Kenny keeps a low profile after resignation
Published 09/02/2010 | 05:00
FINE Gael leader Enda Kenny opted last night to remain silent about George Lee's dramatic departure from the party.
Mr Kenny is set to travel up from his Mayo constituency to Dublin today to defend his handling of the former RTE star -- and to tackle questions about his leadership.
After his party was plunged into crisis by the move, he decided to remain out of the spotlight yesterday and instead just released a short statement saying he was "deeply saddened" by Mr Lee's resignation.
But Mr Kenny's handlers are maintaining that he did all he could to keep Mr Lee on board. He held two private meetings with him -- on Tuesday and Friday last week -- in an attempt to persuade him not to quit the party.
At the second meeting, he offered Mr Lee a new frontbench position on economic planning and gave him the weekend to consider the offer.
Mr Kenny was in his _constituency office in Castlebar yesterday when the party leader took the call from Mr Lee at 12.30pm and is understood to have accepted that there was nothing more he could do.
At lunchtime Mr Kenny headed for his home to join his wife, Fionnuala. Callers to his office in the early afternoon were told he wasn't expected back for the day and that, apart from a public statement issued in the early afternoon, he wouldn't be commenting further yesterday on the Lee bombshell.