Kenny compares Ireland to siege of Leningrad


FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny said he believed Ireland could be one of the best countries in the world to live in by the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016.

In a speech in which he compared the fate of the Irish people to those involved in the siege of Leningrad, he said he believed it was possible that Ireland could be a great country for children to grow up in, for people to grow old in and for businesses to flourish in in 2016.

Speaking at the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer launch yesterday, Mr Kenny said Ireland was experiencing a time of “national trauma, national suffering and national betrayal”, and needed a new type of “redemptive politics and redemptive trust”.

He noted that yesterday was the anniversary of the lifting of the 900-day siege of Leningrad by the German army during the second World War. Life went on in the city even as 650,000 people died.

“In a sense, the people of Ireland have been under siege. Though in our case, there was no enemy bombardment. Instead it was friendly fire: the banks, property developers, ‘experts’, watchdogs, the Government.

“But still we endure. For too many of us, life has changed. Changed utterly. But, still, life goes on.”

He admitted his call for the abolition of the Seanad in November 2009 “did not leave everybody in Fine Gael ecstatic”, but said the nature of politics was that you could not please all of the people all of the time. “And as the evidence of the last 10 years suggests – nor should it try to.”

Mr Kenny said Fine Gael would fight the election on a five-point platform which involved creating jobs, keeping taxes low, a completely new health system, reform of the public service and a pledge that politicians would lead by example.

“Because we’ve had enough now of the two Irelands. The elite Ireland that cleans up. And the rest of Ireland that cleans up the mess.”