Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Enda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
I agree that the reduction of the period of presidential service is not the most important issue. I was simply responding to Deputy Adams’s question about whether referendums will result from this and I gave the example that if the constitutional convention were to make such a recommendation and it was to be accepted it would require a change in the Constitution and that could take place only by referendum.
I intend to announce the Succeed in Ireland campaign before St. Patrick’s Day. One issue taken on board by the Government, and by the Tánaiste in particular, is the need to connect to the Irish diaspora. The technological revolution gives us that opportunity.
I hope the efforts we are making with business people and chief executives who go abroad to meet their peers throughout the world and who discuss Ireland and the international recognition given to us and our diaspora by eminent people throughout the globe speak to the changed perception of this country held by people from abroad. When I have the opportunity to meet people involved in business and positions of influence abroad, I notice that their view of Ireland and the Irish people is of a higher order than some of the stuff I hear at home. I would prefer Deputy Adams to say that we live in one of the best countries in the world. We have a problem at the moment and we must clean up an unmerciful mess. We are focused on doing so and on building the type of country I have spoken of. For some time my mantra has been to make us the best country in the world in which to do business and to prove it by 2016. It has also been to change the structures of governance and governmental competence and to apply an effective spend to taxpayers’ money so Ireland can be the best place in which to raise a family and to grow old with a sense of dignity and respect. I know the problems we have, as does Deputy Adams and everyone else. However, Sinn Féin’s economic policies cause fear and shock in people. We have a country and a Republic. It is not as fine as it should be in some respect but we will rectify that. What Deputy Adams speaks of is an imagined land that many people here wish never to see materialise.