Tag Archives: address



Free at Midday?

Of course you are.

At noon today, President Michael D Higgins will broadcast a message across all independent, local and community radio stations.



Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressed the nation live on RTÉ and Virgin Media One.

During his address, broadcast under Section 122 of the Broadcast Act 2009, Mr Varadkar said:

“Lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh. This is a St Patrick’s Day like no other. A day that none of us will ever forget.

“Today’s children will tell their own children and grandchildren about the national holiday in 2020 that had no parties, no parades but instead saw everyone staying at home to protect each other.

“In years to come, let them say of us, when things were at their worst, we were at our best.

“Our country is making big demands of our healthcare staff and big demands of every single one of us. Tonight I want you to know why these actions are being taken and what more needs to be done.

“We’re in the middle of a global and national emergency. A pandemic. The likes of which none of us have seen before. So far, the number of cases in Ireland has been relatively small. However we believe the number will rise to 15,000 cases or more by the end of the month and rise further in the weeks thereafter.

“The vast majority of us who contract Covid-19 will experience only a mild illness. But many  will be hospitalised and, sadly, some people die. We can’t stop the virus but working together we can slow it in its tracks and push it back.

“We can, as you’ve heard by now, flatten the curve. But only if everyone takes sustained action, nothing less will do. We all need to take steps to reduce close human contact. That’s how the virus is spread. Not just in public gatherings or in public places but also in our own homes, places of leisure and places of work.

“Large public gatherings are cancelled, all pubs and bars are shut and we’ve asked people  to curtail or cancel social gatherings like parties, weddings and other celebrations.

“I know these choices won’t be easy but they are necessary. And more will be required in the coming weeks to reduce the spread of the virus. At all times, we’ll be guided and take the expert advice from our public heath emergency team, led by the chief medical officer.

“We’ll always put your life and your health ahead of any other concern. All resources that we have, financial and human, are being deployed to serve this great national effort. We’re watching what’s happening around the world and we will learn from the experience of other countries affected by Covid-19 before we were.

“What works, and what doesn’t. We know the best strategies focus on testing and contact tracing and social distancing so that’s our strategy. We will keep our essential services, supply chains and utilities operating.

“Many of you want to know when this will be over. The truth is: we just don’t know yet. This emergency is likely to go on well beyond March 29th. It could go on for months into the summer so we need to be sensible in the approaches we take.

“We will deploy our full resources to ensure that essential shops, workplaces and public transport can continue to operate. People will still need to buy goods and avail of personal services in the weeks and months ahead. However to do so, we need your co-operation and that of business and industry to make social distancing workable.

“This may mean changing how you do your business. But we will work with you to find safe and creative ways to do exactly this. It may mean adjusted opening hours, staggering breaks. Phone calls and video conferences, rather than meetings and, if possible, working from home.

“It will mean avoid unnecessary journeys, shopping online from local businesses and getting things delivered, rather than physically going to the premises.

“In short we’re asking people to come together as a nation, by staying apart from each other.

“The most basic messages of washing your hands properly and practicing good hygiene around sneezing and coughing are still the most important. And if you have a new cough that isn’t going away, or a high temperature or both, stay at home, phone your doctor and a test will be arranged for you within a few days.

“At a certain point we will advise the elderly and people who have a long-term illness to stay at home for several weeks. We’re putting in place the systems to ensure that if you are one of them, you will have food, supplies and are checked on. We call it cocooning and it will save many lives, particularly the lives of the most vulnerable, the most precious in our society.

“I know it’s going to be very difficult to stay apart from our loved ones. Most grandparents just want to give their grandkids a hug and a kiss around about now. But, as hard as it is, we need to keep our physical distance to stop the virus.

“Technology can help too. Check in with your loved-ones on Skype of FaceTime and promise them that you’ll see them again soon.

“We’ve already seen our fantastic community spirit spring into action. Phone your neighbours, see if they need help and make sure that those who are living alone are not left alone.

“To all the young people watching, I know you’re probably a bit bored and fed up right now. You want to see your friends, you might even be wishing you’re back at school tomorrow. But you’re going to have to wait a while longer for that.

“And I hope you remember that this time is tough on your parents as well. So I’m asking you to ask your parents, at least once a day, what you can do to help them. Keep up your schoolwork and call your grandparents.

