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Wednesday 7 December 2016

How Varadkar moved to end Kenny 'heave'

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar personally intervened to kill off any notions of a 'heave' against Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

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The Sunday Independent has learned that the minister was in phone contact with rebel TDs, urging them not to move against the leader for the sake of party unity.

It came amid rumblings that some TDs were considering formal moves to try and oust the Taoiseach as party leader with motions at a Fine Gael meeting last Wednesday.

One Fine Gael source said that Mr Varadkar stepped in as "he felt it was important that we wouldn't do damage to the party and that everyone would settle down".

Another source outlined their view of why Mr Varadkar intervened, saying: "The overwhelming consensus view in the parliamentary party is that Enda Kenny should be given sufficient time to make his own decision to step down, thus avoiding division."

No motion challenging Kenny was tabled at Wednesday's meeting and questions over his leadership appear to have died down for now.

However, two polls this weekend show growing support for Fianna Fail and this will maintain the pressure on Mr Kenny's leadership.

The polls confirm a surge in support for Fianna Fail, which is now clearly ahead of Fine Gael.

In one poll, Fianna Fail is at 30pc, with Fine Gael at 25pc, while in the other Fianna Fail is at 29pc and Fine Gael is at 26pc.

Both polls also indicate a strong downward trend in support for Independents.

Sunday Independent

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