Fine Gael’s leadership
Sir, – Although I believe Enda Kenny has done a good job as Taoiseach, considering the circumstances he inherited, now is the time for him to resign as taoiseach and leader of the Fine Gael party.
This is an opportunity for the new leader (whoever it might be) to take the initiative and appoint a special Brexit minister, so the Government can co-operate and negotiate on behalf of the Irish people in respect of the uncertainty surrounding Northern Ireland and our bilateral economic relationship.
Furthermore, it is important that new Cabinet ministers be appointed in key positions like finance and foreign affairs to ensure that the new taoiseach is leading the country in a new direction.
Although it is sad to see an established political figure cast aside, it is the opportunities that arise that make it so fascinating.
As H Jackson Brown states, “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity”. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Listening to Enda Kenny’s excellent speech to the Institute of International and European Affairs last Wednesday on the importance of the EU to Ireland and the magnitude of the challenge that Brexit poses for the country, I was struck by the same thought as Pat O’Mahony (February 18th). When he steps down from being Taoiseach, he should become “minister for Brexit.”
The outcome of the forthcoming negotiations is probably more important for Ireland than for any other country, but Ireland’s relatively small size may make it difficult to get the other 26 countries to pay enough attention to Irish concerns. If anybody can do this, it is Mr Kenny, who thoroughly understands the issues, is a hugely experienced political negotiator, and knows the major players.
His very seniority will emphasise to the other countries how much the Brexit outcome matters to Ireland. As one of the longest-serving members of the European Council, his views are likely to be given a more respectful hearing than those of any newcomer.
An advantage of this arrangement is that the minister would be somebody who need not be distracted by an election and subsequent coalition-forming that is almost sure to come while the negotiations are still going on. Any new taoiseach will be fully concerned with domestic issues. Moreover, Ireland’s negotiating position is likely to be strengthened if there is continuity of its chief negotiator. Since there are unlikely to be any serious disagreements among the parties about Ireland’s interests in the Brexit negotiations, it seems reasonable to hope that whoever becomes taoiseach during the next two years would keep Mr Kenny in place. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Leo and Simon will do anything to avoid that picture with Donald Trump.What a retirement present for Enda. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Fine Gael need look no further than to its own history for a possible solution to their present dilemma regarding their future leader. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stated that he will not lead the party into the next election. For different reasons, when John A Costello served as taoiseach, Fine Gael had a different leader in Richard Mulcahy. To enable the “smooth transition” that many speak of, Enda Kenny could indicate that he intends resigning as leader of the party in a matter of weeks but could continue to serve as Taoiseach for the remainder of the Government’s term until the next election. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – It is widely observed that the prolonged transition in office between Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen – allowing the former a five-week “lap of honour” – was a mistake. At a time when the global financial world was convulsing, the period was characterised by drift, with no one seen as being in charge.
Given the circumstances facing the country today, in particular the challenge of Brexit, how can it be countenanced that governance might be subject to a three-month period of drift simply to give Mr Kenny the opportunity to break some record that really only matters to himself?
The Taoiseach has served his country. If he wishes to retain the respect of the Irish people I suggest he takes his leave promptly. The country needs dynamic government. – Yours, etc,