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Enda's bailout speech makes headlines ... in China

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 Enda Kenny on Chinese television.

Enda Kenny on Chinese television.

Enda Kenny on Chinese television.

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny's State of the Nation address was watched by audiences as far away as China.

The Fine Gael leader's speech came as the shackles of the EU-IMF bailout were finally removed.

It was viewed as a major milestone in our economic recovery as Ireland is the first EU nation to exit the programme.

And with Mr Kenny's speech being broadcast as afar away as the Far East, it was clear that the world was watching.

But the address was less popular with opposition politicians at home. Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the Taoiseach's rhetoric did not match the pledges he made before taking power.

"I believe Ireland has seen enough of the politics of total opposition, which gives you parties which promise one thing and do the exact opposite in power," he added.

But speaking at Mayo General Hospital, where he was opening a refurbished dialysis unit and turning the sod of a cystic fibrosis unit, Mr Kenny said Irish people were proud to have beaten the bailout.

"It gives our country a little more flexibility," he added. "It doesn't mean the situation has changed overnight, and as I pointed out, this is a time for keeping a steady hand on the tiller."

PRESSURE

The Taoiseach also increased the pressure on the ratings agency Moody's, which continues to keep the country's sovereign rating at "junk status" even after the exit.

He said a change in the status "would improve the opportunity for people who want to invest in Ireland but who (don't) because it is below investment status".

It came as ministers demanded a redraw of the new economic plan after complaining that it did not contain enough detail on targets for their departments.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte spoke out against what he said was a lack of emphasis on the energy sector.

And Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton were also adamant the plan needed to reflect the priorities of their departments.

"The heavyweights were trying desperately to have their say," a minister told the Herald. Rabbitte wanted his stamp on the plan. He wanted it to reflect more on energy jobs and he got his way."

A Government source confirmed that the concerns of ministers had led to the plan, which is scheduled to be published today, being redrawn.

hnews@herald.ie


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