Ireland needs an honest man at the helm --They may have found it in Enda Kenny


He is very likely the next Prime Minister of the Irish Republic and he would come to office at a critical time for a nation battered by an economic storm as vicious as the winter tempests that have swept through Ireland in recent weeks.

Yet Enda Kenny,59, displays a calm serenity in the face of such a monstrous challenge.

A youthful-looking former schoolteacher with no personal wealth or ever a hint of corruption, Kenny may be exactly what Ireland needs at this juncture, an honest man, ready to lead a reform government which will restore the badly battered image of the country abroad and at home.

It is amazing that what was previously held against Kenny, his small town rural roots, his plain spoken persona, are now the very attributes that may well propel him to power.

The Irish have had enough of self styled experts, economic gurus and whizz kids who have collectively led them to ruin.A plain spoken everyman with the zeal of a genuine reformer now fits the bill.

Sitting in his opposition leader's office in Dublin's parliament building you get the sense of a man ready and willing to face any challenge the future brings.

He is a man with no airs and graces, utterly at ease with himself. When we first meet there is no entourage or minders, just Kenny strolling alone through the halls of parliament, with a quiet word for everybody.

On the wall in his office is Michael Collins memorabilia, as befits the man who has inherited the leadership of the Fine Gael party which Michael Collins helped create before his untimely death.

Kenny is also taking nothing for granted, despite the opinion polls showing an imminent collapse in the vote of the governing party, Fianna Fail, and their coalition partners the Green Party.

But Fine Gael have been the Washington Generals, the team that plays the Harlem Globetrotters and almost always loses, in Irish politics.

Fianna Fail have been in power almost 22 years out of the last 24. This massive financial meltdown however, threatens to take them down once and for all.

Kenny has painstakingly built up his party for over a decade now, after they suffered another calamitous defeat and they have increased their vote in every election since.

His big moment will come sometime in the next twelve weeks or so when an election is called.

He knows Ireland needs a reforming, corruption free government that will tackle the massive economic issues head on.

He intends to do so quoting one of his favorite American politicians, 'Give 'em hell' Harry Truman.

Kenny is a keen student of American politics, an admirer of the Kennedys and the rich Irish legacy in American politics.

He has an instinctive feel for the U.S. because of his small town Mayo roots.

Emigration was a fact of life growing up and he has relatives scattered throughout America, including in Montana and Ohio.

He knows the emigrant trails that so many from County Mayo took, to Butte,Montana for mining, to upstate New York for canal digging and so on across the country.

This background means that he will have a knowledge and insight into the emigration issue that will serve him well if elected in dealing with the Irish Diaspora.

He makes it clear that if elected he will pay close attention to Diaspora issues and to focus on developing the links between Ireland and its 70 million family abroad.

The task will not be easy for whoever takes over Ireland's government after the next election but Enda Kenny is certainly ready to answer the call when the votes are counted.

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