Belfast Telegraph

Kenny brushes off snoozing claims

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has brushed off claims he fell asleep during a jobs announcement by a world leading pharmaceutical firm.

Mr Kenny appeared to have nodded off during an hour-and-a-half-long event marking the creation of 100 jobs at the Amgen Ireland plant in Dun Laoghaire at lunchtime.

But when challenged on whether he had been dozing in front of a room full of executives, enterprise chiefs, politicians and staff from the US company, the Taoiseach dismissed the suggestion, saying: "I am reflecting deeply on the thoughts being put out."

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, who joined the Taoiseach to support the announcement, leapt to his defence, saying: "I have never caught him asleep anyway."

The Taoiseach had been keeping a packed diary throughout the day beginning with an early morning meeting with Oireachtas members at 6.50am

He followed that with a two-hour engagement at the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on the Referendum on the Fiscal Stability Treaty, where he was grilled from 9.30am to 11.30am over the Government's stance on the European deal.

Mr Kenny travelled straight to the midday jobs announcement in Dun Laoghaire, and immediately afterwards set off to inspect Fine Gael's posters promoting a Yes vote in the EU treaty referendum as they rolled off the presses at The Printed Image in Fonthill, west Dublin.

And the busy day of engagements continued as he braved the elements and met winners at the Punchestown national hunt festival in Kildare.

The 61-year-old Taoiseach, who has always led a busy and active life, is the Father of the Dail, the longest-serving member of the Dail, having entered the House when he was 24.

Mr Kenny has climbed Croagh Patrick more than 100 times as well as Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. He also likes to cycle and there are plans for the Taoiseach to join Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni on the Reek in Mayo for a hike ahead of Euro2012.

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