Monday 24 October 2016

Lise Hand's Diary: Jesus wept – is the Enda truly nigh?

Published 24/05/2014 | 02:30

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney

The Taoiseach clearly didn't spot this divine intervention when he posed for a photo while campaigning in Galway city centre, but an eagle-eyed Yvette Byrne did.

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It's unknown whether the gentleman was suggesting that Enda is a deity, or whether he had information that the Son of God was in the blueshirt corner.

Or perhaps 'Jesus' was simply a commentary on the state of the country, and the chap had forgotten the 'Wept'.

Mind you, given the utter hames the Government is making over the introduction of the latest tax, the beleaguered nation would probably concur that Enda has indeed the uncanny ability to change water into whine ...

Enda's number is up

Enda was at it once again on the campaign trail this week, scribbling down his mobile-phone number on election flyers for citizens who needed a word.

Oddly enough, although every dog on the streets of Ireland can now bark the Taoiseach's number, he observed last week, while canvassing across the midlands, that he isn't inundated with calls. "Maybe they think it's actually the number of someone in my office, rather than my own phone," he concluded.

But it seems Enda's number is now becoming known further afield, and he revealed that he had received two calls from numbers in the UK in recent times. "One caller told me he had a connection to the Windsors, and he wanted to set up a three-hour meeting with me which I had to explain wasn't possible," he said.

The second call was even more intriguing. "The man said he had something important to tell me, and then announced, 'I'm the bastardised son of Lord Lucan,'" explained the bemused (and amused) Taoiseach. Golly. Enda will be getting a call from the Bones of Shergar, next.

And on the subject of phones, Fine Gael's director of elections, Phil Hogan, was discombobulated to receive an automated text message urging him to vote for Independent Euro candidate Senator Ronan Mullen, and to text all his friends in Midlands North West and ask them to do likewise. The chances of that, one suspects, are on par with that of a snowball in hell ... .

All eyes on Coveney as the R-question looms large

Weary political scribes, commentators, pundits and participants are beginning to get the impression that the chances of slipping off to their respective summer dachas for some well-earned post-election R'n'R are looking dodgier by the day.

For a different class of R'n'R beast may well trot into the arena next week, if Labour and Fianna Fail in particular suffer a drubbing at the polls – Resignations 'n' Reshuffles, that is.

After Eamon Gilmore refused to stamp down on Thursday the notion of a rapid-response reshuffle in the coming weeks, government backbenchers and ministers alike have quietly begun studying the form of the runners and riders.

From the Coalition's point of view, there's a lot to be said for a quick reshuffle: it will deflect media attention from what's shaping up to be a battering at the ballot-box; it'll remove the Tanaiste from Foreign Affairs into a meatier portfolio which may stay backbench knives in their scabbards, it would give newly anointed ministers the summer months to read into their brand-new briefs, and it would stop Enda getting the R-question flung at him every time he sticks his snout in front of a microphone from here on in.

Of course, this Taoiseach isn't in the habit of keeping everyone apprised of his plans, so the studiers of form were intrigued by a tweet posted by Paddy Power Politics yesterday, which revealed: "Several punts on Simon Coveney for next health minister, now in to 5/2 from 5/1."

Could someone have the inside track on the Agriculture Minister, left, swapping his wellies for a flak-jacket and a one-way ticket to Angola? One government insider reckoned it could be worth a flutter, commenting: "Simon's found the going easy for the last three years. Let's see how he gets over one Beechers' Brook after another."

Irish Independent

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