Paschal Donohoe says he will not stand for Fine Gael leadership

Crucial to recognise Enda Kenny’s role as Taoiseach and leader, says Minister

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe is adamant that he will not be a candidate in the Fine Gael leadership race.

“I am very lucky to be where I am, I want to continue doing the job I love,” he said on Friday when asked if he would be contesting the leadership.

“I will not be a candidate,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Mr Donohoe said he was certain Taoiseach Enda Kenny would continue to “represent the best interests of the party and the people”.

“(Mr Kenny) has already indicated that he doesn’t intend to lead Fine Gael into the next election. I want to make sure he has the space to make a decision, I believe he will include a wide set of circumstances when he is making that decision.”

Mr Donohoe said Mr Kenny has done a fine job leading the party and country.

“It is up to him to decide how and what he wants to do,” he said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“The party will need the space and the opportunity to renew and plan for the future.”

He said: “Enda (Kenny) has always shown an ability to make decisions that are above his own interests.”

He said as a result of his experience as a teller in the 2010 leadership battle, he was very aware of the importance of stability.

“I believe it is crucial to recognise the role of Enda as Taoiseach and leader,” he said.

“It is crucial that all of this be dealt with in a careful and orderly way.”

Mr Kenny has indicated he will not be standing aside as party leader in the coming weeks despite facing increasing pressure to outline his departure date.

Mr Kenny on Thursday night said he would fulfil commitments he has made as head of Government in the next few weeks.

He encouraged Fine Gael members to focus on their jobs rather than his leadership.

“We have lots of work for our party to engage themselves in, ministerial portfolios and programmes for Government to implement. That is what we should be about,” he said.

Party figures were last night divided on whether his comments were a holding statement or a definitive position.

The Taoiseach is facing a possible no-confidence motion at his parliamentary party meeting next week and several key Ministers are already canvassing members for support to replace him.