‘Your Reply Was A Disgrace’

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From top: Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy; Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald; Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Fine Gael TD and Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Further to reported allegations that IDA Ireland has blocked more than 50 potential job creators from accessing a cash reward via Connect Ireland – an initiative that came out of the Global Irish Economic Forum in 2011- for introducing foreign firms to invest in Ireland…

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the issue with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon – and in his response Mr Kenny once again said he was accused of clogging up the roads in Cork for all the jobs he’s created.

He made this jobs/traffic claim during Leaders’ Questions on February 21 and during the Friends of Ireland lunch with US president Donald Trump at Capitol Hill, Washington last week.

From Ms Murphy and Mr Kenny’s exchange…

Catherine Murphy: “Taoiseach, during Priority Questions, to Minster Mitchell O’Connor back in February, I asked about the anomalies emerging between IDA and Connect Ireland. There’d been a number of articles in the Sunday Business Post, which cause me to question what had actually transpired between the two agencies and if this is likely to result in the State, in a cost to the State, because of the disagreement.”

“A reply to me, the minister told me that she couldn’t go into detail because there was an ongoing legal dispute between the parties. Yesterday, the jobs committee heard allegations that Connect Ireland were possibly stymied in creating jobs in what sounds essentially like a turf war.”

“On the other side, IDA have noted that Connect Ireland failed to, by a long shot, to reach the target set in the number of jobs created, or the scheme was set to create. Whichever side is correct, the fact remains that there is a significant and fundamental difference between the jobs numbers claimed by both the IDA and Connect Ireland.”

“A Morning Ireland report today told us that the verification process used by the IDA to ascertain whether a connector would be due a payment until the scheme refused a significant number of connections yet, on a review, a third of these were overturned. This suggests a serious issue with the verification process used by the IDA.”

“The core issue here, Taoiseach, is that there’s potentially, there were potentially jobs lost to Ireland. And if this is the case the reasons for that must be made clear. An important element of this is the potential repetitional damage caused. Imagine from the point of view of someone who wanted to invest, when there’s two State agencies essentially almost in dispute with each other. And look at the confusion that would create. The issue is time sensitive in that the contract expires this coming Sunday. And, clearly, these issues must be satisfactorily addressed not just behind closed doors, before any new contract is entered into or, indeed, this one is cancelled.”

“So my questions are: why is there such a fundamental difference between the IDA and Connect Ireland regarding the jobs numbers? Who is nearer to the truth here? And, if it transpires that Connect Ireland are the ones telling the truth, how much will the IDA, using in public money, have to fork out in compensation?

Is that figure likely to be in the many millions? As has been reported in the many media – with figures of around €14million circulating. And will it be the IDA or the Department that would be the ones called to pay out the compensation if that was the case and has any amount been factored into either of their budgets? for this

Enda Kenny: “Well, I think the first thing I should say is that I’m quite sure that you welcome the improvement in the numbers of people working in the country. Unemployment has called from 15.2 to 6.6 with over two million-plus people now working in Ireland, spread throughout the region where every sector is growing.”

“In fact, I was accused in Cork recently of being responsible for clogging up the roads with people going to work which I suppose is a challenge, a challenge of success. I might say, I was interested in this initially, Deputy Murphy, because this was born out of an initiative that came from the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum with the aim of involving global diaspora in job creation here when things were very, very bad…”

Later

“There are three issues here. One is the legal issue, which I can’t comment on, and that’s in respect of the financial situation. The second is: what were the number of jobs and what are the number of jobs that were created by the ambassadors and by the connectors of Connect Ireland and thirdly, what is the position now? Well. This was a four-year scheme, it was extended after contact was made with Government for a further 12 months and that runs out on Monday…”

Later

“Jobs are jobs and when we had none, we were very lucky to get any kind of jobs in here… I can’t comment on the court case but I will look forward to seeing Minister O’Connor’s review of this and that’s difficult given that there is a litigation at the moment…”

Murphy: “First of all Taoiseach, can I just say that your reply was a disgrace. It’s very disingenuous to question whether or I or others support jobs: of course we support investment in jobs in this country. I know what the Succeed in Ireland programme is about and I think most people in this house know what the Succeed in Ireland programme is about. I asked you very specific questions and I believe I’m entitled to a response to those.

More to follow.

Related: Connect Ireland’s plea to save its scheme (Businesspost.ie)

IDA Ireland accused of blocking potential job creators (RTE)

7 thoughts on “‘Your Reply Was A Disgrace’

  1. Sheik Yahbouti

    Hold on a minute – I’m aware that the majority of our Public Representatives – Catherine Murphy (whom I admire) included – find it hard to string together a coherent sentence in English, but this report is so hard to read that I fear errors in transcription – any input from an Editor at all?

    1. Goosey Lucy

      I know, I gave up. “Repetitional damage”..”born out”..
      I missed those SBP articles- must catch up.
      Enda- give it a rest with “clogging up the roads” nonsense- there’s a vast difference between quantity and quality. Many people are underemployed, and many are working in low-skilled, low-paid roles

  2. Custo

    He’s certainly dining out on that ‘clogging up the roads’ quote. Maybe hell have it on his gravestone

  3. 15p

    a man with two pints clogged up the roads.
    any time someone is asking kenny something he’s just trying to work out how to not answer the question.

      1. Pat Murphy

        Indeed, during his many years in the Dáil Enda became adept at the art of politics. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that is his only area of expertise. It keeps him in power but it’s not the leadership we need.

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