Friday 23 March 2018

My week: Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny

Eilis O’Hanlon

MONDAY Taoi. Seach. Two syllables that just trip off the tongue. In the States, once you've sat in the Oval Office, you're called "Mr President" for the rest of your days. I wonder if I could get a similar law rushed through the Dail before the election, just in case. "Taoiseach For Life" has a nice ring to it.

I used to wonder on the backbenches all those years what it would be like to sit in the high chief's chair. I had no idea it'd be this easy. Basically you just do whatever Angela Merkel tells you for three years, then whatever Michael Noonan tells you for the rest of the time. Piece of cake.

Today an aide comes in and says I'm needed in Naas to launch something called an Action Plan For Jobs.

But we've already decided which of the lads will be getting jobs on State boards before the election, I remind him. "No," says he, "this is about jobs for the unemployed". Oh, them. Those fellers get fierce touchy when you tell 'em they could do with a day's work rather than standing about all day having a go at Yours Truly.

TUESDAY GSOC's in the news again. So what if they're bugging thousands of Irish citizens? We've been bugging hundreds of thousands of them ever since we got elected.

I reassure journalists that free speech is sacrosanct to me. The Irish press is free to say I'm doing a wonderful job in any way they choose.

In the Dail, that gurrier Micheal Martin tries to suggest I had a hand in helping the Germans cover up their dodgy car emissions. The cheek of him. Saying mad stuff just for a bit of craic was going to be our election strategy too. As if Frau Merkel would tell me what was going on anyway!

There's a debate on a motion of no confidence in Joan Burton. Apparently she appointed some trade unionist without going through the normal channels. I defend her as being beyond reproach. I'm then asked what I'd say to the man who once said Irish politicians needed to learn that "the days of getting away with it are over".

I'd say he was a crazy left wing extremist, I tell 'em straight, Who was that head case anyway? "It was you at the MacGill summer school in 2012," they reply. Ouch.

WEDNESDAY I agree to a rare interview. It's not that I don't like answering questions, it's just that they keep asking the wrong ones. Like "why are kids sleeping in rat-infested hostels in the 13th richest country in the world?" How would I know? Ask Noonan. He's the one with the head for figures.

When the call comes to say the reporter's arrived, I tell security to double check it isn't Vincent Browne in disguise. I don't like that man one bit. Not since he said I should go into a dark room with a revolver and do the decent thing. Fancy suggesting I shoot Phil Hogan. I know he buggered up the launch of Irish Water, but that's going too far. The man from the radio introduces himself as Matt Cooper and says he's from something called Today FM. What'll they think of next? "You must be Henry's brother," I quip as he sits down. "I haven't got the faintest idea what you're talking about," answers he.

"Henry? Henry Cooper? You know, the boxer?" He looks blank. This stuff used to go down a treat in the 70s when I first became a TD.

I don't recall what I said after that. Matt thanks me anyway and says our chat made him remember the time he went to North Korea. "That place run by the funny little feller who takes the credit for everything?" I say. "Whatever made you think of him?" He makes his excuses and leaves.

THURSDAY Off to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Why is a ski resort in the Swiss Alps named after a Doctor Who villain anyway? He made the Daleks, right? Every time I think of them ordering "exterminate!" in a flat droning voice, I'm reminded of Joan when she catches sight of Alan Kelly.

I attend a debate where an economist called Joesph Stiglitz or Twigletz or something says Ireland would've been better off not shouldering all the bank debt. If that's the case, I come right back at him, then why did those clever Germans say we should? That stumps him.

News reaches me that Micheal Martin has challenged me to a public debate before the election. Says I'm "ducking and diving". So what if I'm not great at the old debates? Doesn't mean the feller who is good at them is right for the job. Bertie filleted me like a fish live on TV before the 2007 election. How did that turn out for yiz all?

I spend the rest of the day trying to avoid David Cameron, who's running round Davos asking for sponsors like a boy scout in Bob-A-Job week. He must be feeling hurt after we all unfriended him on Facebook.

FRIDAY Back home in time for the ard fheis. They're selling mugs with my face on them this year, they tell me. Funnily enough, I always think of mugs when meeting FG supporters.

Fionnuala asks what's in tonight's speech. I tell her it'll be as much a surprise to me as it is to her. I only hope after the election I don't have to go crawling back to that Lucinda Creighton for support. I wonder if it's too late to offer to "Renua" membership of Fine Gael. Renua… renew her… geddit? My name's Enda Kenny, I'll be here all week.

* As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon

Sunday Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section