Fine Gael Party Leader Enda Kenny

New Irish leader Enda Kenny walks on water - for now


Fine Gael Party Leader Enda Kenny

Read more: Irish leader Enda Kenny's powerful eloquence in first White House visit --Obama remembers Frederick Douglass in Ireland

The former Fianna Fail government minister Willie O’Dea protested loudly in Sunday’s Independent newspaper, the favorite read of Ireland’s chattering classes, about the media honeymoon currently enjoyed by Kenny.

His appeals have fallen largely on deaf ears amongst the Irish media and even in the very same organ his words appeared in.

Less than a week after Kenny met Barack Obama in the White House, there is a growing consensus back home that for the moment he walks on water.

Obama’s decision to visit, the upcoming trip by the Queen and Kenny’s triumphal tour in America were the topics on everybody’s lips.

Ireland defeating England in rugby and cricket only served to add to the national mood of a lightness of  being after months of deep depression --and Enda was leading the way.

Miriam Lord in the Irish Times said the only possible option Kenny had was to resign now, as he could never be more popular.

Lise Hand in the Irish Independent put it all in perspective “Obama trio has Kenny over the rainbow” she wrote.

John Drennan in the Sunday Independent waxed lyrical too“Almost a year ago, he was embroiled in a grim fight for his survival as leader of his party and now he gets to welcome the rock star of global politics to his country.

But in trying to understand belatedly who Mr Kenny is, we have begun to wonder if there is a touch of the Ronald Reagans surrounding him..No offence intended -- this was the President who brought the Soviet empire down. And he made an America which had lost confidence in itself feel proud once again.”

Obama’s announcement has certainly helped public and media opinion in Kenny’s favor.

So have his attempts to stand up to the financial dictators who run Europe and the IMF over the penal interest rates attached to Ireland’s bail-out fund.

Journalists who predicted Kenny’s fall when some Fine Gael big wigs moved against him a year ago are now rushing to praise him.

“Lightness in the national mood is becoming apparent, as if a great weight has been lifted, when, in fact, it has not been lifted at all. If anything, the reality is getting heavier,” wrote Jody Corcoran in the Sunday Independent.

“It would be wrong to tie up this sense of lightness in one man, Enda Kenny, who has made such a remarkable start - it is just a start - or in the new Government itself.

“I hear people say it all the time that Kenny is such a refreshing change from his predecessor Brian Cowen, with his outwardly depressive personality, his hangdog, all-pervasive glumness, his inability to connect.

“They say that Kenny's boyish enthusiasm for the job is what is lifting the weight, the sense of freshness he is bringing with him, even though he has been around for a long time.

“His most impressive contribution to date has been the manner of his direct challenge to the powers of Europe, Merkel and Sarkozy, which is helping to restore a measure of battered hope, not to mention pride.

“... if he holds firm, if he emerges with a deal with which we can work, then maybe we can finally hope to move forward again.

The message boards in Ireland echo the mood of so many of the media after Kenny’s triumphant return from America.

Visitors to www.boards.ie sum up the way most of the country feels about our new leader’s first two weeks of his 100 Day Plan to sort out the fine mess we are currently in.

“Very impressed with Enda’s performance so far as well and agreed that he does indeed look very statesmanlike in the interviews from Washington. A definite improvement on the previous two gombeens,” wrote one member.

A Cork subscriber offered the following appraisal of Kenny’s tenure to date: “There are only two issues at the moment and that’s to reduce the debt burden and get people working. On these he is doing lots of positive stuff.

“The Obama meeting was excellent. The strong stance in the EU on corporation tax was excellent.
“Maybe he’s a doer and not a spoofer. We’ve had a bellyful of the latter. Let’s hope so. Oh and the garda driver, ministerial salary cuts and state car changes send out the right message.

“He’s extremely presentable, confident, polite, articulate, and comes across as having a mastery of detail. In short, he’s statesmanlike. Far more so than his two predecessors.

“Enda Kenny has made a stupendous start so far.”

Another www.boards.ie regular opinioned: “He has surprised me so far I have to say and I’m not a FG voter. Kenny does seem quite comfortable on the international stage in his new role.”


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