Heated exchange as Kenny accuses Martin


A CLAIM by the Taoiseach that the Fianna Fáil leader had failed to attend EU meetings as a minister led to heated exchanges.

Enda Kenny said Micheál Martin had “abdicated his responsibility” by not attending ministerial meetings.

Jumping to his feet, Mr Martin said: “How dare the Taoiseach? I have a strong record in Europe.” Mr Kenny, who had been challenged by Mr Martin on the Government’s jobs record, said nobody would be intimidated by his vociferous response.

“The deputy is just very touchy because members of his government failed to turn up at so many meetings in Europe when they were expected to, which speaks for itself,” Mr Kenny added.

Mr Martin said he was raising the issue of jobs and how the Taoiseach answered questions in the House.

Earlier, Mr Martin said the Government had announced a jobs initiative, a protection budget and an action plan, all of which were meant to create about 100,000 jobs by 2016.

“However, when one considers the Government’s own statistics in a no-spin zone, the number of people who are unemployed continues to rise,” he added.

Mr Martin said the quarterly national household survey showed the number of Irish people in employment had fallen by about 38,900, which was a damaging indictment of the Government’s initiatives over the past 15 months.

Mr Kenny said he was extremely unhappy at the number of unemployed people. “The entire effect of Government is to deal with the reality of the position the country faces,” he added. “This is compounded, as the deputy is aware, by the impact outside the country in respect of the growth of other European economies.”

He said the Government’s action plan contained 270 propositions, progress on which would be published on a quarterly basis.