“Like you, my family have spoken about little else in recent days. My partner, two sisters and both their husbands are working in the health service here in Ireland and in the UK. They’re all apprehensive, they’ve heard the stories from China and Italy of hospitals being overwhelmed and medical staff getting sick.

“I’m so proud of them all. Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear scrubs and gowns.

“And all of our healthcare workers need us to do the right thing in the weeks ahead. Our community services and hospitals are being tooled up. Essential equipment is on the way. Retired staff are returning to service, people are training for changed roles.

“This is the calm before the storm. Before the surge. And when it comes, and it will come, never will so many ask so much of so few. We’ll do all that we can to support them.

“I’m also grateful to the many people who have joined this great national effort. Not just our healthcare staff but also our army cadets, our librarians, our civil servants who are now learning to do contact tracing. The early education and childcare workers offering to look after children for our frontline staff, so they can go to work.

“The teachers and lecturers finding new and innovative ways to teach students online and putting together contingency plans for the Leaving Cert and college exams.

“The people who are stocking our shelves everyday. And those who are serving customers. Our hauliers who leave their families on a Sunday evening and travel across the continent to ensure we have the products, medicines and equipment that we need.

“All those who keep our supply chain moving, working in transport, we thank them. It’s a frontline service too. Our journalists and broadcasters who are helping us to inform and educate the public are all deserving of our respect and thanks.

“Coronavirus is already having a deep impact on jobs and economic activity and will continue to do so. Some people watching will have seen their jobs lost, businesses closed or working hours reduced and more will be worried that it might happen to them too, especially as we don’t know when the emergency will end.

“I know this is causing huge stress and anxiety to you and your families on top of the fear of the virus. While we don’t have all the answers now. We are doing and will do all we can to help you through the time ahead.

“You’ll receive income support as quickly and efficiently as possible and when we’re through the worst, we’ll get people back to work and get businesses open again.

“Everyone in our society must show solidarity at this time of national sacrifice. For those who’ve lost their jobs and had incomes reduced, there will help and understanding from those who can give it, particularly the banks, government bodies and utilities.

“We went into this crisis with a strong economy and the public finances in good order. We have the capacity and credit rating to borrow billions if we need to. And I’m confident that our economy will bounce back. But the damage will be significant and lasting. The bill will be enormous and may take years to pay it.

“The Government’s already signed off a three billion euro package, for health, social welfare and business and will take further action when it’s needed.

“Tonight I know many of you are feeling scared and overwhelmed. That’s a normal reaction. But we will get through this and we will prevail.

“We need to halt the spread of the virus but we also need to halt the spread of fear. So please rely only on your information from trusted sources. From Government, the HSE,  the World Health Organisation and from the national media.

“Please don’t forward or share messages that are from other unreliable sources. So much harm has already been caused by those messages and we must insulate our communities and the most vulnerable from the contagion of fear. Fear is a virus in itself.

“Please take regular breaks from watching the news and media and consuming social media. Constantly scrolling on your phone or obsessively following the latest developments isn’t good for anyone.

“Look after your mental health and well-being, as well as your physical health. Tonight, on our national holiday, I want to send a message around the world. We are in this together. To the people of China, Spain and Italy, who’ve suffered untold heartbreak and loss, we are with you.

“To everyone who’s lost a loved one to this virus, we are with you. To all those living in the shadow of what is to come, we are with you.

“Viruses pay no attention to borders, race, nationality or gender. They the shared enemy of all humanity. And so will be a shared enterprise of all humanity that finds a treatment and a vaccine that protects us.

“Tonight I send a message of friendship and of hope from Ireland to everyone around the world. Lá fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh, oíche mhaith.”

Watch back in full here

Covid-19 emergency to continue beyond March – Varadkar (RTÉ)

You heard Enda: now hear Micheál, Gerry and Thomas.

A ten minute slot split three ways between FF, The Technical Group and Sinn Féin after the 9pm RTE News tonight.

