The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny has pledged to make Ireland the best small country in the world by 2016.
Mr Kenny was speaking at the Fine Gael Ardfheis (annual party conference) when he addressed Ireland’s recent economic crisis and outlined his plans for the future.
He said: “We will not celebrate until Ireland has reason to celebrate. Tonight, unemployment remains too high. Too many families are struggling to make ends meet. Too many worry about losing their homes. Too many of our children are still moving away.
“Our purpose now must be to redouble our efforts, to work even harder to deliver our plan.”
Mr Kenny said his first priority was to stabilise the Irish economy, which had meant making difficult choices when preparing the country’s budget. He insisted that painful cuts throughout the whole spectrum of Irish life were beginning to produce results and public finances were coming under control.
He promised that Ireland will not default on its debts and that the economy will be run more responsibly in future. He said: “This commitment is an investment in our children’s future, and in our country’s future.
“Never again will a government be able to behave recklessly and arrogantly with the people’s money. In recent months alone, numerous multi-national companies have shown their confidence in Ireland by committing to new investments here.
“As you know, my message while abroad recently has been strong and clear – Ireland is open for business.
“I recently signed economic co-operation agreements with China and the United Kingdom, both of which offer significant potential for the future.
“This is a great country with unlimited potential. We are now regarded the world over as being a country on the way back. We have the best young generation on the planet. Our challenge is to harness all these qualities together and nothing will stop us.
“We’ve overcome hardship and adversity in the past. We’ve overcome poverty and deprivation in the past. We’ve beaten all these difficulties.
“I don’t have all the answers but I do know this: a government that works hard, that brings honesty, clarity and decisiveness in its service of the people will not fail.
“And I look forward to achieving my ambition that, by 2016, we will prove to be the best small country in the world to do business, the best country in which to raise a family, and the best country in which to grow old with dignity and respect.”