Monday 23 October 2017

Kenny dodges query over Reilly's future

Enda Kenny with James Reilly
Enda Kenny with James Reilly
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has dodged questions on whether James Reilly will remain as Fine Gael deputy leader if the party is returned to power.

There is a widely held view within sections of the party that Dr Reilly will be dropped from Cabinet - and replaced as deputy leader - as a result of his decision to speak out on the issue of the abortion.

But at the launch of the Fine Gael manifesto, Mr Kenny dodged questions from the Irish Independent on Dr Reilly's future.

"And for minister Reilly, let me assure you that in this party we always have conversations, and sometimes tensions, but obviously the only person elected to the next Dáil is the former Ceann Comhairle, deputy Sean Barrett," the Fine Gael leader said.

"We will wait and see what the people decide. I want to see as many Fine Gael candidates to be elected as possible," he added, before mentioning Dr Reilly's running mate Alan Farrell.

Dr Reilly's remarks on abortion prompted Mr Kenny to announce a citizen's convention and pledge that his TDs will be given a free vote.

Fine Gael sources say Mr Kenny had always intended to set up the convention. However, Dr Reilly's intervention was seen as a direct undermining of his leadership.

Irish Independent

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