Kenny told quit by May or face heave
Enda Kenny has until next May at the latest, a full year on from his re-election, to resign as Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach or he will face a leadership challenge, the Sunday Independent has learned.
But there is a widespread view in Fine Gael this weekend that Mr Kenny now intends to resist even the extended deadline to resign of May 2017 - a stand that would provoke a direct challenge to his leadership, which he is almost certain to lose.
There is also huge resentment at Cabinet and Minister of State level in Fine Gael after Mr Kenny last week hinted he was planning a reshuffle of ministers next year.
Also this weekend, Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who is tipped as a successor to Mr Kenny, denied that he had any prior knowledge of a newspaper article published last week which led to feverish speculation at the Fine Gael 'think-in' that Mr Kenny's leadership was under immediate threat.
At that meeting, Mr Kenny dismissed speculation on his leadership and emphasised the mandate he had received from the Dail to form and lead a government.
Former Fine Gael Minister of State Tom Hayes had written he had a "firm view" Mr Kenny should be replaced as the party leader and that it may not be possible to pick a time of his own choosing.
Yesterday, Mr Coveney admitted he would be regarded widely to be "close" to Mr Hayes, but said he was "surprised" by the article which, he said, he "had nothing to do with".