Belfast Telegraph

Kenny admits: Republic faces very significant economic challenges

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has acknowledged that the Republic faces "very significant economic challenges" during a visit to London and talks with his UK counterpart David Cameron.

But Mr Kenny insisted that Ireland was starting to see "positive results" from the austerity programme introduced in the wake of the financial crisis.

Key to the restoration of financial stability will be a "comprehensive solution" to the problems facing the euro, said Mr Kenny.

He was unable to say whether a referendum will be required in Ireland on the inter-governmental pact on fiscal disciplines for the eurozone.

Mr Kenny acknowledged that "we are not yet at a point where market confidence in the euro has been restored".

Speaking in Downing Street following talks with Mr Cameron, the Taoiseach said the meeting had been "very cordial, very friendly". He said the pair agreed to meet again to discuss closer economic ties, insisting trade between Britain and Ireland was "absolutely fundamental" to both nations.

Mr Cameron reiterated his commitment to being a "central player" in Europe and the leaders will work together on ideas for putting growth at the heart of all EU decisions, Mr Kenny said.

He added: "We discussed the question of the single market, which David Cameron has been very strong about".

He said that Ireland had returned to growth in 2011 for the first time since 2007.