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Kenny asks spin doctor to stay for smooth transition

A TOUGH ex-army officer today confirmed his reputation as Ireland's top spin doctor.

New Taoiseach Enda Kenny has asked Brian Cowen's press secretary Eoghan O'Neachtain to serve the new administration. It means the pr guru becomes the first in history to serve three Taoisigh.

Mr Kenny wants O'Neachtain (53) to stay on "to ensure a smooth transition of power".

It is normal for press secretaries to depart with the Taoiseach.

The Galway native was originally hired by Bertie Ahern in September 2007 and was kept on by Mr Cowen.

A Fine Gael source said: "It makes complete sense. If one group of military people were handing over to another they wouldn't just ditch the expertise in terms of management, timetables and all that.

"It wouldn't be good for a brand new person to come in straight away. He will be there for a transitionary period."

O'Neachtain is widely regarded as a no-nonsense spindoctor with an enviable reputation in media management. He is a former artillery officer and press chief in the army.

He is reputed to have been a senior intelligence officer for the UN in Lebanon.

He is currently on career break from the ESB where he was communications chief.

-- Kevin Doyle