Sunday 17 December 2017

Taoiseach to honour 'sacrifices' in bailout exit speech as he goes head to head with Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise at the UK premiere of Mission: Impossible
Tom Cruise at the UK premiere of Mission: Impossible

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says he is going to thank people for their "exceptional sacrifices" in his 'State of the Nation' speech to mark the country's exit from the bailout.

But Mr Kenny will also be emphasising that the country is not "flush with money" and the Government will still have to pursue sound economic policies.

The Cabinet will meet this morning to discuss its new economic plan for the rest of the decade. The Medium Term Economic Strategy is expected to contain some specific fiscal targets up to 2020.

The plan will be published next week following the exit from the bailout. But the Government is stressing the plan will very much focus on a sense of 'steady as it goes' and sound economic policies.

Mr Kenny said, as well as thanking people, he wanted to flag up the Government's economic strategy for its remaining time in office.

"We're not going back to the culture that caused this problem. We have put safeguards and different regulations in place so that doesn't happen," he said.

Mr Kenny's address will be broadcast after the RTE 'Nine O'Clock News' on Sunday.

Mr Kenny will be displacing architect Dermot Bannon, whose 'Room to Improve' show had been scheduled to start at 9.30pm. That show will start later to accommodate Mr Kenny's six-minute speech.

And he will be competing with the Tom Cruise blockbuster 'Mission Impossible' on RTE 2.

The night after Mr Kenny's speech, the leaders of the opposition will be given the opportunity to respond.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and a leader of the Technical Group will be given two minutes each on live television.

Mr Kenny said he will be saying "thanks to the people of Ireland" for having to make exceptional sacrifices to restore the public finances.

"We've a long way to go. But the credit here is due to people who have put up with these difficulties and challenges.

"My message is that the shutters go up behind us. We're not going back to that culture which caused that problem. We will move forward with the Medium Term Economic Strategy, which shows signposts for time ahead," he said.


An RTE spokesperson said it was only obliged to facilitate a broadcast by the Taoiseach to the nation in a state of national emergency.

But the national broadcaster said it had received a request for time from Mr Kenny's office and had decided to grant it.

The spokesperson said it was also not obliged to give time to the Opposition but had decided to do so in the interests of fairness and balance.

RTE has not yet got the name of who will represent the Technical Group.

Mr Kenny said: "As we exit the bailout on Sunday, it means that Ireland stands again as a full member of the eurozone.

"We won't be flush with money on Monday morning but it certainly gives a psychological impetus to our people and a growing sign of confidence we will maintain our momentum. We will achieve our target of a 3pc deficit by 2015 and we will continuously work at job creation for 2014 and beyond.

"The signposts for the time ahead lead to the point where I've always said that we'll be recognised as the best small country to do business, the best country in which to raise a family and the best country in which to grow old with a sense of dignity and respect. These are not theoretical aspirations. They are achievable targets and objectives by 2016."

Irish Independent

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