Behind the Story: TIME’s Catherine Mayer Discusses Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny

TIME’s Europe editor, Catherine Mayer, talks about how she reported and wrote her magazine story on how Ireland’s Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, is trying to fix his country’s battered economy

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Levon Biss for TIME

Kenny in his office, flanked by the E.U. and Irish flags and photographs of people he admires

When Enda Kenny became Prime Minister of Ireland in February 2011 he inherited a mess. The country was staggering under an enormous debt load and facing rising unemployment. Kenny took over from Fianna Fail, the party that had been in power for 14 years and was most closely associated with overseeing economic policies that produced what became known as the Celtic Tiger — a period that saw remarkable economic growth in the previously struggling island country on the westernmost edge of Europe. That growth bubble, which was fueled by increased access to cheap money and an unsustainable property boom, began to burst shortly before the global economic crisis of 2008. The country’s rapid dive toward bankruptcy caused Ireland to seek a bailout from the E.U. and the International Monetary Fund in November 2010.

Currently the longest-serving member of Dail Eireann (the House of Representatives), Kenny has pressed on with the sort of cuts in government services that have brought protesters onto the streets of Greece and Spain, countries that are faced with similar debt burdens. Kenny, however, has not had to deal with as many public protests over austerity measures, and that has given him more political room than his Greek and Spanish counterparts. Many voters and commentators have long considered Kenny to be a lightweight figure in the Irish political scene, but with Ireland’s GDP beginning to sneak upward once again Kenny may prove himself anything but the “fool” that his predecessor called him in 2010.

(MORE: This Is the House That Ireland Built)

TIME’s Europe editor Catherine Mayer met Kenny that year for the first time. She had encountered him twice more before she spent time with him in Dublin in September while reporting for her magazine story (available to subscribers) on Ireland’s economic fight back. TIME spoke with Mayer to get the story behind the story.

Why were you interested in interviewing Enda Kenny in the first place?
Enda Kenny is somebody who has a gulf between the way he’s perceived in his home country and the way he is perceived abroad. Also because Ireland, as the second country to ask for a bailout, is quite far along in the process of dealing with the ramifications of what went wrong. I was looking for a way to look at some of the wider European issues, and Ireland’s story seemed to me a good starting place.

(MORE: The Meaning of Life — According to Geneticist J. Craig Venter)

And why do you think a gulf exists between the Irish and international perceptions of Kenny?
Politicians are often more popular abroad than they are in their own countries. That’s partly because familiarity breeds contempt. You could say it’s because the Irish know him better. But it’s also because the Irish focus on the smaller picture, and sometimes you really can see things better from a distance. It’s exactly the same if you think about what goes on in Washington or Westminster.

Kenny has a reputation for being very likable in person. Is that reputation deserved?
He’s extremely likable, that did not surprise me at all because that is very much part of his image. What I was really trying to see was what was behind that likability. In small groups he is much more fluent and compelling than he would appear to be were you to judge him from his big media set pieces. When cameras train on him he seems to freeze up, which is an interesting problem for somebody in that position. But when he’s relaxed he’s interesting and has a lot to say.

(MORE: Q&A with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny)

His predecessor Brian Cowen called him a fool. Did he have any foolish moments when you interviewed him?
He didn’t do anything that one would think of as particularly foolish. He’s certainly endearing and has a slightly childlike quality to his enthusiasm. There was a moment, when he was showing me around his office and showing me absolutely everything, including all his photos, where you found yourself thinking that he was sweet. But that is combined with a real sense of shrewdness, and that is the thing that doesn’t come across when you see him at a distance.

How genuinely sensitive do you think he is to the financial woes of Irish people?
I think all politicians are far too insulated from reality but in Ireland they are actually less so than in other countries. I mention in the piece that Enda Kenny walks to and from work, and he does actually have regular direct contact with people who tell him exactly what they think. You may wonder how much that actually means to him because he has a job and is being paid for his work. I suspect that in Ireland more politicians know people who are themselves directly in trouble than is the case in many of the more featherbed capitals of the world. So he’s not himself directly suffering but I’m pretty sure he does know what’s going on.

