Monday 21 August 2017

No regrets but plenty of advice on Kenny's final day

Enda Kenny had advice on the attitude his successor should have while in office. Photo: Tony Gavin
Enda Kenny had advice on the attitude his successor should have while in office. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Enda Kenny was too polite to say it in English but those with a grasp of Latin or Gaeilge understood.

"Illegitimi non carborundum," he told the Dáil, adding: "As Gaeilge one might say, 'Ná lig dóibh cur isteach ort go mór, cibé rud a dhéanann tú.'"

A few TDs scratched their heads as colleagues explained the more brutish translation: 'Don't let the bastards grind you down.'

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin had contacted the Taoiseach's office before Leaders' Questions to ask if it would be Mr Kenny's final day in the hot seat.

He was told that such State secrets could not be divulged, but when Mr Kenny's staff arrived on the visitors' gallery everybody assumed it was.

Galway TD Noel Grealish had the final question of the round. Following queries on AIB and Garda controversies, he decided to throw the outgoing Taoiseach a bone.

He wanted to know Mr Kenny's "biggest regrets", "great achievements" and "advice" for his successor.

Unhappy with the jovial farewell, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace staged a mini-walkout. Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney shared a grin.

"They might not have been my supporters when my friend Richard [Bruton] took to the field some years ago. Be that as it may, I was happy to appoint them to frontbench positions, to watch them grow as ministers and to bring about a situation where they have actively and vigorously campaigned around the country for the last number of weeks for the right to lead this party," Mr Kenny replied.

"As for advice, it is a little later than people think and there is no time to waste," Mr Kenny said poetically.

In full flight, the Mayo TD had some words of wisdom for Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams too, announcing: "I understand the movement is now asserting that Deputy Adams should himself stand up and make a declaration as to his future intentions also."

After 42 years in the House, 13 elections, 15 years at the head of Fine Gael and six as Taoiseach, Mr Kenny said he was happy to be in a position "to transfer responsibility to a younger generation".

As for regrets?

"I do not have any," he boasted. "Anybody who holds the position of Taoiseach had better have an optimistic and positive outlook. There is no point in going around looking like one is weighed down with the problems of the world."

In other words, the bastards didn't grind him down.

Irish Independent

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