HAVING had to stand up in the Dáil recently and put it on the record that he is a believer in the freedom of the press as a cornerstone of our democracy was yet another embarrassing episode for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the wake of his latest trip to the United States during which he put his foot in it once again and insulted political journalists in particular.
Like his predecessor in the job, it seems that, when he goes abroad, he manages to lose the run of himself. Last March, he intimated to a gathering in Washington that Donald Trump owed him for making sure that a proposed wind farm development did not go ahead near the US President’s golf resort at Doonbeg in West Clare, but he had to row back on the story subsequently.
Earlier this month, he told a gathering of tech-savvy young Irish movers and shakers in New York that he ‘gets’ Donald Trump’s irritation with the media and ‘sympathises’ with the man who is constantly tweeting about ‘fake news’ and has a rather loose relationship with the truth! Then again, wasn’t it the since-disbanded Strategic Communications Unit set up by Mr Varadkar that tried to ‘spin’ government propaganda about the Project Ireland 2040 National Development Plan as news rather than advertising content in our regional newspapers a few months ago?
How relieved we were to hear him reiterate his belief in the necessity for a free press after his latest gaffe in the United States. Come back Enda, all is forgiven!