ENDA KENNY DREW warm laughter from guests at a function in the US last night, telling them (tongue-in-cheek, mind) it was “a pity” he had to fly back across the Atlantic and into another round of political wrangling.
The caretaker Taoiseach was in Washington yesterday for the usual St Patrick’s week formalities.
Speaking at the Ambassador’s reception last night, he told an anecdote about a conversation he had had with one of the limo drivers that day.
The driver, he said, had asked him how his day was going.
Speaking to the reception guests, Kenny detailed how he had had breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden, before travelling to the White House to meet the President.
“And then you leave that, go to Capitol Hill and the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has a big lunch there for the Irish people – in respect of something that’s been going on for a very long time,” the Taoiseach continued.
“And then you meet with senators and congressmen about other issues – about Ireland and about Northern Ireland.
Then you go back to the White House and you meet the President again and five or six hundred guests are there in the East Room.
“I said ‘the day’s actually going very well’.
I was going to say ‘Bejaysus it’s a pity I have to go back to Ireland and face what I have to face back there’ – but however!
The celebrations took place early because Kenny is travelling to Brussels for a European Council meeting tomorrow.
While other government ministers have also travelled abroad, senior Fine Gael figures like Frances Fitzgerald, Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar have been involved in talks with smaller parties and independents this week as efforts continue to try and form a new government.
Those smaller groupings and independents are talking separately to both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil – however none of the discussions has yielded any tangible outcome.
The Social Democrats, which has three TDs in the new Dáil, this morning ruled out participation in a minority Government led by either of the two largest parties.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that the current exercise of both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael talking to smaller parties and Independents is only shadowboxing, postponing the inevitable,” a statement said.
“It is clear there is no possibility of either a majority or a minority Government without some agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and we would actively encourage the two parties to accept that reality,” SocDems deputy Catherine Murphy added.
Any discussions regarding policies are meaningless until Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have made a decision about whether or not they can work together in some form of arrangement.