Kenny elected Taoiseach by record 90-vote majority


NOMINATIONS:FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny was elected Taoiseach by an unprecedented 90-vote majority with the support of five Independents in a 117 to 27 division in the Dáil.

Noel Grealish (Galway West), Michael Lowry (Tipperary North) Michael Healy-Rae (Kerry South) Mattie McGrath (Tipperary South) and Stephen Donnelly (Wicklow-Carlow East) all backed Mr Kenny.

Sinn Féin, the United Left Alliance and a number of other Independents including Shane Ross (Dublin South), Maureen O’Sullivan (Dublin Central), Finian McGrath (Dublin North Central), Catherine Murphy (Kildare North), Thomas Pringle (Donegal South West), Luke “Ming” Flanagan (Roscommon-South Leitrim) John Halligan (Waterford) and Mick Wallace (Wexford) voted against.

Fianna Fáil did not oppose Mr Kenny’s nomination and abstained from the vote, as did a number of other Independents. Party leader Micheál Martin said his party respected his mandate. However, he hit out at the programme for government, describing it as “one of the least specific” ever published and said the two parties had “kicked to touch on most of the major issues to be addressed by this Dáil”.

Simon Harris (FG, Wicklow), at 24 the youngest TD in the Dáil, nominated Mr Kenny as Taoiseach. He said he would bring “integrity, honesty and a work rate which simply cannot be surpassed”, to the job. He said “today the period of mourning is over for Ireland. Today we hang out our brightest colours.” Ciara Conway (Lab, Waterford) who seconded the nomination said it was a “historic moment”.

Joe Higgins (SP, Dublin West) opposed Mr Kenny’s nomination and said that while the programme for government said there had been a “democratic revolution” in the election, it was a “grotesque betrayal of that revolution”.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said his party could not support Mr Kenny’s nomination because he proposed to put Fianna Fáil’s four-year plan into effect and was “prepared to sell important State assets and introduce water charges and property taxes for ordinary households”.

Shane Ross (Ind, Dublin South) said he understood why Fianna Fáil was backing Mr Kenny for Taoiseach – because the new Government would implement the policies Fianna Fáil imposed on the country and he found that difficult to accept “barely 10 days after it had opposed it so vehemently”.

Séamus Healy (Ind, Tipperary South) opposed Mr Kenny’s nomination and described as “obscene” the proposal to eliminate 25,000 jobs in the public sector. He said the Labour Party “should hang its head in shame” because the programme for government “does not provide to take a red cent in tax from the assets of the super rich”.

Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP, Dún Laoghaire) said the “rhetoric about standing up and doing something about the IMF-EU deal has disappeared in the programme”.

John Halligan (Ind,Waterford) expressed regret that “when there was no discernible difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, that the Labour Party did not attempt to ensure an alternative left-right divide in this parliament”.

Tom Fleming (Ind, Kerry South) who abstained, highlighted a local issue and called on the Government to intervene in a troubled company Aetna in Castleisland where 116 jobs were at risk.

Mick Wallace (Ind, Wexford) said he “will support anything the Government does that I consider to be positive and in the best interests of the people. Likewise, I will not be afraid to criticise anything I consider does not do that.”

Luke “Ming” Flanagan (Roscommon-South Leitrim) said he hoped his two children “will not have to take the boat or the aeroplane to London like 19 out of the 20 members of my family and my wife’s family”.

Michael Healy-Rae (Ind, Kerry South) pointed out that people had said “Deputy Kenny would never make it and they called me and others gombeen politicians. However, the people have spoken and here we are.”