By Patrick Brogan
Much has been made in the media about the controversial aspects of Donald Trump’s character. His comments have been deeply troubling for a presidential candidate and a president, particularly given America’s history of racism. However, Irish people should look closer to home if they are concerned about an unscrupulous racist gaining the reigns of power.
There are some similarities between Trump and Kenny that are not obvious at first glance. Enda Kenny is certainly more reserved, with a shifty demeanour as opposed to Trump’s crassness masqueraded as charisma. Both have a “casual relationship with the truth”, as Paul Murphy would describe it and both have made worryingly racist comments. Both also look like they have butter smeared all over their heads.
Let’s deal with what is on the surface the most serious of these issues. Back in 2002, Enda Kenny was just the leader of the opposition. He gave a speech in his capacity as Fine Gael chief to commemorate the career of their head PR man, as he moved on to pastures new. He told a story of when he was in Portugal and he recalled a drunken incident where a cocktail was named after Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who was assassinated in 1961. Lumumba was referred to as “some nigger who was killed dans la guerre” or “in the war” to any non-Francophiles.
This is a truly disgraceful incident. The then would-be Taoiseach using such a pejorative word is baffling. Many black people came to Ireland with hopes that they would have some degree of security from persecution, along with the potential economic benefits. Kenny’s comment is a slap in the face to the thousands of black people that came to Ireland and contributed to our society. Also, this is extremely insulting to the Congolese nation. Lumumba was and still is a national hero. He ushered in what was hoped to be a new era in Congo that would have democracy at its core. This was all taken away by the Americans and Belgians who wanted control of the nation’s natural resources. Add to this, the fact that some of Patrice Lumumba’s relatives were living in Ireland at the time and you get some sense of the insensitivity surrounding this comment. He should have been forced to step down by the party. The fact he wasn’t probably isn’t surprising given Fine Gael‘s historic links to fascism.
The Lies, Oh So Many Lies
Enda Kenny has a long history of bizarre stories. From his claims the banks would have to be protected by the army, to his Paddy with two pints stories, to less known ones like the time he said Lenin visited Michael Collins and there was also the time he claimed he was threatened at knifepoint while in Kenya, but mislead the Dáil into thinking it happened recently in Ireland. There are numerous gaffs to pick out, my favourite being when he signed the book of condolence for Nelson Mandela and wrote Nadiba, instead of Madiba. These can be put down to harmless eccentricities, but he has told harmful lies too in relation to dealing with the bailout, the health service and social issues that have brought untold hardship on this nation. Elections promises were made that were never going to be fulfilled.
The treatment of Maurice McCabe and the whistleblowers in general has been one the greatest indignities dished out in this country, and there have been many of those. The police force has shown itself to be nothing more than a vindictive elitist club more concerned with viciously protecting its own interests rather than serving the people. At the top levels, at least. The blackmailing and smearing tactics are disgusting. Who knew what and when is equally important as dealing with those responsible because they themselves are complicit.
Did the politicians know? I find it extremely difficult to believe that they didn’t. Even if it were just rumours, they must have heard something on the grapevine. Given Enda Kenny’s flip-flopping of what we knew and when will only deepen suspicion. If we give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was completely in the dark it will show two things. The first is he is not very well informed.The second one, when crisis does strike, he cannot deal with it. Any of these of these traits, maliciousness, uncaring, ill-informed or inability to act in an emergency are all cause for his resignation.
He just might be unhinged. He seems incapable of remaining gaff free when he is on his own. I would question how a man of his clearly limited mental capacity is able to get to the ‘top’ of Irish politics. His record is very clear. He is a career politician who doesn’t give a fuck about the ordinary Irish citizen. Part of me suspects he is Denis O’Brien’s man. I have no evidence to support this, it’s just an opinion. Don’t sue.
Thanks to Wikileaks, we know back in 2009, Dan Rooney, then US ambassador to Ireland, said those in Leinster House are “an often unaccountable political class” more worried with perks than what they were elected to do. This upset many. That doesn’t stop him from being right. Ireland was set-up that way. The founders of the modern state were viewed as unquestionably honest. As the years went by, we were one religion, one state, one people. Everybody agreed with how the State was being run, or at least they pretended they did. Nobody questioned authority. This has continued through the generations until we arrive at this point; Ireland is one of the least transparent nations in the developed world, in practice anyway. It is time for the stooges like Kenny, Haughey, Ahern, Burke and Lowry to be cast to the trash heap of history.
Unbridled greed was a trait of the political classes, not of the ordinary Irish worker. Yet, this is what Kenny tried to portray when on the international stage. He sold his soul to foreign monied interests a long time ago. Is this the man we want representing us? I think most people would say no. Yet, there he is. And it is our fault. As a nation, as a people, we have let these inept crooks run amok for far too long. The result is Maurice McCabe and the other whistleblowers’ lives have been made a living hell. We helped create a society where this is possible by sitting on our hands and watching. It’s on us to stop it, we owe the whistleblowers that much.
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