Mayo loyalists relieved knives no longer out for Enda Kenny

Castlebar broadly in favour of Taoiseach amid claims of media-driven agenda

General satisfaction was evident among Enda Kenny loyalists in his Mayo constituency on Thursday that party knives which were being unsheathed are now firmly back in their scabbards.

"Job well done, "said local Fine Gael activist Tomás Collins at his auctioneers office of Wednesday evening's parliamentary party meeting.

“I am happy for Enda and I am happy for the country,” he said. “A steady hand remains at the helm in these testing Brexit times. There was no appetite in the party for a heave. It was all media-driven.”

Mr Collins claimed the putative heave against Mr Kenny was “ill -advised”.


“The Dublin media don’t want Enda. That’s what it’s about. They want Varadakar.

“The move turned out to be a damp squib at the end of the day. Now Enda has been shown respect and given time to finish the job he was tasked to do and elected to do.”

Many in Castlebar yesterday were positive about Mr Kenny's promise he will deal "conclusively" with the leadership issue when he returns from the US after St Patrick's Day. However, a strident dissenting opinion was offered by Frank Durcan, an Independent member of Mayo County Council, who said: "Kenny should go and he should go immediately."

Parting of ways

Mr Durcan was local director of elections for Mr Kenny when he was elected to the Dáil in 1975 in the byelection caused by the death of his father, Henry. The parting of the ways between the pair has been bitter and irrevocable.

Mr Durcan says Mr Kenny has “made a complete mess of the country”.

One man delighted Mr Kenny would remain as party leader until a time of his own choosing is 81-year-old Kevin O’Malley, president of Castlebar branch of Fine Gael and vice-president of the district executive.

“I’m not surprised that Enda has avoided a motion of no confidence,” he said. “I think he could well hold on into April and become the longest-serving Fine Gael taoiseach ever.”

Speculation is mounting locally as to who the replacement candidate might be at the next election should Mr Kenny decide not to contest the constituency which he has served for the past 42 years .

Names mentioned include the Taoiseach's daughter, Aoibhinn, and long-serving Mayo-based Senator Paddy Burke.

Curiously, however, Mr Kenny some months ago indicated at a local party meeting that he intended contesting the next election. That is being interpreted by some as a typical Kenny “keep them guessing” mischievous gesture.