With the final recount in the General Election just completed in the early ours of yesterday morning it is now certain that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny will soon become the Taoiseach in Ireland’s 31st. Dail.
For Donegal this will be very much a case of a Tanaiste lost but a Taoiseach claimed as the Taoiseach elect’s roots are steeped in the western village of Malinbeg near Glencolumbkille.
Both the Coughlans and the Kennys form a part of very long serving political dynasties in Ireland and ironically both the Tanaiste and the Taoiseach elect in tragic circumstances.
The Tanaiste had lost both her uncle, Clement and her father Cathal at an early age while Enda Kenny was propelled into political life at an early age due to his father’s untimely death - Henry Kenny had been a TD for 21 years and a Parliamentary Secretary at the time of his death.
The new Taoiseach’s grandfather, James John McGinley, was born and bred in west Donegal in the remote but beautiful village of Malinbeg and served as a lighthouse keeper in many parts of the county including Arranmore, Rathlin O’Beirne and Innishowen before retiring.
To this day his aunts and uncle still live in the county - Breege Connor in Bundoran, Christina Curran in Carrick, Una Blain in Malinmore, Joseph McGinley in Malinbeg and Colette McNeilis in Cashel and are all understandably overjoyed with their nephew, the white-haired boy’s success.
In his youth Enda Kenny was a very regular visitor to the Glen area being the chosen destination for the family holidays where he became part of the local community-playing football with neighbouring families, saving the hay, going to the bog and spending some of those well-remembered balmy evenings fishing off the rocks around Malinbeg.
The Donegal Democrat caught up with some of his relatives and family friend who recall their memories on page 4.