Lives post-bailout 'won't change overnight'

Published Sunday, 15 December 2013
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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned that the lives of Irish people will not change overnight as the once financially-crippled country exits its international bailout.

Lives post-bailout 'won't change overnight'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the address on Sunday night. (© Getty)

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday night, the Taoiseach acknowledged that despite recent economic improvements, many are yet to feel the benefits.

But as Ireland officially emerged from its €85bn bailout programme, he thanked the public and insisted their sacrifices are beginning to make a difference.

"This is an important step but it is not an end in itself. Our lives won't change overnight," Mr Kenny said.

"But it does send out a powerful signal internationally, that Ireland is fighting back, that the spirit of our people is as strong as ever."

In his third State of the Nation address since taking office in 2011, the Taoiseach insisted Ireland is now moving in the right direction and its economy is starting to recover.

The country officially emerged from the clutches of its EU/IMF debt masters on Sunday as the first Eurozone state to have successfully completed a strict bailout programme.

It will re-enter the money markets on its own two feet on Monday morning.

This means it will stand as a full member of the Eurozone and be able to access the markets in the same way as other countries - with the same rules, obligations and supports.

Your patience and resilience have restored our national pride and empowered us to face the challenges that remain.

Enda Kenny

The Taoiseach admitted this may not have an immediate impact on the public and vital job creation.

And as the Government prepares to publish a new medium term economic plan on how to grow the economy between now and 2020, he warned budgetary policies must continue to be prudent.

Ireland's finances, budgets and policies have been under intense scrutiny since the country agreed to a massive loan package in 2010.

Its debt masters, a troika of the IMF, the European Central Bank and European Commission, have carried out 12 intense reviews over the last three years and imposed a series of tough targets, all of which were met by the state.

The Irish public has endured four austerity budgets since the EU/IMF agreed to grant the bailout.

Over those three years, the Government has hiked taxes to the tune of €5.3bn and cut public spending by a cumulative €9.6bn.

The country's unemployment rate had soared above 15% before the start of the bailout.

In the years before the banking crisis in 2008, Ireland enjoyed virtually full employment.

Mr Kenny said the Government's plan for the future will be built on enterprise and not speculation.

He pledged to increase total employment to over two million people by 2020, which he said will replace all of the jobs that were lost during the crisis.

I thank you for the part that you have played in Ireland's recovery to date.

Enda Kenny

"Throughout our history, the Irish people have always shown that nothing is impossible for us to achieve, when we really apply ourselves to a challenge or cause," he said.

"Believe me, Government will work with you to put in place the foundations for a secure and prosperous future for you and the next generation."

"My commitment to you and to your families is that for the remainder of its term, this government will work, might and mane, to finish the job that you entrusted to us."

Mr Kenny gave a similar televised address on state broadcaster RTÉ for the first time in December 2011, on the eve of the announcement of a crippling austerity budget, when he warned Ireland remained in crisis.

Charles J Haughey made a similar appeal in 1980 when he claimed the country was living beyond its means, and before him, taoisigh Jack Lynch and Garrett Fitzgerald delivered their own addresses.

Mr Kenny made a second televised address in May 2012 when he urged the public to vote for Ireland to sign a European fiscal treaty.

It came after Finance Minister Michael Noonan described the people as the "real heroes and heroines" of the economic recovery on Friday - when the Republic received the last of its €85bn funding package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

However, Mr Noonan warned that there is a tough road ahead as the Fine Gael-Labour coalition tackles the problem of soaring unemployment.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Jim in Swords wrote (124 days ago):
Dead right Enda you sold out the country to the bond holders and the bankers to ensure their and your own fat pensions. What about the rest of us who dont have enough money for Xmas.
Dub in Dublin wrote (124 days ago):
What's most annoying is that the unsecured bondholders have not suffered one little bit and neither has the bankers who were given away cash as if it was going out of fashion. Its the ordinary folk who are still paying the price of austerity and should receive an apology not praise for the mismanagement of our country by those in power.
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