Shane Ross apologises for describing Enda Kenny as “a political corpse”
“He personally found it offensive and I didn’t mean it to be that at all.”
Former Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has apologised for labelling former Taoiseach Enda Kenny as “a political corpse”.
Ross made the comments in a newspaper column for the Sunday Independent back in 2016 when he was leader of the Independent Alliance.
Speaking of the Alliance’s negotiations with Kenny prior to him being elected as Taoiseach for a second time that year, Ross wrote: “Sometime in the middle of the exchanges an awful truth dawned. We were possibly in dialogue with a political corpse.”
Over four years on, Ross, who was appointed to Cabinet by Kenny shortly after the comments were made, has apologised to the former Taoiseach, “not because it wasn’t an accurate political charge” but because Kenny personally found the comments to be “offensive” and because he “didn’t mean it to be like that, at all”.
Ross sat down with Ciara Doherty of Virgin Media for an interview to discuss his new book, In Bed with the Blueshirts, chronicling his time as a member of government until the formation of a new Dáil this summer.
Speaking about his comments on Kenny at the time, Ross said: “I think, in retrospect, I’m sorry I called him a political corpse. Not because it wasn’t an accurate political charge or a fair political charge, but he personally found it offensive and I didn't mean it to be that at all.”
"Politicians don't speak particularly kindly of each other when they're in the political atmosphere and I've been called things... probably much worse than that in the past and I didn't notice at all,” Ross added.
“And Enda I'd known for a very, very long time and we'd been across the table for five years, across the Dáil for five years exchanging quite robust things being said about each other.
"And so I suppose what I did then and... it wasn't a very brave thing of me to do, because what you don't do in politics – and we should learn, I think, probably – is you don't consider people's personal feelings enough and Enda was personally offended by it."
During the interview, Ross also speaks about being described as an alcoholic by his friends, his friendship with Eamon Dunphy, his infamous appearance at Katie Taylor’s homecoming at Dublin Airport and the current government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Big Interview: Shane Ross airs tonight at 10pm on Virgin Media One.