Friday 18 August 2017

How the pressure built on Kenny

Here is a list of events charting pressures on Enda Kenny which came to a head with the sacking of his once trusted number two, Richard Bruton, and plans for a reshuffle.

February 8: High-profile TD George Lee quits the party and politics, raising serious questions over Kenny's leadership.

February 9: The Mayo TD responds by vowing to up his game after a robust meeting with the front bench. He says: "What I'm going to do now is be myself and I'm going to speak out from my heart."

February 9: Mr Bruton admits his own leadership ambitions but in the same breath says he fully supports his leader and a four-month waiting game begins.

March 11: The parliamentary party rejects a plan backed by Kenny to impose quotas of women candidates. His own female front-benchers dismiss it.

March 20: Kenny shocks many in his parliamentary party by announcing he would abolish the Seanad if put in power.

June 10: He attempts to score valuable political points by trying to move a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach over damning criticisms of the causes of the banking crisis.

June 11: Kenny is dealt a severe blow with an opinion poll showing his rating down seven points and continued failure to capitalise on dissatisfaction with Brian Cowen.

June 12: Kenny telephones Bruton and asks him to defend publicly his leadership in an interview. Bruton refuses.

June 13: Bruton declines to comment on Kenny's leadership. The pair meet that night in Fine Gael headquarters for 45 minutes with both men refusing to back down.

June 14: Bruton asks for time to discuss "issues" privately with party colleagues. Battle lines are drawn as Kenny steps in and sacks him at 4pm.

June 15: Renegade Fine Gael front-benchers ready to back Bruton hold a breakfast meeting in the Green Isle Hotel on the outskirts of west Dublin.

June 15: Kenny chairs the weekly meeting of his front bench in Leinster House 2000. He warns the divided shadow cabinet they face a reshuffle on Monday before walking out less than half an hour later without giving them a chance to challenge him.

June 16: Opponents and supporters claim majorities ahead of the vote but two senior TDs, former frontbenchers Charlie Flanagan and Kieran O'Donnell, defect, dealing a blow to Kenny.

June 17: The 51 TDs, 15 Senators and four MEPs settle down for a five hour long debate and vote. The atmosphere was described as cool and calm.

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