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Thursday 14 December 2017

'I won't be discussing leadership while on trade mission' - Enda

Enda Kenny and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Picture: AP
Enda Kenny and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Picture: AP

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the issue of his leadership and the future of Fine Gael are not up for discussion while he is abroad on trade missions.

However, Mr Kenny said he has not changed his mind over any plans to step aside, adding that he has made this point known to his parliamentary party.

The Taoiseach said he travelled to Canada to focus on trade and investment - not his intentions to step aside.

Umbrage

The Fine Gael leader yesterday hit out at media questions about his leadership.

"I can't believe actually that you have travelled this distance to ask a question like that," Mr Kenny said during a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

However, the Taoiseach was asked again about his intentions to step aside at a press briefing with journalists in Toronto yesterday.

Mr Kenny rejected suggestions that he took "umbrage" when he was asked about the issue yesterday.

"Well now, for your information, I didn't take umbrage at all," he said.

"I came here on a trade and investment mission to meet with the Canadian Prime Minister to discuss the opportunities of Ceta that work both ways.

"That's the purpose of my visit, and I don't intend to discuss the question of leadership or the future of the Fine Gael party when I'm on a trade mission or investment mission to Canada."

It was pointed out that Mr Kenny has discussed internal party issues on previous overseas visits.

"Matters of Fine Gael are internal to Fine Gael," he said.

"I'm here officially on a trade and investment mission to Canada.

"And I don't propose to discuss anything to do with leadership when I'm on this trade mission."

Socks

Asked whether he has changed his mind and intends to stay on longer than originally signalled, the Taoiseach said: "No, I've been very clear with my parliamentary party about this."

There was much discussion at Thursday's event in Montreal over the choice of Mr Trudeau's odd socks.

The prime minister later tweeted, explaining that the socks featured the Star Wars robots R2D2 and CP3O.

"May the fourth be with you," he added.

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