Martin attacks Kenny over Ministers' 'loose talk' in media

 

TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny said he had spoken to “all of the Ministers’’ about the importance of what they had to say in media interviews.

He agreed with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that “loose talk costs jobs’’, but added that so did lack of truth and transparency.

Addressing the Fianna Fáil leader, he said: “When he had the opportunity, he was less than economical with many of the facts of life.’’ Amid the sharp exchanges with Mr Martin, the Taoiseach repeated his view that there would be no need for a second EU-IMF bailout next year.

“Our EU-IMF bailout deal is to last for two more years,’’ he added.

Mr Martin said that Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton had given an extensive media briefing about policy on low-paid workers without clearing it with the Taoiseach and the Cabinet.

He also referred to Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar’s comments on the likelihood of another EU-IMF bailout, adding that his interview had been covered by more than 2,200 media outlets around the world so far.

“I am conscious that Ministers are still operating to the standard set in Opposition, where all that basically mattered was the size of the headline,’’ Mr Martin added.

He asked who the Taoiseach would have to slap down next, and urged him to tell the House that he had explained to Ministers “why these solo-runs are damaging’’.

Mr Kenny said the international wires carried news they regarded as appropriate.

He added that the Government had made changes to elements of the bailout relating to the minimum wage and the jobs initiative, which had been accepted by the troika.

“The proof of the pudding is actually in the eating,’’ said Mr Kenny.

He added that the first analysis carried out by the troika, in respect of Ireland living up to its commitments, had been validated and it had been commended on the action taken and on the fact that it had measured up to the requirements of the bailout deal.

“That is the direction we are heading in,’’ he added.

“This is not easy; it is challenging.” Mr Martin said the Taoiseach ought to clarify, to the country and the wider international community, that his “public, private, final and unequivocal position” was that Ireland had sufficient money in all circumstances to deal with its obligations.

Mr Kenny described Mr Martin’s comment as “quite pathetic’’, adding the Fianna Fáil leader was speaking of media commentators, national or international, who spoke of telling the truth about events which had not yet happened.

“We know the truth about what he has left us and the truth about the stress tests,’’ he added.

“We know the truth about the changes agreed with the troika by this Government.” Mr Kenny said there was “at least €253 million of unbacked-up decisions” by the previous government.

“Deputy Martin speaks from the Fianna Fáil benches of the truth about issues that have not unfolded,’’ said the Taoiseach.

“Nothing has unfolded other than conjecture and projections.’’