Saturday 16 December 2017

Taoiseach is on shaky ground despite denials

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Pic Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Pic Tom Burke


Historian Cyril Parkinson observed that: "Delay is the deadliest form of denial." Today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny is in Brussels to meet Angela Merkel, Europe's most important leader at a time of Europe's greatest crisis. The contrast between the positions of the two could hardly be more pronounced. Mr Kenny has rightly earned the respect of Ms Merkel; he delivered on behalf of the EU.

With buy-in from the Irish people, our economy bore the brunt of the crash, carrying colossal private debt. But there would be no domestic kudos for Mr Kenny. The election saw him shed 26 seats. Such losses would have, under normal circumstances, cost him the leadership of his party.

But circumstances were not normal: although battered, as leader of the largest party, with the help of some unlikely independents - and an even more unlikely deal with Fianna Fáil - he found himself Taoiseach again. A couple of months on, the brutal truth is that the only people who stand to gain by Mr Kenny's remaining are in Fianna Fail. The opinion polls show a resurgent party, while Mr Kenny's support wanes. His party, meanwhile, seems to be suffering a paralysis by analysis. Yesterday, he said that he would not be diverted from his work. That would be admirable had he not created so much of the diversion himself.

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