Tag Archives: Enda Kenny

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Further to yesterday’s vote by the board of Independent News and Media to give shareholders a dividend while closing off the company’s pension scheme – and the protest by former and current employers over the same…

This afternoon.

During Order of Business in the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny if he found it acceptable that “a solvent, profitable company in this country, can change and close down a defined benefit pension scheme, on a whim – to the detriment of their pensioners and deferred pensioners”?

Readers will note that Mr O’Dea didn’t specifically name Independent News and Media (INM) and neither did Mr Kenny in his reply to Mr O’Dea….

Willie O’Dea: “There’s an implied recognition in the Programme for Government that the pension problem in this country needs to be dealt with. Now, can I ask you: do you find it acceptable that a solvent, profitable company in this country, can change and close down a defined benefit pension scheme, on a whim – to the detriment of their pensioners and deferred pensioners and there is no provision in Irish law to deal with it. Can you tell me when such a provision will be put in place?”

Enda Kenny: “There is no law, no legislation governing this, in respect of Ireland. As you know, there are two defined benefit pensions in respect of the case that you’re probably referring to. In Britain, they have a defined benefit which is based upon levies and only becomes of, only becomes, is only used when the company involved becomes insolvent. The measure, company, we refer to now, is not insolvent. This is a matter in respect of defined benefit contributions that has caused quite a difficultly, a number of difficulties, over the period. Obviously, the last actual certificates filled by defined benefit schemes with the Pensions Authority show that over 60 per cent meet the standard and the remaining schemes had recovery plans. And there is concern that the certificates due in the coming months will, however, show significant deterioration.”

“The operation of a pension scheme is, in the first instance, a matter for the trustees of the particular scheme. The minister met recently with the chairperson of the Pensions Authority. He’s asked the authority to report back to him with an assessment of the current overall position in relation to defined benefit schemes. So he will report to the House when that comes back.”

Meanwhile…

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Later.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy also raised the matter but did specifically mention INM.

Catherine Murphy: “…Taoiseach, do you now accept that there is a gap in the law that is leaving a group of people, we’re seeing with one company, INM, the Independent newspapers, we’re seeing them – whom have the benefit, mind you, of €130m-plus being written off by AIB and the Bank of Ireland – leaving people who’ve worked in that industry, they’ve deferred their pensions in a lot of cases, leaving them very exposed because of this  gap in the law.”

“There’s an urgency about this and other companies doing exactly the same thing. Taoiseach, do you not see that there is a need for urgent legislation in respect of this gap in the law?”

Kenny: “Well, the point is that, in the UK, there is a pension protection fund which is paid for by levies, but it only comes into use when the company is insolvent and the company you mentioned is not insolvent. Clearly, the…

Murphy: [Inaudible]

Ceann Comhairle: “The Taoiseach, without interruption.”

Kenny: “The minister has met with the chairman of the Pensions Authority. He’s asked him to report back on the issue of defined benefit pensions. The situation that will arise over the coming months and coming years, obviously, we’ll deliberate on that when he, when he has that report back…”

Earlier: ‘You Can’t Take It With You’

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Earlier this morning.

At the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala met Pope Francis.

Mr Kenny gave the pope a print of a stained glass window by Harry Clarke while the pope gave Mr Kenny an etching of St Peter’s Basilica.

*It’s not a caption competition until you say so.*

Issue of silenced priests expected to be raised by Kenny at Vatican meeting (RTE)

Pics via Tony Connelly

UPDATE: 

Pope Francis has confirmed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny that he will visit Ireland in August 2018 for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

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Last night.

At the National University of Ireland Galway where Taoiseach Enda Kenny was attending a conference called Ireland 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty.

Anyone?

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Donald Trump and Michael Noionan at Shannon Airport in 2014;  Enda Kenny in the Dáil  during the US primaries.

This afternoon

In the wake of Republican candidate Donald Trump winning the US presidential election with 276 electoral votes to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s 218…

Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke to journalist Martina Fitzgerald on RTE’s News at One in the last hour.

