Taoiseach Enda Kenny with controversial Independent Alliance junior minister John Halligan and school children from St Brigid’s School, The Coombe, Cork Street, Dublin 8 to launch the government’s Action Plan For Education.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Martin Hayden, chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, at the party’s think-in in Newbridge, Co Kildare this morning, and the audio of an interview Mr Kenny gave to KFM Kildare this morning
On Saturday, Pat Leahy, in the Irish Times, reported that the C&AG found that hundreds of millions may have been lost in the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland property portfolio, Project Eagle, to US investment firm Cerebrus.
It was reported that this loss may have been due to what the C&AG found to be “shortcomings” and “irregularities” in the sale.
The C&AG report is due to be published on Wednesday.
The report about the C&AG study followed a BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight programme into Project Eagle broadcast last week, which followed an earlier Spotlight programme in March – both of which made serious allegations about the Project Eagle sale.
Readers may recall how, on June 1, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil:
“There has not been any allegation of wrongdoing against NAMA”.
“Nobody has presented me with evidence of wrongdoing by Nama”.
Further to this.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke to Shane Beatty, of KFM Kildare, this morning, ahead of the Fine Gael’s knees-up think-in starting today in Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare.
The C&AG report into NAMA was discussed.
From the interview…
Enda Kenny: “If I find… if I find, and our colleguess in Government, find that there is a case to be examined well then I won’t be opposed to that.”
Shane Beatty: “But viewers of BBC’s Spotlight will say we’ve already seen a case that I think we need to have an inquiry, why do we have to wait until Thursday?”
Enda Kenny: “There are two criminal investigations going on in a different jurisdiction.”
Shane Beatty: “None here.”
Enda Kenny: “None here, and the National Crime Agency in the UK have confirmed that there is no case that they have, or are in pursuit of, in repsect of NAMA down here. So, the C&AG’s report is about a ‘value for money’ audit and you, as was pointed out on many occasions… depending on the process you follow for valuations, you might get different results.
“If you, for instance, were to dispose of the properties now with the devaluation of Sterling you’d get a different result also. But I think this is an extensive report, we do need to read it, everybody needs to reflect on it. And if there are questions arising from the Public Accounts Committee’s engagment with NAMA, they are due in before them very shorty [September 22], I’m not adverse [sic] to taking action, but I need to know what is we are taking action on.
Shane Beatty: “Did you watch the Spotlight programme?”
Enda Kenny: “Yes I did, and I saw that, and I found it quiet incredible, but you know, Shane…”
Shane Beatty: “Incredible, how?”
Enda Kenny: “Nothing suprises me at the kind of activites that take place in politics. And in that sense I found it extraordinary to hear the audio report of engagements and meetings of certain personnel.”
Labour TD and vice chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Alan Kelly was interviewed on This Week by Colm Ó Mongáin following the reported findings of the C&AG report.
During the interview Mr Kelly said, in recent days, he was approached by a senior member of Nama ahead of Nama’s appearance before PAC on September 22.
From the interview…
Alan Kelly: The [C&AG] report on this should be released, and obviously then, Nama will come before the PAC. It’s a matter for Nama whether they want to make public statement on it, I believe they should, I believe they’ve been quite naive to a point in relation to this.
Even this week, a senior member of Nama contacted me to brief me before they met before the PAC. I redirected him to the chair of the PAC. I was not comfortable that selective briefings was the way to go to be appropriate given the situation we find ourselves in. But that just shows another level of naivety, I believe, in relation to Nama.
Colm Ó Mongáin: These briefings that were offered by Nama, how was that approach made and by whom?”
Kelly: “Ah well, I won’t, eh, get into individual, but, ah, just a call during the week to meet up. Look, I just explained the Public Accounts Committee is a different committee to every other committee, you know, it has different powers. And it wouldn’t be abnormal for other organisations to brief committee members of other committees but, in relation to this scenario, I think selective briefings wouldn’t be the way to go. And, obviously, I referred to the chairman in relation to this. But, for me, I didn’t think it was appropriately the way to deal with things.
Ó Mongáin:Is it your understanding that all members of the committee were offered these briefings?”
Kelly: “I have no idea, I was going to raise it with my committee colleagues when we meet. I doubt it, but I don’t know so I wouldn’t like to say indefinitely. But I will say this, I don’t think there was necessarily anything malicious or intentional in that way in relation to that contact… It’s another sense of naivety, I feel on the part of Nama in relation to how they do things. It gave me some concerns.”
Ó Mongáin: “Well, what did they want to tell you?”
