Rousing reception for victorious Kenny
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny received a rousing welcome from the party faithful in Dublin's Burlington Hotel last night.
Party workers and supporters gathered at the hotel to celebrate the party's electoral success, its strongest showing in more than 28 years.
Flanked by Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran, Mr Kenny was introduced by the freshly-elected Dublin West TD Frances Fitzgerald as "a man of integrity, a man of courage, a man of steel and strength and Taoiseach-designate".
Mr Kenny thanked the voters for their "massive endorsement" which he said he would accept with "humility and hope".
"We now stand at a transformative moment in Ireland's history. We stand on the brink of fundamental change in how we regard ourselves, how we regard our economy and how we regard our society", Mr Kenny told the audience.
The Fine Gael leader, who himself led a ticket of four successful Fine Gael candidates in Mayo, said he would also lead a government "worthy of the trust of the people".
To applause, Mr Kenny said the gap between the government and the people would have to be closed.
"It was in that gap that the rot started and that the rot flourished," he said. "A government of responsibility not privilege. A government of public duty not personal entitlement. A government looking with confidence and courage to the future not with guilt and regret at the past."
Mr Kenny called on the people of Ireland to "look forward with good heart, with generosity of spirit" to a "shared future."
To the Opposition, and "for the sake of our country" Mr Kenny called for a new start. "Let us begin again. And on this spring day, let us begin again with new life, new talent, new shared purpose"
Mr Kenny said people should not have to leave the country in search of work.
"I want you to understand. I am going to ask everybody, the politicians and the people, to use the power of intention that they showed in the ballot box so that we can truly work together to show real change and to bring our young people home to build that future again. Here with their own people in their own place. Not in any other place," he said.
"We cannot have another generation of Irish building the futures of other countries. Let us be mindful of our duty and our responsibility during the period of the next government and above all in the midst for what is for many a national heartbreak let us be mindful of each other.
"Is faoi scáth a chéile a mhairean na daoine. I ask for your prayers, your good wishes, your faith as I undertake the task of building and leading the next government."