Why I won’t be watching the #GE16 Leaders Debate

The Irish people: Lions led by (these) donkeys

For years I have commented on political communication in Ireland, as well as campaigning for the right of Irish emigrants to vote.

But having watched the “Leaders Debate” on TV3 I’m not sure a vote would be anything to have anymore, and frankly another debate is about as much use to me as an ashtray on a motorbike.

The “debate” on TV3, such as it was, was awful, undignified tripe, consisting of a herd of empty-headed braying donkeys struggling to make their soundbytes heard in an echo chamber of rampant egotism.

You had Gerry Adams pontificating about the great and the good, as if he had never heard of the generation of murder and misery that happened on his watch in Northern Ireland.

You had Joan Burton, whose only political achievement of note is reneging on every promise her party made since the last election (including the cutting of base rates of social welfare, which for some reason Labour still deny, despit the slashing of benefits to young people, driving them out of the country).

You had Micheál Martin, the incumbent Ard Rí of the Party of Spivs (or, as Gaeilge, Fianna Fáil), conveniently forgetting that all the things he was criticising the current administration for were caused by the fact that he and his cronies utterly destroyed Ireland as they buried their noses ever-deeper in the trough.

And then you had the top banana, the laughably inept Enda “Hide and Seek Champion of Mayo” Kenny, the man who is Taoiseach when it simply doesn’t matter who “leads” Ireland.

There is little to suggest that the RTE version will be any different.

It is often said that one canvasses in poetry and governs in prose, but not these morons – they canvass in soundbytes tested on focus groups and then govern in whatever way they are told by their betters in business, the banks and the EU.

Tonight’s debate will add another few hardy bucks to the mix, including Lucinda Creighton of right-wing crackpot outfit Renua, and Stephen Donnelly, a man of admittedly impressive intellect but also a possessor of principles (such as his broad acceptance of TTIP) which would be anathema to other Social Democratic parties that sprang from the workers movements.

But at the end of the day, principles do not matter in Irish politics.

All that matters is power.

If you want to know about the parties, by all means read their manifestos, but in doing so please be aware that, in Ireland, your vote only elects a parliament, not a government.

Literally everything that is said and written between now and when you cast your ballot has no value, as once the count is in all bets are off and the jockeying for position in the next junta begins.

And no matter what they say now, everyone is open to governing with everyone else, because all that matters in Ireland is being at the top table, however briefly, and maximising the return for yourself and your mates once it is achieved.


Enda’s Damascene moment in Dublin

Enda’s attempt to improve his image – too little, too late?

If you can afford it, please consider supporting the Simon Community this Christmas.

Like most Irish people, I enjoy complaining about the Late Late Show almost as much as I secretly enjoy watching it.

As the world’s longest-running talkshow and for a long time (along with Liveline) Ireland’s only forum for public debate it, much is demanded of it.

Last night it delivered, a triumph for public-service broadcasting but an appalling indictment of our politics.

In time, the breezy throw-away slot of a selection of puppets singing a charity version of “We All Stand Together” will drip with bitter irony for media and political historians.

An irreverent puppet-turkey, judged by many analysts to to be be more qualified to run the country than the current incumbent, blithely told us that Childline needed our money to stay open and provide an essential service to those failed and abandoned in our country – our children.

Almost a hundred years in, and we still cannot manage to carry out even the most basic functions of a democratic state without having to go on national TV and beg.

It got better.

That section was wedged in somewhere between Brendan O’Carroll and Mrs. Brown and the discussion on homelessness before Olly Murs played his new single.

It was a perfect example of the peculiar brilliance of the Late Late show – it effortlessly combines utter banality with topics of the utmost seriousness.

The discussion on homelessness began with Christy Burke, Dublin’s lord mayor, recounting how he and the Irish prime minister had walked the streets of Dublin late at night to see for themselves what the situation was like.

Much was made about how shocked the Irish premier was by the needles, the conditions, the sheer scale of the problem, and yet no-one asked why.

After all, he put many of them there.

39 years have passed since Enda Kenny first entered Leinster House, through a gate just around the corner from where Jonathan Corrie died this week, and until this week, Enda Kenny – father of the Dáil and leader of the nation – had never noticed the problem of homelessness in the city.

And in a country governed by spin, where a recent opinion poll shows that every established party is on its knees with the electorate, it is hard not to be cynical about why it is at this very moment – a few weeks before Christmas, with his party’s popularity in the doldrums – he is finally venturing on to the streets.

