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Enda Kenny tortures pretenders to throne with long goodbye

Inside Politics: Fine Gael leader tweets from Toronto about ‘first visit to Canada as Taoiseach’

Shortly after 11pm last night Enda Kenny tweeted he had arrived in Toronto for what he previously and mischievously described in an embargoed email as "my first visit to Canada as Taoiseach".

His first visit as Taoiseach..? Little sense of finality there. What chutzpah! He is clearly enjoying torturing the pretenders to his throne.

We do know Mr Kenny has no further foreign trips planned after he returns to Ireland on Saturday following his Montreal meeting with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Some Fine Gael TDs and Senators expect Mr Kenny to finally make his departure announcement at their parliamentary party meeting next Wednesday.


He has pushed the boundaries of their polite patience to the extreme, having said as far back as February he would deal “effectively and conclusively” with the matter after St Patrick’s Day.

If he is now happy the ground rules for Brexit are in place, he must surely announce his “Enda-exit”?

But one of the only weapons the Taoiseach has left in his political armoury is the powerful weapon of surprise. Expect him to wield it expertly.

One Fine Gael insider remarked this week the person who follows Mr Kenny as Fine Gael leader, and perhaps as Taoiseach, will not serve for as long as the incumbent.

The insider also observed that Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, who has ruled himself out of the upcoming leadership race, has positioned himself well for a future challenge.

Our source speculated Mr Donohoe, having thus far declined to reveal which current leadership contender he intends to support, would eventually plump for the person he believes will have the shortest premiership.

“The kiss of death,” was the wry assessment.

My colleague Fiach Kelly has the latest here.

Mr Kenny does have one more important engagement to attend, and that is the launch of the Nealon's Guide, edited by Tim Ryan, on Tuesday, May 16th.

A sneak preview of the cover reveals a somewhat poignant image of Mr Kenny descending a curved staircase, alone, with his head bowed.

It seems it will be Enda’s call as to when he leaves the building.