Saturday 20 January 2018

'Bravery of cancer child keeps me going' - FG leader

Enda Kenny spoke of the inspiration behind his continued drive in politics Photo: Mike Shaughnessy
Enda Kenny spoke of the inspiration behind his continued drive in politics Photo: Mike Shaughnessy
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has given an insight into what keeps him going after 40 years in politics.

Mr Kenny told a gathering in Galway he is often asked why, after 40 years, he is still driven by his job.

He gave an emotive answer, recalling a young girl, just 10 or 11 years old, with terminal cancer, who once confided in him how wonderful it would be if they could find a cure.

Mr Kenny also spoke about the little girl in an interview in the Sunday Independent, revealing her bravery kept him going. "Why do I do this? A little girl contacted me one day and she said: 'I'd like to go to Government Buildings.' I said fine and we made the arrangements and brought her up to Government Buildings with her daddy and her mammy and put her sitting in the Taoiseach's chair. She had her picture taken and was very happy and spoke on the phone.

"I said to her: 'Tell me now how are you?' and she said: 'I'm very happy because I'm not afraid.' I said: 'Why is that?' And then she showed me her legs and she said: 'You see these things here, these lumps are cancerous tumours and I'm going to die.'

"And that's what happened, some time afterwards. But she wrote a little poem and she said to me before she left government buildings: 'Wouldn't it be great if the doctors could find a cure.'

"And that's why we're doing this, because we want to see that the young Irish minds are in a position to have that research and innovation capacity in our country so they can save more lives," he told the gathering.

Mr Kenny later told the Sunday Independent: "The parents had sent me a mourning card afterwards, and I just thought that, there was a little girl who was at the start of her life, and brave, you know. It's like, can somebody find out about what causes this, why bloods are down or whatever else? And, see, in the mad rush of politics, I often think about things like that."

He thought of the child during a review trip of a billion euro drugs project at APC in Dublin. "That's the Ireland of the future, that's where we need to be and that's why I'm doing this."

Irish Independent

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