Thursday 21 March 2019

Enda the world: Four memorable meetings

President Barck Obama and 1st lady Michelle Obama share a smile as Taoiseach Enda Kenny makes a speech at College Green
PHOTO:Mark Condren
President Barck Obama and 1st lady Michelle Obama share a smile as Taoiseach Enda Kenny makes a speech at College Green PHOTO:Mark Condren
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

1. IMITATION GREATEST FORM OF FLATTERY

Enda Kenny welcomed Barack Obama to Dublin with a memorable speech in May 2011: "If there's anyone out there who still doubts that Ireland is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our ancestors is alive in our time; who still questions our capacity to restore ourselves, to reinvent ourselves and to prosper, well today is your answer."

Mr Obama may have recognised this passage as it was virtually identical to his own victory speech in 2008.

2. PUTTING THE TIFF INTO PONTIFF

For such an emollient figure, Enda Kenny has had a fractious relationship with the papacy, and once accused the Vatican of "narcissism".

Mr Kenny appeared like an errant schoolchild when pictures emerged of him fiddling with his phone throughout his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo. Perhaps he was watching Game of Thrones, or reading a text telling him to pick up a bottle of Chianti on the way home.

3. MAD FOR IT AT DAVOS

The Taoiseach made a spectacular gaffe at the Alpine resort of Davos in January last year speaking to world leaders. Contradicting his State of the Nation address a month earlier where he had insisted: "Let me say this to you, you are not responsible for this crisis," he told the summit that the Irish economic crash occurred because Irish "people went mad borrowing".

4. ANGELA AND THE 'KISS OF DEBT'

They have been known to exchange kisses but Enda and Angela Merkel have an on-again, off-again relationship when it comes to Irish debt writedowns.

At last October's summit, Angela appeared to say a firm "nein" to any retrospective Irish bank debt deal. Their embrace was dubbed a "kiss of debt".

There then followed frantic phone calls before Angela issued a statement that Ireland would be treated as a "special case".

 

Irish Independent

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