You may think that harsh, until you think about what he spent the rest of the week doing – gadding about with the gays in Pantibar, desperately trying to win back a few votes that his unthinking, unquestioning Christian fundamentalist party now need more than ever.

Next week, Kenny faces the prospect of losing control of the country entirely as anti-water charge protestors take to the streets on December 10, angered over another tax used to fund an already criminal waste of taxpayers’ money.

What has this got to do with homelessness and Childline?

A lot.

The €500 million spent on setting up Irish Water could have been used for better things – for instance, it could have housed Dublin’s approximately 170 rough sleepers in the Shelbourne hotel.

For 40 years.

It would be enough to fund the Simon Community to provide a bed, food and a Christmas gift to homeless people.

Ten million of them.

It could have been used to fund essential services for children – the innocent and ignored victims of many addictions – and for those who look after them that struggle day to day.

But no. Enda will limp along, together with the rest of his colleagues so shocked and disturbed at the all-too-regular occurrence of a man dying on the street, and busy himself doing nothing of substance while trying not to lose face over Irish Water.

In doing so he will spend more millions – many of them going to dubious businesses people previously caught with their hands in the national cooke jars – on meters that won’t be used and spin doctors to explain why.

But to make a real change in Irish politics in the little time he has left, it would require a change of heart that would put Saint Paul’s fall on the road to Damascus in the ha’penny place.

It would require the abandonment of the cronyism and culture of backhanders and back-scratching that has served Enda, the professional political class and their masters so well.

It would require the realisation that society’s first priority should be to protect its weakest members.

It would require Enda Kenny to realise that his entire political career to this point has been an inauspicious waste of time, and for him to set about righting 39 years of wrongful indifference to those who have funded his largesse.

For this government, it’s too late.

But for Enda, who I’m sure is a decent man, it isn’t.

Taoiseach at a time when it didn’t matter, his only real chance at a political legacy is to finally begin to address the innate inequalities that perpetuate Ireland’s status as a failed state.

TO hold up his hand and say “we got it wrong. Time to start anew.”

Maybe Dustin might start the process by sending him a download of “We All Stand Together”.

Sing when your losing

“It says here that we’re out of the bailout.” – Enda Kenny, telling you whatever he’s told to tell you.

The celebrations have already begun. The spinning is already reaching fever pitch.

Ministers are saying, among other things, that the bailout is over, there will be no crock of gold, and austerity will continue.

More of the same, in other words.

But sure aren’t we great all the same?

Ireland is indeed exiting its bailout, and it will culminate in a TV address by Enda Kenny on Sunday.

I won’t be watching.

If I was, I’d expect to hear him “thank” the Irish people for the “sacrifices” that they have made.

No mention will be made of the fact that they were never asked whether they wanted to make these sacrifices or not, nor will there be a word about the  money and the future that was stolen from them.

Instead, fueled more by ego than egalitarianism, the most powerless leader in Europe will waffle his way through some platitudes about “the best little country in the world to do business” and what great Europeans we all are.

Once again you will be told that there was no choice – there was no other way.

Then you’ll be told the banks are well-capitalised, and that Ireland is back in the markets and well-funded, and not to pay any attention to the shiver that that news sends down your spine as the ghost of Brian Lenihan flits across your screen.

Of course, no journalist will be allowed into the studio while this farce takes place, nor will the opposition have a chance to question him. Enda doesn’t do debate. He doesn’t do accountability. He doesn’t answer questions. Mostly because he can’t.

Stilted, slow-witted, he limits himself to reading what it says on the card. Understanding it is not a prerequisite. You are being talked at, not to.

If I could, I’d skip Enda’s narcissistic news bulletin and instead invite everyone available to join me outside the GPO, where we can all bring our bodhráns and get decked out in our green jerseys and flags and sing a few songs.

And just at the moment he commences his pointless spoofery on RTE, we can all burst into “The Fields of Athenry”, the song that under Giovanni Trapattoni became our anthem of failure when hopelessly outclassed in Europe.

In this context it is even more fitting, given its depiction of poor folk persecuted by the authorities and forced to leave for Australia against their will.

The irony would be lost on Enda, but not on the fathers and mothers contemplating Christmas alone as their offspring celebrate on a beach on the other side of the world.

And when we’re done singing our bitter hymns of longing and failure, we can all go home again and change nothing, because that is what we do.

We accept that the wealth of the nation is given away. We accept the narrative that it is the poor, and not the ruling class or the speculators, that are really to blame.

