Some reforms of FG to wait until new leader is in place

Deputy says mention of leadership by top party official signals start of the ‘end game’

Some reforms to the Fine Gael party, recommended following its poor general election performance last year, will not be implemented until after a new leader is in place, the party's most senior official has told TDs and Senators.

Tom Curran, the Fine Gael general secretary, made the comments at the weekly meeting of the parliamentary party in Leinster House on Wednesday evening, which Enda Kenny was attending.

Many TDs, while saying the comments were unremarkable when taken at face value, added they were a further indication that Mr Kenny’s tenure at the top of the party was likely to come to an end within weeks.

One TD said it would be extremely unlikely Mr Curran would make such a statement without having discussed it with Mr Kenny. The pair were sitting close to each other at the time.


Mr Curran spoke about the recommended reforms contained in two internal party reports into last year's general election: one by a group of TDs and another by Dr Marion Coy, who chairs the Fine Gael-linked Collins Institute think tank.

He said the reports contained 138 suggested actions to improve Fine Gael preparedness for the next election, 100 of which have been started or finished.

Sources said Mr Curran added that the remainder would depend on the expected change of leadership.


“In a way it was a statement of fact, but it was still extraordinary,” said one source, while a Deputy said the mention of the leadership issue by Mr Curran signalled the start of the “end game”.

Mr Kenny himself has previously asked at the weekly Fine Gael steering group, a small committee which helps organise party matters, about how the contest to succeed him would be run.

The mechanics of how the leadership campaign will be run have also been discussed by the party’s executive council. Fine Gael is preparing for the election to take place during Dáil term time, with debates and voting taking place over successive weekends.

The leadership will be decided by an electoral college which gives 65 per cent of voting weight to the parliamentary party, 10 per cent to councillors, and 25 per cent to ordinary members. TDs, Senators and MEPs will be last to cast their ballots.

Martin Heydon, the chair of the parliamentary party, said afterwards that there was discussion about the "ongoing work within the party following two commissioned reports after last year's general election".