Wednesday 7 December 2016

Enda Kenny's constituency colleague Michael Ring warns rebels against launching any leadership challenge

Geraldine Gittens and Niall O'Connor

Published 11/07/2016 | 08:46

Brendan Griffin

ENDA Kenny's constituency colleague, junior minister Michael Ring, has warned rebels against launching any move against the embattled Taoiseach.

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"Now is not the time (to move against Kenny)," Mr Ring said this morning.

The Mayo TD told independent.ie today that he supports Mr Kenny "100 per cent" and warned rebels against issuing any vote of no confidence.

"Now that the Brexit situation has happened, we need to pull together as a party. Now is not the time (to move against Kenny). I am backing him 100pc," he said.

Mr Ring made the intervention after a Fine Gael TD  indicated that he will table a motion of no confidence in his party leader Enda Kenny “soon” at a parliamentary meeting

Kerry TD Brendan Griffin said this morning that he believes the Fine Gael party is currently “rudderless" while Fianna Fáil TDs are enjoying an air of confidence as their party performs well in the polls.

Brendan Griffin
Brendan Griffin

The backbencher TD told RTE’s Morning Ireland he fears Fianna Fáil will use the next Budget as an opportunity to call another General Election.

“We are rudderless and we are drifting and that needs to be addressed.”

“I simply do not trust Fianna Fail, I simply do not trust Micheál Martin… there is a clear swagger amongst Fianna Fáil TDs – they’re riding high in the polls.”

“I think the party is in a very dangerous position at the moment… We are very weakened at the negotiating table.”

Mr Griffin said the summer recess would be the best time for a change in leadership, and he believes there is more than one candidate who could take up the leadership role.

I think it’s healthy for the party and the country that we would have a change.”

Read More: Enda Kenny in race to summer recess amid storm over his leadership

Meanwhile, Education Minister Richard Bruton, who led a leadership challenge against Enda Kenny in 2010, told RTE’s Morning Ireland that he does not agree with Mr Griffin’s challenge.

“I don’t agree. This is not the time for a leadership challenge. It’s been barely two months since Fine Gael took up the leadership challenge.”

“Within two weeks we’ll be publishing an action plan for housing. A couple of weeks after that we’ll have a strategy on education.”

He said Ireland needs the Taoiseach to steer it through a period of instability brought about by Brexit which he described as a “body blow” to Ireland.

However, TDs and senators who would normally be seen as being close to Mr Kenny believe he is fatally damaged as a result of the talk over his leadership.

One senior Fine Gael figure, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Independent.ie:

"You can be rest assured there will be another election in 2016."

Mr Kenny is in Mayo today but is not expected to publicly address the controversy until tomorrow, when he is due to travel to Berlin to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Read More: Leo Varadkar: 'I don’t think that it’s time for Enda Kenny to depart'

Junior minister for employment and small business Pat Breen has also intervened to his Party leader.

Mr Breen said any move against him would be “totally wrong” and that Mr Kenny needs “time and space” to reflect on the situation.

“Enda Kenny has displayed great energy in driving our economic recovery and that should not be forgotten. This is the wrong time for any internal party squabble,” Mr Breen said.

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