Less than 24 hours after Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke to the nation, three mini “state of the nation” addresses by Opposition leaders will be broadcast this evening. The glut of television statements came about because the Government declined to describe the current economic crisis as a “major emergency”

As leader of the largest Opposition party, with 19 TDs, Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin is allowed four minutes and was given the slot just after the 9pm news on RTÉ One. The speaker from the 16-member technical group was “picked out of a hat” after seven of the group expressed an interest in taking part. Thomas Pringle, the Independent Donegal TD, was the name pulled out and he will speak for the group for three minutes before the 6pm news. Independent TD Mick Wallace had been keen, as had People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd-Barrett and Socialist deputy Clare Daly, along with Independents Shane Ross, Stephen Donnelly and Maureen O’Sullivan.

TD pulled from hat to address nation (Irish Times)



Taoiseach Enda Kenny – Address to the nation

Good evening.

Tonight I’m taking the opportunity to speak to you directly on the challenge we face as a community, as an economy, and as a country.

I know this is an exceptional event. But we live in exceptional times. And we face an exceptional challenge. It is important that you know the truth of the scale of that challenge – and how we are addressing it.

That challenge:- To restore our economy.

To create the environment to sustain jobs, and to look after the most vulnerable people in our society.

At the end of last year, our economy was in deep crisis.And while steps to recover from the crisis have been taken…

We remain in crisis today.

I would love to tell you tonight that our economic problems are solved, that the worst is over. But, for far too many of you, that is simply not the truth.

If you’re unemployed, you’re one of the many who still can’t find work.

If you’re in business… you may still not be able get the credit you need, or to get paid on time.

If you’re a parent who has just put the children to bed… you may be wondering how you’re going to meet that mortgage, or pay those bills.

Or you may be looking at your adult children.  Wondering how you’ll say goodbye to some of them as they leave Ireland in search of new opportunity in the New Year.

Tonight, that may be the truth as you live it, and know it.Let me say this to you all:

You are not responsible for the crisis.

My Government is determined that now; the necessary decisions and changes are made to ensure that this is never allowed to happen again.
Right now, our most important responsibility is to do what must be done to get our economy back on its feet.

That requires fixing the enormous deficit in our public finances caused by too much borrowing and the cost of rescuing the banks.

We all know that if, in our own lives, we are spending more than we are earning – we have a problem.

Right now, the State is spending €16 billion a year more than it is taking in.

This problem will not be fixed unless we take action to bridge this gap.

This can only be done by us, ourselves. Working together.

That means that in this Budget we must cut public spending by €2.2 billion and raise €1.6 billion in extra taxes.

When we were elected, the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and I, pledged that our Government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party, would fix this deficit in a way that would get Ireland working. We began by taking urgent steps to stem the crisis and close that gap in our public finances.

We are shutting down dysfunctional banks and we have recapitalised the remaining ones at a lower cost than expected, by imposing losses on some bondholders.

We implemented a jobs initiative that cut taxes on tourism and employment, and that created over 20,000 new job and training placements.

We secured a lower rate of interest on the country’s borrowings that will save us €10 billion over time.

We have met our commitments to the EU and IMF in full, and on time.

This has been acknowledged worldwide, and has helped restore some international confidence in Ireland.

But the steps the Government has taken merely reflect your courage, your character, and your sense of responsibility, for which I
thank you.

While none of this has ended the crisis, and we have not so far been in a position to do everything we promised, we have made a start.

We have begun to stabilise our finances.

The improved confidence has helped strengthen exports – a key driver of future success. But we have a long way to go.

This week, we will introduce a budget that will build on those first steps towards recovery. This budget will be tough – it has to be.

It will move us towards a manageable deficit of 3% of our GDP by 2015.

But getting the deficit under control is just a means to an end.
The main purpose of this budget, and of our four year strategy, is the creation of jobs for our people.

Jobs are central to this budget because work plays such a central role in our lives. Work provides focus. Work gives us independence.  Work gives our families hope.

I get to meet lots of people in this job – a woman in Limerick whose husband had found work after being on the live register for months told me, “he did not just get back his job; he got back his dignity; once more he felt he was making a contribution.”

We won’t be able to create jobs overnight.It will take time.

But, by 2015, I want to see our deficit under control and real growth in jobs.

We are not able to do all we would like to in this budget because we simply can’t afford to. We have had to postpone some really good projects – like Metro North, for example.

But this budget will be a jobs budget in two ways: Firstly, by putting our public finances back onto a sound footing.

