What’s He Really Think-In?



Enda Kenny at Dunraven Arms Hotel, Adare, Co Limerick last night


It may be the last time he does one of these.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny appeared in odd form on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland earlier live from the Fine Gael parliamentary party gathering in Adare, Co Limerick.

Host Cathal Mac Coille questioned Mr Kenny on the north, the economy, Irish Water and the Fennelly Report.

Includes: strange ‘Child Care, Child Care’ malfunction.

Cathal MacCoille: “Welcome back to Fine Gael’s pre-election gathering in Adare in County Limerick where I’ve just been joined by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Good morning!”

Enda Kenny: “Morning, Cathal.”

“If these institutions were to collapse, how serious would that be in your view?”

“Well if they were to collapse, obviously it could be a very long time before you get back to a situation where you would have what you might call normal running of an executive and assembly. Obviously in an election situation the people make their decision and they elect who they think best or why they favour in terms of the parties that they represent and so on. But I think this can be avoided, but it needs a realistic appraisal by people who have had very harsh things to say about each other where there are clear differences of opinion, strong differences of opinion but you have to look at the bigger picture and the bigger picture are the people of Northern Ireland and their futures.”

“Is this going to end up almost inevitably as previous crises have with the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister having to get involved in Belfast or London or somewhere?”

Kenny: “Well I spoke to Prime Minister Cameron when we agreed to invite the parties back to talks to settle their differences arising originally from the welfare reform situation which was accepted by Sinn Fein and then rejected by them and then the other difficulties insofar as a comment made by the PSNI chief constable the PSNI was concerned, insofar, insofar as I’m concerned as Taoiseach and I’m sure so far, I’m sure so far as the British Prime Minister is concerned, we will continue to work with the parties every way we can to see that they have the opportunity to get this show back on the road. I must make it clear beyond the limits of where they are that there’s going to be no more money produced by the British government.”

MacCoille: “But might the two of you get involved directly?”

Kenny: “To be honest with you, Cathal, if this came down to a situation where the continuation of the executive and assembly and normal functioning of government under devolution given and accepted and voted for by the people, then of course I would go to every limit to see that that would happen.”

“Just one final question – the IRA which is at the heart of the row, in your view does the IRA exist in some shape or form, and, if so, what?”

Kenny: “Well the evidence available and pronounced by the Minister for Justice in the jurisdiction down here, the 26 counties, is that it doesn’t. Clearly there are Chinese walls if you’d like to use that phrase, in terms of Northern Ireland. The cell operation, the Army Council, I had a row with Martin McGuinness many years ago about this and I believe him when he says it was stood down, it doesn’t mean these persons doesn’t meet, the question here is and I can’t comment on the PSNI and the information or evidence that they have or might not have in respect of the McGuigan murder or other murders, but you can’t have a situation of fear along the border where people are afraid to open their mouths about anything.”

MacCoille: “But are you saying in this state you accept that the IRA doesn’t exist in any form, for example the shadow form Michael McDowell suggested?”

Kenny: “I think that Michael McDowell when he was in government and the, the situation was, was agreed at that time was that there wasn’t a requirement then to abolish it completely in case it was replaced with something else, I would think that the cell formation of the so-called IRA is no longer functioning in that manner, it doesn’t mean that the persons who are members of cells don’t meet in terms of criminal activities particularly in Northern Ireland.

MacCoille: “The general approach to the election which you signaled again in your speech to the party last night, presenting the voters with a choice between stability in the continuation of this government or Fine Gael in government and chaos, but beyond that what’s your general pitch to the voters for choosing you again?”

Kenny: “Well I’d say the first thing is that we’ve come on a particularly difficult journey here over the past 4 and a half years and I’d be the first to say from moving round the country to, to every county, I know, Cathal, that there are many people who face real challenges every day, and I understand that and they come to my office and they write to me and they talk to me and there’s a story behind every door. So, in order to deal with all those many challenges you have to have an engine that’s capable of delivering proper services for them, and that’s why, when we set out in the beginning, the mandate given to us by the people was to fix the public finances and put the country back to work so, essentially, the more people you have working the less taxes they pay and the better social services you have…

MacCoille: “But what about the next mandate? Is it essentially saying – us or chaos?”

Kenny: “It’s government or chaos. I listened to the leader of the Sinn Fein party this morning, talking about, about the opportunity that he’s presenting. He did say, and he’s confirmed that they want to standardise tax relief, so for instance on pensions, a garda married to a teacher, both on €40,000, would be paying nearly €2000 in extra taxes under that kind of regime, now what this government what Fine Gael and Labour have set out, was to reduce the tax burden, and that’s paying dividends with growth figures of 7% yesterday, very strong and quite extraordinary in a European context but as Michael Noonan pointed out, the Government is going to be very careful, going to be very prudent, very responsible with this, people say to me, I tell you now, you’re a politician I don’t want anybody to blow the recovery that I see happening before my eyes.”