We’ll go back to laughing at careerist civil servants and their attempts to hold on to their pensions, all the while electing careerist politicians too simple and dull to facilitate the meaningful change that would be required, not to create a just society, but just to manage a bearable one.

We will quietly admit that the concept of the fighting Irish is very much an American construct and has little to do with the supine manner in which we have surrendered our democracy to men like Enda Kenny and Colm Keavney.

And in doing so we will admit that we deserve no better, because we are no longer prepared to fight for what is right. And we probably never were.

And in the meantime, those a long way from the fields of Athenry will look back at Ireland and wonder why anyone bothers to stay at all – apart from gormless Enda and the rest of the privileged few, that is.


Reality bites for Kenny

The budget will not be drafted in public.
-Enda Kenny

In fairness, he’s not lying.

But it won’t be drafted in Kildare Street either. Nor will it ever again be drafted in Ireland.

This budget will be drafted in Brussels and rubber-stamped in Frankfurt.

Welcome to the post-Yes world. This is what we voted for.

Of course, given the abject failure of this government to address the country’s economic woes – principally caused by the bank debt, whatever the spin doctors might say – this one was a fait accompli long before we voted yes a few weeks ago.

There will be more savage cuts to services. There will be more tax rises.

Fine Gael has even instructed its TDs not to speculate on its contents and that they would be given an “opportunity to offer their thoughts” later – the notion that FG backbenchers will be asked what they think of any measures contained in it is utterly laughable.

For “speculate”, read “debate” or “question.” Neither will be tolerated, and we can expect several months of Brian Hayes spewing party-fed guff about economics, and why we should all beat the cost of his cowardice.

The job of Fine Gael’s backbenchers, as it was in the recent referendum, is to nod sagely at matters they don’t understand and cannot influence. It it the illusion of democracy as practiced in Ireland.

Anyone who questions the logic of the budget proposals will be once again asked where the money will come from, or who will pay the nurses and the gardaí and the teachers.

In a remarkably display of political stupidity, one TD has taken it upon himself to pay a teacher’s salary out of money paid to him by the state.

Some see this as a great act of altruism, when in fact it is one of the most craven acts of political cowardice in a country not lacking candidates.

The TD in question, Brendan Griffin, pledged to give half his salary back to the state as an election gimmick, saying “we are not all in it for personal gain.”

Shortly afterwards he hired his wife to a job paid by the state without even bothering to create the illusion of fairness by interviewing anyone else.

As if that wasn’t enough, he is now clawing back the €46,000 he pledged to give back to the state – an election gimmick – to pay a teacher whose job would otherwise disappear thanks to cuts imposed by his government – another election gimmick.

This is no great altruistic act on his behalf – it is a simple, grubby, vote-buying exercise.

To make matters worse, he is essentially buying another election with the same €46,000, at the same time as he is admitting that the policies of his government are grievously wrong.

Instead of installing a teacher in his constituency, Griffin could have showed some courage and voted against the cutbacks and against the poor having to bear the brunt of losses not incurred by them.

He didn’t do so. Instead, he chose to insure his political future using your money.

I arrived back from Ukraine yesterday (I learned quickly not to call it “the Ukraine”, as apparently they take offence), where I walked past the tented village protesting at the continued imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko every day.

It is a beautiful place, full of tough, creative, resilient people, but if ever there was a country both defined and hampered by corruption, Ukraine seems to be it. ANd the higher up you go, the more corrupt it gets.

My good friend Pelle Blohm was there for a few days too, and he told me of an interesting conversation he had with a tour guide about the political situation.

“She siad there are five or six factions, and it’s all about picking the right one – wind up on the wrong side, and you’re screwed.”

With the likes of Griffin pulling strokeslike this, Ireland is going thew same way.

And with Spain going under and Cyprus asking for a bailout, Kenny will soon have to deliver another austerity budget. With his own backbenchers unwittingly showing their hand, his time will soon be up.

Luckily for him, events will overtake his gullible stupidity, and history will simply remember him as the mewling, cowardly fool who hitched Ireland to the listing ship of the Euro, just before it sank without a trace.


EXIT POLL: Five reflections on Ireland’s Yes

In the absence of any definitive figures, I’m going to cave in and do what I always criticise others for doing- jump to a few conclusions, engage in a bit of hyperbole and speculation and all the rest.

1. Judging by reports from several areas, Labour has finally abandoned- and been abandoned by – Ireland’s working class.

The party of Connolly said “Yes”, those who still believe in his ideals said “No”. Soon to join the PDs, and not before time, they sold out their principles so that the old guard could have one last grab for power. History will not be kind to Europe’s most right-wing worker’s movement.