(MORE: Former Ireland Prime Minister Bertie Ahern)

What is your experience of reporting from Ireland?
I’ve been covering Ireland for years but mostly covering Northern Ireland because that was such a big story for so long. I first visited Dublin in the early 1980s and was absolutely fascinated and slightly shocked to find myself traveling backward in time. It was like a time warp in comparison with London — a place where everywhere shuts down at night, and young women with small babies sat begging on the pavements. I didn’t really understand at that stage what was holding back Irish development. I then got to know the Republic of Ireland really well, but as I say I spent a huge amount of time north of the border right through the 1990s covering the conflict.

Do you think Kenny can stem the emigration of educated young people to countries like Australia?
While I was in Dublin I spoke to the ESRI [Economic and Social Research Institute], and one view they gave on the current outflow of young people is that it’s not necessarily a bad thing for Ireland. These people go abroad and gain experience but the moment the economy begins to recover they’ll come back again like homing pigeons bringing new skills with them. They also bring links from abroad, and given that Ireland’s such an open economy and relies so much on its trading routes, that’s not a bad thing. What worries me about Ireland, and what would circumscribe anything that Enda Kenny or any other politician could do, is that the euro-zone crisis is horribly interconnected. How well things turn out for Ireland will affect all of us and not just the Irish people. We will just have to wait and see what happens unfortunately.

MORE: Mayer’s TIME Story on Enda Kenny and the Irish Answer

100 comments
declanfoley2
declanfoley2

"While I was in Dublin....."  Says it all about this lady, in the cocooned bubble where everything is rosy. Kenny knew well what he was taking over. He promised the people of Ireland that he would improve the behaviour in the parliament of Ministers in their replies to "the people".

The only plan he and his party had  was to just get their "hands in the greasy till"

No, Enda is no fool when it comes to taking care of the blueshirts and the Croke Park agreement: both keep him in power. He can even out up with being patted like a little dog by Anegla, all for the sake of Kenny and FG.....The sick, the elderly and the poor can eat cake provided by charities.


DanielMurray
DanielMurray

I have more respect for Edna after he got to the task. He has grown with the job and the terrible challenge, has raised  his game. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I do get concerned that our efforts are making us look like saps that get a pat for being a good dog.

RósaCorcoran
RósaCorcoran

The Irish reacted to this piece with a mixture of hilarity and outrage. Kenny is a joke here in Ireland. His administration along with their partners in Labour have inflicted savage cuts on the most vulnerable in Irish society devastating health, education, economic growth and recovery in order to force the Irish people to pay billions to un-guaranteed bondholders and zombie banks. Nothing to be proud of. The St Vincent de Paul who are a charitable organisation on the front lines issued a statement today saying the Irish people are terrified of the further brutal cuts coming in the Christmas budget. They are giving food vouchers to assist families who were once generous contributors to their organisation. Think about it. Scary stuff. Shame, shame, shame on Enda Kenny. 

mdelmur
mdelmur

You didnt do your homework on Kenny. He is a failure and I regret voting for him. There are corrupt elements in his government. The politicians here command massive salaries and numerous unvouched for expenses of all descriptions. We need a revolution in this country. God help us, we are all on the Titanic, we have no hope.

Trudy Leyden
Trudy Leyden

As we've seen from the fickleness in global markets, perception IS everything. One person advocating some positivity here is just not enough. Where are the other readers with more to say than pointing out all the negative things that have happened since the bank bailout? Can we focus on the possibilities of the future? Negativity only breeds negativity and may I remind some people here that the Irish electorate gave Fine Gael more votes than they have ever given them with Enda Kenny at the helm?

