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Tuesday 21 January 2020

From behind the scenes to the front page

IF it hadn't been for Richard Bruton, Ciaran Conlon might have been organising last night's "state of the nation" address by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Conlon was at Mr Kenny's side as his communications manager during his long nine-year journey towards power.

But Mr Kenny shifted him to a strategic policy role after Mr Bruton's failed coup last summer. Mr Conlon professed himself at the time to be happy to be out of the rough-and-tumble of daily politics and continued to work behind the scenes on Fine Gael's general election plans.

But it was ironic that having been closely involved in the successful campaign to defeat the Bruton coup, he was then appointed as a special adviser in the new Government to Mr Bruton.

And Mr Conlon found himself yesterday in the situation every backroom operator hates -- becoming the story rather than shaping the story.

He found himself sharing the front page of a Sunday newspaper and was called an "FG crony", as it emerged Mr Kenny had personally intervened to raise his special adviser salary from €92,000 to €127,000.

Irish Independent

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