Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Ireland: The Taoiseach – Part 2 - Comment on 2011 July 28 (2)

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2011 July 28 (2)
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny's attack. Read more:

On 20 July 2011 the Taoiseach, the Irish Prime Minister, launched an attack on the Vatican, see
2011 Jul 21 (4) – Irish premier makes severe accusations against Vatican and
2011 Jul 23 – Ireland: The Taoiseach and
2011 Jul 26 (2) – Nuncio recalled

Today I bring some news items about further reactions to the Taoiseach’s attack and some background information about Enda Kenny:


Kenny has been widely hailed for his speech. He told reporters on Sunday that he had received thousands of messages of support and was "astounded" by the number of clergy who told him it was "about time." Campaigner and former abuse victim Andrew Madden welcomes the change from the attitudes of previous governments, which he says were "way out of step not just with victims but with wider public opinion."

Indeed, Kenny's attack carries more weight for ordinary Irish Catholics because he leads the traditionally staunchly Catholic party Fine Gael. "It was not an anti-Catholic speech but was pro-children and pro-Ireland," Madden says. "The fact that his speech will probably not lose Kenny a single vote - but will most likely gain him some - is a sign of a shift from excessive deference in political circles and wider culture," says Michael Kelly, deputy editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper. As a result of more than a decade of horrific abuse scandals, the Vatican's power over ordinary Irish Catholics has grown weaker and weaker. "There has been an absolute loss of moral authority for the church, and Catholics will increasingly privatize their faith - keeping their distance from and not looking to the hierarchy as previous generations did," Kelly says.


On 14 February 2011, Kenny met German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the Irish economy. Kenny and Merkel have close political ties because Merkel's CDU party and Fine Gael are both members of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and seating at EPP meetings is arranged by alphabetical order surname. The close relationship between these two leaders is illustrated further by the fact that Angela Merkel also backed Enda Kenny and Fine Gael during the 2007 election.

Opinion polls of 23 February 2011 … suggested that Kenny would lead Fine Gael to its largest total of seats to date in the 31st Dail, and that he would be elected Taoiseach.

In the election, Kenny led Fine Gael to a decisive victory. The party won 76 seats, the most in its 78-year history, and will be the largest party in the Dail for the first time ever.


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