Monday 23 April 2018

Taoiseach: There are better times ahead

Taoiseach Enda Kenny today promised "better times ahead" following what he described as a "constructive and confident" decision to exit the bailout without a credit line.

But Mr Kenny ruled out the prospect of reversing some of the commitments agreed with the Troika, such as the sale of Bord Gais.

 Mr Kenny was speaking after attending the British Irish Council summit in Jersey.

In an interview with independent.ie, he said the decision not to apply for a credit facility has been met with a "very positive" reaction.

"It should be remembered that when the protective barrier removed itself on December 15, where is Ireland? It's back as a full member of the euro zone with the opportunities and the constraints and the benefits and the comforts of what the euro zone offers.

"I think the decision is very clear, it's very positive. It's uncluttered. It allows for us to build on the positive reaction that's been there. The signals and the signs that we've sent out and put down as clear economic facts speak for themselves, the Taoiseach said.

"The reaction I've had from other locations is very positive I have to say.

So it's a case of people understanding that this is the decision made by the government and its very clear. When we get to December 15, the programme ends. We start on December 16 with the same motivation and the same attitude and the same strategy that we've had up to now."

Mr Kenny said that no request "either formal or informal" had ever been made by Finance Minister Noonan for a precautionary credit facility.

He also rejected suggestions that the government opted to go it alone because the alternative would have involved a raft of further austerity measures.

"There was never a formal request made for a precautionary credit line, formal or informal," according to the Taoiseach.

"We never got round to a point where we said: 'well if we were to do this, this might apply'."

Asked whether he viewed the decision as a risk, Mr Kenny replied:

"Life itself is a risk. Everything in politics is a (risk). There's nothing guaranteed in this life except you live and die."

He added:

"From our point of view, the decision is clear, it's one we assessed and its one we reflected upon.  It's a very clear decision, it's a very positive decision and its very constructive and confident decision and we are very happy about it."

Mr Kenny said the government will now devise a medium term economic which will contain "tangible" measures.

The Taoiseach was accompanied to the council by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy DeenihanAmong the issues discussed at the meeting were youth employment and the development of the so-called creative industries.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were also in attendance.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News