Ireland’s great dictator shakes his head to a TV debate

Enda Kenny rejects being compared to Mussolini. By the FF number one

Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan  at the coffee break during the Fine Gael parliamentary party conference in Killenard, Co Laois.

Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan at the coffee break during the Fine Gael parliamentary party conference in Killenard, Co Laois.


Who does Micheál Martin think he is, calling Enda Kenny a dictator?

Up with this our dear Taoiseach will not put.

We’d like to see the Fianna Fáil leader say that to his face. If Enda would only let him. But he’s outlawed one-on-one television debates with opponents.

It’s just as well that Micheál isn’t in the Fine Gael parliamentary party. He’d have been thrown out on his ear by now for gross insubordination.

Instead, he was down in Waterford comparing the Taoiseach to Charlie Haughey and Benito Mussolini.

Enda will not tolerate that kind of dissent. Can’t and won’t.

“It ill-behoves any member of the Fianna Fáil party to accuse me of being a dictator,” he said quietly, before unleashing Charlie Flanagan. “I see Micheál Martin described the Taoiseach at the weekend as Robert Mugabe”, sneered the party chairman. “[It’s] either over the top or desperation.”

At least you know where you stand with the Kenny regime. He is not running some sort of aul’ hippy commune for blueshirts dropouts.

Freedom of spirits
“You can’t have stability if everybody is free to do their own thing. If everyone wants to go off to be a free spirit, then you don’t have stability.”

He is unanimous with himself in this.

The future is in the stars for our dear Taoiseach. A glorious destiny awaits in the “iconic” year of 2016. He intends to remain in government until then.

“My birthdate was April 24th. That is significant,” he told baffled hacks at his final press conference to mark the end of Fine Gael’s participation in the Great Omnibabble of 2013 – a glorious trinity of three major party think-ins held at the one time.

Enda paused after his portentous announcement, perhaps to admire the truth dawning in the eyes of his overawed audience. But he quickly moved on when they didn’t get the significance.

Later on, a quick perusal of the Google machine yielded the answer. April 24th was the date of the Easter Rising in Dublin.

So it’s fate, driving the Taoiseach on to complete a full five years in office.

“Thirteen is my lucky number,” he announced, shooting a meaningful glance at the vacant faces in the room.

He made this statement when asked about the weekend’s All-Ireland final between Dublin and Mayo. By the time the ball is thrown in on Sunday, Enda will have taken complete leave of his senses. He was already talking in riddles yesterday.

This is the sort of thing that happens to dictators. They go mad. What has 13 got to do with Gaelic football?

Finally, somebody realised that the Taoiseach was talking about the year: 2013. He prays it’s going to be a good one for Mayo, God help them. It’s been an age since the county landed Sam Maguire. “I hope after 62 years that we can have our little emotional moment of success,” he said, with a smile, albeit a wan one. But it was a smile, nonetheless.

This will have pleased the party handler who had written in block capitals on a sheet of paper on the table in front of the Taoiseach: “DON’T FORGET TO SMILE!!”

If Enda is a dictator, he’s a benign one. Smiling is not usually a problem. But when a government wants to convince people that things are getting better, it’s vital to put on that happy face. And spread a little distraction about while you’re at it. Which is where the Cabinet reshuffle comes in. The Taoiseach confirmed he’ll be refurbishing his Cabinet in the future. But it won’t be this year. And it mightn’t even be next year.

“It’ll be at the back-end of this government,” he declared, likening his Ministers to the hindquarters of a pantomime horse.

How he’ll manage to do his reshuffle is anyone’s guess.

And Richard Bruton and Michael Noonan, James Reilly and Frances Fitzgerald beamed from the top table.

Breakfast reheated
They all seemed rather tired. There was a touch of “the Ardilauns” about the place yesterday morning. Some people even remarked that Enda sounded a little hoarse when he did his breakfast-time radio interview, hoping to recapture the uproar that followed a tired Brian Cowen’s infamous Morning Ireland interview three years ago.

However, while he did his usual job of working the bar after dinner, Enda didn’t have a riotous night. He spent most of it pinned into a corner by two people forcefully telling him about the undesirability of wind turbines.

Although it was probably a refreshing change after two years of being pinned into a corner by Peter Mathews pontificating about the banks.

Speaking of which, there was much talk about how they weren’t really missing their estranged political colleagues. And now that they have formed themselves into The Reform Alliance, Fine Gael has started calling its “five-a-side club” of backbenchers who meet regularly to discuss policy issues The Internal Reform Alliance.

IRA for short.

The IRA didn’t turn up for the morning’s political discussion. Which some thought ironic.

The mood in Laois was confident and upbeat, and nobody more so than Enda Kenny.

As he left the conference hall, he turned and smirked to his staff: “Dictators! Hah!”

And they laughed heartily.

Probably afraid not to.