‘Should Enda Kenny stand aside?’ - Some Fine Gael TDs answer the question
50 TDs are asked - none are prepared to echo Brendan Griffin’s call
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the turning of the sod at the Sacred Heart Hospital Castlebar. Photo: Alison Laredo
I wouldn’t be supportive of the calls for him to stand aside by September. The most important thing is for us to focus on the programme of work set out and we need to get on with that. Everything else is a distraction.
“Of course he should [stay on]. He’s only been there a couple of months. I don’t understand where all this is coming from.”
Now is not the time for this type of division in the party. This is a new Government that has only been in place for two months. We have a job to do. Now is not the time for these internal squabbles. The Taoiseach has already said he will not lead the party into the next election. He is a wise man, he’s a shrewd politician and he will know when it is time to go.
Dublin Bay North
We have just had the body blow of the British decision to exit the EU. We need Enda Kenny’s experience and his relationships in Europe to steer us through this very difficult time. I think it is a mistake to be raising this leadership issue.
I believe the Taoiseach should be afforded the time to make a decision about when he stands down and I know he will put the best interests of the party first when that time comes.
Changing leaders in these difficult times is crazy. I don’t know what people’s agenda is. I am bewildered by them. I am sick of them. I would judge their loyalty to Fine Gael more than anything else . . . The man has steered this country well over the past five years.
We need to answer that question that has been asked by various people in the parliamentary party. It is incumbent on the Taoiseach to come out and put his case forward. He will have reflected over the last few days and I think he needs to come out with a strong position about what is best for the party and the country. We need a stable government but I do feel the Taoiseach needs to draw a line through this, he needs to explain his position to the parliamentary party on Wednesday. I will be happy to go along with whatever he says.
Marcella Corcoran Kennedy
It is a manufactured story, there is no story. People are focusing completely on the economic recovery and getting services out to people. This is my view that one person commented on it at a parliamentary party meeting. There was nothing contentious about what was said. This has been generated. I haven’t heard anyone raise questions about the Taoiseach’s leadership. He will go in his own time.
I do not see any change in leadership any time soon in Fine Gael. At some point in the future there will be a leadership issue, but I do not see it happening soon.
Now is not the time for this conversation. We need to be doing the business of government rather than looking inwards. We need to be strong in the wake of Brexit rather than this navel-gazing.
I have been consistent on this. I think the Taoiseach needs to clarify a timetable for when he intends to stand down. I don’t support the calls for him to stand down. We have to put a budget in place. It is appropriate for the person who formed an alliance with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Independents to ensure the budget is carried.
Last week, I thought the best option was for the Taoiseach to retire at the back end of the year. However, the way matters have progressed he must stand down sooner rather than later to avoid the leadership issue becoming an ongoing distraction.
An Taoiseach now and always has my full support and backing. The decision on his future when he makes it will be completely his own to make.
Enda Kenny, as the leader of Fine Gael and Taoiseach, has my full support. We are making real progress in ensuring continued economic growth and in dealing with the challenges our country faces. Talk of leadership of the party is a distraction from the vital work of government.
As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I am fully focused on making sensible choices with the taxpayers’ money.
I cannot understand why we would be rushing into something like this. The main issue is to keep focused on negotiating the best deal for Ireland after Brexit. We would be foolish to start rocking the boat. There is no appetite for a general election.
The Taoiseach has said he will not lead us into the next election. I wouldn’t have said it but there you are. It is time now for the Taoiseach and the Ministers, and potential leaders to get on with the issues of concern to the country. This gives a great opportunity to potential leaders, right now and in the foreseeable future, to demonstrate the extent to which they are in tune with the mood of the people.
There is no issue for me. The Taoiseach is the right man for the job at the moment.
I will await the discussions, if any, that will be held at the parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday night. I suspect there will be discussions, whether they are instigated by the Taoiseach or instigated by others.
At this time the Taoiseach and Government have critically important work to do for this country. There is no vacancy for the Fine Gael leadership. When a vacancy arises is a decision for the Taoiseach. It would be inappropriate to make any further comment.
The Taoiseach retains my full confidence as Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael. He is the best man for the job and someone we can rely on to steer Ireland through this time of instability in Europe in the context of Brexit.
Now is not the time for change, now is not the time for instability. We need to work together. The experience of Enda Kenny, the expertise of Enda Kenny, his contacts are all needed at this time.
The only opportunity that we would have for an orderly transition to a new leadership is the summer recess, or before we resume the Dáil business at the end of September . . . prior to the budget negotiations. At the moment, in Government, we are rudderless, and we are drifting.
I would suggest that my position represents the overwhelming majority in the Fine Gael party that the Taoiseach has made clear he will step down at what he considers to be the most appropriate time. It’s not desirable to have a timetable. The Taoiseach has every right to be given space . . . It seems a bit premature for TDs who walked through the lobby to vote for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach two months ago to be now suggesting he be moved on.
The Taoiseach has previously said what his intentions are and I’m happy with that. His departure should be at a time of his own choosing.
This has been totally unhelpful. I would ask people to calm down and look at what is required here. We need a strong leader and Enda Kenny is best placed to deliver that leadership.
We have bigger issues to deal with.
I think the country and the party are fortunate to have Enda Kenny as Taoiseach now. He led the government which took the country out of the biggest crisis it had in two generations when we nearly slipped into bankruptcy.
Mary Mitchell O’Connor
Dú n Laoghaire
There is no vacancy. Enda Kenny should be allowed walk off the stage when he sees fit. We should now focus on the reality of the situation, which is getting the best deal for Ireland post-Brexit.
There’s no appetite whatsoever for a heave. But there is a need for a discussion.
I wouldn’t be prescriptive but I would favour a change sooner rather than later.
John Paul Phelan
Once the government has been bedded down and the budget is through, then we should have a conversation about it.
Now is not the time for this conversation. People want a strong Government and I am fully supportive of Enda Kenny.
It’s regrettable that so much of this has been played out in the media. Post-budget I think there’ll be discussions about the direction we take.
But it’s up to the Taoiseach about what sort of timescale it involves.
The Taoiseach has made it clear he will not lead the party in a future general election. This means there will be a leadership election at a future date. That will be the appropriate time to deal with the issue of the leadership of Fine Gael.
Waterford TD John Deasy refused to comment.
Did not return calls:
The following TDs did not return calls: Colm Brophy, Dublin South-West; Ciarán Cannon, Galway East; Jim Daly, Cork South-West; Heather Humphreys, Cavan-Monaghan; Sean Kyne, Galway West; Helen McEntee, Meath East; Joe McHugh, Donegal; Tony McLoughlin, Sligo/Leitrim; Dara Murphy, Cork North Central; Eoghan Murphy, Dublin Bay South; Hildegarde Naughton, Galway West; Tom Neville, Limerick County; Kate O’Connell, Dublin Bay South; Patrick O’Donovan, Limerick; David Stanton, Cork East.