- 13 Jun 17
Enda Kenny announced his resignation from the position of Taoiseach today. Here, we republish the Hot Press Interview with the former leader of Fine Gael, which was conducted by Jason O’Toole, back in 2007
Today, Enda Kenny stepped down as Taoiseach.
After months of speculation, Kenny recently resigned as leader of the Fine Gael party, leaving the way open for a leadership contest. That was fought between Leo Varadker and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, with Leo Varadker coming out on top. His name will now be put before the Dáil tomorrow as the replacement for Kenny.
Kenny’s career has been an extraordinary journey. Born into a political dynasty in 1951 – his father Henry Kenny was TD for Mayo West until his death in 1975 – he became a TD in the ensuing by-election at the age of just 24. He has had an unbroken run since, spending all of 42 years in public service as a member of the Dáil.
He was first appointed to the enlarged cabinet in 1986, when he was appointed Minister for Youth Affairs by the then Taoiseach, Garret Fitzgerald. He became Minister fir Tourism and Trade in the Fine Gael Labour coalition presided over by John Bruton, from 1994 to 1997.
Five years later, he became leader of Fine Gael and he has held that position since then. In the post-recession election of 2011, Fine Gael outstripped Fianna Fáil by its biggest ever margin. Together, Kenny's party and Labour had a huge majority – sufficient to embolden them in the pursuit of the austerity policies which were the hallmark of the era.
How things might have panned out if a different set of policies had been pursued we can never know. It is far to say that, in conventional establishment terms, the recovery effected by Ireland has been remarkable, with all of the financial indicators taking a positive spin.
Significant growth in the economy has been accompanied by a huge drop in the numbers of unemployed – and Enda Kenny must be given credit for leading the country through what were extremely choppy waters in a way that was hugely successful – within his own lights.
His critics , especially on the left, disagree vehemently and often with good reason. The chronic housing shortage, spiralling rents, homelessness, discrimination against youth and lots more are blamed on the decision to embrace austerity.
A deeper analysis of Enda Kenny’s performance is for another day. In the meantime, we thought it’d be interesting to look back at the Hot Press interview with Enda Kenny, which took place in 2007.
We can see in the interview both the ordinary decency of the man, and his sometimes baffling limitations. It is well worth a close read on this - the day that Enda Kenny bows out of high political office.
Read the full interview here: Take Me To Your Leader: The Full Enda Kenny Interview