IF ONLY every day was as easy for Enda Kenny, as, on a bright lunchtime in Dublin, the Fine Gael leader was elected Taoiseach.
Last weekend’s ratification of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition pact paved the way for Kenny’s day in the sun, but even in victory there were signs that it will not be all smooth sailing for the new government. Criticisms surrounding the lack of detail in the parties’ programme for government abounded in a number of maiden speeches to the house.
Independent Shane Ross typified the mood: “We do not know what they are promising except that they will be the government for the next few years and they will stick together come hell or high water,” he complained.
If the coalition is to remain in power that long it will have to get used to slings and arrows from a restive opposition, buoyed by a record 19 independents.
Most of this new crop is firmly on the left of Irish politics, and it is Eamon Gilmore’s Labour party that have the most to fear in the weeks and months ahead.
Nevertheless, a deep reserve of goodwill for Mr Kenny does exist, and the new Taoiseach is likely to need all the generosity he can muster. The coalition’s programme for government, optimistically titled Towards Recovery, can best be characterised as a constructive fudge between Fine Gael and Labour policy.
This article first appeared in the Scotsman 10 March