Sunday 16 December 2018

'Captivating' Kenny joins after-dinner speaker circuit at €22,000 per event

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Michael McLaughlin
Former taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

Nick Bramhill and Niall O'Connor

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny has followed in the footsteps of other world leaders by landing a lucrative career as an after-dinner speaker.

Mr Kenny is in good company at the prestigious UK-based 'Speakers Associates' agency, which lists other Irish figures such as Mary Robinson, John Bruton and Charlie McCreevy among its speakers.

The Mayo TD, who was yesterday awarded an honorary doctorate in law from NUIG, is charging upwards of €22,000 per event.

The price bracket is reserved for the agency's most sought-after speakers.

However, yesterday Mr Kenny's profile on the site was mysteriously removed.

Mr Kenny did not return calls for comment yesterday.

Before his profile was removed, the agency's website described their latest recruit as a "captivating and memorable" speaker.

In a glowing profile, the agency's chiefs singled out Mr Kenny's St Patrick's Day lecture on immigration to US President Donald Trump.

Mr Kenny's speech on Capitol Hill was viewed more than 30 million times and received universal praise, with many hailing the then-outgoing Taoiseach for his courage in standing up to Mr Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric and policies.

Before his profile was removed, it mentioned how Mr Kenny's "St Patrick's Day speech at the White House about the value of immigration in front of US President Donald Trump was viewed more than 30 million times".

It added: "As a speaker, he is captivating and memorable, whose expertise and experience in leading Ireland through its worst recession provides valuable insight to his audiences."

Mr Kenny was in NUI Galway yesterday where he received an honorary doctorate of laws for his contributions to public life.

He recently announced he would not stand for the Dáil in his Mayo constituency at the next general election. Local TD Michelle Mulherin is to stand again, while Senator Paddy Burke - a close ally of Mr Kenny - is also set to put his name forward.

Despite speculation locally, it's understood Mr Kenny's daughter Aoibhinn is not interested in defending her father's seat.

Mr Kenny has taken on a low-key approach since stepping down as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael.

Unlike former finance minister Michael Noonan, Mr Kenny is not a regular attendee at Fine Gael parliamentary party meetings. He has also made few appearances in the Dáil chamber as a backbencher.

Mr Kenny isn't the only Irish public figure who is listed in the highest 'on application' price bracket.

Irish TV presenter Graham Norton and 'Live Aid' star Bob Geldof are two of the agency's most in-demand speakers, able to command hefty fees, as well as expenses.

Irish Independent

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