Kenny attends London summit


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted that a new European Union bailout for Greece, which is being negotiated in Luxembourg today amongst EU finance ministers, must not have negative consequences for Ireland.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had been very clear about Ireland’s position, said Mr Kenny, shortly after he arrived in London for a six-monthly meeting of the British Irish Council, where he held talks with British deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.

The meeting of the British Irish Council in Lancaster House is the first to take place since Mr Kenny became Taoiseach and the first since devolved elections took place in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The BIC is also attended by politicians from the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.

The prospects for renewable energy and the need to create common rules for the sector between Ireland and the UK featured strongly during the meeting, which was also attended by Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte.

Mr Clegg said the European Union has laid down the core rules to govern renewable energy markets, but, he said, ‘there is quite a lot of discretion and flexibility about how this is applied.

“There is a very strong case that you get economies of scale and greater benefits in the long-run if we interpret the same regulatory framework in a way which is consistent both in terms of inter-connection, market integration, et cetera,” he said.

Mr Kenny was also questioned about comments this morning from economist Colm McCarthy, who said that the Government would have to cut €3.8 billion from spending in the December budget.

He said the plan, already agreed with the EU, provided for cuts of €3.6 billion.

The Government would make its final decisions about the 2012 budget once it see the fruits of the work from the comprehensive spending review currently being conducted by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, he said.

Besides meeting Mr Clegg, Mr Kenny also met Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, following his recent triumph in the Scottish elections. The meeting is also being attended by Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.