JOBS MINISTER RICHARD Bruton has congratulated Angela Merkel on her re-election as German chancellor and described her as a “very important ally” for Ireland at critical moments in recent years.
He said that the positive thing for Ireland about Merkel leading the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) close to its first absolute majority in half a century was that Enda Kenny has built a good relationship with the chancellor.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland he said: “I think the solid performance of Ireland in delivering all of the targets that have been set, I think that gives us the credibility.”
He said that at “critical moments she has been a very important ally” and pointed to the June 2012 decision of the European Council to include Ireland in possible retrospective recapitalisation of its banks.
This could be done through the eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, but there has been little progress on this since the Council statement over a year ago.
“The details have to be worked out in detail,” Bruton said, adding: “I think we have a significant decision to which Angela Merkel, as chancellor, was party [to].”
On the same programme, Bruton also defended Fine Gael’s claim that abolishing the Seanad will save €20 million despite the Houses of the Oireachtas saying that it is not possible to say what would be the net saving from abolition.
Bruton insisted that it is “up to government to ensure that we deliver the savings, some of those are going to the immediate”.
He said that decisions on how the money is “redeployed” will be a matter for government and insisted: “Of course we can say that this money can be saved after the Seanad is abolished.”
The chairman of the Referendum Commission, Justice Elizabeth Dunne, said on the same programme that her body was not in a position to calculate the savings that would be made but pointed to correspondence from the Houses of the Oireachtas which it published last week.
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