Business Irish

Monday 27 March 2017

'Accidental Taoiseach' finds some peace in our time

Ever heard the one about the Taoiseach who got everything he wanted in the world and pretended it was really nothing?

Probably not and certainly not in a cold town like Brussels these last few years.

Irish Taosigh come to Brussels these days to be kicked around, sniggered at, or on a good day, to be pitied.

But last night Enda Kenny, often derided as the accidental Taoiseach, did his own version of Neville Chamberlain's peace in our time, although he wisely refrained from waving a white sheaf of paper in the air. Enda, sporting a blue tie and flanked by his ever present blond assistant Lucinda Creighton, tried to look composed, statesmanlike and even slightly Churchillian, but nobody was buying it.

You sensed Enda actually wanted to punch the air, kiss Lucinda, his advisers and even a few reporters and then crack open a champagne bottle. But no, easy now.

Enda had managed to pull off a decent deal and the media wanted him to well... goddamn, admit it.

But Enda, wisely, preferred to give the credit to others, although speaking to reporters he appeared slightly peeved when one cheeky scribe suggested the only reason Ireland was getting its interest rate slashed was because, well the Greeks needed it and we were thrown in as an add-on.

Still, Enda wanted to give everyone a sense that not only was it a good deal, it was the kind of deal you don't normally get in European politics -- no strings attached.

Time will tell whether that is the case, but Enda made it clear that whatever promises might have been made behind closed doors, were now being well, dispensed with.

All day Brussels was abuzz with talk of Greece, but everyone knew that whatever Greece was going to get was going to be good for Ireland and by extension for Enda and Lucinda, surely one of the oddest couples ever to waltz into a Brussels briefing room.

Not only are they separated by a huge age gulf, up until last year Creighton was a fierce enemy of Kenny.

However, both now appear to be able to bury their differences.

Bridges

While Enda has clearly built bridges with his younger former foe, his love bombing appeared to be working on French President Nicolas Sarkozy too, who held "very cordial" talks with the Irish Taoiseach, said Enda.

With the interest rate deal in the back pocket of his nicely tailored suit, Enda was almost implying that Sarkozy was dealing with a different man now, not the leader of a bankrupt IMF assisted state.

As excitement built around the Brussels press centre at news of the "this is nothing to do with Greece" Irish deal, the obvious questions started to build.

Would Irish taxpayers get an easier budget in December?

When asked Enda almost muttered into his chest in a barely audible tone.

"Er, no."

It was the equivalent of "ah now cool down there''. Things are slightly better, but they're not that good his body language screamed.

Irish Independent

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