Enda Kenny is considered by some as the greatest Taoiseach of our generation, not a hard feat considering the country was previously run by a party more corrupt than a Sam Allardyce dinner party.
The only reason Kenny has remained as leader of the party for so long is because of his unassuming, hypnotically boring personality, but by no means is he a great Toiseach, and when history is written he will be judged for some of the worst and most cowardly actions in Irish history.
Three highlights of Enda Kenny as leader of the Irish people:
1) Roscommon A&E
In 2011 Fine Gael practically ran unopposed in the general election after the collapse of the Irish economy at the hands of Fianna Fail. Bertie Ahern was crying on national television, Brian Cowen was being mocked as a drunk by Jay Leno and the fresh faced Michael Martin was doing everything he could to convince out of work builders that his party had an extensive election manifesto which included illustrations entitled ‘Better The Devil You Know’ and ‘Don’t Vote For The Blue Shirts’.
Fine Gael didn’t have to do much to win the election, Enda Kenny even refused to do live debates on TV3. All the same, in good old fashion political manoeuvres, Enda made some pretty strong promises which he would never keep, and no one called for his resignation over any of them. The most blatant of all his empty promises was that Fine Gael would ‘Protect and Defend’ Roscommon General Hospital, he made this one of his key promises two weeks before the election in a speech to support Fine Gael candidate, Frank Feighan, in front of a large crowd in Roscommon town on February 8 2011.
In the shape of things to come Roscommon A&E was closed down on the 11 July 2011, just a few months after Enda took office. The Taoiseach apologised for personally misleading the Roscommon community. At the end of the term Frank Feighan stepped aside and did not contest re-election for his seat, because he was so ashamed of the events and he knew he could not face the electorate over his failure to protect the A&E. In May 2016 Enda Kenny nominated Feighan as a Senator in the 25th Seanad where he was appointed as Spokesperson on Mental Health and Older People.
The Irish people did not react to this blatant Fine Gael cronyism and this insult to people with health issues, the appointment would be similar to appointing Gary Glitter as spokesperson for orphans.
2)The Fianna Fail Tab
The hottest topic in the 2011 elections was the Bank Guarantee and Enda Kenny was beating his drum to the tune of ‘Renegotiating The EU/IMF Deal’, a well know ballad from his hit album ‘Burden Sharing’. But Enda might as well have promised to resurrect Michael Collins as to promise debt write off. Despite his manifesto party piece ‘Fair Deficit Reduction’, in which he promised to ‘force certain classes of bondholders to share in the cost of recapitalising troubled financial institutions”, Kenny went on to create the most damaging piece of legislation in the history of the Fine Gael Free State, with the ambush of the ‘IBRC Resolution Bill’ which converted close to €5.5bn of bond holder debt into National debt, to be repaid by the Irish tax payer. The most disgraceful part of all this is that the legislation passed in unprecedented fashion. Kenny’s government calling for the Dail to reconvene on the night of 6th February 2013 to vote on emergency legislation, the debate lasted no more than 2hrs 15mins and politicians were evidently drunk and seen sleeping while opposition spoke out against the bill.
Enda Kenny closed the coffin on the banking debt crisis, sealed the faith of the Irish people to repay the banking debt, his promises no more than an election hoax as he neither had the will to default on the debt or the know how to negotiate it.
3) Irish Water
Long after the banking debt is paid off people will talk about how the Irish marched on the capital against the Fine Gael government, as the media played down the turnout and Enda Kenny encouraged his cabinet ministers to pay their water charges. The introduction of water charges by Fine Gael was the most upsetting event in Ireland since Gay Byrne retired from The Late Late Show. People who bottled up years of hatred towards Pat Kenny and Ryan Tubridy finally found a forum to unleash their fury. The protests against Irish water were a landmark in Irish politics, they were a reaction to failed promises and a failed government. At this point in time the government should have collapsed, the protests created enough media coverage to raise political profiles of activists on the left in the lead up to the 2016 elections, but sadly the people returned a Fine Gael & Finna Fail government despite crippling us with debt, destroying our health care, shaming us as a tax haven nation, and running around with wheelbarrows full of broken promises.
I hope Enda Kenny gets his invite to Mar-a-Lago because when he comes back it’s time for him to go. His party have lied to the members of the Dail, his cabinet ministers have failed their duties, and Enda Kenny has both lied to the people and failed in his duties.
Picture by @nialloloughlin