Tag Archives: Enda Kenny

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny

In recent months, the Irish Government has advocated for our belief that the EU would be better with Britain as a leading member and that Britain and Ireland have always worked together very well as equal partners within the European Union.

I’m very sorry that the result of the referendum is for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. However, the British people have spoken clearly and we fully respect their position and their decision.

I want to assure the Irish public that we have prepared, to the greatest extent possible, for this eventuality. There will be no immediate change to the free flow of people, of good and of services between our islands.

We have previously set out our main concerns in the event of Brexit becoming a reality. These relate to the potential impacts for trade and for the economy and for Northern Ireland, for the Common Travel Area and for the European Union itself.

We have engaged in detailed contingency planning for the possibility of this result and this morning, at Government, we agreed to publish a summary of the key actions which we will now take to address the contingencies arising from the decision of the electorate of the United Kingdom.

Our primary objective remains to protect and to advance this country’s interest. I propose to further brief the Opposition leaders of those actions in the afternoon and the Dáil will be recalled on Monday.

The Summer Economic Statement, published earlier this week, includes an assessment of the potential economic impact of a UK vote to leave the European Union. Ireland is a strong, open and competitive economy and our ongoing economic recovery is testament to our resilience.

We will continue to implement policies that prioritise economic stability and growth and job creation and to use the benefits of that growth for our people.

…I want to say that we are acutely aware of the concerns which will be felt by the many thousands of people within the Irish community in Britain. Let me assure them that the Irish Government will also have their interests in our thinking, and very much in our thinking as we approach the forthcoming negotiations.

It is important to remember that the position of Irish citizens within the European Union will be unaffected. The other concern that the Government has expressed is about a British departure from the European Union relates to the impact on the European Union itself.

Ireland will, of course, remain a member of the European Union. This is profoundly in our national interest. After more than 40 years of membership, we have built up strong bonds of partnership with all the other member states and with the European institutions and that will continue to serve us well in the time ahead.

We must now, however, being a period of reflection and debate on how we can renew the union of 27 and equip it for the many challenges that lie ahead. There will be a discussion of the next steps at a meeting of the European Council next week.

I will set out, very clearly, our national position at that meeting and I will ensure that our particular national interests are fully respected as we prepare to enter the next phase of negotiations.

From Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech delivered earlier following the Brexit vote.

Pic: Rollingnews

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dáil today

RTE reports:

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has brought a memo to Cabinet to set up a citizens’ assembly which will look at a number of issues, starting with the Eighth Amendment.

The Dáil will have to pass a resolution to establish the assembly.

It is understood the assembly will sit for a year to address all issues referred to it, such as fixed parliaments but it will issue a report on each issue as they are completed.

The report on the Eighth Amendment will be referred to an all party Oireachtas committee when completed.

It is thought that the assembly will hold its first meeting by November.

Eighth Amendment to top citizens’ assembly agenda (RTE News)

Previously: ‘Overwriting Fact With Fairy Stories’

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking incorrectly about the 8th amendment in the Dáil earlier this month

Emer O’Toole, in today’s Irish Times, writes:

Ireland’s abortion regime is a kind of a fiction. It can only exist if its proponents resolutely refuse to see, overwriting fact with fairy stories.

Our laws effectively make the “unborn” a citizen from the moment of implantation, thus requiring an act of creativity to furnish the embryo with thoughts and feelings, or perhaps, dependent on one’s religious proclivities, an ideologically convenient soul.

Our fictions proclaim Ireland abortion free, when it has approximately the same abortion rates as other EU countries. We just like to torture the women a bit first: for moral reasons, you understand.

…We can expect of Kenny’s convention, in short, the same kind of “balance” we have come to expect of our national broadcaster: the kind that considers the issue of whether women should have human rights to have two equally reasonable sides; the kind that gives serious consideration to people who actively campaign to subject women to cruel and degrading treatment and calls this – incredibly – “fairness”.

This impartiality is also a fiction.

Emer O’Toole: What can we expect of Enda Kenny’s abortion convention? (Irish Times)

Previously: ‘The People Decided To Keep That Reference In The Constitution’

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny at St Michael’s Irish Centre in Everton, England where he’s campaigning against Brexit.

More as they get it.

Previously: Rat Joins Sinking Ship

Pic: Gavan Reilly

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From top: Amanda Mellet and her husband James Burke; Taoiseach Enda Kenny; and a video of Mr Kenny responding to questions from Ruth Coppinger TD yesterday

My view is that if we were to decide to have a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment in October, it would not be passed. I will explain why.

There needs to be a real discussion here. If we are going to attempt to remove this from the Constitution, people will want to know what we intend to replace it with. I have had problems with this genuine question.

