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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: July 13, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

    Enda Kenny ‘jokes’ about Michael Lowry rejoining Fine Gael

    Mary Minihan

    Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny referred to Independent TD Michael Lowry rejoining the party at a recent birthday celebration for environment spokesman Phil Hogan in Kilkenny, sources at the event said.

    A number of attendees quoted Mr Kenny as saying: “Is that a membership application form I see in deputy Lowry’s top pocket?”. Sources differed as to whether or not he was joking, however.

    Mr Hogan, who was born on July 4th 1960, marked his 50th birthday with some 150 guests in The Corner House in Bennettsbridge last Friday night. Mr Kenny spoke at the event, referring to Mr Lowry, who was also present. Mr Hogan and Mr Lowry are personal friends.

    Deputy leader and health spokesman Dr James Reilly, who attended the party, said: “I wouldn’t take it too seriously. We’ve an excellent representative down there in [Tipperary North TD] Noel Coonan. That’s not to say we won’t always be looking for more seats.”

    Another guest, speaking on the basis of anonymity, said: “Was it half in joke, whole in earnest? He shouldn’t have said it. Some people laughed but people will do what they think they should do. Some people were a bit miffed.” A third attendee, who did not want to be named said the remark could not be taken seriously: it was delivered in a jocose manner on the spur of the moment.

    Mr Lowry, a former Fine Gael minister who was investigated by the Moriarty Tribunal, said he did not want to comment. The Tipperary North TD, who has consistently backed the Government since 2007, voted against the Coalition for the first time a fortnight ago over the legislation to ban stag hunting. He resigned from the Fine Gael parliamentary party in 1997.

    Among those attending the Kilkenny event were a number of TDs: the party’s chief whip Paul Kehoe, Bernard Durkan and the party’s new community, equality and Gaeltacht affairs spokesman Frank Feighan. Seanad leader Frances Fitzgerald and Senators Paddy Burke, Paul Coghlan, Paudie Coffey, John-Paul Phelan and Maurice Cummins were also present. Mairead McGuinness, MEP for Ireland East, also attended, along with local councillors and party members.

    A Fine Gael spokesman insisted Mr Kenny’s remark about Mr Lowry was not to be taken seriously. “It was a light-hearted remark given the circumstances. He makes similar light-hearted remarks to other disaffected Government-supporting deputies, most recently Noel O’Flynn,” the spokesman said.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Another example of how incestuous Irish politics is – and why it will prove to be impossible to cleanse such a small gene pool – a stagnant cesspit really – without the sort of monumental reform that Fine Gael or any other existing politican it has to be said – can’t even begin to contemplate.

      It’s not so much the joke but the fact Kenny still doesn’t get why it is wrong for him to have made it and the moment the thought entered his head to make the joke he ought to have known not to and kept it to himself. It just gives a poor impression that when the doors are closed it’s all a game – same as Cowen and his ‘fool’ comment – ‘sure what’s the big deal it’s all part of the game and Enda knows that’. AS off putting as when you see TDs make their set piece speechs against some issue and then leave the Dáil for the bar almost hand in hand with the person they were laying into a few minutes before – massive insincerity and indication that there are no genuine policy positions where there is a line that can’t be crossed. Some issues are right and wrong, black and white but for Irish politicans it’s all up for compromise.

      You can let off steam on dog breeding or stag hunting but don’t dare not vote in something important where the majority is at risk. Or you can claim to offer a better alternative but don’t mention you are yourself pocketing a pension for years or rent your constituency office from your self/wife/child/sibling/friend who gets to pocket money from the taxpayer to pay for a capital asset etc etc etc

    • Deirdre, Mullingar says:

      Sadly, this is not surprising. I am a FG supporter but cannot take Kenny seriously. This is more of the ‘Up Mayo’ gombeenism that terrifies me when I look at the likes of Phil Hogan, Paul Keogh etc. They strike me as being far too like the current shower in government. Bring back Brian Hayes, Denis Naughton, Olivia Mitchell and the others who at least inspire confidence within Fine Gael.

    • John Power says:

      Hang on a second, are we not jumping the gun a little? It was a birthday party, for God’s sake. So what if he made a joke? If he allows Lowry into the party, then I’ll be worried. This means nothing. Why does every off-hand, private comment a politician makes have to picked up and criticized? Give Kenny a break. How joyless and cynical must we become?

    • gcanavan says:

      I am not a supporter of any particular political party but my thinking is that anything is better than the incompetent grinning clowns we have at the moment. I am not left with a great choice of parties, however you can rest assured that if Enda Kenny is still leader of Fine Gael they can forget about my vote and that of many others. How could I call a chap like him my leader, he comes across as a gombeen man with no bottle. Have you seen the feeble attempt his party has made to harden him up – the guy is a joke. Where do we get them from, is it a true reflection of the electorate. As for Mr Lowry, this is NO JOKE. I am afraid this is how our generally ignorant and naive electorate choose their politicians in many parts of my fair Isle (as long as you look after me Minister sure who cares what you do–sure aren’t they all at it) and this is why we have a banana republic and not the proud republic we yearn for.

    • kynos says:

      After many doubts about him were seen to be justified Mr Lowry was returned with even more votes the next time. Mr Kenny I am sure is well aware of who we the Irish are. Really. Despite PRetenCes to the contrary.

    • tony says:

      gcanavan Your comments are made up of the usual arrogance-will-get-you-everywhere, intolerance that our former colonial lords and masters expressed when they were referring to us Paddies. They are over the top in relation to the elected representatives of this democratic republic. The country has been broke for some time. Blaming the opposition who have not been in government for some time and giving out about its leader is a waste of time. In a democracy the only option is to change the government. Expecting democratic politicians to reform human nature is far too much to hope for.

    • kynos says:

      Anyway, of course that ‘joking’ about Lowry re-joining FG is a way of testing local reaction to the proposal, being as FG is too scared to come right out and say they want him (and his admiring electors) back in the fold. It’s a way of dipping a tentative toe in the water to see if it’s likely to be balmy or to end up giving you a monkey-bath (you know. When you jump in carelessly and it’s scalding so you lower yerself down going EEEE EEE EE AA AA AA OOO OO OOOO)

    • kynos says:

      Hmm. Would seem the response has been sent – albeit an indirect one – via a Ms Creighton, Mr Kenny. Should have been more PReCise and said “or rather his”; not “and his” @7 there. Perhaps you need to clarify.

    • kynos says:

      Well I’m glad he has clarified that FG apparently doesn’t do business with ‘hooky’ types. Don’t know why he’s ‘disappointed’ with Ms Creighton for forcing him to come out with that clarification you’d think he’d be grateful she gave him the oppo not to mention the response from her electoral base. Tch. Gift horses Mr Kenny. Mouths.

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