The Irish Times

Enda still on song despite Perry case

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As this political year draws to a close, the Government is busily clearing the legislativ­e decks.

This means the Taoiseach has given himself the option to pull the plug in early January, although most deputies seem to think he won’t call the election until the end of the month.

It should be an uneventful final week in Leinster House, but Fine Gael will be casting a nervous eye in the direction of the Four Courts on Tuesday when sitting TD John Perry’s High Court challenge over the handling of his Sligo-Leitrim selection convention is due to be heard.

Perry, who failed to get on the general election ticket, is threatenin­g to call the Taoiseach to give evidence.

John’s a very determined individual. Fine Gael held a special meeting on Wednesday for all its candidates, who were addressed by the Taoiseach and briefed by senior strategist­s.

Invitation

Perry received an invitation by email, which was rapidly retrieved by headquarte­rs, but the TD had already printed it out.

Then the venue was switched from the Royal College of Physicians to the Fine Gael party rooms in Leinster House. Luckily for Perry, a colleague mentioned the change.

He marched into the meeting and sat through it, much to the discomfort of the big wigs at the top table.

The atmosphere was more relaxed at Fine Gael’s annual media drinks on Tuesday night, where we hear Enda Kenny led a midnight sing-song.

Skuldugger­y

The following night Joan Burton hosted a get-together in Toner’s pub on Baggot Street. It wasn’t long before there were dark mutterings of skuldugger­y. To the puzzlement of the Labour people, there was a marked absence of journalist­s, despite the fact that free drink was on offer.

Finally, a posse of hacks descended on the scene. “Sorry we’re late” announced one of them, looking rather flushed. “We were in the Dáil bar.

Alan Kelly (pictured) phoned from Paris and left instructio­ns with the staff to stand us all a drink.

This did not go down well, with some party figures interpreti­ng AK47’s gesture as a brazen attempt to undermine his Tánaiste’s festive soiree.

Fianna Fáil are out of the traps next week with a pre-election wooing session in Doheny and Nesbitts. And Sinn Féin, as usual, won’t be wasting any money on the ingrates in the establishm­ent media.

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