We could have voted for parties that advocated a complete refusal to deal with the bond-holder issue, we had that choice. WE DID NOT TAKE IT. Fortunately the Irish realized that this was a far from a black and white issue and that like it or not our economy is not stand alone. We are no longer a self-sufficient island.

We are a realistic and resilient nation. We believe in ourselves. A lot  of us are still reeling from the devastation, yes, of course. However, at a local or at an international level, nobody likes a moaner and like it or not, perception IS everything.

Can we be a little more supportive of the person the majority of Irish people chose to lead our country in it's most difficult period? Really, what harm will it do? 

Any Irish- Americans contemplating the expense of coming to Ireland to support The Gathering next year (and giving a healthy injection to our economy) may just decide against it unless we make them WANT to come.

sircogold
sircogold

EMIGRATION AND SUICIDE, THE TWO GREAT ACHIEVMENTS OF ENDA AND CO

sircogold
sircogold

isSHE ONE OF THE BALLYMAGASH MAYER,S

sircogold
sircogold

As it now transpires.Enda and co are battering the irish economyi nto pulp. . Two  totally destructive budgets taking three times the anticipated cash out of the economy and destroying jobs. Enda is afool leading a Ship of fools. QUANGOS, WASTE,  ADVISORS. NO HOPE IRELAND

Donal Mc Donnell
Donal Mc Donnell

Another fact about Enda Kenny and how far he is from the man on the street center around two facts. firstly, Kenny had held on to his teaching position for many years and which he could return to whenever he liked, thus leaving a position that could be taken by one of the young new teachers unavailable. what greed, however I now believe he has finally  given up this position. secondly, he sold people his guarantee that a certain hospital would not be loosing services and guess what he reneged.

other facts are his stance on nepotism, again certain peoples in his grasp were awarded certain posts.  He does not walk to work, are you kidding me, his very sight on some streets would lead to anarchy. also, his standing by the minister for health, o,reilly, is excuse the pun, sickning. care homes been built in lands belonging to his peers.  whats more fine gael and labour have sold us to Europe and now our budgets are going to be examined by European bureaucrats.  The problem we have and had is that we do not have anybody else to vote in, where are our political ideologists gone, have we exported every political brain abroad, surely not in our short history as a republic we are letting the world know that we cannot manage our own affairs. to gain our independence and then bow to Europe is an insult to all who laboured, fought and inspired an independent Ireland. 

Diarmuid O'Flynn
Diarmuid O'Flynn

My answer to Catherine:

 http://bondwatchireland.blogsp...

84 weeks we've been marching in protest in Ballyhea; today I spoke to a local man, distraught after delivering his highly-qualified 30-yr-old daughter - equally distraught - to Shannon Airport, another in the wave of emigrants.

Shame on you, Time, really shoddy work.

vncek29
vncek29

I think putting Enda on de front of dat magazine is de biggestistake o our TIME!

Gerard Murphy
Gerard Murphy

It's Time for Time Magazine to visit Ireland and see the reality of what is happening. From unemployment, personal and sovereign debt out of control, and the bottom rung of society being used as at first step of savage cuts. Mr. Kenny has not done a good job, unless your view is from bank bondholders who are getting their money back. This edition of Time magazine is an insult to all Irish people.

Paul O'Keeffe
Paul O'Keeffe

I think Catherine must have been at the wine.  The mind boggles how anyone, even  the European editor of a right wing neo-liberal trumpeting rag, can applaud this man. He should be behind bars for the lies he told to get into office, the inadequacy and corruption of his government and the continued pilferage of Ireland. Shame on Time yet again.

David Higgins
David Higgins

Catherine, I just want to thank you for coming to Ireland and meeting with our Taoiseach. It's great to see you conclude that Ireland WILL recover and that our Taoiseach is the right person to do it.

I know journalists don't make such strong conclusions likely. Your front page photo and article will help Ireland re-gain its reputation in the eyes of the world, something we have lost since this crisis began.

