Taoiseach was chief architect of broadside, say advisers


THE SPEECH:TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny was the “chief architect” of his Dáil speech attacking the Vatican’s role in covering up clerical child sex abuse cases, but he was assisted by a small team of trusted advisers.

Those close to Mr Kenny were adamant the strongest passages came straight from his own pen, while acknowledging that his reference to “the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer” reflected the rhetoric of his long-time speechwriter Miriam O’Callaghan.

Ms O’Callaghan, a namesake of the RTÉ presenter, drafted Mr Kenny’s 2007 ardfheis speech, portions of which he re-used in March this year when speaking at the White House shamrock ceremony.

Mr Kenny’s senior special adviser Mark Kennelly also had a hand in crafting the speech, as did Angela Flanagan a former policy officer and now special adviser.

A Government spokeswoman said: “The Taoiseach is the chief architect of all his speeches, with the assistance of a number of people in his office.”

The Taoiseach took just 12 minutes of his allocated 15 to deliver the presentation to a sparsely populated Dáil on Wednesday.

The content, accusing the Vatican of downplaying or “managing”, the rape and torture of children to uphold its own power and reputation, was not flagged to reporters in advance and the absence of Fine Gael TDs in the chamber when Mr Kenny began speaking indicated they were not prepared for what was coming.

Fine Gael’s director of organisation Frank Flannery said he was not surprised by the tone Mr Kenny struck. Mr Kenny “absolutely abhorred any abuse or carelessness around children, which for him goes deep, so I wasn’t a bit surprised,” Mr Flannery said.

“He comes from a radical democratic tradition of republicanism, very different from all previous taoisigh,” he said. Mr Flannery said Mr Kenny was also influenced by 19th-century agrarian radicalism. “In other words, the Land League and Michael Davitt are deep in Enda’s bones in my opinion.”