Sunday 17 November 2019

Brendan O'Connor: Enda's Time has come ... and gone

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Going home one day recently I saw two guys I had been acquainted with when I was young. One was a kind of an oddball around the place where I grew up and the other guy was a buck eejit from college whom no one ever took seriously. I saw them chatting and laughing, one of them on the pavement and the other stopped on his bike, and I wondered at the fact that one of them is now a well-known Government TD and the other one is one of the top advisers to one of the top people in Government in this, our hour of need.

And I wondered is it just me? Does no one else know that he's an eejit and he's an oddball? And I thought, clearly it's just me. I was wrong. I severely underestimated these guys and shure, people change. And then, the top Government adviser, who was sitting, static, on his bike, fell over. He wasn't moving, nothing touched off him, it just came out of the blue. He just fell over from a standing position with his bike. And I thought that I should trust my gut more. Of course I was right.

A lot of us felt the same way seeing Enda Kenny hailed on the cover of Time magazine for the Celtic Comeback, and for rebuilding Ireland's economy. First, most of us checked that it wasn't a joke, some of that photoshop trickery that goes around the internet these days. But no, it was him alright.

Unquestionably, Enda, who was barely thought capable of being in charge of Fine Gael by his own guys a couple of years ago, was now following in the footsteps of Hitler, Stalin and Bono as a cover boy of Time. And it was one of those moments where we wondered if anyone really knows anything. Here is the great Time magazine and they think Enda is responsible for rebuilding the economy. And then we thought maybe it's just us. Maybe he is actually a genius. And for a moment we felt bad for thinking all this time that all Enda does is go around giving high- fives to gullible young and old people while the adults do the real work. But then, we remembered. Trust our gut. We're not wrong. He is a nice man, and he's clearly not a total dope, but he definitely isn't spearheading a celtic comeback.

The woman who interviewed Enda for Time said she was interested in him because of the gulf between the way he is perceived in his home country and how he is perceived abroad, or to rephrase that: the gulf between how those of us who actually know him see him, and how people who don't know him see him.

Of course, people will tell you that you are just being negative, and that it is a great thing that Enda is on the cover of Time. And that Enda has kept law and order and kept us off the streets and that that is very good for the perception of Ireland abroad and so on. And of course they are right. We shouldn't begrudge Enda his moment in the sun. And, as everyone always says about this Government, at least they are sober.

But still, we know what we know. And we know him of old. And it's far from the cover of Time he was reared.

Sunday Independent

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