This comments section has attracted many telling their stories of hardship during these difficult times. While I symapthise with their situations, if you went to Greece or elsewhere in Europe you would find much worse stories.

seanroadking
seanroadking

You have glorified and honoured a man who has deceived, cheated and lied his way into power.

He has totally conned the Irish people with his pre election promises. 

I am absolutely at a loss as to why you have this cheat ( a member of a party I unfortunately voted for based on what he promised) on your front cover.

By all means do so AFTER he has delivered on what he promised us...the Irish electorate.

Never in recent times has a prime minister been given a clear and unequivocal mandate fro his people and never has anyone failed so miserable.

Shame on you Time.

gibbs28
gibbs28

he is a washed up teacher who is screwing his own people paying billions to unsecured bondholders, but cutting services and hitting the most vulnerable in society, he is out of his depth.this is drivel why would anyone waste there time on him is beyond me.

tommurphy2
tommurphy2

"the current outflow of young people is that it’s not necessarily a bad thing for Ireland. These people go abroad and gain experience but the moment the economy begins to recover they’ll come back again like homing pigeons bringing new skills with them"

What a load of drivel. Our government is paying for the education of young people so they can work in other countries! Pure Madness. 

weecelene
weecelene

I live in Madrid, moved from Ireland 9 years ago. I saw the protests, the fear in people. . .in Ireland there are social welfare benefits, here if you lose your job, you get 4 months dole for every year you have worked up to a maximum of 2 years, after this you are on the street, what else do you do! They have nothing to lose....I´ve seen people eating food off the ground in front of me, people looking in bins, every where I go there are beggars! It´s terrible, so sad ! Now they are refusing health care to immigrants . . . . the politicians here are so out of touch.

Barry Callaghan
Barry Callaghan

I can now state categorically that "Penthouse Magazine now has more credibility than Time Magazine  ,unfortunate,but this is what happens when you write a article either stoned,drunk,both or clearly out of touch.This Article is so ridiculous that it beggars belief,did the writer not bother to dig in to the real economic crisis facing Ireland? or is it a carefully planned advertising campaign directed at International investors ,if that is the case,Time magazine has greatly insulted their intelligence,and pretty much anyone else who can add 2+2..Stunning.simply stunning..Bye Bye Time Magazine.

Sonia Bonelli
Sonia Bonelli

The cover should have been a picture of the Irish families who are rebuilding the country..ridiculous and only insulating the governments ego who are completely out of touch. @Catherine Mayer just because you don't see the begging in the streets like the eighties there are mothers and children going hungry. Protests have not happened so much here as some of the taxes and cuts were stealth and their target of children and elderly has been shameful while they refuse to bring cuts to themselves. So disappointed in Time for a narrow minded propaganda spin.

muiris dunworth
muiris dunworth

The one thing I want to know is did he ask her if she was a Mayo woman?

doocey014588
doocey014588

Ms Mayer is to be applauded for her article. Reading the criticism here from un- reformed left wing Pinkos and followers of the disgraced Fianna Fail party you would think Enda kenny was the arcitect of Irelands woos. This country will always have its begrudgers.Day be day it is getting up off its knees. Yes our young are leaving in their droves to secure a temporary future. But they no longer join Macalpine`s fusaleres and drown their sorrows in the pubs of Kilburn with little or no education and no hope. Today they carry their education and their spitit and contribute at the highest levels in Canada, Australia and all places in between.  The pain inflicted on these young people was home grown and inflicted on them by their parents and grand parents who election after election bought the charms of a village fool of a politician namely Bertie Aherne and passed the bill for their stupidity to their children. Yes we are on the way back and we will rise again and Enda Kenny deserves credit for that.  

ciarar1
ciarar1

Regardless of what has happened in the past, whatever the

rootless and irrelevant comments about Enda Kenny being a terrorist or his

salary being too high, and disregarding the cheap jibes on expenses, one can’t

deny the exemplar job of Ireland in sorting out their problems.