With respect, I do not accept from the Deputy that we should make a rush to judgment in this instance.

The UN committee’s verdict in this sensitive and distressing case is non-binding. It is not like the European court. It speaks for the distress caused to this good woman. As the Deputy knows, another case is being processed.

It is right and proper for us to follow the route of having a properly selected citizens’ assembly that is able to do its business of reflecting on the eighth amendment and what it might mean.

The assembly will consider what changes, if any, should be made to the eighth amendment and how they might be made.

If we are to ask people to vote on this issue, at least we should be able to tell them what will replace the eighth amendment if they vote for its removal. People need to know the options and the consequences.

I genuinely believe people have a right to be able to discuss these things. This matter divided Irish society for over 30 years. I ask the Deputy to believe me when I say it is not a question of a lack of courage.

It is a question of understanding that the entire population has a responsibility and a role in this regard. It is not as simple as saying that a referendum should be held to take out the eighth amendment without saying what it will be replaced with.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking during Leaders’ Questions yesterday.

He was speaking in response to questions from AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger, in light of the UN Human Rights Committee’s findings on the case of Amanda Mellet.

Meanwhile…

Previously: ‘The Ashes Were Unexpectedly Delivered To Her Three Weeks Later By Courier’

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

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A report by Paul Sweeney, of TASC, in December

Paul Sweeney writes:

The leak in [yesterday’s] Irish Times that the Taoiseach has written to Mr Juncker, President of the EU Commisson, on the need for greater investment in Ireland is welcome, but appears somewhat disingeneous.

His letter appears to quote the report published by TASC last December which ponted out that Ireland’s level of investment was at its lowest level ever and was the lowest in the Union.

Mr Kenny said investment in infrastructure in Ireland was at its “lowest level for many years, and also represents the lowest level of any member state at present” – the two points emphasised by TASC.

That Mr Kenny has now recognised this is welcome, but it was his government which set out the investment plan last autumn which proposed to cut investment even lower than the lowest level ever, from 1.8% of GDP in 2013 to 1.7% in 2016.

…So has Mr Kenny finally woken up to the need for greater direct public investment? For example, is he seeking permission from Europe to directly invest some of the banks’ proceeds in Ireland, instead of making the error of using them to accellerate repayment of the national debt?

It seems not. He appears to be looking for new ways of avoiding direct public investment and to increase private investment in public infrastructure. It seems he wants leeway to have more Public Private Partnerships, even though they cost more in the long run and take much longer to execute, than direct public funding.

“Mr Kenny said he felt sufficiently concerned about how Eurostat was classifying public-private partnerships – widely used to fund infrastructural projects – that he felt the need to ‘raise the matter at the highest political level’”, according to the Irish Times.

But he also said, “We are also acutely conscious of the constraints and obligations of the fiscal rules, and the need to broaden sources of investment as widely as possible within those constraints and obligations.”

Clearly using some of the bank proceeds for investment is not even being discussed. The flavour still is “broader sources of finance.”

Taoiseach appears to seek Increased Public Investment, as does OECD (TASC)

Kenny concerned by hazard posed from EU investment rules (Irish Times, June 13, 2016)

H/T: Rory Hearne

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Previously: Not Going Away

Pic: Oireachtas.ie

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny fielding questions from journalists earlier today.

Further to the UN’s criticism of Ireland’s abortion laws…

Previously: ‘The Ashes Were Unexpectedly Delivered To Her Three Weeks Later By Courier’

Earlier: On Message

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking about the 8th amendment in the Dáil last week

You may recall Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s comments about the 8th amendment last week.

And the subsequent appeal for him to correct the Dáil record.

Earlier today, during Order of Business, the opportunity for him to correct the record arose when Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the matter.

Catherine Murphy: “Will the Taoiseach confirm that the Cabinet discussed the preparation of legislation for the IBRC Cregan inquiry? Is there a timeline for that and the changing of the terms of reference for the inquiry?”

“The €12 million diverted from mental health appears now to have been, more or less, put back into the mental health area. It was diverted, we were told, because there was insufficient time to recruit the staff. Is it envisaged that the money will be diverted for the recruitment of staff and is there some sort of a changed mechanism for doing that?”

The other day in a debate, the Taoiseach made some erroneous points relating to the eighth amendment to the Constitution, particularly that there had been several referenda about the eighth amendment. Will he take the opportunity to correct the record on that particular issue? We have not had a referendum on it for 30 years and there are different elements.”

Enda Kenny: “Following the meeting I had with the Deputy and other parties last week, I can confirm that this morning the Government approved the drafting of a Bill in respect of the general scheme of the commissions of investigation dealing with IBRC.”

