'Technical group' splits on Kenny vote

Thu, Mar 10, 2011, 00:00

INDEPENDENTS:THE 19 Independents and the 16 members of the “technical group” of Independents split in the vote to elect Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

Five Independents, including former Fianna Fáil TD Mattie McGrath, voted in favour of Mr Kenny’s election, while 13 voted against. The other four who voted for Mr Kenny were Stephen Donnelly, Noel Grealish, Michael Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry. Kerry South Independent Tom Fleming abstained but said he agreed with many of the Government’s proposals.

Mr Donnelly was the only member of the technical group to vote for Mr Kenny. While most other members of the group are left-wing TDs, Shane Ross, a former member of Fine Gael, also voted against Mr Kenny.

Many of the Independents made their maiden speeches in the debate electing the Taoiseach. Mr Ross said he was discouraged by the programme for Government, which he said had “no vision”.

Luke “Ming” Flanagan wished Mr Kenny well but said he didn’t believe he was the right man for the job. Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins was named leader of the technical group with Dublin North East Independent TD Finian McGrath as his deputy. Mr Ross will operate as a substitute for both men .