Wednesday 29 March 2017

'I'm absolutely mad about him' - Taoiseach's wife reveals the secret to a happy marriage

Support: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala are approaching their silver wedding anniversary. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Support: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala are approaching their silver wedding anniversary. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

They are celebrating 25 years together this January, and Fionnuala Kenny - wife of Taoiseach Enda Kenny - has revealed the secret to their happy marriage.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mrs Kenny said she was incredibly lucky to have married her soulmate, and her tip for a happy home was: "Don't be afraid to show your love."

Clearly still besotted as they approach their silver wedding anniversary, Mrs Kenny said: "I am so lucky I found someone that I am still so mad about all these years later. I'm absolutely mad about him."

Mrs Kenny is a politically savvy former press adviser to ex-Taoiseach Charlie Haughey, and has been dubbed her husband's "best asset" and "secret weapon".

The first lady, who is rarely seen at high-profile events, preferring instead the quiet life, said it was important for a partner to know they are supported.

"For anybody in life, it doesn't matter what your job is, I think it is lovely to know that you have somebody to come home to, that loves you no matter what you do or what they do," she said.

"To have somebody at home that you can count on, that you know they support you, is great. Beyond that, I don't go into it [politics]."

Mr Kenny was 41 when they married, and admitted he had "been around the field a few times".

Mrs Kenny said the fact the couple met later in life added to the chance of them meeting a good match.

"We knew what we were going in to," she said, adding that she never reads what the papers say about her husband.

Asked if she was looking forward to her husband retiring after years as the leader of Fine Gael, she said: "I try not to look forward too much. I believe in living every day and I am grateful for everything, because God knows what will happen tomorrow and after that."

Mr Kenny had proposed on the beach in Inisheer, where he went down on one knee. "And then I was down that aisle like the hammers of hell," he joked.

The couple married at St Mary's Haddington Road, in Dublin, which was also the venue for President Michael D Higgins's marriage to Sabina Coyne in the 1970s.

Mr Kenny is said to have first spotted his future wife while speaking in the Dail. She had walked into the press gallery to distribute releases and he became distracted by the "spectacular beauty", who was wearing a blue dress.

He thought to himself: "Now this I must see again."

The couple live in Co Mayo and have three children - Aoibhinn, Ferdia and Naoise.

Mrs Kenny opened up about her marriage while at the annual Tiffany Ireland funds lunch for women in business and philanthropy.

She spoke at the event at the relaunched Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin city centre.

Guests included Sabina Higgins, director-general of RTE Dee Forbes, and Dr Rhona Mahony, master of the National Maternity Hospital.

Former President Mary McAleese was interviewed on stage and said she was "enormously proud" of Ireland. She added that "perplexing events" in the US and the UK prompted her to say: "Thanks be to God I live in Ireland."

Sunday Independent

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