Enda Kenny rules out coalition with Fianna Fáil or Sinn Féin

Taoiseach talks of Troika, same-sex marriage vote date and errors in ‘Prime Time’ interview

Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed the date of the same-sex marriage referendum is Friday May 22nd: he said he hoped it would be passed and an image sent out of a “tolerant and inclusive Ireland”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed the date of the same-sex marriage referendum is Friday May 22nd: he said he hoped it would be passed and an image sent out of a “tolerant and inclusive Ireland”

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has emphatically ruled out any coalition with either Fianna Fáil or Sinn Féin after next year’s general election.

He also confirmed that the referendum on same-sex marriage will take place on May 22nd.

In an interview with RTÉ’s Prime Time on Thursday night, the Taoiseach denied his Government had not supported the Greek government’s request for debt reduction because of narrow political interests.

“We are in a very different position to Greece,” said Mr Kenny, adding that while he empathised with the humanitarian situation there, “bailout programmes contained certain conditions”.

Repeatedly asked by interviewer Miriam O’Callaghan if his Government had failed to secure a better deal for Ireland in negotiations with the Troika, Mr Kenny insisted that the Government had negotiated €50 billion reductions in borrowing requirements.

Asked about prospective coalition partners after the next election, Mr Kenny said that Labour was the only feasible option.

“Under no circumstances will I allow the Fianna Fáil party back into government,” he said. “They wrecked the economy twice.”

And in a reference to that party and to Sinn Féin he said: “If they want to hand it back to those who wrecked the economy or those who would cause instability and chaos . . .”

He confirmed the referendum will be held on May 22nd, and said he hoped it would be passed and an image would be sent out of a “tolerant and inclusive Ireland”.

It is the first major interview Mr Kenny has given to Prime Time since becoming Taoiseach. Repeatedly, on air, he argued that Fine Gael and Labour were the only parties that could guarantee political and economic stability after the next election.

Asked about five water protesters being jailed while not one single banker had been, Mr Kenny replied that the Government respected the right to protest. In relation to yesterday’s decision, he said the courts were independent in their function.

Several times during the interview, Mr Kenny admitted that mistakes had been made: on Irish Water, on the appointment of John McNulty, on health and other aspects of economic policy. But he argued that economic recovery was taking place; that 80,000 jobs had been created and some very difficult and complex issues had been tackled.

“I do not take the view of being afraid of the challenge. I never said it was going to be easy; never said it was going to be a bed of roses,” he said.