Saturday 24 February 2018

Taoiseach 'was hard-drinking TD who came into work late'

Mr Kenny was said to be 'steadied' and focused on becoming leader of Fine Gael after he met his wife Fionnuala. Photo: Collins
Mr Kenny was said to be 'steadied' and focused on becoming leader of Fine Gael after he met his wife Fionnuala. Photo: Collins
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was once a hard-drinking TD who did not come into work until midday because he was out late socialising, according to a new documentary.

However, Mr Kenny was said to be "steadied" and focused on becoming leader of Fine Gael after he met his wife Fionnuala.

The Mayo TD's journey from a young politician to becoming the leader of the country is laid bare in a new RTÉ series presented by journalist Pat Leahy, which airs on Monday night.

A host of politicians and commentators detail Mr Kenny's beginnings as an opposition backbencher through to his first Fine Gael leadership campaign which he ultimately lost to Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

The programme goes on to outline how he later became Fine Gael leader and eventually Taoiseach.

Former Agriculture Minister Ivan Yates said Mr Kenny was "the life and soul of the party" during their early days in Leinster House.

"You wouldn't expect him to be in the office before noon because he was probably only going to bed when the dawn was coming in," Mr Yates added.

Former Fine Gael TD Maurice Manning said he and Mr Kenny would "go to nightclubs and drink too much" when they were starting out in politics.

He added that the "most important thing" Mr Kenny ever did was to meet Fionnuala.

"It was she who steadied Enda up and persuaded him he had what it took to be a leader," Mr Manning said.

Irish Independent

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