Sunday 23 October 2016

John Drennan: Martin blasts Enda's 'bizarre behaviour' as Euro hits crisis

'Controlled by civil servants, he just reads scripts and has no ideas of his own,' Fine Gael critics say

Published 17/06/2012 | 05:00

HARD CHOICES: Taoiseach Enda Kenny has attracted scrutiny for his 'bizarre outbursts'. Photo: David Conachy

As EUROPE stares into the abyss today, concern is accelerating both within the Government and the opposition over the capacity of Enda Kenny to deal effectively with the crisis.

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Responding to growing concern that the Government has no specific plan of its own, a senior source said: "There is an international plan for the Fed, the Bank of England, the ECB and the Swiss Central Bank to flood the market with liquidity in the event of a Greek default or a run on banks. That is the Plan B and we are part of that plan."

Such is the seriousness with which the Greek election result is being viewed, a conference call of EU finance ministers is being planned for when the results become available. .

Yesterday, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin questioned the Taoiseach's recent "bizarre outbursts" and said that the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance and the Cabinet are incapable of dealing with the current crisis.


More worryingly, members of the Taoiseach's own party are also questioning their leader's capacity for dealing with the crisis.

One senior party source told the Sunday Independent: "It's finally dawned on Enda that being Taoiseach is not just about sitting in the Ard Comhairle box in Croke Park or being photographed with Trapattoni at the bottom of Croagh Patrick."

Another source, meanwhile, painted a worrying picture of Mr Kenny in power, claiming that ''it is embarrassing to see just how much Enda is being controlled by the civil servants, he appears to have no ideas of his own".

The source added: "It's almost now that the pressure has come on, like Cowen again, all he is capable of doing is reading the script they give him, there is no acceptance of independent thinking at all.''

Outside of a series of embarrassing public spats involving withdrawn allegations about shredded cabinet files, the Fine Gael rank and file were not calmed by the Taoiseach's jittery performance at last week's Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, where a visibly "out of sorts" Taoiseach told his TDs that "neither myself or Michael Noonan will get much sleep over the weekend".

The mood was not improved by Mr Kenny's subsequent claim that we were "two thirds of the way across the river and have another third to go".

Afterwards TDs observed that "no one really knew what he was talking about and, to be honest, it didn't really look as though Enda knew what he is talking about either".

Several Fine Gael TDs also expressed real concern about the "demoralised, defeated air" surrounding several ministers.

One source noted of last week's parliamentary meeting that "Phil Hogan made a speech and was greeted by silence when he sat down, then Michael Noonan made a speech saying he would be looking for three and a half billion euros in this year's budget and he was greeted with silence too".

This view was confirmed by another minister, who noted: ''We cannot control this crisis, it is simply bigger than us."

The minister added: ''What is frustrating is it's like watching a car crash where you are in the passenger seat and have no control over the brakes."

In the wake of the increasingly ''bizarre'' behaviour by the Taoiseach, Micheal Martin expressed serious concern over the capacity of Mr Kenny ''to engage in the sort of rough trading, if they have the steel that is needed to protect our position".

Mr Martin also noted: ''In the wake of the referendum the confidence of the Government has been fundamentally affected by the anger of the people and the performance of the Taoiseach. Remember, this was the man in opposition who said he would take on the 'hard choices'. Well, in the referendum he couldn't even take on Bryan Dobson, let alone Vincent Browne."

The Fianna Fail leader also slammed the lack of "any coherent policy by the Government".

Mr Martin cited the "critical error" made in talking up the possibility of a bank deal immediately after a referendum campaign where they had consistently talked it down, adding: "Strategically they appear to be living from week to week without any long-term plan. They're waiting for something to happen; that something hasn't happened and now they're running out of rope."

Sunday Independent

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