Kenny says credit for bailout exit should go to Irish people

Italian PM says he will support Government decision to go with or without EU credit line

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings today Thursday. Photograph: Frank Miller /The Irish Times.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings today Thursday. Photograph: Frank Miller /The Irish Times.


The successful end to the final inspection of the State’s EU-IMF bailout is an “historic” event as it shows Ireland has come through a very difficult period, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Speaking at a press conference in Dublin today after a meeting with Italian prime minister Enrico Letta, Mr Kenny said Ireland had measured to all of the conditions of the bailout and that “credit for that goes to the people”.

“Today is historic in the sense that we have come through a very difficult period,” he said. “I believe that as we move towards the exit date of December 15th, we want to exit with a decision that will leave us where we can put the shutters up behind us and not go back to that culture that caused this problem.”

Mr Kenny added: “We want to send out a message to our people at home of clarity and certainty that we are moving on to a new place and that place is back as a rightful member of the euro zone.”

The bailout exit, youth unemployment and growth in the European Union were the main discussion points during the bi-lateral meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin today.

Mr Letta said Ireland’s impending exit from the bailout was “an important success” and that December 16th, the day after the formal completion of the troika programme, would mark the start of a “new era” for the State.

“It will be very important to demonstrate that a country like Ireland is able to reach this kind of results thanks to your leadership and the leadership of your Government,” he said.

Mr Letta added that Italy would support Ireland in whatever decision it took regarding a precautionary credit line “because we trust your activity and your Government’s decision and we think it is important to demonstrate that this European programme is a successful one”.

Mr Kenny said Ireland was continuing to listen to advice on post-bailout precautions and said the State would make its own decision before the programme end on December 15th.

Asked if Mr Letta had expressed a view as to whether the State needed an EU funded backstop, Mr Kenny said: “The Italian view is very clear. This is a decision for the Irish people and the Irish Government and I am very happy to hear prime minister Letta say he will support Ireland in whatever decision Ireland takes.”

He added: “The Minister for Finance has already clarified this on a number of occasions that we are taking all the advice and information that we can obviously to make the decision ourselves before December 15th...I’m happy to hear of prime minister Letta’s support irrespective of the decision Ireland makes.”

Both leaders welcomed a decision today by the European Central Bank to reduce interest rates by a further 0.25 per cent. Mr Kenny said the move would put Europe in a better position “to grapple with the question of unemployment and the question of growth” while Mr Letta said the measure could help to address an “overbalance between the dollar and the euro”.