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The leaders - Who got what when the big awards were doled out

Top Man (God help us all)

Enda Kenny

IT was, as Dickens famously noted, the best of years and the worst of years for Enda Kenny. The best lasted up to the Queen's visit and the rest since then has resembled the tale of the little girl with the curl in her hair who when she was good was very good but when she was bad then she was frankly horrid.

In fairness to Kenny he is more pleasant than Biffo, more honest than Bertie and cuter (in the political sense!) than John 'the Brute' Bruton.

But there again it has to be said that we are not setting the bar too high on any of those fronts.

Mind you, in fairness (that word again!) it should also be noted that being Taoiseach is a sharp learning curve. No less a soul than Bertie had plenty of wobbles in his first year before becoming the most beloved Taoiseach in the history of the State. Now if Enda can be half as good. . . actually scrap that thought, before we get even more depressed.

Reverend Mother of the Year

Eamon Gilmore

The Reverend Mother of the Dail certainly experienced a curate's egg of a year.

A desperate election campaign meant Gilmore had to throw everything from the kitchen sink to 'no third-level fees' at Enda Kenny in order to simply scrape into government.

The subsequent cabinet reshuffle debacle left Gilmore looking as much at ease with governance as a nun who has accidentally wandered into Stringfellows for a coffee on 'celebrate your Brazilian wax' night. Since then a clever spin operation and some accidental good fortune means a recovery of sorts has evolved.

Gilmore's recovery has been aided by the strong performance of his more experienced cabinet colleagues such as Quinn, Burton and Howlin, who have, like all good domestiques, carried the leader along in their slipstream.

The Oh You're Still Here Award

Micheal Martin

Lingering but not dying was as good as it was ever going to get for poor Micheal of the Sorrows. He has battled bravely, but his legacy is a difficult one. The parliamentary party resembles one of those Junior GAA teams of an emigration-stricken Fifties village where a third of the team is too old and cynical, a third are innocent political gorsoons and the remainder battle away in a state of furious despair.

Micheal has tried but the ideological and philosophic journey FF must take towards redemption is vast and it is difficult to know if either the leader or the party are ready for it or, indeed, even recognise its necessity.

Still, on the plus side for Micheal, at least they kept the garrulous Eamon 'Dev Og' O Cuiv off the pitch for the presidential campaign.

It would have been fun for the rest of us but Sean Gallagher's FF Manchurian-candidate-style performance will have told Micheal that if they stick the course FF will be back in power as quick as FG were after 1987.

The Idiot Abroad Award

Gerry Adams

Sounded like an idiot abroad when he first arrived. Has, however, recovered some ground since then.

Strengthened by the capacity of a bright (or as some cruel souls -- but not us -- would say, 'housetrained') new SF/FF Nua team of Mary Lou, Pearse and Peadar Tobin.

Weakened, however, by the performance of Martin McGuinness.

Sorry, Gerry, but Provos, even of the literary sort, just aren't popular in the South.

But, even you've probably found that out by now.

Sunday Independent