Kelly: “Well that’s a matter for Nama. I understand that they’re in front of us in the coming weeks and I suppose they wanted to brief us on various different actions, but that would be a matter for Nama to state because obviously I don’t know because I didn’t meet them.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking with Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning
Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke to Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning ahead of the party’s think-in starting today in Keadeen Hotel, Newbidge, Co Kildare.
The interview was carried out following reports that Marion Coy, chair of the Collins Institute, is to brief Fine Gael TDs and Senators at the think-in – on foot of a report she carried out about the party’s poor election results.
However, it’s reported, Ms Coy’s report will not be published – to the ire of some party members.
A second, separate report about the election is also to be outlined at the think-in by Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell.
From the interview…
“I didn’t enjoy the election, I had reflected on this in the summer. As I said, I’ve got my mojo back. We’ve got a huge agenda in front of us and I intend to go flat out as head of a partnership Government which is very different.”
“I just didn’t enjoy it [the election]...I always enjoy elections, meeting people out and about, the arguments, the rows indeed and the discussions that take place. A peculiar time, obviously, changes that have occurred all over Europe reflected themselves here in Ireland.”
“The people made their choice, we respect that. We put together a partnership government, obviously two Independent ministers at Government, third with the Independent Alliance and supported by the Fianna Fáil party in opposition…”
In relation to the two reports…
Pat Kenny: “What about the two reports; Kate O’Connell’s report and the academic report on why you lost so badly in the election?”
Enda Kenny: “Well, some very good recommendations there looking at the future…”
Pat Kenny: “Are you going to publish everything?”
Enda Kenny: “Well, obviously, when we bring the report to the Executive Council who represents the entire spectrum of the party, we will publish them, yeah.”
Pat Kenny: “You will publish these reports? Because there has been a demand from backbenchers and…”
Talk over each other
Enda Kenny: “The reports are a series of recommendations that I think are based from the politicians, in the very practical sense, to Marion Coy’s report which is a more academic work but which I think has really strong values set into it that I think will improve the lot of the party in communicating in dealing with a range of outside interests, in dealing with getting Fine Gael back to being a campaigning party on issues that really matter to people.”
RTÉ Television has launched its new schedule for the autumn season.
In regards to its factual content, RTÉ Television writes:
This year RTÉ continues its proud tradition of delivering high-quality factual programming that goes right to the heart of Irish society, defining who we are as a nation. Highlights across both channels include:
– Kenny, a landmark two-part documentary charting the rise, fall and rise again of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
– Keeping Ireland Alive: The health service in a day, with 75 cameras following frontline staff over a 24-hour period to give viewers an unprecedented, groundbreaking insight into a service that affects all our lives.
– Rural Addiction, tackling the growing problem of addiction sweeping rural Ireland.
– Generation Jinxed – Generation F’D, a three-part documentary revealing life for Ireland’s 25-35-year-olds, struggling to kickstart their adult lives.
RTÉ One will feature documentaries bringing in-depth coverage of a broad range of subjects. Highlights include authored documentaries from: Dr Eva Orsmond on prescription pill addiction in Ireland in Medication Nation with Dr Eva; John Connors on the history of the Travellers in John Connors: The Travellers; Ian Kehoe on How Ireland was Bought and Sold and hurling star Henry Shefflin on the psychology of success in Henry Shefflin: Winning.
As regards drama…
Homegrown drama remains a key priority for RTÉ with three brand new shows in production this autumn. Acceptable Risk, a six-part thriller starring Elaine Cassidy and Resistance, a War of Independence drama from the makers of Rebellion, go into production in the coming months. New to RTÉ this season are:
Striking Out, Neil Morrissey joins Amy Huberman and Rory Keenan in the cast of this four-part drama about love, family and friendship in the world of Ireland’s legal system.
Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, RTÉ2’s six-part darkly comic drama penned by TV newcomer Stefanie Preissner and starring up-and-coming talents Seána Kerslake and Nika McGuigan.
Viewers can also look forward to great Irish-based drama produced by the BBC in association with RTÉ including EastEnders spin-off drama Redwater starring Jessie Wallace, Shane Richie, Fionnula Flanagan and Maria Doyle Kennedy; and My Mother and Other Strangers starring Hattie Morahan, Owen McDonnell and Aaron Staton; as well as The Fall, starring Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson, produced by Artists Studio in association with RTÉ.
As regards entertainment and comedy…
The hugely popular family-entertainment series Dancing with the Stars debuts in January putting 11 celebrities through their paces, joining a stellar line-up of new home-produced shows and returning favourites including:
The Tommy Tiernan Show, a six-part chatshow with a difference – Tommy has no idea who he’ll be interviewing before they appear on stage.
The Nathan Carter Show, four-part music-entertainment show hosted by Ireland’s favourite country star.
