Enda Kenny to step down during next term if he wins election

Taoiseach clarifies position in wake of recent comments by chief whip Paul Kehoe

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has firmly ruled out remaining on as Fine Gael leader until 2020. Photograph: Getty

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has firmly ruled out remaining on as Fine Gael leader until 2020. Photograph: Getty

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has firmly ruled out remaining on as Fine Gael leader until 2020 or beyond as suggested by Government chief whip Paul Kehoe.

Mr Kenny said on Sunday he does not intend serving in office beyond the term of the next Government.

The Taoiseach said Mr Kehoe had used “a lot of poetic licence,” in stating last week that he [Mr Kenny] would serve another full term and lead Fine Gael into the election after next.

“It would be very arrogant and presumptuous of any public representative to assume that they can be elected to anything, myself included, until the people vote,” said Mr Kenny.

“I have no intention of staying beyond the remit of the next Government to be Taoiseach,” he added.

Mr Kenny said that it was firstly a matter for the people who governed the party and his priority was to finish the job he has to get the country back to work.

Speaking in Co Mayo, Mr Kenny said it was his intention to win the forthcoming general election and lead another Fine Gael/Labour government.

If he manages to win a second term he will be the first Fine Gael leader to do so in the history of the party.

The general view in the party is that if he pulls off a second term Mr Kenny will stand down half way through it around 2018.

Senior Fine Gael politicians were astounded at Mr Kehoe’s comments last week and believe that it could prove damaging if taken seriously by the electorate.

If Mr Kenny does not win a second term as Taoiseach there will be a leadership contest immediately after the general election in line with party rules.

The belief in the Fine Gael parliamentary party is that Mr Kenny would put his name forward for another term of leadership in that event.