'Three out of ten' from Martin for first 100 days

Interviewed by Cathal MacCoille on today’s Morning Ireland, Micheál Martin gave the new Government ‘three or four out of ten’ for their first hundred days in office. He went on to say that,

I think it’s an anniversary that has been overhyped. I personally wouldn’t have put as much emphasis on the one hundred days as Enda Kenny himself has done. I think he over-promised what they would achieve in the first hundred days. In reality the government has yet to take any hard decisions.

There’s a list of 25 solemn promises that Enda Kenny committed to in the first 100 days, the vast majority of which have not been implemented. A critical one being New Era, where they said they’d create 100,000 jobs - that hasn’t happened. On a macroeconomic level they have in essence continued the fundamental policy positions adopted by the previous government, in terms of banking policy, budgetary and fiscal policy, and one cannot get away from that.

The jobs initiative – initially it was to be a jobs budget, and to be far more radical than it turned out to be. What has subsequently happened is that an extra €200 million has been taken out of the economy through the jobs initiative. It was more than revenue neutral, it actually took €200 million out.

We were told there would be a dramatic burning of senior bondholders, that hasn’t happened. We were told there would be a major move to reduce the interest rate, that hasn’t happened.

Asked by MacCoille if the Government should be ‘cut some slack’ given the fact that ‘we’re not a sovereign country anymore, we’re not in charge of our destiny’, Martin responded:

They knew that. They didn’t have to make the incredibly cynical promises that they made. They made cynical promises in advance of the election that they could not implement, and they knew at the time they could not implement those. Irrespective of whether we’re in the EU-IMF bailout programme or not, the budgetary changes are ones that would have had to be introduced one way or the other. What’s interesting now is that the government are bending over backwards to say we’re implementing this, and implementing it with gusto, despite the fact that they said it was a lousy deal and a bad deal, they’re now claiming that we’re ahead of target, they’re taking credit for being ahead of target even though they’re only three months in government.

According to Martin, the implications of broken promises on renegotiation of the bailout go beyond repercussions for the Government parties and extend to the whole of politics:

I think fundamentally down the road that will create problems, and not just in terms of the government itself, but for politics in general. I think it was an example of old type politics, cynical politics. They didn’t have to do it, actually, we all knew that from the figures and polls and such before the election what was going to happen. And I think that’s the fundamental impact it will have – it will deepen cynicism about politics generally.