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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Taoiseach marks 40 years in the Dáil with 400-strong party

24-year-old Enda Kenny is welcomed to the Dáil for the first time in November 1975 after winning his late father's seat
24-year-old Enda Kenny is welcomed to the Dáil for the first time in November 1975 after winning his late father's seat

Caroline Crawford

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny marked 40 years in the Dáil with a party in his hometown of Castlebar tonight, admitting he had never imagined he would reach the milestone.

Mr Kenny and his wife Fionnuala marked the occasion with 400 guests at the Breaffy House resort in Castlebar.

A number of Fine Gael TDs, including Minister Richard Bruton, and Senators attended the gathering along with a large number of Mr Kenny’s closest friends, including former teammates from Islandeady GAA.

Arriving for the event Mr Kenny said he could never have foreseen a four decade long career in the Dáil when he contested a by-election brought about by the death of his father Henry Kenny in 1975.

“Not when I started out, not at all. It’s like life, it’s always full of unexpected events and obviously we’ve seen huge changes in society, in the country in general and in this county indeed,” he said.

He remembered the many friends who had passed on since he first took up a seat in the Dáil, referring to the trials, and tragedies, joys and sorrows of life.

“And yet it’s what makes us as a people, so wherever I go and whatever I do this is always home,” he added.

Commenting on the gathering, Mr Kenny said: “It’s an opportunity to say thanks and to express gratitude to the people over the years who supported Fine Gael through my four decades and beyond that since the 1950s when my late father was a public representative.

“So really I think it’s an occasion for them to get together, have some reflection on the past, the journey we’ve travelled and where we hope to be in the future. So I hope they have a really good evening, it’s about the people really, I just happen to be their servant.”

At the event, Mr Kenny was presented with a rare book on Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins published one month after the death of Collins.

A message was also read from former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave. He praised Mr Kenny for 40 years of dedicated service.

“He also deserves grateful thanks for his calm leadership as Taoiseach, which has brought economic and social progress for which we all appreciate,” he added

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