Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny received a standing ovation in Dublin – after vowing there will be no celebrations until Ireland is back at work.

The Fine Gael leader used his speech at his party’s 76th annual convention to hammer home the message that Ireland’s economic woes are far from over.

“Our purpose cannot be one of celebration. We will not celebrate until Ireland has reason to celebrate,” Kenny told 4,000 delegates to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis (conference).

“Tonight, unemployment remains too high. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet.

 “Too many worry about losing their homes. Many of our children are moving away.

“Our purpose now must be to redouble our efforts, to work even harder to deliver our plan to get Ireland working.

 “These tough times require straight talk, so we will continue to be straight and honest with the people.”

The first Fine Gael leader in 16 years to address the convention as Irish Prime Minister, Kenny also pledged his government would be transparent.

Reacting to the recent Tribunal findings that one of his predecessors – Bertie Ahern – was corrupt, Kenny pledged not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

He added: “We will be open with what we have done to meet our pledges and with how much work remains to be done. I promise to explain to people the scale of the challenge that remains.

“This Coalition Government can be trusted. We will tackle the findings of the Mahon Tribunal that shamed many TDs and we will also look at the Moriarty Tribunal findings.

“The corrupt practices revealed in the Moriarty and Mahon Tribunal Reports must never be allowed to happen again.

“That’s why this Government is taking firm action to break the link between business and political funding.”

Pressing the need for a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum on the EU Fiscal Treaty, Kenny closed on an optimistic note.

“We’ve overcome hardship and adversity in the past. We’ve overcome poverty and deprivation in the past. We’ve beaten all these,” he concluded.

“I don’t have all the answers but I do know this: a government that works hard, that brings honesty, clarity and decisiveness in its service of the people will not fail.”

Enda Kenny at the Fine Gael annual convention 2012Irish Times