 

Why do you think all the focus is on Greece? Why so much

anxiety about Spain and Italy, and no sign of Ireland in the news? Why is the I

in PIGS being replaced by Italy? Granted, Spain and Italy are far bigger and

have a larger contagion effect. But the main reason is because Ireland is the

role model post-crisis in dealing with their problems first hand. People fail

to note that Irish bond yields are in fact LOWER than Spain or Italy.

 

What makes me ashamed to be Irish is the constant negativity

and moaning by the nation. Our merits for achieving recovery is a consequence

of our major fault – lack of independent leadership. Not at national level, but

at an individual level. We’re not going onto the streets not because we are

more content, but because we prefer to put our heads under the parapet and

complain with a pint down the gullet rather than going onto the streets. We

follow IMF rules so closely and it is what is getting us out of this mess. Why?

Because our leaders enact them, but also because the Irish people can’t be

bothered to make it difficult for decision-makers.

 

So the comments below are typical Ireland – take a jibe at our

leaders who try and change the country, differentiating from the average Irish

Joe who prefers to fit into the crowd like cowards. Before complaining at those

who are trying, and with good effect, to fix our country, maybe the Irish

people should look at themselves and maybe take heed to external advice – take pride

in our leaders who actually try to fix our country, and be ashamed of such

cowardly comments.

ciarar1
ciarar1

Regardless of what has happened in the past, whatever the

rootless and irrelevant comments about Enda Kenny being a terrorist or his

salary being too high, and disregarding the cheap jibes on expenses, one can’t

deny the exemplar job of Ireland in sorting out their problems.

 

Why do you think all the focus is on Greece? Why so much

anxiety about Spain and Italy, and no sign of Ireland in the news? Why is the I

in PIGS being replaced by Italy? Granted, Spain and Italy are far bigger and

have a larger contagion effect. But the main reason is because Ireland is the

role model post-crisis in dealing with their problems first hand. People fail

to note that Irish bond yields are in fact LOWER than Spain or Italy.

 

What makes me ashamed to be Irish is the constant negativity

and moaning by the nation. Our merits for achieving recovery is a consequence

of our major fault – lack of independent leadership. Not at national level, but

at an individual level. We’re not going onto the streets not because we are

more content, but because we prefer to put our heads under the parapet and

complain with a pint down the gullet rather than going onto the streets. We

follow IMF rules so closely and it is what is getting us out of this mess. Why?

Because our leaders enact them, but also because the Irish people can’t be

bothered to make it difficult for decision-makers.

 

So the comments below are typical Ireland – take a jibe at our

leaders who try and change the country, differentiating from the average Irish

Joe who prefers to fit into the crowd like cowards. Before complaining at those

who are trying, and with good effect, to fix our country, maybe the Irish

people should look at themselves and maybe take heed to external advice – take pride

in our leaders who actually try to fix our country, and be ashamed of such

cowardly comments.

ciarar1
ciarar1

Regardless of what has happened in the past, whatever the

rootless and irrelevant comments about Enda Kenny being a terrorist or his

salary being too high, and disregarding the cheap jibes on expenses, one can’t

deny the exemplar job of Ireland in sorting out their problems.

 

Why do you think all the focus is on Greece? Why so much

anxiety about Spain and Italy, and no sign of Ireland in the news? Why is the I

in PIGS being replaced by Italy? Granted, Spain and Italy are far bigger and

have a larger contagion effect. But the main reason is because Ireland is the

role model post-crisis in dealing with their problems first hand. People fail

to note that Irish bond yields are in fact LOWER than Spain or Italy.

 

What makes me ashamed to be Irish is the constant negativity

and moaning by the nation. Our merits for achieving recovery is a consequence

of our major fault – lack of independent leadership. Not at national level, but

at an individual level. We’re not going onto the streets not because we are

more content, but because we prefer to put our heads under the parapet and

complain with a pint down the gullet rather than going onto the streets. We

follow IMF rules so closely and it is what is getting us out of this mess. Why?