As our deficit moves to sustainable levels, investors will start regaining their confidence in Ireland and credit will be made available at better rates. This means businesses will be able to start borrowing, expanding, and hiring again.

Secondly, the budget will include a series of targeted measures specifically designed to create jobs and get people back to work.

It will include, among other initiatives, a new system of loan guarantees will enable banks to resume lending and a new micro finance scheme which will help people to start their own businesses. This will allow small firms to take on one or even two employees:- New jobs to create new incomes, to assist the economy on the path to growth and confidence.

To make sure we keep as many jobs as we can, to make sure you get to bring home as much as you can, and to make sure you know where you stand with your wages.

To give you some certainty for the year ahead, we’re leaving income tax untouched.

Instead, we will raise the 1.6 billion of extra taxes that Ireland needs mainly through indirect taxes, difficult though these will be.

The highest priority is to create more jobs, but we will also do all we can to protect the most vulnerable in our communities – our children,
the sick, and the elderly.

I wish I could tell you that the budget won’t impact on every citizen in need, but I can’t.

Difficult choices are never easy, but we will invest in crucial projects like the National Children’s Hospital, school buildings and health centres.

Before asking families to make sacrifices, we also insisted on sacrifices from those at the top:

We cut the pay and removed state cars and Garda drivers for Ministers.

In the last few weeks I have informed former Taoisigh that entitlements, like free mobile phones and staff allowances are being withdrawn.

The pay and pensions of senior public servants have been cut.

This week’s budget will go further.

50 quangos will be abolished or merged, and the public sector will be downsized by 23,000 people by 2015.

Next year, we will hold a referendum to abolish the Seanad.

But these steps are just a start.

We will reform how we run the country so that we never return to the practices that drove our economy into freefall – reckless spending, weak oversight of banks and reliance on a property boom for tax revenues.

However – In Ireland, an island nation – we cannot operate in isolation. We are part of the European Union.

All the changes we undertake ourselves are set against the backdrop of continuing uncertainty about the future of the European single currency.

Let me be clear – Ireland supports stronger economic governance throughout Europe, and particularly in the Eurozone.

In fact, the Irish people are paying the price now for the absence of such rules in the past.

European leaders must make and – more importantly this time must implement – clear decisions this week to prove our shared determination to protect our currency.

Otherwise, international confidence and investment in Europe will continue to fall.

In the ongoing negotiations in Europe, I will work to achieve a positive outcome for Ireland – one that ensures and protects our economic security.

Firm action will help to restore confidence throughout Europe, and here in Ireland.

In outlining the Government’s strategy with you tonight, I do not for a moment want to make it sound simplistic or painless.  It is not.

We are on a four year path to recovery. This, our first Budget, is a necessary step, but it will include cuts to many worthwhile projects.

It will also raise some indirect taxes which will be hard for many people.

The truth is, our economy remains fragile, and it will take us several years to recover fully.

While the creation of jobs will be at the centre of our plan, I am painfully aware this will not happen quickly enough for many who are out of work today. It will take several years to create the numbers of new jobs we need.
But over the last months we have made a start.

Towards more jobs. Towards more opportunities. Towards renewed confidence.

A start towards a country where our young people can stay at home to build their future here, rather than moving away.

A start in essence toward getting Ireland working again.

That’s the commitment the Tánaiste and I made to you when you elected us. And that is the commitment we are working to deliver each and every day. We have begun taking hold of these problems and deal with them head on.

I am very optimistic for the future.

I want to be the Taoiseach who retrieves Ireland’s economic sovereignty, and who leads a Government that will help our country succeed.

I want to make this the best small country in the world in which to do business, in which to raise a family and in which to grow old with dignity and respect.

All around Ireland, I meet people who want to play their part in achieving those goals.

I meet young people, students and business people who are full of ideas, energy and optimism. I want to enable them, and many others,
to achieve their full potential.

I believe Government, being honest and open, working with the people, will meet and beat the challenges we face.

Next Tuesday December 6th is the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty in 1921.

Just as our fledgling state made its way to becoming a Republic then –
I believe with all my heart, that we the Irish people can now make our way to recovery, to prosperity and to the fulfilment of the dreams of our children and the founding fathers of our nation.


Your thoughts…