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Some lessons on the classics for Mr Kenny

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Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny arrives to attend a Eurozone emergency summit on Greece in Brussels, Belgium (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny arrives to attend a Eurozone emergency summit on Greece in Brussels, Belgium (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

REUTERS

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny arrives to attend a Eurozone emergency summit on Greece in Brussels, Belgium (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

As Greece comes to its moment of truth, it would be instructive if our Taoiseach would also familiarise himself with a few home truths. In his ham-fisted attempts to put clear blue water between the plight of the Greeks, who are rapidly nearing the final act of their tragedy, and his own Government, Enda Kenny blundered into a series of regrettable and inexcusable statements. According to Mr Kenny, the international bailout in this country did not lead to higher income taxes or higher valued added tax.

Mr Kenny has been rightly slated for saying: "We did not increase income tax, we did not increase VAT, we did not increase PRSI, but we put up alternatives to those measures…"

Since then a phalanx of economists and a whole nation of flayed taxpayers have begged to differ. For instance, Ibec economist Fergal O'Brien said there was €7bn in extra taxes imposed during the bailout. While University College Cork economist Seamus Coffey said: "He is clearly wrong. Everything he said we didn't do, we did do."

Does the Taoiseach really need to be told that the brunt of the income tax hikes were imposed on middle-income earners? In other words, the voters.

Either he is having trouble with his memory or he is hopelessly out of touch with the hardship inflicted by the cuts and taxes that he presided over.

Neither is particularly reassuring.

Irish Independent