Barroso 'respects' Irish sacrifices

Taoiseach Enda Kenny applauds European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso after he spoke a few words of Irish at the Government Press Centre in Dublin this afternoon. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny applauds European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso after he spoke a few words of Irish at the Government Press Centre in Dublin this afternoon. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Thu, Feb 28, 2013, 00:00

European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has moved to clarify his earlier comments about the Irish economy having turned a corner.

At an Ibec convention in Dublin earlier this morning, Mr Barroso said the Irish economy was "turning a corner", citing figures released yesterday about the increase in employment here last year.

This afternoon, Mr Barroso said he was not suggesting things were easy for people and stressed he had the “greatest respect” for the sacrifices that the Irish people had made. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz said he had been “deeply impressed” by the response of the Irish people to the crisis. Mr Schultz said Europe should not forget that the Irish had prevented a European-wide banking system crash.

The pair were speaking at Government Buildings following a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Mr Kenny said words of hope and confidence were very important for the morale of people. He said there were signs of confidence in the economy but no room for complacency.