From their discussion…

Enda Kenny: “…Ireland falls into the category of wanting to work very closely with the United States and we will work vey closely with the president and with his new administration. One element I pointed out to him in the letter I sent to both he and the vice president is that immigration reform is something of importance to Ireland here and because of the new change in both the Senate and the Congress, we will work closely with the Republican members there and on the basis of hopefully seeing immigration reform put back on the agenda.”

Martina Fitzgerald:But do you stand by the comments that you believe, that some of his statements were racist and dangerous and that you would explain that to him…”

Kenny: “I referred to the comments that he made in the heat of battle in the primary election and obviously, I will work very closely with the president-elect. I listened, as I said, to his first comments this morning about healing wounds, about building partnerships about working with other countries that want to work with the United States and we fall into that category very much. Our relationship with the States for many years has been expanding and developing. I might point that, for instance, 100,000 American people are now employed by Irish-owned companies across 50 states.”

Fitzgerald: “So you won’t be withdrawing that statement that you thought they were…”

Kenny: “I will work very constructively, as will the Government, with the American administration. I see our interests as a country that has had a long proud history of working with America, very closely with America, to do so in the future. I look forward to that.”

Fitzgerald: “What about his plans to slash US corporation tax to 15%. How concerned should this country be about that?”

Kenny: “Well obviously taxation is, in respect of the United States, are a matter for the US administration. Our corporate tax rates here are a matter for the Irish Government, as a member of the European Union. It’s within our competence, as a national entity, to deal with it here ourselves. So, from that perspective, I expect business to continue, and to continue very strongly. In fact, the investment line from the States into Ireland continues to be very strong. We want to see that continue to develop for the future. It’s not just about tax, it’s essentially about the quality and the range of young people coming through to meet the emerging skills and demands of the future.”

Fitzgerald: “But would it be a concern if it went to 15%?”

Kenny: “Well, many countries in Europe are changing their corporate tax rates. That’s within their competence. As I said, it’s the European Union measures. Matters of corporate tax for the United States are a matter for their administration and I’m sure they will reflect on that in the future.”

Listen back here in full here

Previously: Hillary’s Crowd

Trump Marred

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This afternoon.

During Leaders’s Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised what he called a “legacy issue which reflects all parties who’ve have been in Government over the last number of years” and that he wasn’t raising it as a mean to score political points.

The issue is how the State has dealt with child sex abuse in national schools in Ireland up to and since Louise O’Keeffe’s successful case in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2014.

Mr Martin said the State’s response to the ECHR judgement has been “a significant failure and leaves a lot to be desired”.

From Leaders’ Questions:

Micheál Martin: “The State that introduced an ex-gratia payment scheme, in many respects the limits were too low; but also the prior complaint expedient that was put in, has effectively debarred a lot from seeking justice. Only seven settlements so far have been reached out of about 210 cases and those cases are still going through the courts.”

“I recently met a victim of, who has been involved in this situation for quite some time, of horrific abuse, at the hands of a Christian Brother in a school. The person who abused was subsequently convicted, okay, so there’s no doubt about the issue. And I think he was convicted of other abuse cases as well. And there are quite a number of other victims out there at the moment, Taoiseach. Now this man went through horrific abuse, has been up and down through the courts and religious orders and has received absolutely no compensation, not a cent, nothing from the State. And, recently, in the High Court, because many of these people discontinued their cases when the Supreme Court ruled that the State didn’t have an obligation, the High Court would not uphold the rights now to pursue it in law and, indeed, Judge Barrett made such a ruling. But he also said in his statement that ‘The Irish people…’, and I quote, this is at the end of the court case, the High Court: ‘…with their great and proper sense of justice may well conclude to the path of rightness in this matter should lead ultimately into a different end’. He added: ‘as an Irishman, I would respectfully agree’. Essentially, Taoiseach what has been going on has been quite, in my view, unacceptable.”

