Monday 24 July 2017

'Ah I will probably miss him' - Micheál Martin pays tribute to Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said he "probably will" miss Enda Kenny as the Mayo TD steps down as leader of the country.

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, Micheál Martin said the duo had "many encounters together".

"Ah, I probably will," he replied when asked if he would miss Enda Kenny.

"As leader of the opposition he was my immediate opponent.

"We had many encounters together, both in the Dáil and in the two general elections.

"On a personal level, we got on very well.

"I wish himself and Fionnuala the very best."

Martin described Kenny as a "patriot" and said he has probably been "enjoying the last number of weeks."

"He was courageous when Fine Gael was at a low ebb.

Read more: Here's what will happen today as Enda Kenny bids his final farewell as Taoiseach

"He's probably smiling today at the many people who are now out there declaring he's been the greatest leader since Brian Boru... that's the nature of politics.

"I think he's probably enjoying the moment, he's enjoying the last number of weeks.

"I wish him well," he continued.

"I think he worked on behalf of the country extremely enthusiastically. He was a patriot and a great leader."

Meanwhile, deputy leader of Fine Gael, James Reilly, has said Mr Kenny can be proud of his track record.

"He rebuilt the party from the ashes of the 2002 and election... and as Taoiseach he rebuilt the country," he told RTE Radio.

Mr Reilly paid tribute to Mr Kenny's record at home and abroad.

"How many people could have done what he did in Washington?," he added.

To "look Donald Trump in the eye" and make a speech on immigration was an example of Mr Kenny's performance on the world stage Mr Reilly said.

Brexit and the special status awarded to Ireland for the upcoming divorce talks are also examples of Mr Kenny's international track record Mr Reilly said.

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