Thursday 18 January 2018

Taoiseach refuses to say if he was one of three people recalled to give additional evidence to the Fennelly Commission

Taoiseach Enda Kenny on tonight's Prime Time. Photo: RTE
Taoiseach Enda Kenny on tonight's Prime Time. Photo: RTE

Sam Griffin

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has refused to say if he was one of three people recalled to give additional evidence to the Fennelly Commission after it received conflicting accounts from witnesses.

Mr Kenny was tonight quizzed on his time as Taoiseach on RTE’s Prime Time.

He also said the same-sex marriage referendum will take place on Friday May 22. He said the referendum is about tolerance, respect and sensitivity.

When asked why he had sent the secretary general of the Department of Justice to the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s home the night before the latter retired, the Taoiseach said: ”That’s the subject of an inquiry under Mr Justice Nial Fennelly.

“Very serious matters were brought to my attention which I felt should be investigated and from my part I’m very clear that I acted responsibly in all my dealings in that matter.

When asked if he had been recalled to give additional information to the Commission he said it was a confidential matter.

“All matters relevant to a commission of investigation are confidential,” he said.

“Let me say that I am very clear in my response to the commission of inquiry and to Justice Fennelly. I have published the interim report that he sent, I’ve authorised him a longer [time] to do the work he set out to do.”

He also said had “empathy” for the people of Greece as they attempt to negotiate a new deal with Europe but ruled comparison between Ireland and Greece and defended the country’s own negotiations during the bailout.

“Ireland is in a very different position to Greece. We understand and empathise with the humanitarian difficulties they have. Ireland exited our bailout at the end of 2013. We have the fastest going economy in Europe,” he said.

“We made it perfectly cleat that bailout programmes do bring conditions with them and the Greek Prime Minister made it perfectly clear he does not want to leave the Euro, he doesn’t want to break his contract, and he’s looking for an opportunity to negotiate a sustainable future for Greece and we support that and I do expect that the meeting tomorrow in Brussels will be a long and difficult meeting.

Asked about Irish Water and today’s sentencing of water meter protesters to jail, he said “mistakes” had been made in the setting up of the utility but added the courts remained independent of politics.

“The courts are the completely independent body which makes the decision and we abide by that law,” he said. He also rejected the suggestion the government was out of touch with the pubic and anger over water charges.

He also said “under no circumstances” should the Fianna Fail government be back in government and said his preferred coalition partner was the Labour Party.

He said he felt “personally challenged” by the issues in Irish health services and said the government were tackling a number of issues including waiting lists and delayed discharges, and said improvements had been made in the areas of mental health, and the opening of primary care centres.

Online Editors

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