Kenny Wears the Green Jersey to Brussels
Deaglán de Bréadún
It’s been a while since the present writer was on assignment in Brussels. It takes a while to get back into the rhythm of the place. Happily I managed to find accommodation close to the EU complex of buildings and it is a blessing not to have to traipse all over town.
Needless to say, one of my first ports of call was Kitty O’Shea’s pub, even though alcohol does not pass my lips. The bartender who poured my soft drink turned out to be Irish and the Ireland-Czech Republic soccer international was playing out on the TV screen, so one felt right at home – especially when Simon Cox equalised for the boys in green.
Enda Kenny was wearing the green jersey, metaphorically, when he arrived for the lunch of European People’s Party leaders today. The media crowd for himself and the other leaders was so intense, it was almost impossible to get close to the Taoiseach.
He is a softspoken fellow, apart from an occasional back-of-the-lorry ‘spake’ at election-time, so it can be quite difficult to pick up his pronouncements on the voice recorder. Is he too ‘nice’ to be Taoiseach? Er, maybe not.
The Irish referendum is of course a point of interest here but since we cannot hold up progress by voting against it this time, there isn’t the same sense of urgency among our European partners.
The Irish here are, of course, following the Éamon Ó Cuív row with his party leader with keen interest. It can safely be said that the outcome of the referendum, whenever it is held, will determine the political futures of both.
It’s unfortunate from Micheál Martin’s point of view to be having this spat with a grandson of the legendary Eamon de Valera, just days in advance of the party’s ardfheis. I even heard a bad joke here to the effect that it is “not the first time there was a split over a treaty between a de Valera and a Corkman called Micheál.”
At the present moment, it looks like the Treaty campaign is going to be tough and the Yes side will need to pull out all the stops to get the document approved. From a media point of view, it promises to be the most lively and entertaining few months since the presidential election!