TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has become the first Irish leader since Sean Lemass to make the cover of Time magazine.
The colour of famous “Time” red logo has been changed to green on the front cover, which contains the headline “The Celtic Comeback” alongside Mr Kenny’s photo.
He gave an interview to the international weekly news magazine for its European edition in Government Buildings, which said he was “leading Ireland’s fight to recover from the bust”.
And it said that with Ireland’s Gross Domestic Product beginning to sneak upward once again, Mr Kenny may prove himself anything but the “fool” that his predecessor (then taoiseach Brian Cowen) called him in 2010.
Mr Kenny is following the footsteps of former taoiseach Sean Lemass. The late Fianna Fail leader was put on the cover of Time Magazine in July 1963 behind an illustration of factory buildings to symbolise the new industrial development in Ireland. The cover also featured an Irish leprechaun.
Mr Kenny was asked by Time magazine why there had been no large-scale demonstrations in Ireland against cutbacks as there had been in other European countries.
“People understand that you have to do difficult things to sort out our own public finances,” he said.
And Mr Kenny was also quizzed about what motivated him in his political career.
“I’ve no interest in looking for credit or thanks. Providing a prosperous future for all our people, that’s what drives me,” he said.
Time’s Europe editor Catherine Mayer was complimentary about Mr Kenny in her article and her own question-and-answer article afterwards. She wrote that “if words were money, Kenny could have easily cleared the national debt since coming to power in February 2011”.
And she said that Mr Kenny was “extremely likable”.
“What I was really trying to see was what was behind that likability. In small groups he is much more fluent and compelling than he would appear to be were you to judge him from his big media set pieces. When cameras train on him he seems to freeze up, which is an interesting problem for somebody in that position. But when he’s relaxed he’s interesting and has a lot to say,” she said.
Time Magazine has a circulation of 3.3m in the USA and has been described as the most influential mainstream magazine for political coverage in the country.