Enda Kenny bit off more than he could chew at The Crusty Corner.
The Taoiseach hit the Meath East bakery at some speed during what is known in the business as a “fake’n’shake” — when a politician suddenly appears, faking interest in local problems, shaking hands, and then gets out of town as quickly as possible.
Sleepy Dunboyne was the first of four stop-off points for Mr Kenny’s sweep through the constituency, and he burst into The Crusty Corner like jam out of a doughnut.
However, there is always an element of risk with fake’n’shakes, as was proven when the first two customers approached by Mr Kenny refused to have their Taoiseach-on-toast and politely declined his interest.
Undaunted by the rebuff by the bun-eaters, Mr Kenny spotted four women in the corner. The Taoiseach, one of the few people in public life to still use the term “housewives”, must have thought he was on a winner as he zeroed in on them with the opening gambit: “What are you talking about?” as if ready to riff with them about the aul’ knitting, or Daniel O’Donnell, or whatever it is “housewives” chat about.
Instead, social care worker Bridget Cash told him she was telling her friends how tired she was after finishing a 24-hour shift because she had to work extra hours to keep things on an even keel, as her garda husband’s pay had been reduced.
Mr Kenny shook their hands and left.
There was an equally chilly reception in the freezer section of Supervalu in the neighbouring village of Ratoath, where the Taoiseach was verbally frisked by an off-duty guard.
The officer pinned Mr Kenny to the spot for nine minutes. It was the PR handlers’ worst nightmare — an articulate guard with an even temper and a very big axe to grind about Croke Park as he lambasted the Taoiseach for failing to tax the better off instead of the squeezed middle.
“Some have got a lot more to contribute, and others haven’t got a lot left to give,” he told Mr Kenny.
The flunkies were beginning to panic at this point and pulled out the ultimate excuse to try and break the garda’s grip: “The children, Taoiseach, the children! They’re waiting to have their picture with you!”
To be fair to Mr Kenny, he handled the tricky situation well and did not hide behind the kids to escape, or turn his back on the guard, but politely listened as the man talked out his grievances. The pair parted amicably after the Taoiseach was warned in no uncertain terms he’d be out of office at the next election.
Mr Kenny had a much better time in Ashbourne, where happenstance brought him across the path of Kelly Petit outside AIB: “I’m going in for a mortgage, any tips?” she asked.
“I’ll come along with yer!” offered the Taoiseach as he whisked her through the doors and Mr Kenny asked the rather baffled assistant: “Can you give her a mortgage?”
Ever the optimist, Mr Kenny clearly has not heard the bailed-up banks merely suck up our billions, but are not too keen on handing it out again.
But, looking very pleased with his afternoon’s work, the Taoiseach turned to Ms Petit, saying: “Here’s my card.” Perhaps the guard’s warnings were still going around in his head and he was positioning himself for a post-election job as a mortgage broker?
With the major talking point of the day being, not Cyprus, but rather whether teenagers should get advice on threesomes from a HSE-funded website, somebody had to ask the relevant question at the media scrum, but it was clear no one wanted to use the actual word around poor innocent-looking Enda. So when the query did come, it was slightly reminiscent of those clipped British newsreels of the 1930s and could be summed up as: “I’m afraid there has been a spot of unpleasantness on the internet, Mr Taoiseach. Would you care to remark on this unpleasantness?”
Equally keen to avoid the word ‘threesome’, Mr Kenny referred to “sexual practices”, saying he was vaguely aware of the unpleasantness in question, but could not comment as he was not familiar with this specific unpleasantness — but added intriguingly: “I haven’t looked at it, and I’d like to see the site first, what the words in question actually mean.”
Maybe he should just ask Eamon Gilmore about it, because Labour would love to be involved in a threesome in Meath East, but now look destined to be screwed into a humiliating fourth place by the voters.
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