Sunday 11 December 2016

John Drennan: Pragmatic triumph of wily Enda

His handling of Fine Gael's abortion rebels and Labour suggests the Taoiseach may be the most cunning of them all.

Published 05/05/2013 | 05:00

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore,TD makes his way to the rostrum after Taoiseach Enda Kenny,TD had spoke at the media briefing at Government Buildings following the publication of The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 . Pic Tom Burke 1/5/13
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore,TD makes his way to the rostrum after Taoiseach Enda Kenny,TD had spoke at the media briefing at Government Buildings following the publication of The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 . Pic Tom Burke 1/5/13

If anyone is puzzled by how Fine Gael's 'Dear Leader' Enda Kenny is in the Taoiseach's office – and these days quite a few are – the response by Kenny to the dangerous politics of abortion should provide some guidance.

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As a Taoiseach, Mr Kenny has been, at best, timorous when it comes to economics (Enda, alas, is more of a 'gimme a high-five' man) or in charting a path through Europe's existential crisis, but when it comes to party management, truly Mr Kenny is, even more than Bertie, living up to his reputation as being "the most cunning, the cleverest of them all".

The Taoiseach's inner cabinet may have been cracking open the champagne – metaphorically, we stress – on Wednesday night in the Dail bar but for a time a sense of danger surrounded the response of the Government to this issue. Though the Fine Gael rebels have, for now, adopted the Slattery's Mounted Foot technique of warfare where, having come down the mountains suited and booted for war, they race back up once a shot is fired, the boisterousness of the Cabinet's celebrations indicated just how seriously the revolt of FG's gang of 20 was taken.

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