independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Kenny on high moral ground as bleating rivals get stuck in mud

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has given his backing to an inspiring song commemorating The Gathering.

As our picture shows, renowned musician Francie Conway presented Mr Kenny with a copy of the single to celebrate the year-long event.

'Our River Keeps On Flowing', which also features musician Finbar Furey and session artist Bob Spates, has already been ordered by several US radio stations.

Conway said the initiative was our chance to reverse the negative international coverage of Ireland's economic depression. "We have to get pride back and hold our heads up high again," he said.

The CD, which has also been endorsed by Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan, is available for download from iTunes and Amazon.

IT was inevitable, really. Given the breathtaking speed and scale by which the meat scandal has, ahem, galloped from its starting gate in Ireland right across the continent, it was only a matter of time before all sorts of quare animals fetched up in the hallowed environs of Leinster House.

And so it came to pass yesterday that our Taoiseach found himself in the Dail chamber being savaged by a dead sheep.

Enda Kenny had probably braced himself for a barrage of incoming fire on the tricky topic of a state apology to the Magdalene survivors, particularly given that Fianna Fail had tabled a motion calling for such an apology which was to be debated that evening and would be gung-ho to launch an early offensive.

But Enda – in keeping with his status as the Sultan of Serendipity (one minute last week he was under attack over the lack of an apology to the Magdalene women, the next he's unveiling a sweet deal on the prom notes) – caught a lucky break.

For the Fianna Fail leader was out of town yesterday, and it was Eamon O Cuiv who was in the big chair for Leaders' Questions.

So, did Eamon go in with his boots flying and accuse the Taoiseach of heartlessness and game-playing at the expenses of suffering women?

He did in his hat. He chose instead to home in on the chaotic student grant system, SUSI, which is indeed worthy of severe scrutiny. But then Dev Og just couldn't help himself, and took a detour into treacherous terrain, deciding to challenge Enda to a bout of I'm More Rural Than You.

"Can the Taoiseach confirm that he will not add to the litany of anti-rural actions taken by this Government, such as the minister's discriminatory steps against small rural schools and rural transport, the Minister for Justice's attack on rural garda stations and so forth and the Minister for Transport's attack on the local improvement schemes, LIS?" he demanded.

No good (on any level) could come of this. For the Taoiseach is no Dublin 4 sophisticate who cowers at any charge of being anti-rural, and he promptly threw it straight back at the Galway West TD.

"The deputy speaks about anti-rural bias. The good old days of using a lot of other people's money are gone. We have a very different situation to deal with. We cannot have ministers driving around Connemara with cheques from the dormant accounts and giving them out for bothar gainimh, bothar sleibhte or whatever it was. The deputy did very well out of that for a good while," he sniped.

Eamon elevated with outrage and demanded a retraction on behalf of the sandy lanes and rocky by-ways. "No dormant accounts ever paid for any road in this country," he yelped.

The Taoiseach cheerfully obliged, the red herring having been swallowed by Eamon hook, line and sinker.

Instead it was left to Sinn Fein to raise the question of the Magdelenes. But again Enda scored a lucky break, for it was Gerry Adams who politely quizzed him, rather than the formidable Mary Lou who never fails to get under his skin.

And so it was Enda who went on the attack, putting a swift boot into the ranks of the soldiers of destiny.

"Having given a clear signal of what we wish to do in this regard, I would have thought that a political motion tabled in this way shows a scant respect for the author of the report and less respect for the persons it is about," he tut-tutted more in sorrow than anger.

Incredibly the Taoiseach found himself on the high moral ground over the Magdalenes, when he shouldn't have been anywhere near it.

There wasn't a peep out of Eamon. Dead sheep, with perhaps a bit of donkey in the mix.

Irish Independent

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