Ireland and Britain agree to more economic cooperation

Monday 11 March 2013 23.12
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Enda Kenny and David Cameron discussed a range of areas, including energy cooperation, tourism initiatives, trade and research
Enda Kenny and David Cameron discussed a range of areas, including energy cooperation, tourism initiatives, trade and research
Enda Kenny said Frankfurt and Brussels compounded Ireland's debt errors
Enda Kenny said Frankfurt and Brussels compounded Ireland's debt errors

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister David Cameron have agreed to step up co-operation between the two economies.

Mr Kenny held an hour of talks with Mr Cameron at Downing Street this evening, as part of a round of engagements in London.

The meeting was the second in what are to be annual summits between the two premiers.

They discussed a range of areas, including energy cooperation, tourism initiatives, trade and research.

They said they had asked their officials to explore more areas for east-west co-operation.

Considerable time was given to Northern Ireland and Mr Cameron expressed the hope that the current unrest would not mar the G8 summit later in the year.

Mr Kenny said he backed the police, judiciary and Parades Commission.

Earlier, Mr Kenny said the actions of Frankfurt and Brussels over Ireland's banking debt compounded the errors of the previous Fianna Fáil government.

Speaking at the Mansion House in the heart of London’s financial district, Mr Kenny said the €64bn cost of bailing out the banks had imposed a uniquely onerous burden on the Irish public.

Had it not been levied Ireland's debt levels would be below the eurozone average, he said.

He said having the Irish public shoulder that burden was primarily the responsibility of the previous government.

Mr Kenny added that when continuation of that policy became in effect a condition of the country's bailout programme, Frankfurt and Brussels compounded that error.

His remarks represent a stepping up of the campaign to persuade the EU and the ECB to step in and retrospectively take up some of that debt burden.

Mr Kenny also gave a keynote speech at the London School of Economics.

He told the audience that progress on a banking union is a major priority for the Irish presidency of the EU.

He said that in a globalised economy, purely national responses to economic shocks were inadequate, and that a properly functioning financial sector was critical to Europe’s future growth.

Outlining progress in a number of areas, he maintained the next task would be to secure agreement on a Single Banking Supervisor, who would facilitate the direct recapitalisation of banks across Europe.

Mr Kenny and Mr Cameron attended a joint British-Irish Tourism event in Westminster this evening.

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