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.”