Kenny expects 22 May date for same-sex marriage referendum

Friday 20 February 2015 15.11
Enda Kenny said that he hoped support for the referendum would hold up
Enda Kenny said that he hoped support for the referendum would hold up

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he expects the same-sex marriage referendum to be held on Friday 22 May.

Speaking in an interview on RTÉ's Prime Time, Mr Kenny said the referendum is about tolerance, respect and sensitivity.

Mr Kenny said that he hoped support for the referendum would hold up, saying that most members of the Oireachtas are in favour of it.

He added that it creates an image of a tolerant and inclusive Ireland.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Kenny refused to be drawn on whether he was one of three people called to give evidence at the Fennelly Commission inquiry into the gardaí.

Mr Kenny said that all matters relating to the commission were confidential, and that he was very clear in his response to Mr Justice Fennelly.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams has said the Taoiseach has fueled speculation regarding his role in the controversial resignation of former garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

Mr Adams said: "Mr Kenny clearly has questions to answer surrounding the events leading to the resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, just hours after a visit to his home by the then-Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Brian Purcell."

On the jailing of water charge protesters, Mr Kenny said that the Government respected the right to demonstrate but that it should be exercised within the law.

The Taoiseach defended the Government's economic record, saying the Coalition had inherited an unprecedented set of conditions but had succeeded in restoring political stability.

When asked whether the Government ever asked for a write down on Irish debt, Mr Kenny said that you cannot expect to get such a deal unless you are able to negotiate.

Mr Kenny said that his Government negotiated a €50 billion reduction in debt, bought out IMF loans and reversed many of the decisions made by the Troika.

The Taoiseach also denied putting the interests of Fine Gael ahead of the national interest, saying that achieving such results would not have been possible without political and economic stability.

He said the policy of lowering tax rates would continue under Budget 2016, as would the drive to make work more economically attractive.

Mr Kenny also said the Government had changed the rules relating to "stroke politics", saying that anybody who wished to apply to a State board must now do so publicly.

He added: "You can't deny someone work due to their political affiliation", saying everyone who applies for a position on a State board is vetted independently.