“As leader of Fine Gael, Enda Kenny has been a towering figure in modern Irish history and will be recognised as such over the coming days, weeks, months and years. When Enda took over the leadership of our party we were broken and demoralised.
With his vision, determination, positivity and relentless work-rate, he led our party back from defeat and to sustained electoral success, culminating in victory in the 2011 General Election and a record result for our party.
I am proud to have served in Opposition and then in Government with Enda. I saw at close quarters how skilled and driven he was to succeed for our party, in Government and for our country. His record in Government since 2011 will be viewed very positively by historians, not least how he led the restoration of our economic financial independence over that period, which was a landmark event.
But it is not just these high-profile moments that I reflect on, I recall the energy and excitement of a number of elections campaigns – any day on the campaign trail with Enda was a lively one; or those early days in Government when the economy teetered on the brink and Enda’s calm and clear-headed leadership helped guide us through, or the late nights and long hours trying to construct a new coalition Government in 2016.
It has been an honour to serve with Enda Kenny for almost 20 years now and I wish him, Fionnuala, Aoibhinn, Ferdia and Naoise the very best in the future.”
A statement released by Fine Gael TD and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney this evening.
Independents 4 Change TD, Clare Daly; Group Editor at Associated Newspapers Ireland, Sebastian Hamilton; writer and broadcaster Eoin O’Murchu and Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell were on the panel of Tonight with Vincent Browne.
Given the publication of the Chilcot report, the panel talked about the US Army’s use of Shannon Airport.
From the discussion…
Eoin O’Murchu: “In our case, the position taken by our, not just Bertie Ahern, but the entire Government, was that we want it to be, in our interest, to be on good relations with the United States. Shannon benefits economically, financially and so on. Very hard to find a politician, in the Shannon area, who will come out and criticise what’s being done. So, all of these things were done because of this sense: we had to make sure we were on America’s good side in relation to it. The fact that then makes us complicit, in the things that are done – because we know that war material, as well as people actually going out to fight, have been facilitated going through Shannon.We also know though none of the planes have been searched, that planes that have been used for rendition purposes, that is the taking of people for torture…”
Vincent Browne: “The abduction of people on the streets of Greece or of Italy or whatever and taking them to far off, far-flung torture chambers in Algeria or whatever and that’s what happened and it’s likely that a lot of those passed through Ireland.”
O’Murchu: “Well we know that the planes did because the planes have been identified and they’ve actually been seen going through Shannon. Now that then raises the question, for all of us in this country: if we say quite rightly, look at what happened in Iraq and the dreadful destruction that has flowed from it, the emergence of ISIS being one of them, the thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who’ve died, we have to share some of the responsibility for that because we’ve allowed that to happen. And the Government still refuses to officially even search planes and we rely upon our TDs to brave the fences and actually go in and search them…”
Marie Louise O’Donnell: “Can I ask you a question: who invaded Iraq?”
O’Murchu: “The United States and Britain.”
O’Donnell: “Thank you.”
Browne: “Along with a number of other countries…”
O’Murchu: “But we facilitated the movement of troops…”
Browne: “What’s that penetrative question about?”
O’Donnell: “What level of the blame game are we playing here?
Talk over each over
O’Murchu: “We are responsible for allowing the movement of men and material through Shannon Airport. That is our contribution to that war effort. And it’s something that we should be ashamed of.”
Clare Daly: “And it continues. It continues.”
Browne: “The point I’m making is that we were complicit in an act that we deemed illegal.”
O’Donnell: “Well we had a prime minister called Tony Blair who didn’t even listen to the Security Council.”
Browne: “We didn’t have a prime minister…”
O’Donnell: “No, there was a prime minister called Tony Blair who didn’t even listen to the Security Council who told him: no, we’re going to monitor things, we’re going to continue to investigate what’s going on in Iraq. But he didn’t listen to anybody. He didn’t listen to anybody except to a kind of jockeying George Bush and they looked, the two of them, getting in and out of cars, swaggering around the place, messianic you’re right… I’m not missing the point. I’m…”
Browne: “You’re objecting to them getting in and out of cars?”
O’Donnell: “No but the way they were carrying on, like kind of modern-day cowboys, ‘we’re gonna get him’.”
Browne: “In the way they got in and out of cars.”
O’Murchu: “If George Bush had not decided to go to war, Tony Blair wouldn’t have gone to war either.”
Sebastian Hamilton: “If Bertie Ahern…”
O’Donnell: “I’m not disputing that..”