2. Enda Kenny is a pathetically inept politician – but that doesn’t matter now, as we’ve ceded everything to Europe. Political history will pass a harsh judgement on Kenny’s hide-and-seek act; holder of an office already gelded by the ineptitude of his predecessors, he gave the rest away without a fight.

3. Twitter is a terrible barometer of political sentiment. It failed to adequately reflect the fear and confusion experienced by most Irish voters as they went to the polls. The yes side mostly came across as braying idealists, the nos as merchants of doom.

But worst of all were the parties themselve, and the odious ógras that polluted the timelne of every broadcast debate with scripted, inane platitudes that contributed nothing.

The born-again fervour of those in charge of the official accounts of the political parties indicates that they  clearly have no understanding of social media, or of democracy in genreal – it’s a dialogue, not a broadcast medium. And shouting your opinion is bad manners, wherever you do it.

4. Markets continue to slide, indicating the irrelevance of a Yes vote. Whereas a no vote- similar to those in genreal and presidential elections in Greece and France respectively – would have given pause for thought, we have silently acquiesced. We were essentially voting on behalf of everyone who couldn’t, and there’s a good chance we disappointed a lot of them.

5. In voting yes, we have enshrined the ideology of small government in the constitution. This is the single most damning effect of the treaty, as it limits governments in the application of Keynesian solutions to economic problems.

Despite market reaction to austerity and debt, despite Bo Lundgren (architect of the solution during Sweden’s 90s crisis) saying stimulus is a necessary as austerity, despite Nobel laureate Paul Krugman’s late statements,  we did what the neoliberal movement all over the world has envisaged, and voted to enshrine their ideology as part of our national laws.

Just as this treaty had no chance of bringing stability (check out the indifferent market reaction), the fiscal treaty itself cannot bring certainty. Different problems and different circumstances call for different  solutions- instead of having the freedom to choose from them, we have gone ahead and written the only ones proven not to work into law.

Finding the right target in Enda’s blame game

Let me say this to you all:

You are not responsible for the crisis.

That didn’t last long, did it?

Yesterday Enda did another of his patented u-turns (don’t worry, they’re all part of his five-point plan) and blamed the Irish people for going “mad” on cheap credit.

How can he possibly blame us, the plain people of Ireland?

Surely the fault lies with the bankers, right?


Nothing will be learned from this financial crisis unless we learn why it happened, who was to blame, and how to stop it happening in the future.

The bankers and reckless lenders are obvious targets, but we had failed long before we ever got on the playing field.

The responsibility for the crisis lies almost exclusively with those tasked with regulating and monitoring the affairs of the state- the politicians.

Let us remember that it wasn’t just Fianna Fáil that were responsible either- the free-market zealots of the Progressive Democrats, Fine Gael and the Labour Party (don’t be fooled by the name) were equally to blame.

Even when in opposition, they nodded like donkeys as Aherne, McCreevy and Cowen stripped away the protection the plain people of Ireland were entitled to.

So Enda is hardly going to sit up there in the middle of his Davos dancing monkey act and admit that he was partially to blame now, is he?

It is absolutely true that people borrowed wildly and that banks lent recklessly, and some would say who could blame them. Both were trying to live the dream of a lifestyle and profits beyond their wildest dreams.

But how could they do this? Because, ever since the first sod was turned at the IFSC, every single piece of legislation or regulation preventing them from taking excessive risks with borrowed money was removed by the politicians.

It may have changed in the last three years or so as normal people were forced to learn about bond yields and sovreign debt, but the plain truth is that most people are not financially literate enough to understand even basic financial products like mortgages and life insurance.

I’ve spent the guts of ten years in the financial services industry, talking to ministers and central bankers and traders and fund managers. I’ve studied finacial instruments trading at university level.

All it has taught me is that the more I learn, the more there is to learn.

Those operating in the markets- even in the personal finance end of them-  are for the most part unsentimental, mathematical and very ambitious.

They will stretch the limit of any rule in search of a profit- that is their creative genius.

But in removing the rules of the game, we allowed them to indulge themselves and us, and we all got hit with the bill.

We even tore up most of our planning laws just so we could allow developers to stack their piles of yen and German pensions on one another in a race to the top, not realising it would all fall down around us.

Sure, lenders and borrowers are to blame, but only to a point; if you give the fox the keys of the henhouse, don’t be surprised if all that’s left are feathers and blood.

