'I have a very clear process in mind and I'll set that out in due course' - Kenny
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in June
Published 12/07/2016 | 02:30
Irish Independent: "Can I check a logistical thing with you? You say you're going to stand down at the next election, or before the next election. How does that work?
"Ok, so let's give you the benefit of the doubt here. So, say this Government will last until 2021 and we'll say the election is going to be on February 26, 2021. So you'll dissolve the Dáil end of January or early February and so on and so forth. When exactly have you resigned as Fine Gael leader?
"Because Brian Cowen showed it can be done; he stood down as Fianna Fáil leader; he remained as caretaker Taoiseach, in effect, until you took over from him. So there was a month or a six-week hiatus period where Micheál Martin was the party leader. Fine. How does that work logistically? What I'm asking you now is not about, is it Leo or Simon, or, you know, Simon or Frances? I'm just asking: how does it work?"
Taoiseach Enda Kenny: "First of all I haven't said that I'm standing down at the next election. What I've said is that I don't intend to lead the Fine Gael party into the next election. So, our programme is predicated on a five-year programme. There's a review of that programme at the end of 2018. And I have a lot of work to do. You're asking me a question now a month after the Government was formed."
II: "I am. But you have spoken about it in recent times?"
Kenny: "I have. And I've said I intend to serve the full term but I do not intend to lead the party into the next General Election."
II: "That's where my question is coming from. You intend to serve the first term?"
Kenny: "I'll deal with that in due course. I've got a lot of work to do in between."
II: "But you're saying you intend to serve the full term?"
Kenny: "Yes, I do."
II: "But not lead the party into the General Election?"
II: "That's why I'm getting to my point: how does that work?"
Kenny: "I'll set out that process in due course. I've got a lot of work to do between this and then."
II: "Let me look at it another way, right, would you accept that it's not exactly going to be ideal that you dissolve the Dáil and then go to a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting and go: 'By the way, lads, I'm now leaving'."
Kenny: "No, I have a very clear process in mind and I'll set that out in due course. And I've got a lot of work to do between this and then."
II: "OK, what is due course?"
Kenny: "Well, we have a five-year programme. There is a review after - at the end of 2018. I want to see that the partnership government, that I have the privilege of leading, gets down to business and starts to implement the 600-plus commitments that we have given to the people here. Now, that is where my focus is."
II: "Am I to read something into the mention of 2018?"
Kenny: "No. There is a full review of the programme that we have, with Fianna Fáil at the end of 2018."
II: "So you have a process in mind about how this will go?"
Kenny: "Yes, I have."
II: "But you would accept if you were serving the full term, then not leading the party in, that does present a logistical problem, at the very least, for Fine Gael. At some point they have to decide...?"
Kenny: "I have a very clear understanding of what it is that I am going to do and I will set that out in due course."