Irish PM announces resignation as party leader

Fernando Stephens
May 18, 2017

Following the news that Enda Kenny will retire as Fine Gael leader effective from midnight last night, BoyleSports have reported that Leo Varadkar is the firm 2/5 favourite to succeed him as party leader.

Mr Noonan made his announcement as Fine Gael deputy leader Dr James Reilly said he was stepping down from his role and declared his support for Housing Minister Simon Coveney for the party leadership.

In 2002, party leader Michael Noonan led Fine Gael to its then worst performance, losing 23 seats.

Fine Gael entered government under Liam Cosgrave's stewardship but Mr Kenny had a relatively low-key career as a backbencher during his 21-years in the Dáil.

"Leo Varadkar has only been in social protection one year and he has already increased disability benefit and carers allowance for the first time in 7 years, as well as the blind pension, lone parents allowance and illness benefit".

In a statement on his way into a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening, Kenny said he would continue as prime minister pending the election of his successor.

He said it had been a "huge honor and lead our party for the past 15 years, in opposition and into government on two successive occasions".

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The Sinn Féin president said the Government led by Mr Kenny had a "deeply flawed" strategy for dealing with the challenge of Brexit and a "clear lack of affinity" with Northern Ireland.

In what was described as an emotional parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Kenny is reported to have asked: "Is it OK if I go now?" At 66 years old, Mr. Kenny is an old Irish politician who put his country's economy back on track with a program of Draconian austerity.

However, voters have seen painful tax hikes under Mr Kenny's administration - with unprecedented levels of homelessness and a series of crises involving police corruption and negligence.

The rank-and-file members of the party have 25% and councillors 10%.

A party leadership contest has officially begun. "I have learned a lot from Enda, in particular how to lead a team of people with many talents and diverse views", he said.

Among Mr Kenny's final official overseas engagements will be a two-day trade mission to Chicago and the centenary commemoration of the start of the First World War Battle of Messines.

Other reports by BadHub

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