Updated: 11/05/17 : 05:08:01
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Enda faces big dates in his history

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor


ENDA KENNY should have lost his Dail seat on May 17th.

Even he agreed that might well be the voters verdict and drafted the first bones of a concession speech.

Maybe the man learned a lot from that episode; he wasn't 'dead' at all. 

Like Tim Finnegan before him, Kenny rose up in his 'wake bed' and the rest is history.

Foinavon Fence

The demise(s) of Enda Kenny has been penned a good many times since.

But never, ever by this writer.....and not just now in 2017 either.

Exactly 15 years on from that first May 17th verdict, Enda Kenny will now tell his own TDs what his leadership intentions are, on  May 17th 2017.

The Foinavon fence in the 1967 Grand National has nothing on the number of journalists who've come a cropper trying to read cards held closely to his chest by Enda Kenny on, eh, his leadership intentions.

He will be 15 years leader of his party on June 5th and ten days later he marks the anniversary of the day he became Father of the House, its longest serving TD.

Kenny has already outlived the age of his father, All Ireland senior football winner Henry Kenny, who died from cancer in 1975 aged just 62.



Auld Enemy

He has defeated Fianna Fáil in two general elections, in 2011 and 2016.

Often forgotten is that back in 2004 -- at the height of the Celtic Tiger -- he had scored the first of many notable victories over the Auld Enemy.

In Irish politics, Auld Enemy often did (and sometimes still does) translate as Rangers versus Celtic.....without the shin pads.

Big Pointer

In those 2004 Euro elections, the number of Irish seats was cut by two but Fine Gael increased its total by one.

But the big 'headline' that 2004 day -- the pointer to Enda Kenny's place in Irish political history -- is that Fianna Fáil fell behind its main rival for the first time since 1927.

It could all have been so different, so ordinary, if his Fine Gael running mate Jim Higgins had held his seat in that 2002 election.

Higgins was the peoples choice in Mayo over Kenny on first preferences that day, just about shaded it.

Their running mate Michael Ring was so far ahead of both that they'd have needed a bus to catch him.

Irony of irony, Enda Kenny was saved by the plumpers and preferences of Gardai.

Jim Higgins had been an outspoken public critic of corruption in the Gardai.

He especially dwelt on the McBrearty case in Donegal and was one of the rare national TDs at that time to spell out what he saw. 

Lucky General

Higgins became conscious of the force(s) ranged against him; namely, the Garda vote went against him in the subsequent election. 

Not for first time and certainly not for the last time then Enda Kenny could lay claim to Napoleon's defining desirability to win battles, namely generals with 'lucky' as their middle name.

The rich irony is that Gardai are back in the news alongside Enda this morning, Thursday.

Whatever about his own pension(s), the Boys in Blue are gonna have to fork out (much) more for their pensions in future.

Of course, they might not even be in blue in future; Garda might not even be their name. They will likely be re-branded as a 'service' rather than 'force.'

But that's all for another day. Enda Kenny faces towards May 17th 2017 with the echo of something Enoch Powell once said, and something he did not say.

Powell did NOT boldly declare that 'all political careers end in failure.'

In summary, Powell more sagely cautioned that unless politicians caught the tide and knew best when to quit etc then their later endeavours would be viewed as failure etc etc.

Christmas Day

This weekend, Enda Kenny will get on a bike around these parts and cycle for charity.

Last weekend in Toronto he did the Pieta House walk from 'darkness into light.'

But as political metaphors come and go, a bike is always hard to beat.

On yer bike! The Taoiseach will offer the media endless possibilities with just that one photo this weekend: On Yer Bike.

Finally, those betting men in Asia who put €400,000 on a recent Irish domestic soccer game might like a better bet:-

How many -- if any -- of the three main party leaders will be in current posts come Christmas Day 2017. Hmm.