herald

Thursday 24 January 2019

I want ten years in power to fix the country - Enda

PLANS: FG leader needs decade as Taoiseach

FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny has revealed he will need a decade in power if he is to repair the economy.

As Mr Kenny continues with his early election campaigning, the FG leader admitted that it wold take two terms in office to rectify the country's problems.

Sweeping aside any questions about the strength of his leadership, Mr Kenny revealed that he planned to go to the voters with an economic plan based on being in office for two full terms.

But while he admitted that there was "no pain-free way" to restore the public finances, Mr Kenny refused to give examples of the measures he would impose as Taoiseach.

And probing of his policies revealed a number of glitches still had to be ironed out.

Mr Kenny admitted that his party did not have a policy on property tax and while he ruled out tax hikes, the FG leader could not state where the party would find the money to balance the books.

However, Mr Kenny revealed that water charges would be a certainty under a Fine Gael-led government.

"What I am at here in putting the party on an election footing is to say that this is not just about, sort of, stumbling across the line," Mr Kenny said.



water

"It is to set a 10-year programme to restore soundness to Ireland's finances, but to set out a programme of how you provide services that can really stand up to best level now -- be it in education, the public service, the whole health system, all that potential that exists in terms of infrastructure. And you cannot and won't do that in five years. We will be setting out a 10-year programme."

On water charges, he added: "There is a lot of potential employment in that. You would introduce a charge for water after you have meters installed and you give them an allowance and above that they pay. That's realistic. We haven't formed a view on property tax."

Mr Kenny said his party would propose cutting the €3bn needed from this year's Budget from current spending, without raising taxes or cutting capital expenditure.

"As a general principle we have said we don't see the way forward as increasing taxes. We have said do it on current spending, go back to what we have lost in this country, which is competitiveness and export growth, where there is now serious potential," he said.

And Mr Kenny remained confident that the electorate would respond well to his plans: "What the people want is that the position would be sorted out. Irish people are more than pragmatic. If the truth of the scale of the problem be told to them openly and that you set out your agenda clearly and decisively as to how you would sort it out, they'll participate in helping to deal with that, provided they see that it's fair."

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