RTE’s Sean O’Rourke will visit Mayo next Friday, November 2, to launch a new political biography of Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The presenter of the RTE radio and television programmes, News At One and The Week in Politics, will be in the TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, at 6pm to launch the new book entitled Enda Kenny The Unlikely Taoiseach. The book is written by political journalist John Downing and published by Paperweight Publications. It tells the story of Enda Kenny’s 36-year-long political journey from Castlebar to Government Buildings, and his 10-year campaign to successfully overcome reverses, doubts, slights and an outright party mutiny, to become Taoiseach in March 2011.
It also looks at how he took over the Fine Gael party leadership after a catastrophic general election defeat in May 2002 and totally re-built the party. It tells how he faced down rivals but also brokered compromise and the mending of fractured relationships. Enda Kenny The Unlikely Taoiseach tells the story of his father, Henry Kenny, an icon of Gaelic football, who became a successful TD and government minister only to die tragically at a relatively young age. It traces Enda Kenny’s early years in Islandeady, near Castlebar, his schooldays in Cornanool National School and later at St Gerald’s in Castlebar. It looks at the influence of the GAA on Mayo and Irish politics. It also looks back, in great detail, on the epic Mayo West by-election of November 1975 which brought Enda Kenny into Irish politics and also recounts many later hard-fought Mayo election battles.
The book tells the story of his ‘secret romance’ at Leinster House with his future wife, Fionnuala O’Kelly, who was a press adviser to Charlie Haughey and Fianna Fail at a very fraught period in Irish politics. It looks at her influence on his career and the important work done by other family members such as his brother, Cllr Henry Kenny, and his late mother Ethna Kenny. Enda Kenny The Unlikely Taoiseach examines Mr Kenny’s relationships with key figures in Irish politics including Liam Cosgrave, Garret FitzGerald, Charlie Haughey, Alan Dukes, John Bruton, Michael Noonan and Bertie Ahern. It recounts the role of key Mayo and national politicians like Micheal O’Morain, Padraig Flynn, Michael Ring, Jim Higgins and others.
It looks at Enda Kenny’s very special relationship with Mayo and its people, who did him the unique honour of returning four out of five TDs for his Fine Gael party at the last general election. It examines the intense rivalries in Mayo politics, and some difficult times in relationships with the inimitable Michael Ring, Cllr Frank Durcan of Castlebar, and Patrick Durcan of Westport. Enda Kenny the Unlikely Taoiseach will be available in hardback from bookstores nation-wide and from www.paperweightpublications.ie from next week priced €18.99.
John Downing is a political journalist who has written about politics and EU issues for over 20 years for the Irish Independent, The Star, the Irish Examiner, The Irish Press, and The Kerryman.