Friday 28 October 2016

'I'll remain as leader for full term of Government' - Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Irish politics had changed Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Irish politics had changed Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he plans to see out the full term of this Government as leader.

Mr Kenny insisted he would only step down as Taoiseach prior to the next election.

"I've always said that my intention would be to serve the full term, but not to lead the party into the next general election. I've made that perfectly clear and that's where I am, but I have a lot of work to do in the meantime," he said.

The Fine Gael leader acknowledged that the make up of the current Government was very different to what had gone before, but said this may be the way of the future.

"It's very different. I think when you look back at the situation that applied from the 1930s onwards, in those periods you've had single-party governments, you've had coalition governments, now you have minority government. This may well be the way of the future. Who knows what the electorate will decide," he added.

The Taoiseach said he was recently stopped on the street by a man who thanked him "for volunteering to run our country".


Mr Kenny said the man had expressed his astonishment that so many people who ran for the Dail did not want anything to do with government or with making decisions.

"So that's why the responsibility is on me, as leader of the largest party, to put together a Government with the assistance and agreement of other parties in Opposition."

Asked how confident he was that the Government would see out the full term, Mr Kenny said there had been a lot of media speculation that this couldn't last.

"The same was said indeed of one of the Ahern Governments, which was dependant on a number of Independents," he added.

While he acknowledged that this situation was "vastly more complex", he said he expected all sides to work together for "Team Ireland".

He said he expected things to settle down once people realised there was an "attitudinal change", which he said was required from Government, the Opposition and the Public Service.

Mr Kenny said he intended to announce his junior ministers and Seanad nominations this week.

He said he wanted to carve out specific responsibilities for junior ministers to provide them with "clearly-defined roles and responsibilities given to them statutorily".


He said he did not want to see TDs take up junior positions "with no real focus on what it is they should be doing".

He refused to be drawn on speculation that Alan Shatter was among those he would chose for the Seanad.

"It's a case of many are called and few are chosen," added the Taoiseach, who was speaking in Castlebar, Co Mayo, where he laid the foundation stone at a new swimming pool complex.

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