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.