Saturday 21 October 2017

'Chaos and banter' in Dáil over Kenny's leadership

Taoiseach and Fine Gael party leader, Enda Kenny. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Taoiseach and Fine Gael party leader, Enda Kenny. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Carrousels of chaos and WhatsApp banter dominated Dáil proceedings this afternoon as Taoiseach Enda Kenny insisted there is “no change” to the make up of the Government.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin asked whether Mr Kenny needed to alert the Dáil to any potential changes, “as opposed to just one political party”.

He noted that ministers nominated by the Taoiseach when they signed up to a confidence and supply arrangement with Fianna Fáil were now openly setting a deadline for his departure.

In response, Mr Kenny said the Government has “a serious agenda” involving preparations for Brexit and trade missions.

“There is no change,” he said.

The Taoiseach has indicated that he will address questions surrounding his leadership at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party tomorrow night.

Mr Martin also took aim at his constituency rival Simon Coveney who is considered a front runner to be the next Fine Gael leader.

“The Minister for Housing was on media over the weekend, giving you a deadline and giving you a timeline in terms of when you should leave office.

"I think it would have been far more focused by the minister if he concentrated on what is an appalling emergency for thousands of families in this country,” he said.

The Cork South Central TD added that everybody was being distracted by the “Simon and Leo show”.

“We need ministers to focus on the job at hand. All we’re listening to is one ministers wants to get out of health because it’s too hot in the kitchen,” Mr Martin said, in reference to a WhatsApp message sent by Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan over the weekend.

Mr Kenny replied: “You’re behind the curve on a few points here Deputy Martin. Let me say that young Minister Harris is enjoying the greatest honour of his career in dealing with the Department of Health.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the Government were supposed to end chaos in the health system, industrial relations and other sectors.

“Taoiseach, chaos is now your middle name. Now your ministerial colleagues have brought chaos to your own party.

“They obsess on who will lead Fine Gael and by grace of Fianna Fáil who will lead the Government and when.

“Your brightest and best jockey for position on WhatsApp and in the media,” Mr Adams said.

He added: “Taoiseach, could you get off the chaos carrousel and get back on the right track?”

Mr Kenny refused to engage but did quip: “The carrousel is different from the trampoline.”

The Sinn Féin leader has previously stated that he likes to trampoline naked with his dog.

At one point during proceedings, the Ceann Comhairle appealed to TDs to be less boisterous, saying: “Members I know spirits are very high for whatever reason but could you please try and curtail yourselves. “

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