Because our leaders enact them, but also because the Irish people can’t be

bothered to make it difficult for decision-makers.

 

So the comments below are typical Ireland – take a jibe at our

leaders who try and change the country, differentiating from the average Irish

Joe who prefers to fit into the crowd like cowards. Before complaining at those

who are trying, and with good effect, to fix our country, maybe the Irish

people should look at themselves and maybe take heed to external advice – take pride

in our leaders who actually try to fix our country, and be ashamed of such

cowardly comments.

Shiv Reynolds
Shiv Reynolds

'In trying to fix a national crisis, Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny may be finding solutions for Europe'...I think Mr Kenny is more interested in the latter task of finding solutions for Europe.......This man galls me. Rhetoric, hypocrisy, back-tracking grr grr grr

Stephen B
Stephen B

Time and other lefty American rags should stick to trying to brainwash Americans to love Obama. Our country is broke, people are leaving it every 5 seconds and Enda is  doing nothing about it. Even worse, him and his pseudo socialist comrades in Labour are making it worse.I'll never buy your magazine again. And Americans have the audacity to laugh at Korean or Iranian propaganda...this is surreal.

There are no positives to mass emigration by the way,this entire article was condescending and dismissive of every Irish person. Very insulting to even think that someone would even consider it.

Words and Comments
Words and Comments

Just in case anyone might be under any misapprehension the country is still staggering under an enormous debt load and facing rising unemployment. Kenny may have inherited a mess but a mess is what he is going to pass on to the next government - which won't include either Fine Gael or Labour. And for the record, neither of those parties particularly distinguished themselves from Fianna Fáil when they were implementing the policies of 'what became known as the celtic tiger'. The only thing that has changed is that the cheerleaders have become critic and vis-a-versa. 

Rory Mo-Ran
Rory Mo-Ran

That interview was typical of @rtenews avoiding the issue that @time article by @catherine_mayer was not reality based journalism. There can be no recovery without debt forgiveness, from a country with a debt to GDP ratio of + %200, never it's not possible. The truth is that our ratio may be closer to %300. We're screwed and Enda has done nothing to help us. He hasn't even looked for a debt writ-down. Enda is in good company though, Time Magazine awarded Adolf Hitler Man of the Year in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 and again in 1942, Richard Nixon in 1971 and again, with Henry Kissinger, in 1972, 'The Two George Bushes' in 1990 and George W. again in 2000 plus Vladimir Putin Man of the Year in 2007.  It's a joke!

fgdont
fgdont

Clueless and Comical

seanroadking
seanroadking

I find this hard to believe. A weak prime minister with no real power making the cover of Time magazine??? A man in charge who refuses to tackle the real issues of wanton waste in the public sector, misuse of funds and a grossly overpaid civil service which includes himself. We have no hope whatsoever of ever paying the total country's debts.

Catherine, are you having us on?

Enda Kenny had nothing to do with the "recovery" of the Celtic Tiger...Ireland, a wonderful country with fantastic tolerant people. His hand is been forced by the Troika who really run the country and he is merely their front man, their puppet.  Enda Kenny does not, and neither does his ,government, run Ireland any longer.

The credit goes  solely to the very patient Irish people who are  the real source for any possible recovery. A people who have endured severe and very painful hardship and will continue to do so for many years yet. There is a range of new taxes planned by this great government that will kill off any green shoots of recovery. At the same time your great white hero Enda, his ministers, the opposition and the the civil servants will retire on pensions that would make the US  president or the German Chancellor blush. Enda Kenny earns (what a misuse of a word) a gross unjustified salary which is more than your president, the German Chancellor, the French President and what many other true world leaders earn.

He will NOT face down the spoiled public service and their militant unions who have publicly declared they will close the country if a disgraceful agreement, the Croke Park Agreement, made years ago is touched or revisited.

