Angela watched Enda Kenny hint at how bad it is all going to be forever…
In the end it was a fairly damp squib. But at least he did it.
Enda Kenny, leader of the country, sat down and eyeballed the nation, albeit via a TV camera from his office, and told them the bad times are here to stay.
At least, the Taoiseach said, for ‘several’ years, perhaps a benign interpretation of a figure closer to 15.
And he acknowledged that the Irish state is spending €16 billion more than it has in the kitty per year.
The Taoiseach’s address to the nation last night, though much anticipated and now much analysed in the media, was never going to be a stirring experience. Even at the best of times, the polite gentleman from Mayo is not the type to get people leaping from their chairs and pumping air. (He used to be known as ‘Mayo’s answer to Prince Charles’.)
But, as one started to drift away on the sofa in the post-prandial haze, a couple of Kenny’s statements did stand out. Firstly, and rightly, he told us all that the savage recession is not our fault.
Then, and most importantly, he virtually said that the Irish government is prepared to accept any fiscal arrangement to keep the country in the euro. Whether that means total control of the finances, one Euro-wide policy on taxing and spending, the government is up for it. The Taoiseach indicated this with his statement that ‘Ireland supports stronger governance… in the euro zone.
‘In fact, the Irish people are paying the price now for the absence of such rules in the past,’ he added, perhaps to make the alternative seem more palatable.
Us little people here on the ground can only hope that the much-vaunted Euro leaders summit next Friday (Dec 9) will actually do something, even if this governance project takes away more autonomy. It’s nice to be autonomous, but better to eat.
Anyway, Kenny’s attempt to steady the nerves of his people was laudable, on the eve of a Budget so bad, so hard, that it had to be spread over two days for fear of killing the patient with delivery on one. Brian Cowen was much criticised for his on-going failure to communicate with the electorate in the midst of drastic upheaval.
And speaking of communication, it was a pity that on the day Enda advised us all to tighten our belts till 2015 – he hopes – it was revealed that one of his own communications advisers is to get a pay rise of €35,000. Ciaran Conlon, variously described as an old friend and a key adviser to Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton, will see his salary burst through the government’s alleged cap on such pay, going from €92,000 to €127,000. So handy to have that extra cash at Christmas!
If you were too busy or asleep to watch the Taoiseach’s address, here it is…
Enda Kenny addresses Ireland
And from thestory.ie, a bit more on lucky ol’ Ciaran Conlon…