FORMER Taoiseach Enda Kenny has revealed he almost died after choking on a piece of steak while enjoying a meal with his wife.
The 66-year-old was visiting Killarney, Co. Kerry, where he has a holiday home, and was dining at The Laurels restaurant when he got into difficulty getting down his food.
He began to choke and needed to be given the Heimlich Manoeuvre in order to breathe.
The ex-Fine Gael leader said that restaurant owner Con O’Leary’s quick-thinking saved his life.
“I wouldn’t be here but for Con O’Leary,” he told the Irish Star.
“People thought I was playacting, standing up turning blue, and by coincidence, Con was going from one end of the premises to the other and said, ‘don’t worry, I have him’.
“He did the Heimlich manoeuvre on me, so I lived to tell the tale.”
Mr O’Leary, 79, said he learned the Heimlich Manoeuvre following a similar incident he himself experienced when he choked on a morsel of steak.
Since then, he has performed the life-saving procedure three times including on a fellow tourist holidaying in Spain.
Recalling the ex-Taoiseach’s choking incident, Mr O’Leary revealed: "We had been talking away for two or three minutes and I walked away from him but then everything went silent and I looked around and the two of them were standing up.
"I knew straight away he was choking and in distress so I gave him the Heimlich manoeuvre and out popped a bit of steak. I was just lucky I got it up.”