An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny

Weekly Message from An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

Posted September 12th, 2011

I am very happy to resume my weekly message to members in anticipation of the new Dáil session.  Regrettably since I last wrote, our unemployment rate has climbed to 14.4%, a figure which does not take into account the 575 people whose jobs are to be terminated in Waterford’s Talk Talk call centre. I am saddened that these 575 are set to join the dole queue in less than thirty days in what is undoubtedly a huge blow to the South East.

I must also add that the failure of the company to give reasonable notice of this intention was very disappointing indeed and has ultimately deprived State employment agencies of adequate time to offer assistance. The short notice given was, above all else, discourteous to those who have served the company so well over the years. Minister Richard Bruton has called on the company to delay its withdrawal in order to ease the impact on the local community. He is also set to travel to Waterford to meet with those affected. Other Ministers will assist in the response to the situation and the Cabinet, at its meeting on Tuesday, requested Minister Ruairi Quinn to expedite his work regarding the approval of a Technological University for the South East.

One of the guest speakers at Fine Gael’s Special Parliamentary Party Meeting in Galway this week was Professor John FitzGerald of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) who, whilst acknowledging the bleakness of Ireland’s current situation, went on to give a very optimistic forecast in respect of the Irish economy.

Professor FitzGerald was open in his praise of decisions made by the Government to date, including the restructuring of the banks, and the jobs initiative. The current figures are stark but the fact remains that Ireland’s exports are improving and the trade surplus is rising.  Accordingly, we would hope that next year will see employment begin to increase once again.

Professor FitzGerald was joined in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway by Patrick Kennedy, Chief Executive of Paddy Power and Norah Gibbons, Head of Advocacy at Barnardos, who both gave considered and insightful presentations based on their respective fields.  This year’s meeting involved the largest ever gathering of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and allowed us to come together in advance of the reconvening of the Dáil on Wednesday next, 14th September.

I have written here in the past about cloud computing and the major role which I anticipate it will play in Ireland’s future and yesterday, I was in the Croke Park Conference Centre tc and Social Research Institute (ESRI) who, whilst acknowledging the bleakness of Ireland’s current situation, went on to give a very optimistic forecast in respect of the Irish economy.

Professor FitzGerald was open in his praise of decisions made by the Government to date, including the restructuring of the banks, and the jobs initiative. The current figures are stark but the fact remains that Ireland’s exports are improving and the trade surplus is rising.  Accordingly, we would hope that next year will see employment begin to increase once again.

Professor FitzGerald was joined in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway by Patrick Kennedy, Chief Executive of Paddy Power and Norah Gibbons, Head of Advocacy at Barnardos, who both gave considered and insightful presentations based on their respective fields.  This year’s meeting involved the largest ever gathering of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party and allowed us to come together in advance of the reconvening of the Dáil on Wednesday next, 14th September.

I have written here in the past about cloud computing and the major role which I anticipate it will play in Ireland’s future and yesterday, I was in the Croke Park Conference Centre to open the Cloud Computing Summit 2011. The Government has committed to making Ireland a leader in this field and the huge attendance at yesterday’s summit was indicative of the level of enthusiasm for it from all over Ireland. Cloud computing is a new way of using and consuming IT.

This morning, I started the Cannonball Run Charity Car Rally in aid of Barretstown Castle and the wonderful work they do for sick children.  Earlier today, I also met with the Mayor of Beijing, which is now twinned with Dublin, to work towards increased activity in investment, trade and opportunity between Ireland and China. I hope to lead a delegation there later this year.

Tomorrow, I will attend a Fine Gael meeting in the Regency Hotel, Dublin before making my way out to Citywest for the 37th Rehab Group People of the Year Awards. Rehab continues to do absolutely wonderful work and these awards will honour those at community level who have done something really extraordinary.

I announced this week that, following the untimely death of Brian Lenihan in June, the bye election for Dublin West will take place on October 27th, the same day as the Presidential Election. Polling day will now involve four votes: the presidential election, the by-election and referendums on judges’ pay and powers for parliamentary committees.

Gay Mitchell’s campaign is now in full swing. If he continues in this vein, I believe that the presidency will be well within his grasp. I would like to appeal now to all Fine Gael supporters to get behind Gay to help maximise his vote next month. Fine Gael supporters played a central role in getting the Party back into Government after 14 years and I also have every belief in their ability to put Gay in the Áras. If elected, he would be outstanding at promoting Ireland’s cause abroad.

It is very hard to believe that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York took place ten years ago this week. On Sunday, I will attend a commemorative ceremony which has been organised by the US Embassy in the RDS Concert Hall. There, I will have the privilege of reading a Seamus Heaney poem entitled ‘Anything Can Happen’ and will reflec