Taoiseach set to thank public for their ‘exceptional sacrifices’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he will thank the Irish people for having to make “exceptional sacrifices” during this weekend’s landmark televised speech to mark Ireland’s exit from the EU/IMF bailout.

Yesterday, Mr Kenny said credit was due to the people, who faced many difficulties and challenges in the process of fixing the public finances and getting people back to work.

Mr Kenny said while the country will not be “flush with money on Monday morning”, the exit from the bailout would provide a psychological impetus to help achieve targets such as the 3% deficit by 2015 and the continued creation of jobs.

The Taoiseach will deliver his ‘state of the nation’ style address on Sunday night following the 9pm news on RTÉ.

The station is expecting large numbers to tune in, as 1.2m viewers watched Mr Kenny’s last televised address in Dec 2011 when he warned about the tough measures in the impending Budget 2012.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach said he will tell the public that while the country still has a long way to go, credit must be given to the people who have made those exceptional sacrifices.

He will warn that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. “My message is the shutters are going up behind us, we are not going back to that culture that caused this problem,” Mr Kenny said yesterday.

Safeguards and regulations have been put in place so it doesn’t happen again, he added.

The address, from the Taoiseach’s office in Government Buildings, is expected to last around six minutes and will either be recorded close to broadcast or delivered live.

Buoyed by the latest jobs figures and Forbes magazine’s declaration that Ireland was the best small country in which to do business, Mr Kenny said he will explain Ireland’s economic plans for the Coalition’s remaining time in office.

He said the medium-term economic strategy will show the signpost for the time ahead.

“The signpost will lead to a point I have always said we’ll be recognised as the best small country in the world to do business, the best country to raise a family, and the best country where people can grow old with a sense of dignity and respect.”

The international media is expected to arrive in Ireland over the coming days and the Government has arranged a number of briefings from ministers, including Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin.

Opposition parties, including Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin as well as some independent TDs, will be afforded airtime around the main RTÉ news bulletins on Monday.

TV3 has not been given an option to broadcast the Taoiseach’s address but a spokeswoman said it would be broadcasting the X-Factor at the time and would not interrupt it. She said there would be full coverage of the speech on its news and current affairs programmes the next day.


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