Wednesday 21 February 2018

'Economist' magazine links Enda Kenny with senior post in Brussels

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Daniel McConnell, Political Correspondent

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is again being linked with a top European post, this time by influential international magazine the 'Economist', which has asked "Does Brussels beckon for Kenny?"

The latest edition of the magazine, published yesterday, contains a substantial article 'Politics in Ireland – Enda the Road' which suggests the Irish Government's fortunes have plummeted since exiting the troika bailout last December.

"The Government's mid-term blues may prove lasting," it said.

Focusing on the worsening relations between Fine Gael and Labour, the 'Economist' said Mr Kenny, pictured, "finds himself under unexpected attack for a series of avoidable blunders."

"Relations between Fine Gael and Labour ministers have become strained in recent months, with the Labour contingent publicly challenging Mr Kenny's authority," the piece said. This is in stark contrast to where they stood just a few months ago, when both parties saw their poll ratings soar off the back of the exit of the bailout and the improving economy.

It said that since then, as a result of a "string of domestic controversies", the Coalition's poll ratings have "plummeted".

"Unsurprisingly, speculation has started over whether the Coalition will be able to complete its five-year term," the article said. "Both parties are exercised about the European and local elections on May 23, in which their prospects could hardly be much worse," it added.

It said the elections could signal the start of a more destabilising rout, with Labour likely to be an even bigger casualty than Fine Gael.

"It would not then be a surprise if Mr Kenny, who is probably more highly regarded abroad than he is at home, were tempted by recent talk of a senior post in Brussels when the big European jobs are parcelled out this summer," the magazine concluded.

Since last year, Mr Kenny has been linked with a move to Brussels but has consistently stated that he is not interested.

He ruled himself out of the running as the European Peoples' Party candidate to become EU Commission president during its Congress in Dublin last month.

However, he is still seen as a likely successor to Herman Van Rompuy, the outgoing president of the European Council, who steps down on December 1.

But Mr Kenny has repeatedly insisted he wants to carry out the "mandate given to him by the Irish people" and see this Government through until 2016.

He is known to want to be the first Fine Gael Taoiseach to be re-elected and would relinquish that opportunity reluctantly.

There was no comment offered by Mr Kenny's press office last night in connection to the 'Economist' article.

Irish Independent

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