 

Neither will he behave like a true leader of a bankrupt country with well over 16% unemployed (no account in the official figures of 14.5% for any self employed thrown onto the heap of the unemployed) and take a proper pay and pension cut.  Leaders lead by example and not by sheets of useless promises. Do you realise that the public service pay a pittance towards their own pensions? We, the Irish people, have to borrow billions to keep these useless, spoiled public servants in the luxury they have become accustomed to.

This is totally immoral and is being inflicted on us on a daily basis. We have to endure the sight of massive salaries, surreal pensions and pay off's, extraordinary allowances and expenses and archaic work practices dating back generations. All watched on by a bankrupt people and by a useless prime minister.

I have seldom seen such a reaction to the headline in our national paper all deriding the honour you have bestowed on this man.

Enda Kenny, the nice guy ex school teacher, as the hero to lead us away from the brink? Not a chance...he has not got the will nor the back bone  to truly lead and take the tough decisions that will lead us back to some semblance 0f normality.

Shame on you for glorifying this man.

Elephant_In_The_Room
Elephant_In_The_Room

Seriously Catherine, you ought to retract this article if

you'd like TIME to restore whatever credibility it as left in Ireland. At least

do a counter-story outlining the discontent that you see with the comments

below. I have not seen one positive comment both here and in Ireland on this

topic. Please do some research on any of the Social Media forums and I'm sure

some Text Analysis would show over 95% of the comment to be negative. You need

to apologise to the Irish people for releasing such utter tripe.

Antoinette Milne
Antoinette Milne

I really thought this was a joke, thought it was a photoshop edit of our "Leader" - shocked to find this is real. Enda Kenny is head of a government who are still favouring cronism, has record unemployment figures, 3rd world health service (nearly), huge cuts in education/public sectors, new taxes introduced, and he is STILL paying out billions of taxpayers money on UNSECURED bonds, and still dancing to the tune of the Trioka??? The man is a joke, and is not to be admired, but pityed. Im sure there are people in mental institutions across the world, with more common sense than this clown.........

Nicole Buckler Kelly
Nicole Buckler Kelly

As someone living in Ireland, I can honestly say that Enda is doing a good job with what he has...but there is no comeback in sight. Unemployment rising, housing prices still haven't bottomed out, most of the population strangled by debt, huge government cuts coming, middle classes are paying for everyone through huge taxes etc etc we ain't out of the woods, in fact the woods are on fire and even the floods here can't put them out. Yay Enda but believe me, there's no comeback, it's all fantasy..

Shane O'Connor
Shane O'Connor

Jesus, you may as well have put a picture of me up on the front cover. That buffoon is talking out of his backside. A poorly educated, secondary school teacher who only got into government by default. (Endas favourite word) Comeback my backside. You will need to research your articles a little better in the future and look at the state of the economy and the actual benchmarks for growth before patting this imbecile on the back.

Mark Kirwan
Mark Kirwan

It's depressing how Irish politicians seem to believe that PR puff-pieces like this will "build confidence" in Ireland again, and help the country get out of the mess it's in. 

One small, but significant, observation: The use of GDP  and its supposed "sneak upwards" is misleading in Ireland's case as foreign multinational companies constitute so much of our economic activity. GNP is a more significant way of measuring our economic health, and on that, Stephen Donnelly, a TD who knows more about business and economics than Enda Kenny I would wager, had this to say recently:

LAST Tuesday I had lunch in Boston with four Harvard professors. I hoped to discuss one question: what can Ireland do to turn around our levels of national debt, household debt and unemployment? To my surprise, the view of Ireland's prospects was decidedly positive. We had taken the hard medicine, were closing the budget deficit and our economy was growing again.

