Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has attempted to prepare the nation ahead of an horrific austerity Budget – and promised that things will eventually get better.
A sombre Kenny delivered his first State of the Nation address via a live television broadcast on Sunday night when he spoke of ‘taking the first steps on the long road to recovery’ for an economy he described as ‘fragile’.
It was the first time any Irish leader had address voters in a live television speech in over 30 years and came on the eve of a Draconian budget from the Fine Gael-Labor Party coalition government.
In the course of his 13 minute long address, Kenny warned of a ‘tough budget’ on Monday and Tuesday that will hit everyone. He also asked the people to help his government by ‘facing these challenges together’.
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“I would love to tell you tonight that our economic problems are solved, that the worst is over,” said Prime Minister Kenny. “But for far too many of you, that is simply not the truth.”
Having stated that the public were ‘not responsible’ for the crisis, Kenny thanked the people of Ireland for their efforts so far as his government seeks to restore economic growth.
“The improved confidence has helped strengthen exports - a key driver of future success. But we have a long way to go. I want to be the Taoiseach who retrieves Ireland’s economic sovereignty,” added Kenny who repeated his claim last March that he would make Ireland ‘the best small country in the world’ by 2016.
Confirming that income tax will not rise in this week’s budget, Kenny also outlined the need for $5billion worth of cuts as the State spends $22billion more than it takes in per year at present.
In conclusion Kenny said: “We the Irish people can now make our way to recovery, to prosperity and to the fulfilment of the dreams of our children and the founding fathers of our nation.
“We will reform how we run the country so that we never return to the practices that drove our economy into freefall - reckless spending, weak oversight of banks and reliance on a property boom for tax revenues.”
Here’s a video of Kenny’s address from Sky News: