The Long Goodbye!
Political obituaries are usually written after the body has taken it's last breath. However, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny it seems that his political career was just about breathing long before his colleagues had him dead and buried. Although no one, least of all the Taoiseach himself, has come and said it yet, Enda Kenny's premiership ended last week with a truly awful performance in the Dáil where some members of the Opposition were calling for his head while his own party seemed to be wondering what on earth was going on. The one thing that was clear after his performance regarding what he did or didn't know and when he did or didn't known know about the Garda Whistleblower's case, was that he had effectively ended his own political career. It was such an inept performance of classic proportions that it was clear to everyone that Mr. Kenny could no longer continue as head of the country.
There has been speculation about when Enda Kenny would retire as Taoiseach, and who would replace him, for some time now but no one has actually come out and so clearly spoken about it, that is until now. Everything that was being spoken about in whispers is now talked about openly. It is not a case of if he retires but merely a matter of when. And that 'when' is going to be sooner rather than later.
It is expected, but not definite, that the Taoiseach will retire after his trip to Washington for St. Patrick's Day. And as soon as a date is made known the race for his job will be out in the open. No doub there has already been campaigning for the two main contenders, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, for a long while but again, like the retirement of Enda Kenny, it was always done in whispers. Varadkar is seen as the popular choice, but that doesn't mean he will win and others might want a safer pair of hands which Coveney is seen as being.
While that contest will no doubt be interesting, what will be just as interesting is to see who will rise and who will fall in any new cabinet. But everything must be done in order and before anything can really happen and any progress to be made then the Taoiseach has to say when he is leaving.
Very, very many Taoisigh appear to conflate the position they occupy with their own personalities and somehow consider being Taoiseach as being part of their own personal fiefdom. It is not. If you know you have to go then have the good grace to go in a timely and honourable fashion and not wander around like the living dead testing the patience of everyone around you.