Suitors battle for Enda Kenny’s attention

Enda Kenny is a lucky man, writes Elaine Loughlin
Suitors battle for Enda Kenny’s attention

On top of his five-year marriage to Labour, he now has three other suitors vying for his attention.

The Green Party, Renua Ireland, and the Social Democrats are all seriously flirting with the idea of getting into bed to form a government after the next general election.

But they each seem to be using different techniques to woo what most probably will be a Fine Gael-led government.

Lucinda Creighton’s Renua Ireland has taken the macho approach, boldly putting its cards on the table.

Ms Creighton, who defected from Fine Gael, has published a list of red-line issues which will not be sacrificed in any negotiations after the general election.

Among them is the establishment of a public commission on a flat tax, a three-strike rule for repeat offenders, and a fiscal responsibility bill to prevent “the boom-and-bust politics that has plagued out economy”.

“It is important for us and indeed it is important for the Irish people that Renua Ireland will be a part of the next government,” she said.

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“You have to look at the numbers and at the moment the likelihood is, it’s not a certainty, but the likelihood is that the next government will be led by Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.”

The Greens are playing harder to get. They don’t believe in having red lines.

Yesterday, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said all parties should be sweet-talking each other.

“I don’t think you can talk particularly effectively when you’re going with this type of macho approach ‘we have these red lines here, there, and everywhere’.

“How do you start then, red-line negotiations are not a very good way of starting, I think you are better respecting other people’s mandates respecting other parties and sit down and talk. Starting with renegotiated red lines in my view is not a clever way of going,” Mr Ryan said.

He believes the best way to impress potential partners is to “sit down and talk”.

“We need a team back in the Dáil, I would like to see three or four seats as a way of being able to divide up the work and I think we have a change I think this election will surprise people,” he said.

The Social Democrats are sticking to a traditional courtship and are holding out before putting out.

Joint leader Stephen Donnelly yesterday said the party would cut out red tape for small Irish businesses, but wasn’t quite as clear-cut when it came to red lines.

Asked about their red-line list Mr Donnelly said: “We didn’t come out with them to begin with because we really wanted to get out the message, we are only seven months old, and really we wanted to talk about our 14 candidates and the message of the Social Democrats, which has worked. We will be coming back with red-line issues we’re just not there; we are not talking about them just yet. We are not ruling any one in and we are not ruling anyone out.”

Mr Donnelly and his party are determined not to increase the minimum wage. Instead businesses could voluntarily opt into paying the living wage, he claimed.

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