Last night the Taoiseach – Enda Kenny made a televised speech to the Irish people in advance of the Budget for 2012.
He said he was ” taking the opportunity to speak to you directly on the challenge we face as a community, as an economy, and as a country.”
The speech ended with Kenny pointing out that Dec 6th is the 90th anniversary of the 1921 treaty of independence – and he said ” I believe with all my heart, that we the Irish people can now make our way to recovery, to prosperity and to the fulfilment of the dreams of our children and the founding fathers of our nation.”
In the speech – he talked about how we had challenges –
“To restore our economy, to create the environment to sustain jobs, and to look after the most vulnerable people in our society.”
In the speech , Kenny said that in 2010 the Irish economy was in deep crisis – and while steps to recover from the crisis have been taken it remains in crisis today.
He told the people of Ireland that “You are not responsible for the crisis.”
He pointed out that Ireland is “spending €16 billion a year more than it is taking in.This problem will not be fixed unless we take action to bridge this gap. This can only be done by us, ourselves. Working together.”
Kenny said that –
“The main purpose of this budget, and of our four year strategy, is the creation of jobs for our people. Jobs are central to this budget because work plays such a central role in our lives. Work provides focus. Work gives us independence. Work gives our families hope. We won’t be able to create jobs overnight. It will take time.”
He said that by by putting our public finances back onto a sound footing – “investors will start regaining their confidence in Ireland and credit will be made available at better rates.This means businesses will be able to start borrowing, expanding, and hiring again.”
Mr Kenny mentioned some new initiatives that will be announced in the Budget –
a) A new system of loan guarantees – that will enable banks to resume lending
b) A new micro finance scheme which will help people to start their own businesses.
He repeated previous promises to leave income tax untouched in the Budget – while rasing €1.6 billion mainly through indirect taxes. He also said that 50 quangos will be abolished or merged, and the public sector will be downsized by 23,000 people by 2015.