‘I am entering into a covenant with people’

ENDA KENNY pledged to make truth the watchword of his administration and place job creation at the heart of its aims after he was elected Taoiseach by a record Dáil majority.

After completing his 36-year journey from backbench TD to head of the Government, Mr Kenny insisted he would do things differently from his predecessors.

“Our lives and our futures are predicated on one thing — truth. I am entering into a covenant with the Irish people today. Our new government will tell the people the truth, no matter how difficult that may be.

“I believe the old ways, the old politics damaged us not just financially but emotionally and psychologically. Our programme for government is fair and is truly radical. We will achieve our objectives working side by side with the Irish people,” Mr Kenny said.

In an, at times, emotional address to the Dáil, Mr Kenny had a catch in his throat when he remembered his late father, Henry, and others who had guided his life.

“They walk with me every step of this heart-stopping journey,” he said.

Mr Kenny pledged to rebuild the country before the anniversary of the 1916 uprising — and restore a sense of national pride.

“Let us believe in our future. Let us lift up our heads and turn our faces to the sun and hang out our brightest colours. We will make our nation proud, prosperous and respected again,” he said.

Mr Kenny had been nominated for the post of Taoiseach by his party’s youngest TD, 23-year-old Wicklow deputy Simon Harris.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin backed Mr Kenny’s nomination, saying he would not support any other person for the position and wanted this to be a marker for a new constructive form of politics.

Sinn Féin, the United Left Alliance and a number of Independents did oppose Mr Kenny’s nomination as Taoiseach but the vote was carried by 117-27.

When Mr Kenny returned from receiving his seals of office from the president, he announced the new Cabinet to the Dáil and again called for national renewal.

“We have proven ourselves before, at home and abroad, as warriors and peacemakers, educators and artists, workers and thinkers. Now we are again on the threshold of a new era of achievement, prosperity and potential.

“It will take time and the road ahead is not easy but out of adversity we can and will create a new Ireland filled with ambition, excitement, energy and drive, where we can hope and dream again and where our people are working again,” he said.

Mr Kenny said this was the darkest hour before “a new dawn”.

“People are frightened of losing their homes. Parents are rendered speechless at the sight of their children boarding planes to countries where spring is autumn and our today is their tomorrow. Employers are traumatised by laying off staff and shutting down businesses. Workers pray for invisibility as they queue for the dole,” he said.

“We approach the crisis as an opportunity and a chance to reinvent our country and to create a new Ireland that works and is fair and honest. I want to close the gap between politics and the people, between government and the governed.”


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