Hamilton: “If Bertie Ahern had decided not to facilitate Shannon, the Dáil would not have done it. My point is there is a political failure here, at the top, in which for this period of time, individuals, individuals were allowed, if you...individuals were allowed to wield massive power and massive influence over Governments. They told ministers what to do and if you look…”
Browne: “I don’t think so, I think if you ask the Irish people and we’ll get texts I’m sure, they preponderance of social media comments on what we’re saying will be anti what we’re saying…”
Hamilton: “That Bertie did not run this country?”
Browne: “No don’t mind that, that’s a silly thing..”
Talk over each other
Browne: “No, that they don’t care that the important issue is that we don’t alienate America and we don’t diminish the chances of further Foreign Direct Investment from America into Ireland which provides jobs. And the attitude would be: yes we could take a principle stand and we’d feel better about it but it would make no difference to what happened in Iraq.”
O’Donnell: “But listen, we’re not the ones who went into Iraq with the Kalashnikovs, we’re not the ones who went in and bombed the people, we’re not the ones, the Irish people aren’t, we weren’t in Iraq bombing women and children, that’s my point.”
Browne: “Who said that we were?”
O’Donnell: “But you’re making, you’re blaming, you’re giving us the same level, I mean maybe there isn’t level, maybe there’s a different level of complicity. Blame. You’re saying that we’re nearly the greatest enemy in Iraq..”
Browne: “I didn’t say that.”
O’Donnell: “You’re carrying on as if, our, the fact that there were troops refuelling, if they were, in Shannon, that we are equally to blame as two massive warmongerers desecrated their own country and in Iraq. I think that’s ridiculous.”
Hamilton: “We’re having the argument about Shannon that has been going on since that decision was taken: that’s 13 years and nobody is saying: why did that decision happen? And why has the elected parliament of this country..”
Browne: “What do you mean nobody is saying ‘why’?”
Hamilton: “Why nobody is asking – if you want me to write this down for you I will – why nobody is asking why was that decision allowed to happen. Nobody…”
Browne: “But we know…”
Daly: “We know why it was, exactly.”
Browne: “We know how. We don’t ask questions, the answers to which we already know..”
Hamilton: “But what we’re not asking is why was our system of Government set up in such a way as to allow, what you are saying, was effectively an illegal decision? Nobody is asking how do we prevent this happening in the future?”
Browne: “I’m saying that the majority of Irish people, and the majority of the Dáil, would have approved of facilitating…”
Daly: “I don’t agree with that, I don’t agree with that.”
Talk over each other
Hamilton: “They should have been given the chance to debate it.”
Browne: “But they did have a chance to debate it. They did have a chance to debate it…”
Hamilton: “Then we would know. And we should be debating it again. That’s what the parliament is for..”
Daly: “It is a fact that record numbers of people protested in unbelievable numbers in Ireland and in Britain and globally against his war. So ordinary people’s instinct was completely against it.”
Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell on the final People’s Debate last night
TV3 broadcast its final People’s Debate with Vincent Browne from Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s constituency in Mayo.
Neither Taoiseach Enda Kenny nor Fine Gael TD Michael Ring attended.
Towards the end of the show, Mayo-born Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell stood up from her seat in the audience and said…
“If Enda Kenny is not here this evening, I am because I want to stand up for him. And I want to stand up for this Government. Robert Frost was asked, in front of the press, in 1965, ‘what is the greatest attribute a human being can have?’. And he answered, ‘courage’. Well, if you want to talk about Enda Kenny, we have to talk about courage, we have to talk about commitment and we have to talk about conviction. Yes.
“I have…I have the privilege of going around this country talking to groups and organisations and people and when I go around Mayo and I look at the magnificent Wild Atlantic Way, I can tell you this: I do not want to go into a ship that’s going into a storm. I want to be with a steady, recoverable government, that continues what it began. And you should be with it too.”
You may recall Ms O’Donnell’s glowing report of Enda Kenny to Pat Kenny on RTÉ, following the general election in February 2011.
Ms O’Donnell was nominated to the Seanad by Mr Kenny on May 20, 2011.
Watch show back in full here (go to 90mins for Ms O’Donnell)
“I am, I am [going to pay]. I think we have to pay for water… I have to tell you, I am exhausted listening to the word ‘austerity’. I am really exhausted…I think it is in one way, our society is a benevolent society, we are a good society, it’s a good place to live if you live with the system, it is. It would treat you well, it will feed you well, it will educate you well and it does, it does. It tries to look after its poor and it tries to educate all its citizens.”
Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell on Tonight With Vincent Browne last night.
I think we should pay for water. I think we should pay for water when it is fair and just. I think we should pay for water when and only when It belongs entirely to us in perpetuity.