First Dates, the massively popular dating show returns with a supersized 12 episode series.
Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip, the much-loved duo hit the road again with 12 new B&B owners serving up unforgettable experiences.
RTÉ2’s commitment to developing new talent continues to bear fruit with Bridget & Eamon recently becoming the first RTÉ comedy to be sold to a UK broadcaster, UKTV Gold. Bridget & Eamon will also return for a second season.
Fellow Republic of Telly breakout stars The Rubberbandits return to RTÉ2 for more anarchic comedy with The Rubberbandits’ Guides.
Comedian Des Bishop will throw a wry eye over the issues that have exasperated the country for years in Des Bishop: This is Ireland. And the nation’s favourite Dublin matriarch Mrs Brown will be back with more Christmas specials.
We both recognised that Ireland is the only EU Member State that shares a land border with the UK. We are in agreement that we don’t wish to see any return to the borders of the past on the island of Ireland.
Today’s meeting also gave us the opportunity to have a broader discussion on the common issues of concern in the context of the referendum result such as our close trading relationship and the benefits of the Common Travel Area.
For our part, we have already made very clear our view Ireland is very much committed to staying in the EU. We want the upcoming negotiation process to end with a prosperous and outward-looking UK which retains a close relationship with the EU. This is in all of our interests.
Does anybody seriously think that a 56 % majority in favour of Remain on a 63% turnout translates into majority support for a united Ireland? That Northern Ireland outside the EU will produce “a seismic shift?”
“Europe” just isn’t that important in the North, unless it’s exploited as a new tune on the nationalist drum.
So the question the Irish have to answer now is: are you serious?
…If you don’t like the British negotiating position going into the Article 50 process, will you ask the British government to regard the Remain vote which included a fair minority of unionists as evidence which favours a border poll? Do you think the British would agree?
Parliamentary correspondent at The Irish Times, Michael O’Regan; Enda and Nicolas Sarkozy in 2014
During The Gathering slot on the Today With Sean O’Rourke show, the panel discussed the fallout of Brexit.
The panel included Stephen Donnelly, Social Democrat TD; Michael O’Regan, parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times; Dearbhail McDonald, Group Business Editor at Independent News and Media; and Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament.
During their discussion, they talked about the effectiveness of Enda Kenny when it comes to matters concerning Brexit.
Stephen Donnelly: “I would have no faith in Enda Kenny or Michael Noonan negotiating anything on behalf of Ireland, on a European level. At every single point, during the crisis, Ireland had either the worst deal, in terms of the bailout or the joint worst deal and every single improvement we got came from Portugal or Greece or another country.”
O’Regan: “No, no, no. That’s deeply unfair to the negotiation skills of Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan and others. Noonan is a very wily, and Kenny…”
Donnelly: “Michael…I’m sorry, Michael…”
O’Regan: “…is recognised in Europe as being quite skilful.”
Donnelly: “And if I was in Europe and Enda Kenny kept coming over and paying me all of this money that he didn’t own, on behalf of the Irish people, I’d be telling everyone he’s a great lad as well. The facts. Let’s look at the facts. The facts are, we had an every, single point, over the next number of years, the worst deal, or the joint worst deal. The facts are that Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny came back and said, ‘look, we have a seismic shift, we’re going to get retrospective recapitalisation’. And the facts are it never happened.”
Sean O’Rourke: “But they got back…”
Mairead McGuinness: “The facts also are that the economy has recovered, and needs to recover more, that employment has increased, that there is stability. The option… would you have pulled the plug completely and collapsed the economy, like what Greece tried to do?”
Donnelly: “It’s a non-question. Obviously…”
McGuinness: “It’s not a non-question.”
Donnelly: “Mairead, asking someone if they’d collapse the economy is a non-question. The question is when Michael Noonan…”
McGuinness: “Well it could have been the outcome of what you are proposing.”
Donnelly: “The question is when Michael Noonan and Enda Kenny went out to Europe, did they, at any time, get us a better deal? And the answer to that question is: no, they did not. Our better deals came from Greece and Portugal negotiating better deals and then we got them as well. Just on the leadership, Sean, very quickly. The TDs kind of banging the drum is one thing, actually, the much more interesting bit is the fact that Enda Kenny’s chief economic advisor is on his way to the EIB in a few months time. You want to look at the most telling timetable for the Taoiseach’s departure, it’s when his chief economic advisor leaves, it’s not when…”
O’Rourke: “Sure he can get another one. Sure people are coming and going in the White House all the time…”
McGuinness: “Yeah, I don’t think that’s quite on the button..”
O’Rourke: “And the state department in the United States.. and look Alistair Campbell moved out of 10, Downing Street, long before Tony Blair.”