Enda Kenny to remain as FG leader for start of Brexit talks

Taoiseach says he will deal with leadership issue after European Council summit

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to be questioned on when he plans to step aside as Fine Gael leader at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to be questioned on when he plans to step aside as Fine Gael leader at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told Fine Gael TDs and Senators that he is staying on as party leader to see the establishment of a new Northern Ireland Executive and the beginning of Brexit negotiations.

Mr Kenny made his statement at the opening of the weekly meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

He said he would deal with the issue of his leadership after the European Council summit on April 29th, which will set the parameters of the Brexit negotiations.

Mr Kenny was expected to be questioned on when he plans to step aside as Fine Gael leader at the meeting.

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At least one TD had said they intended to question Mr Kenny on his plans at the meeting. The Deputy declined to be named.

However, most TDs or Senators did not expect Mr Kenny to outline his departure date this week.

Last month, Mr Kenny said he would deal with the issue “effectively and conclusively” when he returned from his St Patrick’s Day visit to the US.

‘Obsession’

Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show on Wednesday, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, who is one of the frontrunners to succeed Mr Kenny, said: “I think there’s nearly more of an obsession [with the leadership question] outside of Fine Gael than in it at the moment.”

Mr Coveney said Mr Kenny “delivered extraordinarily well” on his St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington, DC, particularly as he was “treading a difficult line”.

“His speech offered some global leadership on [the] broad migration debate.”