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It is the little things that get you, Enda

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny

It is the little things that get you, the late Albert Reynolds was often quoted as saying. It is something Taoiseach Enda Kenny has become acutely aware of over the past couple of days, and indeed the pressure intensified further yesterday with the resignation of his preferred candidate to fill a Seanad vacancy, John McNulty, from the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Earlier, the eloquent Samantha Long, another Seanad hopeful, resigned from Fine Gael because of Mr Kenny's handling of the issue.

People have varying views on the subject of gender quotas in politics. But there is little doubt that women are underrepresented in Dail and Seanad Eireann and indeed in political life in general. While nobody doubts the ability of Mr McNulty, it was an obvious and probably unnecessary political stroke to appoint him to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art to strengthen his credentials for a seat on the Cultural and Educational panel of the Seanad.

While it is correct of Mr Kenny to say that it is his right, as leader of Fine Gael, to nominate Deirdre Clune's successor, there are those who believe that women have not prospered under Mr Kenny's reign as party leader and Taoiseach. He has appointed only two women from his own party to senior Cabinet positions.

While there are a limited number of seats at the Cabinet table, particularly in a coalition government, Mr Kenny has left himself open to the charge of 'looking after the lads'.

He is now in a very difficult position. His unswerving support for Mr McNulty has left him vulnerable both within his own party and in coalition with the Labour Party, whoich does not seem amused at this unnecessary controversy.

It is also difficult to see how Mr Kenny can reverse out of this situation with any dignity. If he presses on, as it seems he will, he will further incur the wrath of the female population, while a U-turn at this stage will leave his authority seriously dented.

Mr Kenny needs to do something very quickly if he is to dampen down a small local fire which has been fanned into a dangerous political blaze, since the matter was first highlighted in the Irish Independent a few days ago.

Let's not forget - we depend on the gardai

We have heard much in recent months about controversies within the gardai, specifically the various machinations within GSOC and the penalty points saga.

However, the sudden and appalling events of yesterday serve as a timely reminder that we depend on the gardai to maintain a frontline presence, to ensure that the rule of law and order is upheld, and in some cases to put their lives on the line. Over a brief couple of hours yesterday, gardai were called to deal with the brutal murder of a man leaving his child to school and to deal with a so-called 'Tiger' kidnapping and robbery in Co Dublin.

Gardai were also involved in the seizure of €80m worth of cocaine in Cork.

While there is an obvious and on-going need for reform of our police force, these and many other routine front-line incidents should be borne in mind by those who seek to criticise or belittle the gardai. They have served, and continue to serve, the State well, as illustrated by yesterday's events. That should never be forgotten.

Irish Independent