| 17.7°C Dublin

Taoiseach says he is willing to talk to Independents after election


Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has indicated his willingness to involve Independent TDs in future negotiations aimed at forming the next government.

Mr Kenny highlighted what he described as "constructive propositions" put forward by a number of Independent deputies in recent weeks as all parties step up preparations ahead of the general election.

The Taoiseach warned against the country being handed over to "wreckers" and "tax- and-spend parties" and said the current Coalition had pulled Ireland out of an "economic swamp".

While insisting that he favoured another Fine Gael-led government involving the Labour Party, Mr Kenny praised the work of some Independent deputies.

"So in my view the position becomes very clear in respect of the formation of the next government," Mr Kenny said during a discussion on electoral strategy.

"It's a straight question for people as to whether they want to give a continued opportunity to people who have worked very hard and made a lot of very unpopular decisions and have pulled the country out of the economic swamp that it was in and get on with that or do they want to hand over responsibility to tax-and-spend parties, where clearly there are serious repercussions. And that's a choice for the people.

"I might say that a number of the Independent deputies have been quite constructive, in their propositions being put forward here," Mr Kenny added.

The Fine Gael leader said that while the current Coalition has made mistakes, it has managed to fix the public finances and reduce unemployment.

Mr Kenny said that other political parties could potentially scupper the economic recovery and that the electorate needed to think carefully about who to vote for. "I want 2015 to be the year that people around the country will be clear in the decision that they're going to have to make in the spring of 2016 and that is don't return the wreckers and don't give it to those who might potentially destroy the hard won gains you've had," he said.

"Consider very carefully if you want to continue the Fine Gael-Labour government in office, given that they've made mistakes, they've tried their damnedest, they've admitted where they were wrong but in general terms they will have achieved their mandate of fixing our public finances and putting our people back to work."

The Taoiseach made the remarks during his Christmas briefing with reporters. He refused to say whether the next election will be his last. He is the longest-serving TD in the Dail.

Irish Independent