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Saturday 1 October 2016

Fine Gael rebels plot secret vote to unseat Kenny as party boss

FG leader Enda Kenny Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
FG leader Enda Kenny Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Fine Gael rebels are seeking support for a secret ballot as they plot the downfall of Enda Kenny as party leader, the Herald has learned.

A number of TDs held talks the weekend as they prepared to crank up the pressure within the party over Mr Kenny's leadership.

It comes after Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday warned against any "further displays of disunity".

Motion

Despite the warning, a consensus is growing around the prospect of tabling a no-confidence motion in Mr Kenny at a parliamentary party meeting in late December, according to sources.

The timing of the motion would ensure that the upcoming Budget is passed through the Oireachtas.

These TDs are insisting the ballot be held in secret.

While there is an acceptance Mr Kenny would defeat a no-confidence motion, the view among some rebels is that he would be badly damaged.

They hope the Taoiseach will be forced to consider stepping aside during the Christmas recess. They know that more TDs will need to be on board if the motion is to have a significant impact.

One TD involved in the discussions described the proposal as "high risk", but said it was "imperative" that a motion was tabled before the end of 2016.

A second TD said he believed Mr Kenny would win a motion, but the mere tabling of one would prove extremely damaging.

"He [the Taoiseach] won't be able to say he didn't see this coming," said the rural backbencher.

"We've made it perfectly clear we aren't happy."

There is significant anger within the party over Mr Kenny's offer for backbenchers to "shadow" ministers in order to gain experience.

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