Kelly plan a 'lethal injection', says Kenny


ADOPTING THE stance of Prof Morgan Kelly on the abandonment of the EU-IMF bailout would constitute a “lethal injection” to the Irish economy, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

“Politics is about people and their lives and their careers and their opportunities and that’s what I deal in.

“I have no intention of delivering a lethal injection to the Irish economy by trying to bridge that extent of the deficit in one year,” the Taoiseach said yesterday.

Mr Kenny also rejected weekend reports that an interest rate cut of one percentage point on the bailout had already been agreed.

“No, that’s not so. Obviously, the position in so far as an interest rate reduction for Ireland is concerned has been devolved down to the ministers for finance,” he said.

Mr Kenny was speaking in Dublin at the launch of an initiative to get 25,000 new Irish businesses online within a year. The campaign is a partnership between Google, Blacknight Internet Solutions, An Post and the county and city enterprise boards.

Earlier in the Dáil, Mr Kenny said the European Union should consider the potential of free trade with the US and opening up this market in the next 10 to 15 years.

“The scale of trade across the Atlantic both ways is very significant and generates a very significant proportion of world trade in its own right,” he told a special sitting to mark Europe Day.

He said the Government was “fully confident” that it would be able to secure a reduced interest rate on its loans as part of the EU-IMF agreement.

The 12.5 per cent rate of corporation tax would “remain a cornerstone of this country’s economic policy”.

Ireland’s European commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “I am acutely aware of the public mood, anger and anxiety about the future as people across the country struggle through this exceptionally difficult period.”

She added: “I am deeply concerned that a broad-brush attack on Brussels is turning legitimate criticism on specific issues into a populist attack on all institutions and our place at the heart of Europe.

“Robust criticism and debate is the lifeblood of democracy but when it comes to the vital issue of holding EU institutions to account facts matter.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said there should be “a serious re-evaluation” of how the European institutions worked and he was critical of current EU leaders.

“A lack of the type of broad leadership shown in the past has resulted in an agenda which is torn between half-measures and opportunism.

“There has been a willingness to retreat into pandering to perceptions of national self-interest, rather than to follow the example of leaders like Helmut Kohl, who always spoke of how financial generosity towards partners was repaid many times over in terms of economic prospects for his country,” he said.

Describing his party as “Euro-critical”, Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said Ms Geoghegan-Quinn and others “still find this proposition difficult to understand”.

Noting that his party colleague Bairbre de Brún was among several MEPs who spoke in the Dáil chamber yesterday, he said it “may be the first time that an elected representative from the six counties has addressed this House”.

United Left Alliance’s Richard Boyd Barrett said: “When I heard we would be celebrating our EU membership with a special sitting of the Dáil, I thought it was a sick joke.

“It just beggars belief that when this country is being crucified by an EU-IMF deal, the Government thinks we should celebrate our membership of the EU. It is beyond pathetic – the sick joke of a bankrupt Government.”