What galls most people is that no banker or politician has yet to face the courts in relation to the €100 billion confidence trick played on Irish people.

The sad reason for this is that very little of what was done was illegal- we simply removed those barriers and let them get on with it.

And so to the hide-and-seek champion of Mayo, who did his monkey dance for the great and the good at Davos yesterday, a day after many of them took their chunk of the €1.25 billion Enda so selflessly gave them on our behalf.

And today, ministers gather round to defend him- even Labour ministers – saying that he was either partially or wholly right.

They were joined, predictably, by the Irish Independent and Newstalk, whose overlord Denis O’Brien insisted to the Irish Times that “he (Kenny) should be applauded and not in any way criticised.”

His minions duly obliged, Fionán Sheehan of the Indo playing the role of government representative on Vincent Browne last night, and the Lunchtime program on Newstalk offering an embarrassing plethora of talking heads echoing the Taoiseach’s comments.

The level of stage management of the cabinet response warrants closer questioning- in other words, there is reason to believe that Enda’s comments were no regular political gaffe.

There is reason to believe that what you saw and heard yesterday is the first step in selling the next- and probably the most onerous- austerity budget to the Irish people.

In December, Enda went of the TV to pre-empt a public outcry and in a stilted performance, his hear slicked to his head, he told us we were not responsible. Gullible fools that we were, we bought into the savage cuts – sure weren’t we all in it together?

That won’t work again, and the next targets – the old, the sick, and the young once more, but also the public servants and PAYE workers – won’t be as amenable, so a change of tactics was called for.

So Enda and his cabinet have decided that we are in fact to blame – and in doing so, they are preparing us to take our personal share of the pain that is coming. After all, it’s our fault that we’re in this mess.

What Enda should have said yesterday was “yes, the banks and the borrowers were to blame, but we- the democratically elected politicians, dropped the ball. Lads, the party is over. Europe’s biggest casino will be back, but there will be limits on how much you can gamble with our money in the future”.

Instead, he blamed you and me.

At the same time, the treacherous Fianna Fáil spiv that is Conor Lenihan appeared on the radio, blissfully unaware of the scale of his own hypocrisy.

Part of a dynasty that did its best to destroy our economy, he is now travelling the world touting for foreing direct investment.

For Russia.

Now some people might say that ‘traitor’ is too strong a word in those circumstances.

I’m glad I’m not one of them.

Before the Deluge

"Nothing to see here"- Enda Kenny addresses the nation.

Today is the day when payment for the worst of the excesses of the Celtic tiger falls due.

Today, Brendan Howlin will stand up in the Dáil and tell the poor, the sick and the old in Ireland not why they have to pay the debts of the bankers, but how. And how much.

This should come as no surprise- after all, we voted for it. As I wrote the day before the general election in February, a vote for Fine Gael or Labour was a vote to accept these debts as our own.

In particular, I made the sour prediction that this day would soon be upon us:

We are also accepting that Ireland is to remain a society of haves and have-nots. Those who have resources- cash, credit, access to political power – will continue to ensure that only the weakest in society – the old, the sick, the children – will be called on to pay the debts foisted upon them. They were the ones who benefitted the least from the property boom, but they will now be asked to foot the bill.

The cuts today in euros and cents will hit hardest on those who can afford it least, the rises in taxes tomorrow will do the same, and the words about how those who were responsible for the crisis would pay for it will ring as hollow as they ever did.

Enda Kenny’s address to the nation last night can be summed up in one word.


When it was most needed, he offered neither hope nor leadership. Often, he offered his unique brand of patronising stupidity.

“If you’re unemployed, you’re one of the many who still can’t find work.”

“Difficult decisions are never easy”.

And lest we forget: “You are not responsible for the crisis.”

But we’re paying for it Enda. Not the bankers, or the banks. The citizens. Often poor, unemployed, old, sick or children.

To paraphrase Charles Haughey’s similar address thirty years ago, Enda’s speech could be summed up as follows: “we are living beyond your means”.

He and his government have offered nothing in the way of new thinking – no spark that would or could inspire the public, the entrepreneurs, the hard-working lucky enough to have work.

Never has so little been achieved by so many.

At a time when our corporation tax rate is under threat, no-one has thought to threaten to cut it to stimulate jobs and create growth.

No-oner has thought to make an industry out of caring for our old and our sick and our young by offering them the care and dignity they deserve.

No-one has thought to leverage Ireland as Europe’s English-language service provider in accounting or human resources.

Instead, they’re going to take Bertie’s mobile phone off him- something which might have worked to save Ireland ten years ago, but won’t help much now.

