Davos WEF
Davos WEF

Irish election imminent but can't prejudge a win: PM


A general election due will take place in Ireland "in a few weeks' time" the country's incumbent Prime Minister Enda Kenny told CNBC, who said he hoped to win the continued trust of the Irish public in order to continue Ireland's economic recovery.

"I'll make the announcement (on the date of elections) in a very public forum in the not too distant future," Irish Taoiseach Kenny told CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.

Refusing to be drawn on the exact date of the vote – although the vote must take place before April 11 – the Taoiseach said the Irish people would "have their say in a few weeks' time."

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Georges Gobet | AFP| Getty Images

"Elections are obviously something that you can never pre-judge. I would like to think that people would give us their continued trust and confidence to finish the job that they gave us which was to fix our public finances and to put our country back to work," he said.

"We still have many challenges up ahead but we put in place a very good platform for the future and if we continue to manage that successfully in the people's interest."

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Kenny said it was worth reflecting on how far the country had come since the height of its financial crisis when it required a euro zone bailout. Since then, however, Ireland has become a poster-child for austerity measures and recovery, earning itself the "Celtic Phoenix" moniker. In 2016, the European Commission predicts Ireland will see its economy grow 3.6 percent, unemployment fall to 8.8 percent and gross public debt fall further.

"It's important to think about where we were five years ago. You were locked out of the markets, you couldn't borrow money, unemployment was 15 percent and 300,000 jobs were lost and disappointment and disillusionment everywhere," he said.

"But because of the plan and strategy put together, which people dealt with, we're now in a very different position. We'll have our deficit eliminated by 2017 and our debt is now falling below 100 percent (of GDP) and towards European norms which is great progress but it's not a victory by any means."

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