So I gave them the following two figures: 1) our gross national product (GNP) fell by 2.5 per cent last year and 2) our national debt was climbing towards 160 per cent of GNP. One of the professors paused, looked me in the eye and declared: "You're screwed."Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, I met a further 13 people in Washington DC -- IMF and World Bank officials and a range of experts from leading American think tanks. Amongst those I met were renowned economists and advisers to the Bush and Clinton administrations.The view was largely the same. Ireland was doing well; it was successfully differentiating itself from Greece, Spain and Italy; it was on a path to recovery. But once the 2.5 per cent and 160 per cent figures were thrown into the mix, optimism faded.http://www.independent.ie/opinion/ana...

James Hendicott
James Hendicott

What an utterly ridiculous story. Ask around in Ireland, you'll hear the odd argument that we've 'bottomed out' and more than we're still going further downhill. Comeback... yeah right! Total trash.

Stephen murphy
Stephen murphy

I'll never read such, shoddy Journalism from a Magazine and Journalism. Are they qualified Journalists, in Time Magazine? Enda Kenny, the biggest idiot in irish politics ever!

Vince Leahy
Vince Leahy

Funniest pic seen in long time..muppet.

Mike Mc Grath-Bryan
Mike Mc Grath-Bryan

This has been a ray of sunshine into my otherwise grey day. Thank you so much for the hearty laughter this article has provided.

You have succeeded in convincing people that incompetence, bribery and collusion is the road to recovery. So much for TIME. Like, ever again.

declanfoley2
declanfoley2

@Trudy Leyden 

No the majority did not support Enda Kenny to become Taoiseach; he became Taoiseach by default, just as he was first elected to the Dail.

He promised change in how Dail business was conducted; reduce the quangos and make Ireland a more equitable society. Since becoming Taoiseach he has turned his back on everything to focus on money. He has shown no leadership or empathy with the people in need.

No cuts or reduction in the disgraceful pay and perks of TD's. (I read somewhere that he received 180,000 Euro in expenses last year, which brings his pay to 360,000 Euro.)

I suggest you start looking at the facts in Ireland, particularly rural Ireland where the elderly now live in fear of thieves and robbers, as Garda stations are closed and personnel number reduced.

I really have to laugh at your final sentence, "Any Irish-Americans contemplating the expense...to support The Gathering..giving a healthy injection to our economy......" Yes indeed, give us your money and we will spend it, but we who live in Ireland will never invest in our own country!

What about us who live in Australia, are we not welcome or wanted? The entire focus on The Gathering is in America 




itscanny
itscanny

Enda Kenny conned, lied, and cheated his way into office.  Moreover, his practice of tax the poor and shelter the wealthy, is exactly the same practice that his party engaged in during the 1980's.  How did that work out back then?

Enda Kenny has not implemented a single one of his campaign promises.  Despite this being his second tax budget, he has yet to address the Universal Social Charge, the lavish expenses he and his cohorts pull down - some just for showing up to work, cronyism, and all the other promises he made.  

Enda Kenny barely has the qualifications to run a schoolyard, let alone a school - and here he is running a country.  The man is an embarrassment  and should be hung and quartered like the traitor he is.

Offtopic: isn't it interesting you registered just to make these two comments here, "David Higgins"?

Trudy Leyden
Trudy Leyden

You may have heard the expression caught between a rock and a hard place? The Irish: Rock      EU/IMF: Hard Place  

daveyboyfox
daveyboyfox

Ignore him.  This is an idiot of the highest order who claims Enda Kenny as one of his "most inspirational people" on facebook.  His twitter profile also says "Studies MSISS in Trinity. P.R.O of @trinityyfg and Dublin policy officer so I'm a bit of a Fine Gaeler. Plays piano now and then."  A literal Young Fine Gaeler.  So in short, he's a joke and his comment shouldn't even be allowed as it's clearly not his own opinion. David, you know that Enda won't come to your birthday party just because you wrote something to defend him, right?

declanfoley2
declanfoley2

@Trudy Leyden 

Still does not prevent radical and major changes (urgently required) in government of Ireland, particularly Local Government.