MacCoille: “Yes, but all of the TDs and senators you speak to here raised this in one shape or other, I’m sure you’ve heard from them, surely after growth figures as good as yesterday, exchequer returns as good, there has to be room surely for a little more in tax cuts or USC?”

Kenny: “Extra monies, whatever they are, can be put into a buffer situation reduce your debt and so on. We’ve already set out in the Spring statement the parameters of the forthcoming budget.”

“€1.5 billion as Michael Noonan set out. Is that it? No more?”

Kenny: “Between 1.2 and 1.5 and we’re staying within that. That means, Cathal, that we want to continue to make the recovery for everybody. It is fragile, we don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of China, we don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of the Middle East, but what we do want, is to create more jobs reduce that burden that’s why for instance Richard Bruton has gone round with the action plan for jobs in different regions…”

MacCoille: “Right. What about the pressure you’re under, for very good reason, to assist people under pressure with their mortgages, old age pensioners, rural areas, Fianna Fail have raised this recently, saying you need to do something where rural areas where the recovery hasn’t happened yet or people don’t see it?”

Kenny: “These are all challenges. But we’ve set out a number of priorities. To reduce the tax burden, and we’ve mentioned USC in this regard, to deal with the anomaly in respect of self-employed people…”

MacCoille: “Yes but there are possibilities here. I’ve mentioned the rural areas, you’re a rural TD, you know other places where, recovery, people don’t see it. Do you not see the need to do something? They talk about tax breaks, and on the programme, Michelle Mulherin did here as well, your fellow constituency TD…”

Kenny: “Well, you see, I obviously come from a very rural county, the concept of the impact of the VAT reductions, abolition of travel tax on the hospitality sector has been very strong, the CAP, the recent contributions from the Euro Commission in terms of the drop in milk prices and the difficulties with farmers at the moment, the competition now in terms of supply of broadband so people can do the business from home and have access to proper speeds, the infrastructure that will come from a capital programme to…”

MacCoille: “Yes, but do you see the need to respond to any more of these calls? For example from rural areas?”

Kenny: “Yes.”

“And will you?”

Kenny: “And part of the government’s programme has been Construction 20/20…”

MacCoille: “But what about now, what about the last budget before the election?”

Kenny: “Child care, child care. Well I see the budget actually as the first in the next phase of dealing with many of these challenges child care costs, self employed, reduction of the overall tax burden and the opportunity to create more jobs because if you look at all the other parties and the different groupings that are there all of them are talking about increases in taxes we’re looking the other way at reducing the tax burden with consequential growth in jobs.”

MacCoille: “We obviously don’t want to go into specifics. Just a number of other issues. Your big headache, obviously, is Irish Water. Is there any change possible on the cards either before the election or after it or is Irish Water and the payments plan and the water conservation is that the way it’s going to be, set in stone?”

Kenny: “If you were to do it again you’d probably do some things differently.”

MacCoille: “But would you do anything differently now?”

“The decision is right to have a single entity manage the water the waste water system for the country what we’re at here is asking people to make a fair and affordable contribution. For example I was in France last week signing some contracts with trade people, businesses, I met a young man from Ireland who has an apartment in Dublin and an apartment in Lyon. He pays his single charge in Dublin and he pays over 1000 Euros for water in France.”

MacCoille:What’s the point of the water conservation grant so called? Eurostat doesn’t accept it for what it is, it’s cumbersome, it needs a bureaucracy to run it and it annoys people who when they’ve paid their water charges they’ll get it and others who don’t will also get it, what’s the point of continuing?”

Kenny: “Conservation is a…”

MacCoille: “Its not for conservation, it’s just €100  into your hand.”

“But people are still able to beat the cap that’s there.”

MacCoille: “But what’s the point of a €100 Euro payment into your hand. It convinces nobody.”

“There are people who have been paying for water for 50 years all over the country with private water schemes and private pumps.”

So why give €100 to someone who isn’t paying their water bill?”

Everything comes at a cost.”

MacCoille: “But these people aren’t paying anything they say they won’t pay.”

Kenny: “You asked me if this was the right thing to do. The bills will accumulate if they don’t pay we’ve made that perfectly clear.”

“So why give them €100 euro in the meantime?”

Kenny: “In this country we’ve said we won’t cut off the water supply. The decision is the right one, the prices are fixed out to 2019, the other end of not just water but waste water, you can’t continue having all these sewerage schemes that are completely inadequate, rivers and lakes…”

MacCoille: “So you’re saying no change?”

