Enda Kenny elected leader of Fine Gael
Mr Enda Kenny, TD for Mayo, has been elected as new leader of the Fine Gael party.
Mr Enda Kenny
Mr Kenny was elected at a meeting of the 49 members of the Parliamentary Party in Government Buildings this afternoon.
After Mr Kenny’s victory was announced, he spoke about the need to "rebuild our party" and said that Fine Gael needed now to adopt a unified approach to team-building so that they could "provide the public with a clear choice in the next election".
"Fine Gael's mourning period is over," Mr Kenny told reporters outside Leinster House. "This party is getting up off the floor. We intend to demonstrate that we are a political force to be reckoned with in the future."
He said that, if necessary, he would voluntarily go before a Fine Gael Ardfheis for re-endorsement.
This was a reference to dissent within the party about the method used to elect the leader. Constituency officers and grassroots party activists gathered in Dublin last night to voice their anger at the process for electing the leader. They were angered at not have a vote despite a resolution passed at the party’s Ardfheis in February calling for their inclusion in future leadership elections.
When asked for details of the margin of his victory, he said it was a secret ballot done under proportional representational rules and he had no idea of the actual figures.
On the future of Fine Gael, Mr Kenny said he "would expect every member of my team to show loyalty to Fine Gael policies".
He said he would name his front bench as soon as he had consulted with all the FG party.
When asked if the three losing candidates would form part of this front bench, he said they "agreed during the contest that there would be no acrimony and no ill-will towards each other".
He then paid tribute to "three fabulous candidates".
There were three other nominations for the position: Dublin North West TD Mr Richard Bruton, Mr Phil Hogan from Carlow Kilkenny and Mr Gay Mitchell from Dublin South Central.
Mr Kenny lost a race with Mr Noonan for the party leadership in February 2001.