Later

Enda Kenny:I don’t know how many victims of sexual abuse there are in the, there have been over the years in the primary system, no more than the secondary system I assume. We have the, we had the redress scheme, we had the case of all the Magdalenes – not that there was sexual abuse in the vast majority of cases. There is the mother and baby home report coming before the Minister for Children as well which we’ll have to see what that means. I can’t recall all the details of, of the file in this case. Your question is can something be done about this. I’ve no idea of the scale of what might be involved here. But I need to read the detail of the file and the legal outcomes here. People who are abused have to live with that for all of their lives and it’s a horrific issue to have to contend with, every waking moment. Now, I don’t want to go beyond that because to come into something that I haven’t the full facts and details about, it wouldn’t be appropriate on the floor of the Dáil here…

Later

Kenny: “Yeah, you see, you mention that there are 7 out of 210 that have been settled – that’s 210 that are before the courts now. But, you have no idea of the numbers who might wish to come forward and say ‘I was sexually abused in school X or Y by teacher or person X or Y. You have no idea of the scale of that. And, and, I think in the process, when the State dealt with the Louise O’Keeffe case, on the 28th of January, 2014, that judgement was issued and the State awarded made awards both in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages and costs and expenses. They also agreed in December of that year that out-of-court settlements would be offered to those extant cases of school child sexual abuse being brought against the State – where the cases came within the terms of the ECHR judgement and satisfied the statute of limitations. And in that regard the State claims agency could manage such cases on behalf of the State, has made settlement offers which have been accepted, as you say, in six cases. In July 2015, the Government approved proposals to offer ex-gratia payments of up to a maximum of €84,000 to those who initiated legal proceedings in such cases agains the State but who subsequently discontinued their claims against the State and where, similarly, the circumstances of the claims came within the terms of the ECHR judgement and where the claims were not statute barred prior to the proceedings being discontinued. I’ll follow through on the question.”

There you go now.

Previously: Grooming A Nation

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Shane O’Farrell

You’ll recall the case of Shane O’Farrell.

The 23-year-old, from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, was killed in a hit-and-run by Zigimantus Gridziuska, on August 2, 2011.

Gridziuska was on bail for several offences at the time and was on suspended sentences in the Republic and the North which should have been activated prior to the incident.

He pleaded guilty to failing to stop, report or remain at the scene of the crash and he received an eight-month suspended sentence in on February 28, 2013, on condition that he leave the country within 21 days.

Judge Pat McCartan, at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin, gave Gridziuska the choice of serving the with months or leaving the country and he chose the latter.

During the sentencing of Gridzisuka, Shane’s mother Lucia O’Farrell claims Judge McCartan asked if there was anything coming up in the pipeline for Gridziuska and that the State solicitor failed to notify the judge that – over the five months before Gridziuska’s trial – a file had been prepared in relation to insurance fraud charges against Gridziuska.

Ms O’Farrell repeatedly requested for this file to be compiled and completed so that it could be included in the proceedings of the case of dangerous driving causing death. However, it wasn’t.

On March 6, 2013 – just days after he was ordered to leave the State within 21 days – Gridziuska appeared in Carrickmacross District Court for insurance fraud and he was jailed for five months by Judge Sean MacBride in relation to three policies of insurance fraud, one of which covered the day on which Shane was killed. Judge MacBride also banned him from driving for ten years.

Further to this…

GSOC has been carrying out an investigation into Shane’s case for the past two and a half years.

On September 28, 2016, in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan raised Shane’s case and said:

“If the GSOC report comes back, I will be holding her to what I believe should be an agreement that the family deserves an inquiry if the GSOC report indicates there are further matters that merit investigation.”

Further to this, Sinn Fein’s leader Gerry Adams raised Shane’s case during Leaders’ Questions in the Dail today while Shane’s Mrs O’Farrell was in the gallery watching on.

He explained the details of Shane’s case and mentioned that he had given Taoiseach Enda Kenny a file about the case – before the summer recess.

Mr Adams had the following exchange with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Gerry Adams: “You might tell me that the Justice Minister has Shane’s case with GSOC but it’s been there four and a half years and no result yet. The case, Ceann Comhairle, is multi-dimensional, shocking and sickening at every turn, it merits a proper statutory investigation, Taoiseach. Will you commit to this please?”

