Monday 22 December 2014

Fine Gael leader's feud with Browne goes back almost 30 years

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Published 07/02/2011 | 05:00

Enda Kenny's spat with Vincent Browne continues a bitter feud between the pair dating back almost 30 years.

And challenges being set down between the pair are nothing new either.

Mr Kenny was stung by a savaging from Mr Browne in the early 1980s, when the journalist said the future Fine Gael leader "purports to be" a TD.

In the run up to the January 1982 General Election, Mr Browne appeared on 'The Late Late Show' to discuss the effectiveness of TDs -- and singled out Mr Kenny for a lashing.

Still reeling a year later, the future Fine Gael leader hit back and challenged Mr Browne to travel with him around his constituency.

Mr Browne, at the time best known as the founder of 'Magill' magazine, lambasted the still young Fine Gael Mayo deputy for doing nothing of note in his seven years in the Dail, saying he was "purporting" to be a TD.

Still reeling from the attack, Mr Kenny hit back a year later during a debate on Dail reform in February 1983.

"I remember having the doubtful fortune of appearing on a well-known television programme where a well-known journalist (Mr Browne) said of me: 'This guy purports to be a deputy, but he did not even speak in that Dail.'

"That Dail only lasted for a short time, but the journalist was right, I did not speak in this fashion in the chamber during that Dail. The number of people who commented on that fact was unbelievable.

"I thank the journalist for pointing this out in his own way. Indeed, I go further and remind him of my invitation to a week of travel around a rural constituency to see how TDs live and operate, which challenge has not yet been accepted.

"If he wants to accept it and give a full report in that well run magazine and all the publicity which he wants, I will pay him royalties."

Irish Independent

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