The Taoiseach may have got caught out telling an over-excited porkie in Madrid but it is small beer compared to the great untruths that some other political leaders have expected the Irish public to swallow, writes Shaun Connolly
OH DEAR, there goes elastic Enda, stretching reality to its limits again, tripping over the truth and landing on his face as a result.
It seems it is not just the Taoiseach’s wooden demeanour that he has in common with Pinocchio, but also the inability to resist a far-fetched fib when he gets the chance.
Not so much Geppetto’s puppet, more the puppet of the eurozone austerity junkies, Mr Kenny was showing off to Angela Merkel and Europe’s other big guns when he talked tough about nearly having to send in the army to wave their machine guns around the ATMs to keep order on taking power after a chat with Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan.
“The governor of the Central Bank in Ireland said to me: ‘It looks like this weekend ... you’ll have to put army around the banks and around the ATM machines and introduce capital controls like they had in Cyprus’. So we’ve pulled back from that brink,” Mr Kenny trilled excitedly.
Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty was appalled at the haze of untruth, and asked the very good question: “Kenny needs to clarify his comments re: Honohan suggesting that army be called to secure ATMs and why he didn’t mention this to banking inquiry.”
And here is another good question for Doherty — how come he does not appear to believe the Taoiseach over a slightly embarrassing, but ultimately harmless, comment, yet completely, and with all his heart, believes that Gerry “army council? What army council?” Adams is telling the truth when he says he was never a member of the IRA?
And this would be the same Sinn Féin that is not being run by the army council (what army council?) its TDs tell us, whatever the PSNI might say.
This is the same Mr Doherty who believed rape victim Mairia Cahill about her ordeal — but would not believe her testimony when it became critical of Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams.
Not to be outflanked in the auto-outrage stakes, here comes fearless, human truth-seeking missile and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to lay into Mr Kenny with: “Unless the Taoiseach immediately confirms the detail of what specific events he is referring to, people will be left with no alternative but to assume that this is yet another self-aggrandising story.”
This would be the same Mr Martin, the same great defender of the truth, who along with his Fianna Fáil cabinet colleagues fanned-out across the TV and radio stations like Bertie Ahern’s flock of sheep, bleating support for their hero as he twisted and turned in the witness box of the Mahon probe.
Truth warrior Mr Martin did not bat an eyelid when Unbelievable Bertie came up with such colourful “explanations” for all those curious sterling and dollar lodgements sloshing about the 20-plus bank accounts he felt the need to keep while finance minister in the early 1990s, such as: “I won it on the gee-gees, your honour, so I did, sir.”
But Enda gets caught out on a little over-excited porkie in Madrid, and, finally Micheál finds his bullshit detector? The Mahon judges saw saw right through Bertie, even if, apparently, Micheál and the rest of the FF cronies could not, and Ahern is now damned as the only taoiseach in the history of the State whose evidence to a tribunal of inquiry was ruled not to be believable.
Which makes Mr Kenny’s politically convenient, though highly risible, claims, like meeting a man who could afford to have two pints of beer in his hands, yet still complained about water charging, look like, well, small beer.
Indeed, Mr Kenny is like a slightly weird uncle with an unusual form of speech impediment which means he cannot stop himself saying the most improbable things, or expecting us to believe he was involved in the most unlikely of scenarios.
He thinks we are all enthralled and hanging on his every word, but in reality the rest of the family are giving each other knowing looks and chortling in a whisper: “Poor old uncle Enda, he’ll be telling us he has the ability to run a country next!” But, the problem is the family are not really doing poor, deluded, old uncle Enda any favours, because the guy is clearly addicted to over exaggeration.
Because one minute he is spouting harmless drivel about imaginary men with two pints, or doing a bizarre impersonation of Carly Rae Jepsen and winking at US businessmen, telling them “Call me, maybe” at a St Patrick’s Day dinner in Washington DC, and then he starts main-lining whoppers like this after the 2014 budget: “It was great to see some people contacting us, saying: ‘Well, I’m not sure whether it was a mistake or not, but I seem to have got extra money in this last payment.’ We want to continue that.”
And indeed it was a mistake, Mr Kenny’s mistake, because it never happened — or, as a rather red-faced flunky who had to “explain” the nonsense away, said: “It was just a turn of phrase”. Someone needs to conduct an intervention with Enda or who knows where this fantasy land stuff could end. Not with him denying he effectively sacked a Garda Commissioner? Surely not, he could never go that far, could he?
Politicians often accuse me of being “cynical” because of the things I write about them — ie, the truth — but that just shows their ignorance of what the word cynical actually means. The word cynical means having a low opinion of human nature. I actually have a high opinion of human nature, which is why I am continually disappointed by our political elite.
The truth is that most of our politicians have a serious problem when it comes to honesty, and the sad fact is that even elastic Enda is far from the worst of the offenders.
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