TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY said he accepts the decision of the electorate in the local elections — but he’s issued a reminder that there’s no “pot of gold” available for an exchequer spending splurge.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Claire Byrne this afternoon in the wake of a surge for Sinn Féin and independent candidates in the local elections, he said that those incoming councillors would soon be faced with difficult financial decisions at local level.
We’ve been very clear with the people that there is no pot of gold, but that any flexibility or resources available to the Minister for Finance in preparation not only for this forthcoming Budget but the one after that, we’ll be giving back to people and families and people who need that.
He said those Budget decisions depended on the strength of the economy.
In terms of the election results, which show Fine Gael and Labour filling less than 130 of the 480 seats decided so far, he said they were a “stark reminder” of people’s frustration and anger.
He said other parties and candidates had campaigned on the basis “that there were pots of gold available”, adding…
Well, there aren’t.-
“The decision of the people stands and its consequences will last for a number of years,” the Taoiseach said.
“There’s been a major shift in people voting for Sinn Féin and independents.”
In terms of the internal difficulties within Labour in the wake of their vote collapse, he said both parties had gone into Government with “eyes wide open” in agreement that the country’s problems were never going to be solved by “pious aspirations”.
He said Labour had “stepped up to the mark” and made the hard decisions necessary.
On the question of whether Eamon Gilmore should remain in charge, he said that he wouldn’t comment on another party’s leadership, but paid tribute to the Tánaiste’s performance as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Speaking yesterday, Labour deputy leader Joan Burton declined to be drawn on whether she might stage a heave on Gilmore, saying “I am not going to call anything like that until we get the final results in”.
On the Tánaiste’s future, she said: “Eamon Gilmore is the elected leader of the Labour Party and of course I have confidence in Eamon Gilmore.”