to see if he is in a position to meet the order."
Mr Kenny was asked if he had confidence in Mr Perry, and said the Sligo TD "has worked exceptionally hard during his term as Minister of State for Small Business".
"I can testify to this from the extraordinary lengths he has gone to around the country, engaging with small and medium enterprises about opportunities for expansion," he said. "Insofar as his work rate, confidence in him is not an issue."
The Taoiseach was also asked about the contacts between Mr Perry and AIB, but said: "You don't expect me to comment on something that is before the courts.
"I expect the minister will be given the time and space to deal with the conditions of that order. The bank in question has called in the loans. The matter is before the courts."