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'My seven-year-old daughter shed a tear': Enda Kenny received a lot of well wishes when he stepped down

Although one critic wrote: “Thank God you’re finally off … back to the bog you came from.”

enda Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny Source: Artur Widak/SIPA USA/PA Images

AFTER MONTHS OF speculation, Enda Kenny announced he was stepping down as Fine Gael leader on 17 May 2017.

He stayed on as Taoiseach for another four weeks, until Leo Varadkar succeeded him after beating Simon Coveney to become the new leader of Fine Gael and the country.

In the weeks surrounding his departure from office, Kenny received a number of emails and letters about his record – they were mostly positive.

The correspondence was released to under a Freedom of Information request.

In one email, a person wrote: “On behalf of myself and my family and particularly my daughter who is 7 years old and a big fan, who shed a tear this evening when she heard you were stepping down (because she thinks you’re so nice and kind not like Donald Trump who she thinks looks mean!) I would like to say thank you for your years of hard work and effort on behalf of the Irish people.

“I have not always agreed with your policies but I have always felt your heart was in the right place and your intentions honourable. I wish you the best of luck in the next phase of your life.”

trump Source: Department of the Taoiseach

Another person wrote: “You have been a Taoiseach to be proud of. You raised the country up when it was in the depths of despair.

I hope this parting is not as painful to you as it’s to me and all your faithful supporters. Thank you for all your Trojan work for the country. You will be such a loss to national life.

In another email, a person said they and their family had been Fianna Fáil supporters for decades but “broke with that tradition two general elections ago and voted for you to lead us out of the sorry mess our country was in at the time”.

“You and your ministers have brought our little country from a state of chaos and hopelessness to the country we are today with your courage and your unwavering desire to do the right thing for the right reasons.”

church Source: Department of the Taoiseach

A woman living in Chicago emailed Kenny to ”commend” him for “two brave actions: your denunciation of church claims of immunity from the horrendous crimes of child abuse; and your speaking truth to [US President Donald] Trump over the issue of immigration”.

“My grandparents were immigrants from Ballinrobe and Swinford, so I’m an honorary granddaughter of Mayo. I’ve been proud of your courage,” she added.

Another person who was sorry to see Kenny leave wrote: “I am sad today that you have taken the decision to resign as party leader and very soon will no longer be the leader of the country.

The saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone’ I think will most certainly apply here.

The person commended Kenny’s “fantastic” experience at European and international leave, writing:”There have and always will been problems at home but you have steered the way through and I think it’s a huge mistake that you will not be leading and steering the country through the Brexit process.”

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‘Good riddance’ 

Not all of the emails and letters were positive. One negative email stated: “Thank God you’re finally off … back to the bog you came from. Good riddance.

“You’ll only be remembered for all your lies, tall tales, complete arrogance and utter failure to lead this tiny country. Nice to know we forced you out in the end!”

gone Source: Department of the Taoiseach

Another person who wasn’t a fan of Kenny wrote: “Thank god you are gone. You have always looked after yourself, not the citizens of Ireland except the rich.

“Shame on you, you and your government have ripped off the new poor and the OAPs,” the person wrote, adding that Kenny should “hand back all your pensions”.

Read: A true patriot or a tainted legacy? Enda Kenny gave his last speech as Taoiseach today

Read: From reluctant Taoiseach to reluctant ex-Taoiseach: What is Enda’s political legacy?

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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