Saturday 24 June 2017

James Downey: Kenny's first year marked by confidence and political skill

ENDA Kenny has been a member of the Dail since 1975, when he won a by-election at the age of 24. In all that time, he spent only two-and-a-half years in a cabinet job. Along with his lack of experience, his boyish appearance and folksy manner made it hard for people to take him seriously.

Yet he had 'form' long before he became Taoiseach a year ago after the most sensational Irish election since 1918.

When he took over the leadership of a shattered Fine Gael following the 2002 General Election he promised to "electrify" the party. For this, he was widely mocked. But he did indeed electrify it, with the simple -- but also classic -- strategy of cultivating the grassroots.

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