Prime Minister Enda Kenny has told Europe’s power brokers that Ireland may be over the worst of the recession.
The Fine Gael leader claimed at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning that his country has come through the worst of the economic crisis.
Kenny was invited to address the European Parliament and outline the Government’s priorities for Ireland’s presidency of the EU.
The Irish Independent reports from the parliament that Kenny was decidedly upbeat as he addressed the MEPS.
The Irish leader said: “I believe that in 2012 we saw the passing of possibly the worst of the economic crisis - the fear that the euro itself might not survive was confronted and dispelled emphatically and we now move onto the challenges of the recovery of Europe.”
The Irish PM also told the small number of MEPs present that Ireland is determined to exit the bailout by the end of the year.
He added: “The Irish Government wants agreement on the EU budget before its six-month presidency ends.”
Referring to the recent flag protests and riots in Belfast, Kenny re-affirmed his government’s commitment to the peace process.
He said: “The last weeks have seen attempts by some to threaten the very hard-won peace.
“But be assured small groups of disparate, unrepresentative, trouble-makers will never succeed in bringing Northern Ireland and its peoples back to that dark place.”