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Kenny's first job must be to free us from debt millstone

I share with Enda Kenny a deep distaste for Vincent Browne as a radio or television interviewer and never accept invitations to his programmes.

Browne and I have enjoyed an ongoing personal relationship about which I have no complaint. It goes back to the time when he was founding 'Magill' magazine, of which I became a director, and it is ongoing to this day. Our recent last meeting revealed a kind and perceptive understanding of problems I was facing and he spoke of some of his own.

I can never understand why, when he appears in front of cameras or sits down behind microphones, the character of 'Mad Dog' Browne is likely to emerge and throw a skip full of spanners into the proceedings.

It is inappropriate that refusals by people to appear or not appear are made public and are used as a marking system when other political actions and achievements are ignored.

This should not be the case. The broadcast media is not running the election.

Most of the time its involvement is ill-researched and banal. I have been appalled by the irrelevance of so much of it.

However, a special circumstance surrounds political leaders. Unfortunately for Enda Kenny, there is, and has been for some years, an in-built media bias against him that is not just inappropriate but at times grossly unfair. He has every reason to expect adverse treatment with Browne and with other interviewers who have, by contrast, been licking the hand of Brian Lenihan.

I suspect there are plenty of people in the country who probably dismiss, as I do, the relevance of these media confrontations that can be related to opinion polls and vox-pop coverage, as an excuse for not dealing with the difficult matter being faced by every man, woman and child.

Enda Kenny has been facing that throughout his leadership. Appalled, no doubt, at the poor misguided electorate that went on supporting Fianna Fail as it calmly wrecked the country, Kenny worked on the build-up of a team, a party organisation, a set of principles and the growing support of voters which his approach richly deserved.

I hope that he and Fine Gael will bring the electorate even more to its senses as we face into the serious questions that remain to be answered.

There remain difficulties and this week we got closer to the heart of them with increasing debate on how the country extracts itself from the fetters the EU has burdened us with.

This is a problem that will be confronted almost immediately after the election, at the March Summit.

There is a huge struggle between an undemocratic EU dominated by Germany and France and the people of Ireland, meaning by extension the people of Europe as a whole, over sovereignty.

The component parties in our general election, including some significant independent voices, can be represented thus: Fianna Fail hold woodenly to the idea that there can be no renegotiation.

They have done it. They have made the deal -- a rotten one -- and are sticking with it. They continue to get the figures wrong and the overall cost to the taxpayer goes up steadily. But then he has always occupied second place in modern Fianna Fail thinking, which is why party support has sunk so low and hopefully will go even lower.

It has sunk to being a public enemy and this shift is important because public outrage at what has happened between Europe and Ireland over the 'stitch-up' deal (a new and better description than bailout) has risen during this campaign.

Fine Gael and Labour have, between them, strong faith in the possibility of making changes in the deal.

After all, the two parties, if in power as is to be expected, will be going to Brussels knowing that every significant fiscal and aid decision made during the ongoing euro crisis can be on the table, and some of the worst of them, for Ireland, are those being prepared for that Irish baptism of fire by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.

The best government to do this would be a Fine Gael government on its own, with the moderating support of good Independents from outside, possibly Shane Ross and Paul Sommerville. Elected or not, they, with economists like Constantin Gurdgiev and David McWilliams, would make a good team. We need to say that the ECB, which lent some €150bn to our banks, wants the bill passed on to Irish taxpayers.

But we cannot pay and this is, or should be, a big problem for the ECB and the EU. What has been done in terms of total intrusion into our fiscal and, by extension, our taxation affairs would have been unthinkable three years ago.

Quarterly audits, by Europe? Ireland bearing the burden of payment for sustaining a banking system, over the eurozone as well as EU countries outside it, which the EU never regulated as it should? A reckless government-sponsored spendthrift bonanza during the last decade that they did nothing to control?

We are in a divided Europe, where our interests are quite the opposite of countries like Germany and France, who seek to force us into a club leading us to default with enormous damage to our credibility. The major factor is still the banks and they should be at the heart of the first post-election EU summit.

A European recapitalisation, the Irish share of which is being unfairly placed on the shoulders of the Irish people because of EU failures over regulation, needs urgent renegotiation.

It was this failure that infuriated Jose Manuel Barroso because he knew the EU was guilty of inaction. He should have taken 50pc of the blame.

We were pushed into a crisis because our own government sided with the EU against Irish citizens. I hope and pray we are up to renegotiations and the talent pool that has been put together by Enda Kenny will lead that Brussels task force.

The simple solution is to be honest and say we cannot pay. The burden of saddling Irish taxpayers with the debts of its insolvent private banks is the EU's problem as much as ours.

We are using a common currency, the euro, and this has been exploited against us by lenders, among them the German and other banks that are walking away from the problem.

There are signs that even the most irredentist of our EU masters see this and will address it with whoever ends up leading the Government after February 25.

Irish Independent