Ministers score hat-trick at PayPal briefing

The Coalition knows on which side its bread is buttered, and that Phelan and her chamber colleagues own the butter.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with PayPal’s Louise Phelan:  Mr Kenny  was first up to ladle Ms Phelan with plaudits at a press conference on Wednesday.  Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with PayPal’s Louise Phelan: Mr Kenny was first up to ladle Ms Phelan with plaudits at a press conference on Wednesday. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 01:10

To have one minister going out of his way to shower you with public praise must be pleasant. To have three of them lining up together, metaphorical love bombs at the ready, must be scary.

The message from Enda Kenny, Richard Bruton and Brendan Howlin in the Shelbourne hotel on Wednesday was clear: the Government loves Louise Phelan, PayPal’s well-connected boss in Ireland who had just announced 400 new jobs for Dundalk.

Kenny was first up to ladle her with plaudits. He has been close to Phelan since early 2012 when she announced 1,000 jobs for Dundalk at a time when his wide-eyed optimism on employment was still considered a sick joke. It proved a turning point for Kenny’s prescient narrative on jobs.

Not to be outdone – Labour never allows itself to be outdone by Fine Gael at jobs announcements now – Brendan Howlin, the Minister for Public Expenditure, stepped up next to laud Phelan as a “dynamo”.

“I salute her. She is a secret weapon for Ireland. We should clone her. She’d make a great marketing tool for Ireland,” said the Wexford deputy. Phelan, not known for being all that shy, turned puce.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton completed the hat-trick. “She is a pioneer, a strategic leader. I am proud of how [Ireland] has developed leaders like Louise.”

Phelan, an über networker, isn’t just the head of PayPal, of course. The ministers were also praising the president of the American Chamber of Commerce, the bastion of US multinationals that helps prop up the economy. Despite ministers’ protestations to the contrary, there is a nervousness in the air whenever the subject of corporation tax and the European Commission’s investigations into Apple crops up.

The Coalition knows on which side its bread is buttered, and that Phelan and her US chamber colleagues own the butter.

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