Enda Kenny: “I recall when this accident happened, Deputy Adams. Nothing that I can say or do will bring back Shane O’Farrell and I’m happy to see his mother [Lucia O’Farrell] in the gallery today. I’ve read the file that you gave me. I’ve read the other extensive files that exist in this case. I am aware that there is a civic action against the State and that GSOC have been carrying out an investigation on this. I feel that, that I would like to meet Mrs O’Farrell and hear her story myself. And I will do so from a humanitarian point of view. There are processes that are always followed; nothing will bring back Shane O’Farrell whom I understand was a brilliant young student. So, I know the MInister for Justice answered questions on this recently, I think to Deputy [Jim] O’Callaghan and she indicated, as she had met the family herself, as indeed many have, that she would like to be in a position to have the response of GSOC and that that work was well advanced. Though, as you point out, it’s been going on for quite a while. My understanding from that is that GSOC wish to interview a number of other gardai and that the Minister would be prepared to follow through with whatever the recommendations of GSOC were. This is a very sensitive and sad situation for the O’Farrell family and I’d like to think, that the very least we can do is have every possibility examined so that Mrs O’Farrell, Shane’s mother and his sister, can be an at least, know that the situation was examined in the way that it should be. Thank you for giving me the file which I read and for your question, I’ll make arrangements to meet with Mrs O’Farrell when I have an opportunity.”

Adams: “I thank you, Taoiseach, for your response and I thank you particularly for agreeing to meet with Mrs O’Farrell. This was a young lad, as you say, he was 23, he was a brilliant student at Trinity, he was about to start work at the European Parliament and he was a fluent Irish speaker. He was a gentle, young man with a bright, bright future. And Lucia, and Jim [Shane’s father] have been robbed of their pride and joy. He was their only son. But this case goes beyond his tragic death. It reveals, in my opinion, a series of grievous flaws in the management and response by the justice agencies. There are 59 complaints with GSOC in relation to Shane’s case but nothing to show. Four and a half years later, and this delay is causing ongoing trauma to his family. And I’m sure that you agree that all citizens must have confidence in our justice systems and, of course, all systems have their failings. But we all have a duty to ensure that they are of the very highest standards. As you say, Shane O’Farrell can’t be brought back, but his family can get justice. So I thank you for your reply, I thank you for your agreement, as I’ve said, to meet with Shane’s mother. But Taoiseach, they have asked for a statutory inquiry, will you agree to that? Or, failing that, today will you agree will you make your position known on this issue after you’ve met with Mrs O’Farrell and can you do that as quickly as your busy schedule will allow?”

Kenny: “Yes, I will make my views known and I will arrange to meet Mrs O’Farrell as soon as I have an opportunity. I would say that this is one of over 200 cases where people feel very grievously hurt on a range, a very broad range of issues across many years. And a review panel was set up to look at all these cases including the tragic death of Shane and that consisted of two senior and five junior counsel who are very experienced and the recommendation that they made was to take no further action. Now, I’m not a senior counsel but my job in politics engages me with so many people. I read this file and I will meet Mrs O’Farrell and I will make my views known. I’d like to think that the GSOC inquiry is, you know, practically complete. That’s my understanding. But that’s not of any value to people who say ‘I’ve been waiting for so long without any clarity as to when I’m going to have, I’m going to have a completed document’. The Minister for Justice did say, I’d like to get that, and I’d like to, you know, decide what the best option is arising from that report. I have no input obviously into the civic action as for a person’s right to take a case against the State. But I will meet Mrs O’Farrell because I want to meet her on a humanitarian basis. This is one of a number of very tragic cases and, as I say, nothing will bring back Shane O’Farrell.”

Previously: ‘Delay, Deny, Lie, Then Cover-Up’

O’Callaghan transcript: Kildarestreet.com

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This morning.

RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny  at the launch of Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week.

Meanwhile…

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Meanwhile…