Kenny insists case for growth made at EU level


TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny has insisted that the Government has repeatedly made the case at European level for growth, jobs and an economic stimulus.

He said meetings at an EU summit today and tomorrow would deal with an increase in funding that was available from the European Investment Bank which, in turn, would leverage further money. “But it has to be made available to countries that are in vulnerable positions or those, such as Ireland, that are in a programme.”

He said there was an opportunity for flexibility to be shown by Europe in respect of the approval of project bonds. “That is an issue I will articulate, along with a number of other smaller countries, namely, that as part of the growth and jobs stimulus project bonds should be flexible enough to cater for smaller countries.”

Mr Kenny said there were also creative ways of using structural funds that remained unspent in countries. “Greece, for example, was allocated €16 billion which it cannot spend because of the requirement to put up monies from a national perspective.”

The Taoiseach was responding to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, who accused him of spending most of his time in yesterday’s Irish Times interview explaining why the issues affecting the State would not be raised by him.

“That has been his constant mantra before and after every summit he has attended,” Mr Adams said.

He said Mr Kenny had welcomed the Van Rompuy report which set out a charter for closer EU integration on a banking, fiscal and political union. “The Taoiseach must know this means more co-ordination on tax policy, even more dilution of Irish sovereignty and strong EU involvement in state budgets.”

Mr Kenny said Mr Adams was wrong on all counts, as he usually was.

Accusing Mr Kenny of engaging in “extreme revisionism”, the Sinn Féin leader said his rhetoric about wanting to be the Taoiseach who restored sovereignty was only that. “It is like the nonsense from his partners in the Labour Party.”

He said people had voted for the fiscal treaty “through gritted teeth”, adding that the Taoiseach was going to the summit as a spectator instead of a player.

Mr Kenny said the real opportunity tomorrow was for political leadership.“This must be a political process with a political decision that will set clarity of structure and strategy in which markets and investors can have confidence and understand the strength and the future of the euro and the euro zone.

“We, and I, will articulate this. I will articulate the argument very strongly on behalf of the Irish Government and the people.”

Mr Kenny noted that Mr Adams had used the phrase “extreme revisionism”.

“For you ‘extreme revisionism’ is something that you could be actually open about now. Because while we differ here on all these political issues, there is one thing that I have in common with you.

“And that is, in the context of ‘extreme revisionism’, neither you nor I were members of the IRA army council.”

A statement yesterday from Áras an Uachtaráin said President Michael D Higgins had signed the fiscal treaty which was passed in a referendum on May 31st.