Former taoiseach Enda Kenny’s mishandling of a conversation with the Minister for Children about the maltreatment of Sergeant Maurice McCabe set in motion a chain of events which led to his downfall, a new book reveals.
Enda the Road: Nine Days that Toppled a Taoiseach, by journalist and broadcaster Gavan Reilly, explores Mr Kenny’s downfall over nine days in February 2017. The book reveals how behind the scenes, Mr Kenny’s department sought to stop a statement being issued by Katherine Zappone’s department on what was known about a Tusla file relating to Sgt McCabe.
“Kenny’s team were profoundly displeased that Zappone’s handlers issued the statement without their full agreement,” writes Mr Reilly.
The anger over perceived insubordination was compounded by new political claims contained within it.
Mr Kenny later admitted he was wrong to say Ms Zappone told him she was meeting Sgt McCabe.
The then-taoiseach said he was “guilty of not giving accurate information” in relation to who told him about Ms Zappone’s meeting with Sgt McCabe.
“After the botched [RTÉ radio] interview where he recalled with specific detail how he had spoken to Zappone before her meeting with the McCabes... when that account was later written off as untrue, Kenny’s trustworthiness took a hit from which he never recovered,” writes Mr Reilly.
The book also reveals how, during the crisis, a crunch meeting between Fine Gael ministers and the Independent Alliance was called but Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was not initially invited.
“Irked by the failure to invite him, Varadkar opted not to attend the Independent Alliance meeting at all,” writes Mr Reilly.
Mr Kenny refused to be interviewed for the book, published by Mercier Press.