Sunday 23 October 2016

'I won't quit from job I was elected to do', says Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Under-fire Taoiseach Enda Kenny has dismissed criticism of his leadership and said he intends to focus on seeing through plans for a taskforce in the North Inner City.

Mr Kenny yesterday said he has "no intention of being diverted" from the task of running the Government.

"Let me say I have no intention of being diverted from that work that I have undertaken and for which I have received a mandate to fulfill," he said at an event in Castlebar.

"That is my focus and my focus is entirely on the future and for those who might be interested. I will not be diverted from that task and that duty and that responsibility which is the mandate given to me by the people."

Mr Kenny said he would also concentrate this week on putting together the final plans for the North Inner City task force in Dublin "following a number of serious murders in that area".


"Last Friday I spent five hours down there, talking to people who told me their stories and how they are recovering from alcoholism, from drug addiction, from domestic violence, from all other challenges that so many people face out there in a real community," he added.

Mr Kenny's position as Taoiseach was strengthened yesterday after a raft of ministers rounded on his critics and called for calm heads within the Fine Gael party.

But Mr Kenny remained under serious pressure last night to spell out exactly when, and how, he intends to pass over the baton to a new leader.

Mr Kenny's leadership was brought into sharp focus after he suffered a series of setbacks and saw his credibility openly questioned by members of his own party last week.

And panic spread throughout Fine Gael following reports that a motion of confidence was being prepared ahead of this week's meeting of the parliamentary party.

However, Kerry TD Brendan Griffin emerged yesterday as the only deputy willing to publicly criticise Mr Kenny and call for him to be replaced.

"We are rudderless and we are drifting and that needs to be addressed," Mr Griffin told RTE's Morning Ireland.

Despite several deputies privately expressing no confidence in Mr Kenny, nobody followed suit and backed Mr Griffin's call for him to quit.

In contrast, senior party figures yesterday reaffirmed their support for Mr Kenny.

Speaking in Brussels, Finance Minister Michael Noonan batted away any suggestion that Mr Kenny's leadership is under threat.

"I think the country and the party are fortunate to have Enda Kenny as Taoiseach now."

Education Minister Richard Bruton said any such motion of no confidence would cause unnecessary "division" in the party.

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