Kenny: “I’m saying that obviously Irish Water/Eirvia have set out their business programme and you’ll see opportunities there for lessening the cost of the business entity that is Irish Water, but the decision is the right one, to manage this properly Sinn Féin for instance, in their hypocrisy now support affordable charges in Europe but not here…”

MacCoille: “But they contest that, but anyway, the Fennelly Report, Taoiseach. You describe yourself as Martin Callinan’s strongest defender, he felt you put him in a position where he had to retire, looking back do you feel, do you accept, that you, the way you handled it was a mistake, do you regret any way you handled it?”

Kenny: “The Fennelly Commission Report is part of a much larger report that Mr Justice Fennelly is looking into, which are the tapings…”

MacCoille: “We don’t have much time, excuse me, you were this man’s strongest defender, he felt, the judge felt, that he was put in a position where he had to retire, do you regret any aspect of the way you handled it?”

Kenny: “The conclusions of the Fennelly Report are very clear.”

“I’m not asking about the conclusions, do you regret, if you were his strongest defender, your words, you lost him, so do you regret any way you handled it?”

Kenny: “I’m telling you, Cathal, I was accused of sacking the Garda Commissioner.”

“I’m not asking you about that.”

Kenny: “Well I’m telling you. And the reason…”

“You said you were his strongest defender. You lost him. He felt you were getting him to retire.”

Kenny: “The Commission Report points out quite clearly that Commissioner Callinan made the decision himself under direct questioning, it was his decision to retire, he had other options, he decided not to use them…”

MacCoille:And did you make any mistakes?”

Kenny: “He could have decided not to retire, he could have said to the Secretary General ‘Did you not tell the Minister for Justice that I wrote to him?’ he could have said, I want to go and talk to the Minister for Justice…”

Did you make any mistake at all in the way you handled it?”

Kenny: “The Commission Report is very clear in its conclusions, it’s written by Justice Fennelly, a Supreme Court judge and that’s what people should read and I’m very clear in the way I handled it, was the correct thing to do.”

MacCoille: “Obviously I’m not going to get an answer to the question. Thank you. In terms of your own personal intentions, you said you would retire some time in the next term

“No, I didn’t say that. People put this on any kind of comment you make. I want to win this election I except Fine Gael and Labour to return to Government, I think 10 days out from the election, in 2016, when people focus on issues…”

MacCoille: “Will this be your last general election as leader?”

Kenny: “I intend to win the election, to lead the next government and to serve a full term.”

“And then?”

Kenny: “I intend to serve a full term the next time.”

“Will you run in two elections or one?”

“God knows what the future holds, but for me, my intention is to fight the election, to win the election, get Fine Gael and Labour back into government, continue the
recovery, provide stability and serve a full term.”

“An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, thank you very much for talking to us.”

Listen back in full here


26 thoughts on “What’s He Really Think-In?

  1. DEE

    Childcare childcare.
    that just about covers most people in the country.
    covered everyone there, Kenny!
    Except those of us with no children paying for the rest of the countries bundles of noise in the supermarket and those earning above and beyond 100,00 and STILL getting childcare!

    everything else: Jesus wept!

  2. Advertising On Police Cars

    We are not that big a country! We are not the size of Canada or Russia! it boggles the mind that we have rural problems! Sure its only down the road!

  3. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

    I’m glad he cowers away from most interviews because the prepared responses he spouts out no matter the question is infuriating.

    If this is the best on offer to lead a country, it’s horribly depressing. Still I’m sure his Maltese mate has a few directorships lined up for him when he leaves office.

  4. Robby Cook


  5. Fergus the magic postman

    “people say to me, I tell you now, you’re a politician I don’t want anybody to blow the recovery that I see happening before my eyes.”


  6. Mr. T.

    “For example I was in France last week signing some contracts with trade people, businesses”

    A Taoiseach doesn’t sign contracts with businesses. WTF is he talking about.

    1. scottser

      ya want to stick another toll on the n7? sign on the line there boyo, just make sure oul paudie coffey gets a seat on the board when he’s failed to be elected next year. granted, he couldn’t find his @rse with a map and a torch, but ya have to look after the lads, eh?

  7. martco

    car crash interview that…Armando Iannucci could only dream of coming up with this stuff
    sine deh CON-tract….like fck I will Pinocchio, like fck I will

  8. Jimmy 2 tones

    Never in my life, my families lives or my friends lives will we vote for FG, FF or Labour again.

    Time for a change & the Social Democrates will get a chance.

Comments are closed.