We were never taught the words ‘preserve’ ‘purify’ and ‘supply’. We were only taught ‘Install and Pay’. How much did Irish water pay the PR communications people for that?
If you want to talk about the right to life water is number one. It is not actually a right to life. There is no life without it. We are 60% water. Our heart is 73% water. Our lungs are 83% water and 93% of what we consume is water. Water is life. Without it life doesn’t exist There is nothing to compare with water. Unless you want to live on mars where it is frozen
Irish water must be enshrined in the constitution for the Irish people in perpetuity. That is the beginning and end of the argument. Not to do it would be a national travesty.
The World Bank has privatised water in hundreds of countries in exchange for loans. Nestlé bottles African water and sells it as their own calling it pure life. The privatization of pure life. Countries have been beggared and brought to their knees by Vulture funds, bank speculators, corporations who own the rights to their water who put up the bills, beggar the poor and rape the countries of their natural resources. Because they are poor and owe money.
The privatisation of state water companies around the world always have one common denominator. It is made under the pressure of international lenders in countries with large debt or under the pressure of multinational corporations and politicians in countries with a strong economy.
Today large companies own 34% of the water market. Well they won’t own 35.
Privatisation is about hard technology and purchase of water rights. The World Bank rushed in to congratulate the multinationals in Argentina but the government had to re-nationalise.T hey privatised the water in South Africa but had a cholera outbreak in the poorer areas and the private companies are still disconnecting the water of the poor.
The World Bank ran into Tanzania. Privatised the water for loans, wrecked the water supply. Tanzania had to re- nationalise. The World Bank ran into the Philippines, privatised the water, wrecked the water especially with the poor. They had a cholera epidemic within the first year. France reverted its water system. Took it out of privatisation and gave it back to municipality of Paris. In Germany water agencies are owned by the public. The Netherlands declared by law that no private agency could go near the water. The European commission requires the selling of water supply for the financial bailout of Greece and Portugal.
It could never happen here you say. You are right, do you know why?
The Irish people will not allow it. It is owned by the people for the people.
Mr. [John] Tierney [CEO Irish Water] standing with you minister [Alan Kelly] yesterday said, ‘I want to apologise to my customers’
What customers was he referring to? I am not his customer. He will have no customers
In the water services act as guillotined through by the government we have legislation to protect Irish water for the people this is true. But the legislation is loose, wayward and can be interrupted and Realigned to suit a purpose. I don’t trust it. As it stands the Irish people shouldn’t trust it.
Irish water is a subsidiary of a private/public company Bord Gais. Bord Gais has already sold Bord Gais energy installation and retail to Centrica. Centrica are the British company who bought it for 1.12 billion. Centrica’s canny Irish move with our government fast-tracking a privatisation programme. There are those who have argued that Bord Gais energy was sold on the cheap. Especially the sale of the retail business and the Whitegate plant
A key reason to give Irish water to Bord Gais was the synergies between their retail operations They are now gone. Why is Irish water entangled with a private/public company And don’t tell me about off balance sheet. That is accountancy trickery.
The Taoiseach says he would never sell Irish water. I believe him.
Fine Gael said they would never sell Irish water. I believe them
Labour said they would never sell Irish water. I believe them
Fianna Fail say they would never sell Irish water I believe them
The independents said they would never sell Irish water. I believe them
Sinn Féin said they would never sell Irish water. I believe them
But I do not trust the future.I have hope in it but I do not trust it. No one knows what is going to happen in the next eight months not to mention the next twenty years. I want my child my grandchildren to know that Irish water will be theirs in perpetuity
There can be no privatisation and everything must be done to protect that
Arguments that if you were to do this other utilities would demand such an enshrinement. This is crazy, puerile and actually stupid. There is no comparison to anything else on this planet to water. Water is oil. That is why the vulture funds, the swagmen and the world banks are at the sea shore. To make a profit.
I think water should be preserved
I think water should be purified
I think water should be supplied
I think water should be paid for
It should be fair, It should be just, It should be affordable, but it can only be these things if it is ours. Not semi ours. Not private/public ours. Not under the wing of Bord Gais. Ours. Not a bit ours. Not half ours. But constitutionally referendumly ours.Then you might start talking to the people about what is theirs, what they should do with it, how they should best do it and why they should personally invest in it.We cannot treat water as the largest company on earth. When we view water in economic terms as a man servant relationship we make a fundamental change about ourselves.
We must enshrine it in the Constitution
You must be Brave, Creative, Worthy and Valiant.
Senator Marie Loiuise O’Donnell in the Seanad today before the government defeat in a vote on a referendum on Irish Water.