Enda Kenny loses Dáil vote for Taoiseach – 80 to 51

Micheál Martin also loses vote, 95 to 43, with Ruth Coppinger losing, 108 to 10

Joan Burton confirms that the Labour party will abstain from voting for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.


Just one Independent TD - Michael Lowry - supported Enda Kenny in the Dáil vote for taoiseach on Wednesday afternoon.

As expected, the acting Taoiseach secured just 51 votes, including all members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party – with 80 votes against.

The Labour party and Independent groups abstained.

Sinn Féin, the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit, the Green Party TDs and a number of other Independents – including Independents4Change Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Tommy Broughan, as well as Thomas Pringle and Catherine Connolly – voted against Mr Kenny.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin received 43 votes in the contest to the taoiseach with 95 votes against.

He received all 43 Fianna Fáil parliamentary party votes but no other support.

Labour, who abstained in the vote for acting taoiseach Enda Kenny, voted against Micheál Martin as did Fine Gael, Sinn Féin, the four Independents4Change TDs, the Green Party, the Social Democrats, the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit and a number of Independents. A number of independent groupings involved in government formation talks, abstained.

The first woman ever to be nominated for Taoiseach, Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger - failed to be elected by 108 votes to 10. It was one more than Richard Boyd-Barrett received when he was nominated on the first day of the new Dáil.

Labour leader Joan Burton said the party had made it clear it would listen to what the various candidates for taoiseach would say in terms of the package they put to the Dáil and the stability of any arrangement put forward.

She said the Dáil was nowhere near being able to make that assessment because the parties with the two largest mandates, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil,had yet to speak to each other.

“So, although we all attended the 1916 commemorations together, it is still like the Civil War was not yet over,’’ she added. “It is over.’’

Ms Burton said it would be premature to vote for a candidate.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the vote would decide nothing.

Sinn Féin, he added, was opposed to Mr Kenny or Mr Martin leading a government but it was clear they could do so because they had the numbers. They also had a similarity of policy.

“The Civil War is quickly set aside in local councils where these two parties divvy up positions between themselves to keep Sinn Fein out,’’ he added.

Nominating Mr Kenny, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said his resilience and determination in attempting to form a new partnership government has been admirable.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock nominated Mr Kenny in a speech in the Dáil. The first-time TD said the Taoiseach had displayed resilience, determination, fortitude and the ability to put country before party, and country before ideology.

He said “no democracy can function without compromise, which had been the case since the 26th Dáil”and this was “no bad thing”.

The Taoiseach had worked to put a document of substance together from discussions with Independent TDs.

He acknowledged that Irish people wanted a government, but “there is a need to ensure that any government that is formed can work together cohesively in the best interests of the Irish people” and this process took time, he said.

The Dublin North TD said there were some who wished to “permanently commit themselves to hugging the opposition benches tight, to pursuing their so-called ideological perfection instead of the reality of compromise and the reality of governance”.

He said Robert F Kennedy had said one fifth of the people were against everything all the time.

“Parliament could not afford too many passengers. It needed decision makers and people serious about forming a government.”

He said there was an element of repetition but “I would rather nominate the right person twice that contemplate the wrong person”.

Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne described the Taoiseach as a man of honour, integrity and vision. The Dublin South Central TD said “he never fails to impress and his enduring energy and enthusiasm in everything he does”.

She said “we as elected members of this Dáil have been entrusted to govern and we each have responsibility to government. With Enda Kenny as Taoiseach we can achieve the stability of Government for the next five years.”

Nominating Mr Martin for taoiseach, Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers said the party was remaining firm in its commitment to implementing a change of government by nominating him.

His political CV spoke for itself, she said. “He has campaigned tirelessly for a fairer and more exclusive Ireland, one which values every citizen equally,’’ she added.

“He has continued in his focus throughout government formation talks in the past number of weeks and has conducted his work diligently and responsibly in this regard.’’

She said the majority of TDs had campaigned for a change in government and it was clear voters had voted for it.

Meath East TD Thomas Byrne said there was a responsibility on everybody to put a proper government together with the proper policies.

Mr Martin, he said, had put a plan before the people during the general election and Fianna Fáil was sticking to it.

AAA-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who nominated Dublin West TD Ms Coppinger, said the process of Government formation “has become a farce”.

He said it was 40 days since the election. “While Jesus Christ wandered in the wilderness contemplating the sins of humanity and maybe the need to save it, but Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were engaged in the pursuit of power through the drug of political office without any real concern for people.”

His party did not have the numbers, but Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil “should get on with the business of forming a government”.

He said he was nominating Ms Coppinger, not because they are interested in personalities or the drug of power, but to highlight the issues that are crucial to the people.

Seconding the nomination, Cork North Central TD Mick Barry said it was appropriate to nominate a woman. Women continue to be treated as second class citizens in this State and 70 per cent of those living in poverty are women, he said.

Only this week in Northern Ireland a 21-year-old woman was sentenced for terminating a pregnancy, he said. In this State a woman can face 14 years in prison for terminating a pregnancy. He said the 32nd Dáil should end this dinosaur position.