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Kenny Defended as ‘Mad’ Irish Borrowing Comment Sparks Criticism

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Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Irish Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton defended Prime Minister Enda Kenny, after opposition lawmakers criticized his comment that “mad borrowing” by the Irish people helped trigger the county’s economic collapse.

“What happened in our country was that people simply went mad borrowing,” Kenny said in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland yesterday. “The extent of personal wealth created on credit was done between people and banks, a system that spawned greed to a point where this went out of control completely with a spectacular crash.”

Kenny’s comments contrasted with a televised national address he gave before the budget in December, when he said the Irish people weren’t responsible for the crash. His latest remarks dominated the front pages of the country’s newspapers today and Niall Collins, a lawmaker with opposition party Fianna Fail, said Kenny is “clearly taking one approach at home and another abroad.”

Kenny “has made clear ordinary people are not to blame,” for the country’s crash, Bruton said in an interview with Dublin-based broadcaster RTE today. He is “entirely in touch” with the people, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Finbarr Flynn in Dublin at fflynn3@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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