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Saturday 23 August 2014

'I'm not down on bended knee' – Enda opens up on church and faith

Niall O'Connor

Published 23/06/2014 | 02:30

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Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny
Gay Byrne
Gay Byrne

ENDA Kenny has opened up about his relationship with the church, saying his faith is "not one of being down on bended knees every evening".

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In a wide-ranging interview, the Taoiseach spoke about the issue of abortion, the loss of his triplet siblings and the first time he met his wife Fionnuala.

The Mayo TD told broadcaster Gay Byrne that Ireland is "very much a Christian country" but that he feels no conflict between his religious beliefs and his role as Taoiseach.

On the issue of his own faith, Mr Kenny was critical of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and said he continues to attend Mass in order to feel part of the community.

"Your picture of God was the picture that hung in so many Irish houses. But obviously things have changed and you move to an understanding of what energy or spirit is around and for me my faith would be in that relationship. It's not one of being down on bended knees every evening."

Mr Kenny was asked about his infamous Cloyne speech in the Dail in 2011, during which he accused the Vatican of playing down the rape of children by members of the clergy.

Mr Kenny told 'The Meaning of Life' on RTE last night that he hopes speaking out will help ensure the church moves on and that "these things could never happen again".

The Taoiseach also gave an insight into the loss of three triplet siblings before he was born.

He first referred to the losses after his mother died in 2011.

"Two were buried in the infant graveyard in Bohermore in Galway and the third was buried out in Cill Da Ri cemetery near Williamstown where my parents lived and where my father taught," Mr Kenny said.

"Actually before she (mother) died this was an issue with her and that she hadn't spoken as much about them as she might have when we were younger. In any event things were traced up and a suitable and appropriate memorial was placed there which she saw the picture of before she moved on. And I think she was at peace about that," he added.

Gay Byrne also asked Mr Kenny about meeting his wife Fionnuala for the first time.

He said that it "took a while to realise that this was the person for me".

"I first saw her in the corridors in Leinster House and obviously I was very attracted to her... I have never met anybody like her," he said.

Fiasco

On the issue of the medical cards fiasco, Mr Kenny said the system itself "got out of hand" and that the scenario whereby thousands of people lost their cards "shouldn't have happened".

The Taoiseach also defended his decision to impose a whip on TDs voting on the controversial Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

He said that the country had seen "a number of high-profile, tragic cases" because of a lack of clarity on the law.

"It wasn't the case of abortion in the sense that 'are we deciding to introduce it or not'. What you were actually making your decisions on was how you legislate for the interpretation of the Constitution which was put in place by the people's vote and interpreted by the Supreme Court," Mr Kenny stated.

Irish Independent

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