Taoiseach keeping 'report cards' on Ministers


TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny said last night that he was keeping a “report card” on every Minister’s performance in the current Government.

The former primary school teacher told Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Showthat, “I am starting the report cards already”.

He would sit down with every Minister and ask what they had implemented from the programme for government and what their plans were, he said.

On the proposals about joint labour committees and suggestions about cuts to Sunday premium payments, he said the Government wanted to get as many people as possible into jobs.

Asked about his early confrontation with French president Nicolas Sarkozy over Ireland’s corporation tax rate, he said: “I stood up for my country”.

He had told Mr Sarkozy: “We will not be shifted from our 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate.” He also pointed out that the true rate of corporation tax in France was very low in some locations.

Mr Kenny told the programme that Professor Morgan Kelly’s prescription for the economy would be “absolutely catastrophic”.

On the level of dole payments and the newly-unemployed, he said he understood their problems.

The last Fine Gael-led government had reduced unemployment. As former US president Bill Clinton had said to him: “Never turn away from a crisis – deal with it.”

That was why the Jobs Initiative and other measures had been introduced, he said.

There was a difficult road ahead but “we are going to take this by the scruff of the neck and sort it out”.

It was a “privilege” to be Taoiseach and he started work every day at 6.45am. He said his job was “to work this Government like never before”.

He said the people of the country had done themselves proud during the visits of Queen Elizabeth and US president Barack Obama.

“Nobody shamed our nation,” he said. The British monarch was “excited to be here” and he had found her personally “warm” and “affable”. Mr Kenny said he was particularly “struck by the sharpness and clarity of her eyes”.

They had conversed about racing and whether the Queen’s horse, Carlton House, was going to win the Epsom Derby and they had also discussed the popular film The King’s Speech.

The Taoiseach said the monarch was “absolutely blown away” by the musical and dance performances in the concert at the national convention centre in Dublin.

The visit of the Queen was “more important in some ways” than that of the US president, because “it was the first in a 100 years from a reigning monarch”.

On the visit by Mr Obama, he said: “this was a professional politician at the very height of his powers”. He said there was “a different sense of energy” from the Queen’s visit.