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Sour grapes or not, Enda should heed this warning

Enda Kenny may have just three months left to save his floundering Government.

This is not the claim of some opposition politician with an axe to grind.

It comes from the most successful strategist in Fine Gael history, a man who was instrumental in making Kenny Taoiseach - and who now feels that his former boss is losing the plot.

Frank Flannery's verdict could hardly be any more damning. He accuses the Government of acting like "a f**king dictator" and losing touch with public opinion, resulting in the monster marches over water charges.

He also complains that Kenny has slipped back into the habits of his previous job, a schoolteacher who "knows what's good for the people and tells them what's good for them".

Elsewhere, Flannery (left) slams Kenny's team as "hell-bent on self-destruction" and argues that cronyism is "like the Ebola of Irish politics - incurable".

As Flannery himself admits, some critics will say, "That gobs***e is only sowing sour grapes".

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A former CEO of the scandal-hit Rehab charity group, he is openly sore about Kenny's failure to support him when Flannery refused to appear in front of the Public Accounts Committee.

Whatever about the rights and wrongs of that, Flannery's political brain seems as sharp as ever - and his warnings about the Government's future should be taken extremely seriously.

The grim reality is that ever since the Troika left our shores last December, Fine Gael and Labour can hardly do a thing right.

Garda controversies, a medical card fiasco, terrible local election results and the McNultygate debacle have all left Kenny looking like a Taoiseach in office but not in power.

In other words, the current street protests are about a lot more than Irish Water.

They reflect the feelings of an electorate that feels it has had to put up with one screw-up too many.

The magician Keith Barry may have caused come weaker hearts in Leinster House to flutter by recently predicting an early general election.

Flannery has downplayed this prospect and he is probably right. No matter how shaky the coalition looks right now, Kenny and Joan Burton have a strong incentive to spin their political marriage out to early 2016 so that they can take advantage of any economic recovery.

Sometimes, however, governments expire long before the death certificate is actually signed.

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Just remember Brian Cowen's disastrous reign of error, which was a busted blush long before the voters put Fianna Fail and the Green Party out of their misery.

If Fine Gael and Labour cannot rebound in the opinion polls by next spring, they may start to look like a coalition strapped to a life support machine - just waiting for someone to pull the plug.

Frank Flannery once explained his success by declaring: "I am bad enough of a b*****d and tough enough to make really unpopular decisions."

But is Enda Kenny bad enough of a b*****d to make the decisions that will give him a decent chance of re-election?

In a few months at most, we will all find out.


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