Wednesday 25 April 2018

Nick Webb: Inside Enda's diaries -- who got 'Taoiseach time'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured in Riyadh with Ahmed Fawzi Kanoo, Manager of theYusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo Company Limited which is distribution partner of Co Monaghan company Combilift throughout the Gulf region.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured in Riyadh with Ahmed Fawzi Kanoo, Manager of theYusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo Company Limited which is distribution partner of Co Monaghan company Combilift throughout the Gulf region.
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Getting facetime with a government minister isn't easy. It takes real pull. Lobbying a Taoiseach personally is just epic.

So, guess who got to spend time with Enda last year. Pressing the flesh, pressing their case. I received Enda's appointment diaries for the year, under the Freedom of Information act.

The world's richest man, Bill Gates, had a "courtesy call" in mid-February. Davos was busy for the Taoiseach, with meetings booked in with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft's Jean Philippe Courtois, Cisco's Chris Dedicoat and Paul Walsh of Diageo.

Former Anglo Irish Bank director Gary McGann, the chief executive of Smurfit Kappa, was in the book for a meeting in November, with Musgrave boss Chris Martin and Supervalu chief Martin Kelleher also set to bend the Taosieach's ear that month.

With the future of Ulster Bank in Ireland still somewhat uncertain, RBS chief Stephen Hester called in for a chat in May.

Canning Fok, the enormously powerful group Managing director of Hutchison Whampoa, was also in to meet the Taoiseach.

And there was a February meeting with Tesco boss Philip Clarke, former Irish managing director Tony Keohane and corporate affairs guy Dermot Breen.

Paypal's Louise Phelan, Covidien's Joe Almeda, Allergan's Teri Wielenga, JP Morgan Chase's Mick Cavanagh, UBS's Bob McCann and Robert Schimich of AIG got some Taoiseach time.

Small business got far less access. The Small Firms Association, which represents over 8,000 small, domestic Irish businesses, got a photocall with Enda in September.

Others spent way, way more time with Enda. The appointments book lists a "dinner to mark Allergan board's visit to Westport". It was one of Allergan's three meetings with the Taoiseach last year. The dinner was in Mayo, after all!

Irish Independent

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