Saturday 10 December 2016

Jody Corcoran: The inside story of Enda Kenny's desperate fight for place in history

The Taoiseach went into his fateful meeting with Micheal Martin and set off an unexploded bomb, writes Jody Corcoran

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

CASUALS: Members of the Fine Gael parlimentary party, Eoghan Murphy, Frances Fitzgerald, Simon Harris, Josepha Madigan and Leo Varadkar, pictured outside the Alexander Hotel in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath
CASUALS: Members of the Fine Gael parlimentary party, Eoghan Murphy, Frances Fitzgerald, Simon Harris, Josepha Madigan and Leo Varadkar, pictured outside the Alexander Hotel in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath
Negotiations: The rural Independent deputies, from left, Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Denis Naughten, Dr Michael Harty and Michael Collins arriving at Government Buildings for talks with the acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Fine Gael negotiators on the formation of a new government. Photo: Tom Burke

The former Fine Gael TD, Denis Naughten, of the so-called Rural Independents, sat down to lunch with Enda Kenny last Thursday March 31: "Look," said Naughten, "when you're talking to Micheal Martin you might suggest a Fine Gael, Independents, Fianna Fail partnership government."

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As a central figure in the painstaking negotiations between the two Civil War political parties and an array of Independents, Naughten had gathered from his contacts that such a 'partnership' arrangement might be a runner.

So this was the moment, then, on the last day in March, over lunch in the Dail with an erstwhile colleague, that the putative deal - what Fine Gael would subsequently present to the public as an "historic opportunity" - first began to crystallise in the feverish mind of the acting Taoiseach.

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