Miriam Lord: Wait until next Wednesday when Enda will part the waters

There are only seven more sleepless nights until Enda Kenny tells all

Joe Higgins: said Enda Kenny had to be protected by gardaí as a result of popular discontent.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Joe Higgins: said Enda Kenny had to be protected by gardaí as a result of popular discontent. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

And with one bound, our hero was free. Until next Wednesday. Everything will be explained then. Where once there was fear and anxiety, there will be clarity.

Only seven more sleeps until Enda explains all. How will we contain our excitement?

Not that the Taoiseach gets much sleep. He’s on the go morning, noon and night listening to people expressing their concerns about the water charges.

But he won’t complain. Citizens have a democratic right to protest, he told the Dáil yesterday. And just because he’s Taoiseach, don’t go thinking he doesn’t know that citizens aren’t happy with some of the measures being brought in by his Government at the moment.

Being part of the Cabinet’s all powerful Economic Management Council does not mean he is insulated on the double from what goes on in the real world.

‘Living in a bubble’

Joe HigginsSocialist Party

“People say [things] to my face,” declared the Taoiseach. “Contact is made with me on a regular basis, sometimes all day and sometimes all night, about their concerns and anxieties and that’s understood.”

He mustn’t get a wink.

Because when he isn’t being accosted at all hours by disgruntled voters, American business people are ringing him up on his mobile phone. (When Enda was over in the US for St Patrick’s Day he told them to call him up anytime, day or night, adding that everybody knows his personal number.)

So he will not let anybody say he has become remote from the people he serves.

Sure wasn’t he in Galway yesterday? Independent TD Finian McGrath stood up Enda’s story. “Actually, I saw that. You got a great welcome!”

Footage

Joe Higgins remarked how Enda frequently needed “an escort of dozens of gardaí to get him in and out of venues”.

To which came a reposte from Fine Gael’s Gabrielle McFadden: “And whose fault is that?” The fact that so many Garda members have to be mustered to guard the Taoiseach against water protesters is nothing short of an outrage, fulminated Higgins.

It shows how removed he has become from ordinary people, angry at his “austerity agenda” and the water taxes.

“I hope the deputy does not think I live in some kind of exclusive domain away from the people who elect us to this House,” bristled Enda.

“I was at a public meeting with 350 people in the Red Cow facility the other evening. I have to say it was very engaging and positive.”

That would have been a Fine Gael rally in that facility, if we’re not mistaken.

He also had a very fruitful trip to Tuam, where he heard all shades of opinion, much of it through the closed windows of his Merc.

“It’s good to listen to a different opinion. Sometimes the sound might be a little raucous. I mightn’t able to pick out exactly what they’re actually saying, but it sounds very vocal indeed and some of it is not normal language you might use in here.”

He’s all for free speech, once it doesn’t involve one of his backbenchers.

Enda, with his delicate ears, was a bit hazy about what the protesters might have been shouting at him. Higgins helped him on the raucous vocalising front. “It was ‘No Way: We Won’t Pay’,” he explained.

In the normal scheme of things the Taoiseach pointed out that he has no need for Garda minders. “I walk to work myself in the morning and walk home again at night, so it’s not a case of having corridors of gardaí looking after me.”

Then he narrowed his eyes and, like the Lee Van Cleef of Castlebar, he drawled: “Where I come from, Deputy Higgins, we’re well able to look after ourselves.”

Gerry Adams perked up. “G’wan Mayo!”

Security detail

Irish WaterCatherine Murphy

Adams wanted to know if the Revenue Commissioners will be pressed into action to collect water charges . Wait until next week, said Enda.

Because then, the questions about the Revenue Commissioners will be addressed, along with “the governance, the management, the structure, the call-out – all of the issues that have been raised by people”.

Nothing will be left out. Full clarity. “Believe me. Believe me now,” said the Taoiseach.

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