Thursday 27 April 2017

70 days later - and Enda Kenny has finally scraped in as Taoiseach

* Voted in on the fourth attempt
* Labour voted against Kenny
* Sinn Féin critical of FF/FG deal
* Coppinger: 'I've never seen a new Taoiseach so unhappy'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny receiving the seal of office (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny receiving the seal of office (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny receiving the seal of office (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

Kevin Doyle, Niall O'Connor, John Downing, Barry Lennon and Philip Ryan

Seventy days later.... and Enda Kenny has finally been voted in as Taoiseach with 59 votes.

The Mayo man has become the first ever Fine Gael member to be voted in as Taoiseach for a second term.  He needed 58 votes to be successful today.

The votes were as follows: 59 votes to 49 votes.

And the Dáil is set to look a little different as two first time TDs who are members of the Independent Alliance have agreed to share a junior ministry, it is understood.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny receiving the seal of office (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Taoiseach Enda Kenny receiving the seal of office (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Enda Kenny. Photo: Tom Burke

Longford/Westmeath’s Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Galway East’s Sean Canney have done a deal with Fine Gael that will allow them to switch places mid-way through the lifetime of the government.

It is not known what portfolio they will share but the Westmeath Independent reports that Mr Canny will be the initial postholder.

Speaking after the vote today, Mr Kenny said the engagements that had taken place over the last few weeks showed there are a significant number of deputies in the Dail who want to make the current political figurationwork.

He said he will take the "constructive comments" from the Opposition as he seeks to implement his programme for government

Independent deputies from left: Denis Naughten,Noel Grealish,Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins . Pic Tom Burke
Independent deputies from left: Denis Naughten,Noel Grealish,Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins . Pic Tom Burke
Brendan Howlin. Pic Tom Burke

Mr Kenny promised a “comprehensive reform” of the Oireachtas during his second term of office.

He said every member of the Dail will have an opportunity to play a constructive role in the work of the Oireachtas.

Independent deputy Shane Ros accompanied by Aisling Dunne of the Independent Alliance co-ordinators arriving for the talks . Pic: Tom Burke
Independent deputy Shane Ros accompanied by Aisling Dunne of the Independent Alliance co-ordinators arriving for the talks . Pic: Tom Burke

He said "at the heart" of the programme for government is a realisation of the potential of all the people of Ireland.

And he said “good politics” will realise that potential.

Conor Lenihan. Pic Tom Burke
Conor Lenihan. Pic Tom Burke

Mr Kenny said recent years saw “sovereignty lost and sovereignty gained” followed by celebrations of the 1916 Rising.

He said he hope to draw inspiration from those who took part in the Easter Rising as he begins his second term in office.

Independent deputy Katherine Zappone . Pic Tom Burke
Independent deputy Katherine Zappone . Pic Tom Burke

Mr Kenny said it is a “great honour” to accept his nomination as Taoiseach for a second term.

Dublin TD Noel Rock nominated Enda Kenny today for for the fourth time since the election, telling the Dáil: “The urgency of now is to great to lose. It has been 70 days.”

There was laughter in the chamber as Mr Rock took to his feet to once again propose the Fine Gael leader as Taoiseach.

He said: “We need a Taoiseach to match the challenges we have ahead. We need a Taoiseach to master the opportunities which we face.

“That can harness the great capabilities of this parliament. And always, always put this country first.”

He said Enda Kenny had led the country during the last five years of need and was now ready to take on the next challenge.

“We have capacity, we have opportunity, we have the ability to the best country in the world but we  also have challenges,” he said.

Mr Rock described the Irish nation as “a ship without a captain”.

“The ship cannot go on without a captain,” he said.

Junior Finance Minister, Simon Harris, also backed Kenny and said the Irish people had shown patience over the past 10 weeks of government negotiations.

The Wicklow Fine Gael TD said he was very hopeful there would be a government finally elected today.

"Today I hope we will see the creation of a new kind of partnership government," Mr Harris said. He said the Government's aim must be to create a strong economy and a fair society.

Deputy Harris added that the minority coalition will be made up of diverse political views. But he stressed that unity can come out of political diversity.

Micheál Martin told the Dáil that Fine Gael talks with Independents show how a Fianna Fáil Coalition with Mr Kenny's party would be about “sharing the spoils of power.”

The Fianna Fáil leader reiterated his party's right to criticise the government in the “confidence and supply” agreement he secured with Mr Kenny.

“This potentially represents, and I say potentially noting the absence of the Independent Alliance but that may change in the next few minutes, a new beginning,” he said.

During his speech Mr Martin took credit for the suspension of water charges but added: “Water policy is not the most important policy facing the country and has taken too much time.”

To laughter he hit out at the Labour Party for continuing to argue that charges should remain, saying: “Alan Kelly suffering from the withdrawal of the drug of his choice.”

He also took a swipe at Sinn Féin saying: “The very people who have condemned us for allowing Fine Gael back into government spent two months trying to force us into government with them.”

He said Gerry Adams and his deputies “believe in finding problems to exploit. We believe in finding problems to resolve”.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger said she has never seen an incoming Taoiseach look so unhappy.

Ms Coppinger said there will be “collective groan” from people around the country who did not want Mr Kenny to return as Taoiseach.

She said the suspension of water charges was not due to pressure from Fianna Fáil but rather down to the anti-water charge movement.

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News