Taoiseach Enda Kenny has defended his use of part of US President Barack Obama's election speech saying the duplication was deliberate and designed as a tribute.

Speaking on RTE's Six One, Mr Kenny said he had a copy of the original speech hanging in his office.

Mr Kenny said the problems identified by Mr Obama were universal and also applied in Ireland.

Asked if he should have attributed the remarks, Mr Kenny said perhaps he could have but he added this was not what he called a ‘Neil Kinnock - Joe Biden moment’.

He said his speech was 470 words while only the first 40 were taken from President Obama.

He said Mr Obama was very strong in his support of Ireland.

Asked if he had raised economist Morgan Kelly's suggestion that the US Treasury Secretary had blocked an IMF plan to burn some bondholders, Mr Kenny said he did not ask about this.

On the controversial pensions levy, Mr Kenny said that while tax relief on pension contributions would not be lowered further, it would not be restored to its previous level.

He said he was absolutely determined to proceed with the measure.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny received much praise yesterday for his speech introducing President Obama to the crowd at College Green.

But today, it was noticed that his opening paragraph was remarkably similar to the beginning of Mr Obama's victory speech on the night of his election in November 2008.

In fact, 36 of Mr Kenny's first 48 words were exactly the same as the earlier address by Mr Obama.

Read Enda Kenny's speech and Barack Obama's victory speech from November 2008 in Grant Park, Chicago