Kenny says he will speak to party about leadership 'soon'

Taoiseach is in Canada next week and will not attend FG parliamentary party meeting

Taoiseach  Enda Kenny listens to questions during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Saturday. Photograph: AP

Taoiseach Enda Kenny listens to questions during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Saturday. Photograph: AP

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he will speak to his party soon regarding his leadership, now that the Brexit guidelines have been agreed by European leaders.

Mr Kenny was speaking at a press conference in the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels on Saturday following the conclusion of the one-day summit to agree the EU’s position for the opening of the Brexit negotiations with the UK.

Answering a question in Irish, Mr Kenny said EU leaders had noted it was the final summit that would be attended by the French president, Francois Holland.

Everyone wished Mr Holland well, he said, and thanked him for his work.

“As for myself, as I’ve said, I’ll be talking to my party soon on this,” Mr Kenny said in Irish.

He did not take a further question about his leadership in English.

Previously Mr Kenny has said he will make his intentions about the leadership “very clear” to his parliamentary party “once I’m happy with the ground rules for Brexit”.

The summit in Brussels today represented the finalisation of the EU’s negotiating guidelines, though further detailed documents will be compiled by officials and agreed by foreign affairs ministers in May, before the expected formal beginning of the talks in June.

Mr Kenny paid tribute to Irish officials and ministers for their campaign to push Ireland’s priorities in recent months

“It was an important milestone today. I regard it as such. It marks the beginning of what will be a long and difficult process,” he said.

Many Fine Gael TDs expect that Mr Kenny will announce his intention to step down in the coming weeks, with a leadership contest in the party taking place in the second half of May.

Mr Kenny is scheduled to travel to Canada for an official visit next week, and so is not expected to attend the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening.

However, he will be present the following week, May 10th.