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Kenny: 'Voters will have to choose between government or chaos'

The Taoiseach also said that he isn’t trying to be populist.

10/9/2015. FG Think-in 2015. Taoiseach and leader Enda Kenny with his parliamentary party in Adare, Co Limerick this afternoon at the start of the Fine Gael think-in Source: Eamonn Farrell

ENDA KENNY HAS insisted the government will not attempt to win re-election by being populist in the forthcoming Budget despite more positive growth figures today.

The Taoiseach said the government would not do anything “in a populist fashion” to disrupt what he said was the government’s “competent management” of the economy.

His comments followed the publication of new figures showing growth of 6.7% in the Irish economy the first six months of this year.

“These are very strong figures and they’re very encouraging,” Kenny said today.

He warned that external factors like the Chinese economy and the situation in the Middle East could still be destabilising.

Kenny said that despite demands for more spending from various government departments the coalition intended to stick to extra spending of between €1.2 billion and €1.5 billion in the October Budget announcement.

He added: “So we’re conscious that while the figures are encouraging and growing very strongly in the right direction we have a duty and a responsibility

“Because the people are concerned that just because you’re in an electoral period that the politicians might blow this in terms of populist opportunities, we’re not going to do that.

We’re not going to put the country in hoc and the decisions we make are all based on securing the recovery for everybody.

Kenny was speaking at the start of Fine Gael’s two-day think-in in Adare, Co Limerick today.

TDs, Senators and MEPs are expected to be briefed on the Budget and Fine Gael’s preparations for the general election, which Kenny indicated would be in 2016.

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Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the Budget must ensure everyone benefits and begins to feel the economic recovery.

Varadkar said that meetings over the course of today and tomorrow would focus mainly on the economy and making sure “that the recovery is secure”.

Ensuring the recovery is spread to all parts of the country and that everyone benefits from it in terms of tax reductions, increases in the minimum wage, some increases in child benefit for example and also expansions in public services.

He added: “It’s very important that now that the economy is growing very fast again that we don’t lose the run of ourselves and we don’t make the mistakes of previous government by injecting too much extra cash into the economy.”

On the upcoming election, Varadkar said that Fine Gael has retained support “in the high 20s” which meant that “roughly four-out-of-five who voted for us last time are still with us”.

The Dublin West TD said an electoral pact with Labour “makes a lot of sense”.

We’ve governed well together for the last for years and I think it would give people a clear choice. On the one hand to elect and re-elect the current government, and keep things on track, or take a risk on a very divided opposition that really offers no clear alternative.

Kenny struck a similar note this afternoon saying that voters face a choice at the next general election.

“They’re going to have a clear choice and the choice that they will have to make will be between government or chaos, between stability or financial instability.

“For our part we are prepared to work with the Labour party, to continue the good solid work that is being done as a government in hauling back our country from the catastrophic economic situation which we inherited four-and-a-half years ago.” 

Analysis: Can Fine Gael dare to dream of an overall majority?

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Hugh O'Connell

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