Keep this in mind when Brendan Howlin stands up in the Dáil today and hands the bill for the banks to your children.

Darren Scully and Enda Kenny. (Not pictured- all their black friends)

Every now and again a politician says something so profound that it echoes in our history books.

“Ich bin ein Berliner”.

“Peace in our time.

“Tear down this wall”.

“I will no longer represent black Africans”.

Thank God for the appalling stupidity of Darren Scully – an avowed non-racist, some of whose best friends aren’t black – for once again showing us that austerity produces not just hard choices and more poverty for the already-impoverished, but it’s a greenhouse for racism too.

Far from drowning in a sea of celtic tiger-era skinny lattes, our racists and racism survive and thrive, especially now that we’re poor again.

I’ve written before about the ridiculous nature of some of the rubbish that gets spouted about Africans in Ireland by the defenders of the ideologies of Hitler , and yet still they come. Our friend Sven with his “99.8% of sex crimes in Oslo are committed by non-Europeans” comment on another piece is just one of them.

I argued long and hard on a similar subject with another crackpot racist (this time from Israel), whose basic assertion was that people were being raped in their droves by the Muslim hordes right outside my very window.

Be that as it may, there would be no statistics, as Swedish police do not record ethnicity- let alone religious affiliation- when investigating crimes here.

Gavin Titley wrote a brilliant piece today for politico.ie outlining why the likes of Scully think it’s OK to be staggeringly and publicly racist, and then deny it as not being racism at all.

I’d like to say read it and learn something, but having listened to George Hook’s section on it yesterday, it’s more like read it and weep.

Of course, there is an elephant in the room here too, and that is his continued status as a member of Fine Gael. Whereas a non-racist political party would have kicked him to touch the second he opened his gob, Fine Gael can’t.

Because to do so would be to admit that Enda Kenny’s Patrice Lumumba joke was equally wrong.


Wind turbine jobs just so much hot air

Enda- getting Ireland working by announcing the same jobs over and over again...

Just when the world was starting to lose faith in the fourth estate, Lorna Siggins goes and does something we can all be proud of– exposing Enda Kenny’s cheap PR stunt as he basked in the glow of 145 “new” jobs that were actually announced two years ago.

If News International, Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch personify all that is wrong with the media, Kenny and his spin doctors have shown another seedy side of the business of communications.

As anyone who has ever had a manager will testify, there are always people who will opportunistically try to take credit for something they had nothing to do with.

Following a week where he has been kicked from pillar to post over A&E units in places like Roscommon, Enda and his staff have been flailing around desperately for a bit of good news to take him into the weekend on a high note.

But this is basket-case Ireland, and the banks “passing” their stress tests (no surprises there as they were essentially allowed to Tipp-Ex out all the bad debts they have) was never going to be enough.

So as he headed off to NUI Galway someone, somewhere in Enda’s office dusted down the press release from the CF Manufacturing group and lo and behold, 145 “new” jobs were created.

Except they weren’t – or if they were, they were being created for a second time.

CF had announced their intention to create these jobs two years ago. A swing and another embarrassing miss for Enda.

So all credit to Lorna Siggins of the Irish Times, who resisted the temptation to go rummaging through Robbie Keane’s rubbish and instead broke an important story about a government desperate for a decent headline.

And no credit at all to Enda, who is no doubt spending a lot of his time pondering the political fate of Garret Fitzgerald.

The recently-deceased Fitzgerald was the last Taoiseach who did what Kenny now has to do, namely administer an awful lot of bitter economic medicine to the Irish people, with no spoonful of sugar on offer to help it down.

The Irish electorate slaughtered Fitzgerald at the polls, denying one of the two world-class statesmen Ireland has had since the war (the other is John Hume) the chance to harvest the fruit of his hard political labour.

Kenny is now in the same boat, and his desire not to go down the same road as Garret is understandable.

But instead of blowing off a load of hot air about the wind turbine jobs, he would be better advised to harness the disparate state agencies charged with accelerating Ireland’s recovery and insist that they work together, rather than separately, towards the common goal of getting Ireland working again.

I know he has tried, but as with many big organisations, the message goes through many changes as it goes down through the ranks, and on the ground little has changed for those tasked with finding us tourists and investors and buyers.

(Apart, of course, from the fact that their budgets have been slashed, making the job of selling a badly run economic mess harder than ever before).

But if he can succeed in this task, he will have an awful lot more than 145 new jobs to announce to the Irish people next time he opens something at a university.