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Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s Thurles Breakfast Briefing

Katie Bourke Morris 'High Fives' Enda Kenny

The sun was already beginning to rise, when An Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrived at 4.15am to the Anner Hotel here in Thurles last Thursday morning, having attended the Summit Meeting of EU Leaders held just hours earlier in Brussels. Three hours later at 7.15am An Taoiseach was up, showered, shaved, ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed,’ ready to address a business breakfast briefing, on the invite of local Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan.

There were no scraps of paper, hastily prepared scribbled notes, stuttering or stammering, rather a clear, determined statement to community business leaders present, that one would expect from a man who had enjoyed eight hours of relaxed, undisturbed slumber.

Almost 150 people from local business, the community and voluntary sectors, attended to hear An Taoiseach announce that he will return to Thurles with positive news for the town.

Speaking to the assembled audience, An Taoiseach stated: “The prospectus for Thurles should be as fine as anywhere else and I will take Deputy Coonan up on his offer to come back to Thurles with positive news for the town. I am happy to associate myself with efforts made locally by bodies such as Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development to mention a few.

Introducing An Taoiseach to the packed room, Deputy Coonan said: “I always marvel at An Taoiseach’s enthusiasm, endurance and commitment. Mr Kenny arrived at 4.15am because he wants to assure the people of North Tipperary that he is the person to bring our constituency out of recession and into a bright future.

Commenting on next week’s Stability Treaty, Noel continued: “We need certainty and stability to our economic crisis across Europe. Thurles, along with so many other provincial towns, has experienced job losses and hardship so today I am delighted to have An Taoiseach here; the man who can put it right.

Following a warming round of applause, Mr P.J. Shanahan, President of Thurles Chamber of Commerce and North Tipperary IFA Chairman Philip Kinane both addressed the crowd, advocating their strong commitment to a Yes Vote. “The IFA is firmly behind the Yes Vote and we support you Taoiseach, your Government and this referendum,” stated Mr Kinane.

In response to former speakers remarks, An Taoiseach said: “There are three reasons to vote Yes and one of these is to continue our line of investment. At a meeting with former American President Bill Clinton in October, Mr Clinton said Ireland must be considered for investment because we have the best demographics of any country in Europe with a huge pool of young people who are well educated and have an excellent track record.

We have an unbeatable package and for the first time growth is returning to the economy with 1,000 jobs created per month for the last six months. According to a recent independent assessment we are also the best location for investment and we want to maintain this image.

All 27 Leaders at the EU Summit look to Ireland as having made serious progress. This time last year we were equated with Greece and we want to continue to keep our house in order. If our house is in order we will save money for the taxpayer and no Government again will run riot with people’s taxes.

You are being asked to give your authority and permission to ratify this Treaty. The referendum is the property of the people of Ireland now.

The local TD warmly thanked Cllr Michael Cleary and Fine Gael members including Mary McDonagh and Brian Fitzgibbon for their kind cooperation and assistance.

Attendees included representatives from Thurles Chamber of Commerce, North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, County Enterprise Board, Shannon Development, St Vincent de Paul, and many other people from the local business and the voluntary community.

Leaving the hotel, An Taoiseach stopped briefly to accept a letter of protest and a rose from nine peaceful protesters, anxious to get their point across to the government, regarding loss of local respite services to the elderly.

Photo: Courtesy G.Willoughby.

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