Enda tells the House he's open to the world
Sketch: The importance of being Erne blessed – you don’t have to tell Enda about it.
He’s very aware that the G8 summit, due to take place across the Border in Co Fermanagh, presents a tantalising opportunity for the next door neighbours to snaffle some priceless international publicity after the talking is done.
Luckily the Taoiseach has been invited to attend. It’ll be a nice way to round off his stint as president of Europe.
Enda mentioned in the House yesterday that David Cameron said to him last year he was thinking of holding the G8 summit in the Lough Erne resort in Co Fermanagh. The Taoiseach was most “supportive” of the proposal.
We bet he was.
Of course, there will be huge issues of global importance up for discussion. Gerry Adams mentioned them in the context of world hunger and international conflict, and hoped the Taoiseach would get a chance to put Ireland’s view forward.
Oh, and by the way, “has the Taoiseach got any commitment from the Obama administration as to whether the president will make a visit ‘home’ when he’s only a few miles up the road?”
Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Derek Keating was also wondering about the Lough Erne dividend as he dreamily recalled the “wonderful atmosphere” during President Obama’s visit a couple of years ago, not to mention the happy memories of Queen Elizabeth’s historic trip.
He would love to see Obama back here, and “given that the leaders of nations in Europe and other parts of the world will be on the island of Ireland, I ask the Taoiseach to consider inviting the leaders from Japan, Germany and France, as well as Prime Minister Cameron”, suggested Derek, instantly insulting Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Canada’s Stephen Harper and whoever might be Italian premier come June.
They’ll all have a ball if they come down here. We have “the capacity to entertain these people, to showcase our country and to deliver on the commitments it makes with regard to industry, the environment, education and the need to fix the economy we inherited from the previous administration” , said Derek, getting totally carried away.
That’s an awful lot to expect from a trip to Bunratty and a photocall in St James’s Gate.
Fianna Fáil’s Sean O’Fhearghail wanted to know if the Taoiseach envisaged having formal bilateral talks with the other leaders during the summit. And if so “does he think he will have an opportunity to extend formal invitations for them to visit the Republic?”
Enda outlined the issues of global importance which may concern the G8 leaders in the course of his replies, ranging from Burma to President Obama’s address to the nation last night, the situation in the Middle East, international trading agreements, Bill Gates and mosquito nets.
However, he got most animated when considering the possibility of a world beating “Gathering” to end all gatherings.
He knows what he must do.
However, Enda isn’t going to put his foot in it and scare off potential visitors.