MARY CARR

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS -

AF­TER his maul­ing at the hands of the band LCD Soundsys­tem, the Taoiseach cer­tainly had rea­son to feel on far safer ground with Kylie. The Aus­tralian pop princess has an enor­mous gay fan base and she’s so lack­ing in cool that even if Don­ald Trump bull­dozed his way back­stage to squeeze her del­i­cate fingers in his chubby paw, there would be no dam­age to her glitzy im­age.

No chance at all of the diminu­tive diva copy­ing the hip LCD Soundsys­tem gui­tarist and call­ing Leo a ‘tosser’.

In­stead she wore her best pro­fes­sional smile as she posed be­tween the starstruck Taoiseach, his boyfriend Dr Matt and their pals, all vis­i­bly glow­ing from shim­my­ing to Spin­ning Around and the ex­hil­a­rat­ing thrill of be­ing in her pres­ence.

But Leo’s gang, who proudly wore their lam­i­nated passes to Kylie’s Golden Tour around their necks, had no idea of the train that was hurtling down the tracks to­wards him.

It ar­rived in the shape of a Face­book hater (on so­cial me­dia, crit­ics are known as haters) who re­ported see­ing the Taoiseach and his cronies tuck­ing into a free meal at the con­cert and leav­ing with­out tip­ping.

Our leader snapped into ac­tion at this dread­ful calumny and, show­ing the de­ci­sive­ness for which he is not yet renowned, tweeted: ‘There was no meal, we only had drinks and I paid. I have the re­ceipt to prove it too.’

IT GOES with­out say­ing there was a Twit­ter­storm from Leo’s fol­low­ers, most of them scratch­ing their heads as to how the leader of a coun­try that’s fac­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary chal­lenges like Brexit, a de­crepit health ser­vice and hous­ing cri­sis, has ei­ther the time, en­ergy or in­cli­na­tion to tackle such non­sense.

Should he not be track­ing his Bri­tish coun­ter­part who is, what­ever else you can say about her, at least do­ing the job for which she is paid? May is try­ing to chart what she be­lieves is the best way for­ward for her coun­try through the Brexit quag­mire while se­cur­ing her own fu­ture.

Mean­while in France, Leo’s best buddy Em­manuel Macron is in trou­ble hav­ing done a U-turn on the car­bon tax which caused tur­moil on the streets. All over the world there are politi­cians try­ing to im­prove peo­ple’s lives, yet our Taoiseach – or his staff – are de­vot­ing them­selves to de­mol­ish­ing the pa­thetic ram­blings of an in­ter­net war­rior.

Who else can af­ford the lux­ury of safe­guard­ing their pub­lic rep­u­ta­tion in such metic­u­lous de­tail? Kim Jong-un in North Korea or the child­like Mr Trump?

The bizarre pri­or­i­ties of our Taoiseach, his re­lent­less em­pha­sis on spin­ning him­self into a suave Mis­ter Cool does not just show him as de­luded and im­ma­ture, it raises alarm­ing ques­tions about his abil­ity to lead in a cri­sis.

His re­cent prom­ise to cut taxes over the next three bud­gets is a naked at­tempt to win sup­port in the gen­eral elec­tion.

His ap­proach to prob­lems like hous­ing and health is to pass the par­cel to the rel­e­vant minister and ob­serve them make a hames of it.

EVEN though he is a for­mer Health minister and med­i­cal doctor, he pan­icked in the face of the cer­vi­cal can­cer cri­sis. He added to the chaos, mak­ing prom­ises he couldn’t keep but which served the short­term goal of quelling pub­lic disquiet and pre­sent­ing him­self as au­thor­i­ta­tive. He said the State would com­pen­sate pa­tients and pur­sue lit­i­ga­tion against the lab­o­ra­to­ries, but that could never hap­pen.

Along with the in­ert HSE, he al­lowed pub­lic ig­no­rance about smear test­ing to flour­ish so that con­fi­dence in can­cer screen­ing was al­most shat­tered. He didn’t in­ter­vene when Si­mon Har­ris in­flamed the catas­tro­phe by fran­ti­cally of­fer­ing a free smear test to ev­ery woman.

Economists say the next global re­ces­sion is not far away. Who knows when it will fall, but can we de­pend on the Taoiseach to make tough de­ci­sions that will shat­ter his pre­cious im­age and make him un­pop­u­lar? His per­for­mance dur­ing the cer­vi­cal can­cer cri­sis – the one time he was tested – hardly sug­gests we can.

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