herald

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Outrage grows at Kenny over his 'ignorant' remark

ENDA Kenny sparked a furious reaction from the public today after describing us as "mad" to an influential foreign audience. He was called a hypocrite after his speech in Switzerland – the polar opposite to what he said in a televised address to the nation last year.





Opposition parties asked if Mr Kenny had a clear economic policy as a result of his muddled comments at the Swiss ski-resort town.

Mr Kenny told financiers that Irish people had gone “mad borrowing” during the boom.

Today, he refused to elaborate further and it was left to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar to defend him. He claimed the Taoiseach’s comments were not in conflict with last month’s State of the Nation address.

“I think we can all admit the moral flaw at the heart of the crisis was greed and some people were greedy but not everyone was. Some people got by on what they had,” Mr Varadkar said. “I do think as a nation we need to be honest with ourselves.

“We used to blame the British for all our problems before Independence. We used to blame partition for all our problems after Independence.

“Now people are trying to blame Europe and outside bodies for all our problems. I think we need to be honest with ourselves and accept that some of the causes of our crisis are home-grown.”

Damaged

Fine Gael TD Damian English claimed that the Irish people “are not silly – they know what is going on.” He said the people knew what the Taoiseach meant and he had repeatedly said the people of Ireland were not to blame for the economic collapse.

He blamed the Opposition for jumping on the issue. Asked if Mr Kenny should clarify his remarks, the Meath TD said: “Absolutely not.”

However, the Taoiseach faced a growing backlash. His remarks came just weeks after he told the people in a televised address: “You are not responsible for the crisis.”

Mr Kenny was responding to questions at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday when he said the economic collapse and the dire state of the economy were as a result of “people going mad” during the boom.

“What happened in this country, people went mad with borrowing. The extent of personal credit, personal wealth created on credit, was done between people, banks, a system that spawned greed to a point that this went out of control completely with a spectacular crash,” Mr Kenny said.

Opposition politicians blasted the comments as “ignorant” and “offensive”.

Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins said there was a “stark contrast” between Mr Kenny’s comments: “The Taoiseach is clearly taking one approach at home and another abroad.”

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