Taoiseach denies interest in European Council presidency

Kenny says he would be flattered if offered but his ‘mandate is here’ in Ireland

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has denied any interest in the European Council presidency, saying he would not be tempted to accept the position should he be offered it when Herman Van Rompuy retires later this year.

Speaking on RTÉ television this afternoon, Mr Kenny said he would be flattered by the offer but his mandate is here in Ireland.

“I wouldn’t turn my back on the Irish,” he said.

“In politics you get an opportunity once in a lifetime to have the trust of the people to lead a government and lead a country back from an economic abyss. It is a great privilege. This government is working harder than any of its predecessors and that’s a requirement to keep up the momentum we have achieved.”

He said he was looking forward to contesting the next general election when Fine Gael’s time in Government “will be judged by the people”.

“Back to back [victories] would be great. It is not easy to achieve,” he said.

“If we fulfil our mandate of having sorted out our public finances, having got people back to work, and opportunities and hope for the young, we will fight a good case and will have a good story to tell.”

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