Uninspiring Enda’s 'a safe pair of hands'
Enda Kenny has been waiting for a shot at power for decades, and it has taken the country's economic meltdown to give the nation's longest-serving member of parliament a chance to emerge from the shadow of opposition.
But even as his Fine Gael party looks set to triumph in today's elections, there remains a lingering feeling among voters — and even among some of his own party — that Mr Kenny (59) is just too nice to dig the nation out from under a mountain of debt and renegotiate the IMF and European Union bailout.
Mr Kenny entered Ireland's parliament in 1975, becoming the nation's youngest parliamentarian. He kept a low profile, before receiving his first ministerial position in 1994.
He ascended to the leadership of Fine Gael in 2002.
During his time at the helm, Mr Kenny has cultivated a reputation as a safe — if a little uninspiring — pair of hands. Yet he saw off a leadership challenge last year, and in an uncharacteristically colourful moment in this campaign, he scornfully slapped down a Fianna Fail opponent during a television debate, telling him, “You're full of wind and spoof.”
This election, it seems, the voters are willing to cast aside their misgivings for the safe pair of hands.