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Enda Kenny tells voters not to get 'carried away with fantasy politics’ before May’s election

The Taoiseach was speaking at the launch of Fine Gael’s European election campaign in Dublin this afternoon.

Enda Kenny and Fine Gael's MEP candidates at today's launch.
Enda Kenny and Fine Gael's MEP candidates at today's launch.
Image: Órla Ryan/TheJournal.ie

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said that next month’s election is “probably the most important European election ever”.

Kenny noted that since the Lisbon Treaty, the vast majority of European decisions now need joint-approval from both the Parliament and the Commission.

“The co-decision process is imperative and something that is not easy to achieve.”

Kenny said that people in Ireland need to understand this process and “not get carried away with, sort of, fantasy politics here … and understand the people they elect are going to have to do a difficult job.”

He was speaking at the launch of Fine Gael’s campaign for the European Elections at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin this afternoon.

Kenny said that a vote for a Fine Gael candidate was a vote for representative with “real clout”.

A vote for the Fine Gael candidates is not only a vote for top quality representation, it is also a vote for MEPs who will have real clout. The Fine Gael MEPs will be part of the largest group in the Parliament, the European People’s Party, where they will have direct influence where it really matters.

“Fine Gael wants Europe to prioritise the issues that make a real difference to people’s daily lives. That’s why our national focus on stability, growth and jobs is one that should be replicated by Europe.  Europe supported Ireland during the crisis. Now I want Europe to support Ireland’s recovery,” he stated.

‘Difficult decisions’

Kenny acknowledged that the public have been “putting up with very difficult decisions that have been made by the government to fulfil our mandate”.

“We are headed in the right direction, we have our deficit under control … We are
creating 1,000 jobs a week,” he said.

The Taoiseach had an individual word of praise for each candidate, who were introduced by campaign videos at the event:

Junior minister Brian Hayes (Dublin)

Brian Hayes, as you saw in the little video there, has filled in for Michael Noonan on several occasions … He will be an outstanding member on financial committes in Europe.

Senator Deirdre Clune (Ireland South)

Deirdre Clune speaks for herself. She is formidable … outspoken on so many issues.

Sitting MEP Jim Higgins (Midlands North West)

You’ll find no more of a tenacious warrior on the issue and pursuit of issues that are of real importance … no one knows the western counties better.

Sitting MEP Mairéad McGuinness (Midlands North West)

She has brought expertise and journalistic accuracy to politics at European level. She and Jim Higgins form a very credible, formidable duo in this sprawling constituency.

Simon Harris (Ireland South)

He is exuberant and enthusiastic … He has brought a voice for young people which is not often heard in the European parliament.

Seán Kelly (Ireland South)

He is deeply rooted in the soul of Ireland [as the former President of the GAA]. His name is well known and well recognised.

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“Our MEPs have always turned up for meetings and engaged with the issues of the day,” Kenny added.

He said that if people voted for a Fine Gael candidate “the outcome will be stability … innovation, integrity … and prosperity for all”.

Kenny noted that people are the “ultimate masters here of what they want to do with their vote on 23 May”.

“We look forward to running a very vigorous and energetic campaign,” he remarked.

Water charges

Environment Minister Phil Hogan also attended the launch. He said that revised proposals on water charges would be put before the government this week.

We will be making these decisions when we’re ready.

Kenny added that the government were discussing how to make the charges “fair” and “affordable”, particularly for vulnerable groups such as the sick and elderly.

When asked about yesterday’s opinion poll on the European election, Kenny said he never comments on polls and would not be breaking that habit today.

Keep up to date on Election 2014.

Read: The first opinion poll of the European elections has focused minds… and sharpened knives

Read: Gilmore: I find it hard to understand why people are blocking Irish Water from installing meters

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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