Kenny speech 'pointless and condescending'

Mon, Dec 5, 2011, 00:00

The Independent TD whose name was pulled out of a hat to respond to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s “state of the nation” address has described last night’s statement as “pointless and condescending”.

Thomas Pringle, deputy for Donegal South-West, was selected to speak on behalf of the 16-member Dail technical group. He accused the Government of being “more focused on the Bundesbank than the people of Ireland” in the course of his pre-recorded three-minute address broadcast on RTE television just before the 6pm news bulletin.

“The Taoiseach Enda Kenny in his address last night said you are not responsible for the mess we are in. Yet his Government insists on making us all pay for the mess. The budget that is now upon us today and tomorrow will make us pay even more for the mess that we did not create,” Mr Pringle said.

He said the country was on its knees and in equality was growing, with each austerity budget set to increase inequality. The Coalition’s pre-election promises were not only being broken, but shattered and the Government seemed unable to take on board new ideas.

“If we only asked the higher paid and wealthy people to pay the European average tax rate we could reduce the need for much of the public spending cuts,” he said. “The Government seems to prefer to squeeze middle and lower income groups into a state of paralysis”.

Turning to the Eurozone crisis, he predicted Mr Kenny would “give Ireland’s independence away once and for all”. He added: “When the proposals for integration come from Germany and France, the Irish people need to demand a referendum”.

Mr Pringle described the technical group as “diverse…with many varied ideas”. Seven of the group expressed an interest in taking part.

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.

RTE felt obliged to offered airtime to the technical group, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fáin because the Government did not invoke the terms of the 2009 Broadcasting Act, as had been widely expected. Section 122 of the legislation empowers the Government to direct a television station “to allocate broadcasting time for announcements for and on behalf of any Minister of the Government, in the event of a major emergency”.