Taoiseach backs Perry’s attempt to meet court order over €2.5m debt

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said his embattled junior minister John Perry should be given time and space to deal with a court order to pay €2.5m in debt.

Taoiseach backs Perry’s attempt to meet  court order over €2.5m debt

Mr Kenny also said Mr Perry’s workrate or the matter of confidence in him was not an issue.

Speaking at the MacGill summer school in Glenties, Co Donegal, he said he had spoken to the minister for small business last week.

The commercial court has given Mr Perry and his wife Marie until Sept 2 to clear a €2.5m debt with Dankse Bank or face bankruptcy proceedings.

However, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath called on Mr Perry to resign. He said he had “abused” his position as a minister, that there was a crossover between his personal and political interests in his dealings with the banks, and that he no option but to go.

Fianna Fáil want to know if Mr Perry used his position as minister for small business as leverage when dealing with AIB and Bank of Ireland about his financial difficulties. Correspondence last week revealed Mr Perry had sent a letter to a bank official about his financial difficulties using his title as minister for small business.

It also emerged that, when he was a minister, Mr Perry had talks with AIB as his debts mounted and that he knew Bank of Ireland CEO Richie Boucher.

The Green Party has also called on Mr Perry to step aside temporarily until after the judgment is complete in the case.

However, Mr Kenny stood by Mr Perry yesterday. “Clearly there’s a situation here where the court has given an order and I believe [in] any sense of fairness, the minister is entitled to work with his professional people to see if he is in a position to meet the order of the court which is for September 2,” said Mr Kenny.

Asked if he still had confidence in his junior minister, he said: “It’s not an issue.”

Several ministers have expressed sympathy for Mr Perry. Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has said the Sligo TD has done a really good job as minister for small business

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