herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

'I'm wonderful', insists Enda as FG TD calls on him to quit

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is at the centre of a growing political storm after Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell publicly called for him to step down.

Mr Farrell said the party has "stumbled from one crisis to another" in recent days and Mr Kenny's position has become "untenable".

The Taoiseach's spokesman last night said Mr Kenny was not responding to Mr Farrell's call for him to step aside.

Last night, a number of ministers defended the Fine Gael leader, saying he should be allowed to step down in his own time.

In his only public statement on the pressure on him to resign, during a visit to the north inner city on Thursday evening, Mr Kenny insisted he was focused on his job and proceeded to give a long list of engagements he has planned for the coming weeks.

Questions

He also gave no indication that he intends to step down as he attended events in the capital yesterday.

He did not take questions from the press at the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit in Dublin Castle or at the announcement of plans to hire 600 people at Microsoft.

As he left the Brexit conference, Mr Kenny was asked by a reporter how he was feeling.

"Absolutely wonderful," he said.

Later, Mr Farrell released his statement calling on Mr Kenny to step aside.

"Unfortunately, I no longer have confidence in the ability of Enda Kenny TD to lead Fine Gael," the backbench TD said.

He acknowledged Mr Kenny's "unwavering commitment" to public service and the country.

However, the Dublin Fingal deputy said he believes it is time for Mr Kenny to go "to allow a new leader, with a fresh approach, to lead us into the future".

He said the events of recent days showed how fragile the minority government arrangement is and that Fine Gael "must be ready for an election at any time".

Speaking outside the Brexit conference, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan defended Mr Kenny.

"As far as I'm concerned, I have confidence in Enda Kenny's leadership. He's doing a very good job," he said.

Education Minister Richard Bruton told the Herald that "of course" he has confidence in Mr Kenny. He added that he has "been a fantastic leader of our country" and has "earned the right to choose his time".

However, he also failed to rule himself out of any future leadership contest.

"I'm not contemplating at this stage any of those issues," the Dublin Bay North TD said when asked if he would throw his hat into the ring.

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