“That was the approval of the urgent drafting of legislation to enhance the powers of the commission of investigation into IBRC along the lines of a general scheme that we discussed, together with all the consequent challenges that lie therein. Second, the Government noted the approach proposed regarding the revision of the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation following consultations by me and Ministers with members of the Opposition parties.”

“We discussed the drafting of legislation to allow for this in modular form, to have terms of reference to allow an investigation into the Siteserv issue, which is a matter of public concern raised here on many occasions, and the allowing of future modules to be inserted into that, if necessary. Approval was given for that this morning.”

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl:There are two other matters.”

Kenny: “The Minister for Health met representatives of the Psychiatric Nurses Association of Ireland last Friday. The money has been restored in full for what was originally intended for mental health and the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, will outline the details of how it is to be spent. With regard to recruitment, there will be a focus on attracting psychiatric nurses back to Ireland and more places for psychiatric nursing training.”

I answered a question to Deputy Bríd Smith last week on the eighth amendment. This was put into the Constitution in 1983 and in February 1992 there was a Supreme Court judgment in the X case.”

“In 1992, there was also a referendum to reverse the X case judgment and that referendum was defeated, and there was also a referendum on the right to travel, which was passed.”

“In the same year there was a referendum on the right to information, which was also passed. In 2002, there was a referendum to reverse the X case judgment and that was narrowly defeated. I am just getting the chronological sequence right.”

Although I know it is not the Deputy’s intention to have this treated in any way as a political football, it is a sensitive and profound issue that must be teased out very carefully with regard to action that might be taken by the people.”

There would be a citizens’ assembly and the Dáil process to establish it if there is a consensus for change. That is very necessary and what I intend to do.”

Ruth Coppinger: “Is that the Taoiseach correcting the record?”

Michael Healy-Rae: “Taoiseach – turf.”

Micheál Martin: “Turf, is it?”

Healy-Rae: “Is it fair to say that the last Government made a grave error in banning farmers from cutting turf in certain bogs? I am referring to the priority legislation, the wildlife (amendment) Bill. Is it factual to say the last Government made a grave error in stopping farmers from cutting turf on certain bogs?”…

Previously: ReferEnda

‘The People Decided To Keep That Reference In The Constitution’

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

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From top: Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon.

During Leader’s Questions.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams raised Nama’s controversial sale of Project Eagle again with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, calling, again, for a Commission of Investigation into the sale.

From their exchange…

Gerry Adams: “Some of the allegations are shocking. Between May 2010 and November 2013, a member of Nama’s advisory board is alleged to have been charging a fee for advice about Nama. It’s further alleged that the same individual had an unethical working relationship with a senior Nama officer, which gave him access to additional and sensitive commercial information.”

“It is also alleged he was lobbying on behalf of clients to reduce loan repayment demands, and in return he would secure cash payments – so-called ‘fixer fees’ – which were shared with the senior Nama officer.”

“Now when Nama decided to sell its Northern loan book to US vulture fund, Cerberus, this individual was offering to disclose information relating to the value of the loans to a bidder called Pimco. It’s alleged that Pimco discovered that payment of a fixer fee of £15million  was requested. This was to be paid if Pimco were successful. Pimco reported this to Nama and withdrew from the process.”

“According to a Sinn Fein freedom of information request, Minister Noonan was updated by the Nama chairman regarding these transactions and it’s still today unclear why the minister did not intervene to exercise his general powers of direction over Nama to suspend the sale’s process until these matters were fully investigated. Taoiseach, if found to be accurate, these are serious allegations of financial corruption and insider trading in which the taxpayer has suffered a huge loss.”

Later

Enda Kenny: “If you want to give me, if you want to give me evidence of why there should be a Commission of Investigation in this jurisdiction, I’d be quite prepared to listen to it.”

“I’ve got, I hear allegations, rumours and speculation but that’s not the basis for setting up a Commission of Investigation for any particular matter. Minister Noonan dealt with the question of a company that was in a tender position here which was not proceeded with when the question of a fixer’s fee arose.”

“Now if you have other information beyond that deputy, obviously, you know yourself, you bring that to the gardaí. But if you produce evidence to me here in the House, as to why a Commission of Investigation should take place in this jurisdiction, when there are legal cases being pursued in Northern Ireland, in where we would not have jurisdiction in the Commission of Investigation set up here.”

The principal personnel with Nama were in front of the relevant committees here, they gave long and detailed explanations. Nobody has presented me with evidence of wrongdoing by Nama in this jurisdiction and the allegations that you make relate to other areas…”

Previously: ‘Nama Has Done Nothing Wrong’

Spotlight Falls On Noonan