Tributes paid to Kenny in Dáil Leaders’ Questions swansong

Taoiseach suggests it is also time for Adams to stand down as SF leader wishes him well

Taoiseach Enda Kenny faced his final leaders' questions today (31st May). TD Noel Grealish led the tributes.

 

The possibility that Taoiseach Enda Kenny might still be in office in a fortnight’s time was raised by Independent Noel Grealish who led tributes during Kenny’s last Dáil leaders’ questions.

To applause, Mr Grealish said Mr Kenny might be back “if the wheel falls off the campaign of Leo and Simon’s leadership challenge”.

He paid tribute to his efforts at rebuilding the party as Fine Gael party leader and praised his energy as Taoiseach.

Mr Grealish asked Mr Kenny what advice he would give to the new Taoiseach and whether he had any regrets about appointing Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney to the Cabinet.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaíl, allowing some flexibility under standing orders, said it was a pretty novel question for the day that was in it.

Mr Kenny asked Mr Ó Feargal how long had he got.

The Taoiseach said he had no regrets about appointing the two men, adding he had watched them “grow’’ as Ministers.

He said he had been in the House a long time and he had seen all the tensions and outbreaks of viciousness, sometimes fisticuffs.

He said he was very happy after 42 years in the Dáil, six as Taoiseach, to hand over responsibility to a younger generation.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised questions about the sale of AIB and the need for more flexibility from the EU on financial stability regulations.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams also raised his party’s opposition to the sale but Mr Adams prefaced his remarks by wishing the Taoiseach well and he shook his hand as the Sinn Féin leader left the Dáil chamber.

Mr Kenny suggested it was time for the Sinn Féin leader to stand down like himself.

‘Stain your legacy’

Independents4Change TD Clare Daly told the Taoiseach his handling of the Garda controversy was going to be a stain on his legacy.

She said it was still “not too late” for him to remove Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan from office and that the decision would be made within weeks by his successor.

She warned Mr Kenny: “Taoiseach you can’t dodge this issue. It’s actually going to stain your legacy. I feel bad for you because of that.”

Ms Daly said “It might make one of the two lads seem like a hero when in a couple of weeks’ time this decision is going to be made by one of them.”

She said Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said she only knew in March this year of the almost one million extra breath tests that were not carried out.

Referring to the reports of Ms O’Sullivan’s phone going missing Ms Daly said “to lose one phone smacks of carelessness but to lose two phones smacks of perverting the course of justice”.

Ms Daly claimed the Tribunal Liaison Group was a “clearing house of handpicked loyalists who have been employed or seconded inside An Garda Síochána to filter information going to Charleton”.

Mr Kenny told her however that she underestimated the capacity of the Charleton tribunal.

He was not the kind of person that would be “led astray by filtered information”.

The Taoiseach said “I have every faith in Justice Charleton in doing absolutely 100per cent what he’s appointed to do.”

Independent Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae quipped that the Taoiseach had not answered every question he asked but “you’re a master at answering questions you weren’t even asked”.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan thanked the Taoiseach for the courtesy he had shown his party in the last year.