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.”
Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny fielded questions from Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin about the reported 26.3% growth in the economy.
From the debate…
Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “First, the figures produced yesterday are unprecedented. They do not reflect accurately what is happening in the economy. Obviously, the figure of 26% is unprecedented and significantly stronger than the previous estimate of 7.8%, but it is important to note that is due to exceptional factors. It highlights the complexity and difficulty in interpreting the macroeconomic data in Ireland.The figures reflect a number of factors, including the impact of relocation of entire plcs to Ireland. This would have significantly boosted investment and net exports. Net exports contributed 18% to the 2015 growth figure. Contract manufacturing played a role in the figures. This occurs where an Irish-based company with another manufacturing unit abroad manufactures and sells products to other countries from that unit but is still based in Ireland.”
“While the headline figures can be exaggerated in an Irish context and will obviously be the subject of intense scrutiny, other indicators such as the level of consumer spending, the rise in the level of employment and the continuous drop in unemployment trends, as well as taxation receipts, confirm that there is a strong recovery rooted in the domestic economy in Ireland.”
“That domestic demand – spending by Irish businesses and Irish people – is also growing strongly. It is an opportunity arising from the many sacrifices made during the years.”
“The figures predate the decision in Britain in the referendum. Obviously, there has been a sharp depreciation of sterling since that decision and a deterioration in the outlook for the UK economy. While it is an unprecedented figure, the fact is, based on growth projections in real terms, the growth levels seen in 2015 were both a one-off and exceptional in nature. We cannot make policy on that basis, but the CSO takes into account in compiling its figures issues such as aircraft leasing and manufacturing here by companies that have units abroad.”
“As noted in the summer economic statement which was debated in the Dáil some time ago, the Department of Finance will prepare a full macroeconomic projection in advance of the budget in October. It will include updated estimates of economic growth, the public finances and whatever fiscal space is available to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, taking account of developments up to that time, including the latest CSO numbers and the decision in the United Kingdom.”
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl: “The Taoiseach’s time is up.”
Micheál Martin: “The Taoiseach did not answer the question, which was whether he would commission the CSO to design a proper, accurate way of calculating the real size of the economy.”
“Professor John FitzGerald, formally of the ESRI, has attempted to do this as an individual. It is shocking that the Department of Finance and the Taoiseach’s Department did not work years ago to create a proper model to calculate the size of the economy.”
“The figures are not unprecedented. They are false in terms of what is happening on the ground and the reality in the economy. The CSO says it is including – not taking account of – the impact of aircraft leasing, corporate inversions and contract manufacturing, but none of this impacts on real jobs and investment in the economy, as the thousands of people who are struggling realise. It is not good enough that no one in official Ireland has attempted to address this by coming up with an accurate home-grown model that takes all of this into account, strips it out and gives us a proper figure.”
Ó Fearghaíl: “Thank you, Deputy Martin.”
Martin: “It is essential that this be done, in terms of how we plan our budgets and economy but also in terms of our international reputation. Unfortunately, the international world looks at this with some degree of ridicule and disbelief. There was a time when we would haughtily go around the place questioning the Chinese or the Russians for their economic statistics. Can we really go abroad and hold our heads up high…”
Ó Fearghaíl: “You have made your point, thank you.”
Martin: “…about Irish official statistics? No one in their right mind believes Irish official statistics. This cuts to the heart of our credibility in terms of presenting economic data. This is a serious issue which needs urgent addressing by the Taoiseach’s Department, the CSO and other related State entities.”
Kenny: “It is true to say the CSO is quite independent in how it does its analysis, but it does take these factors into account. Changes have occurred, such as the transition of entire public limited companies to Ireland and the transfer of a significant amount of intellectual property, contract manufacturing and the scale of aircraft leasing.”
“The Deputy is right in terms of these figures boosting GDP. There is no proportionate increase in employment. These are figures which are compiled accurately by the CSO and they take into account those changes that have taken place in the international economy.”
“The Deputy is aware of the changes made by the Government in terms of complying with base erosion and profit shifting, BEPS, and the OECD in terms of having got rid of the double Irish concept. The issues of aircraft leasing, contract manufacturing, intellectual property moving onshore here and the transition of entire public limited companies has boosted these figures.”
Ó Fearghaíl: “Thank you, Taoiseach.”
Kenny: “The Department of Finance will set out its projections later in the year, but it will also base its policy on a more normal growth rate, such as has been predicted by the Department, of in the region of 3.5% to 4%. I agree that an extraordinary elevation of 26% based on some of these factors and others, such as the depreciation of sterling, do not impact in reality on big numbers in terms of employment…”
Ó Fearghaíl: “Thank you, Taoiseach. The time is up.”
Kenny: “…but it is important that on the underlying issues the growth in jobs and consumer spend and the drop in unemployment is where the real value of the economy is and the projections will be based on 3.5% to 4%.”
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.
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.
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”.
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.
That really pisses me off. No hurry, says Enda, as even now Irish couples are living with the reality of a FFA.