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Monday 5 December 2016

How historic week of Brexit turmoil shaped our future

Kenny's position is 'extended' by 18 months to secure EU deal as parties work together to help contain crisis

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Published 02/07/2016 | 02:30

Enda Kenny, here leaving after the EU Summit in Brussels on Wednesday, looks set to stay on longer as Taoiseach as a consequence of the ‘Brexit’ vote. Photo: Reuters/Eric Vidal.
Enda Kenny, here leaving after the EU Summit in Brussels on Wednesday, looks set to stay on longer as Taoiseach as a consequence of the ‘Brexit’ vote. Photo: Reuters/Eric Vidal.

Enda Kenny's position as Taoiseach has been extended by "at least 18 months" as a direct result of the 'Brexit' turmoil.

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Senior Government figures who were previously vocal about Mr Kenny's performance now believe he must remain in place to secure Ireland a special deal.

Mr Kenny's close relationships with EU figures such as Angela Merkel are seen as being crucial to containing the historic Brexit crisis.

In a significant intervention, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar - seen as Mr Kenny's obvious successor - said 'Brexit' is likely to result in the Government lasting the course. "I think the result means the Government will last longer than people thought and emphasises the need for us to work on a cross-party basis, especially when it comes to matters of national interest," Mr Varadkar told the Irish Independent last night.

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor said Mr Kenny is the right politician when the "hard talks" begin. "He is trusted and his negotiation skills are effective," she said. But Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin heaped pressure on the Government to ensure its post-Brexit strategy focuses on developing the likes of Cork and Waterford as financial service hubs.

"We need to be pushing hard with Europe on the status of the North, while identifying what opportunities there might be for the regions," Mr Martin said.

Senior Government figures believe more resources must be given to the IDA to engage with the big firms now eyeing up Ireland for investment. Above all, an urgent plan must be developed to address the lack of housing and office space in our cities.

Irish Independent

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