Enda’s attempt to repair friendship goes for a Burton

In the last couple of weeks, the Taoiseach hasn’t been his chipper self

Fine Gael’s performance in the elections won’t have helped Taoiseach Enda kenny’s  mood - although the party’s woes were eclipsed by Labour’s meltdown. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Fine Gael’s performance in the elections won’t have helped Taoiseach Enda kenny’s mood - although the party’s woes were eclipsed by Labour’s meltdown. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 08:14

It’s amazing how Enda can remain so good humoured during these stressful times.

Things are not going well for him, but he’s always been a glass-half-full sort of guy.

In the last couple of weeks, though, the Taoiseach hasn’t been his chipper self. He’s become a bit touchy in the Dáil but, then again, he’s not been doing himself any favours of late during Leaders’ Questions.

One reason for his testiness can be attributed to the loss of his Tánaiste. Kenny and Gilmore are said to have enjoyed a good relationship. In a few weeks’ time, he’ll have either Joan Burton or Alex White as second in command.

As Joan might be seen in Fine Gael as something of a difficult customer, urbane Alex would have been their first choice as leader.

But as the campaign proceeds, Minister of State White has been making bellicose noises about his senior Government partners. Enda must be feeling a little apprehensive, no matter who he ends up with.

And Fine Gael’s performance in the elections won’t have helped his mood. Although their woes were eclipsed by Labour’s meltdown.

Even in the Taoiseach’s heartland, seats were dropped. FG went from 17 to 10 in Mayo.

One of those lost seats went to former FG stalwart Christy Hyland, Michael Ring’s top man in Westport for years. But Christy ran as an Independent when he failed to get the party nomination for Mayo West.

Now, to add insult to injury, Christy is one of five Independent councillors who have agreed a five-year voting pact with Fianna Fáil, thus giving the Soldiers of Destiny control of the council after 10 years of Fine Gael rule.

Word of the deal reached FG ears on the eve of Mayo County Council’s first meeting after the elections. Efforts were made to unpick the deal, which will see Fine Gael frozen out of local power for five years.

Last Friday, newly elected Independent councillor Hyland told the chamber he was suddenly getting lots of phone calls from Fine Gael. He said he was very pleased to hear from the party again as he thought they had lost his phone number.

“But where were they for the last six months?” he asked, referring to his attempts to secure a nomination. In the end, Christy refused all their blandishments.

As for the callers? Word in Westport is Enda himself got on the phone from Silicon Valley in an attempt to persuade his FG prodigal to return.

We hear Hyland’s response was very short and pithily to the point. No wonder the Taoiseach isn’t in the best of form.

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