Thursday 8 December 2016

Kenny will only leave office in a box, says Yates

Published 01/11/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has few ‘very close friends’. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has few ‘very close friends’. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach Enda Kenny wants to be carried out of office "in a box" and no longer stands for anything, his former colleague Ivan Yates has said.

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In the second part of an RTÉ documentary on the Fine Gael leader, Mr Yates claimed that everything Mr Kenny does in government is "based on his own political interests" and designed to keep "this edifice going as long as possible".

"At the end of the day he's going to end up in Irish politics, whenever he retires, with a lot more colleagues than friends," Mr Yates said, adding that his approach to survival since February's election has been reminiscent of Charlie Haughey.

The former agriculture minister said Mr Kenny used his Cabinet selection to put leadership contenders Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar "back in their box".

Political strategist Frank Flannery, who was once seen as extremely close to Mr Kenny, told the same RTÉ programme that the Mayo TD is a "sociable loner".

"The amount of very close friends he has, I think, is very little.

"He has very little special alliances within the Cabinet," he said. "His great supporters were people like James Reilly and Alan Shatter. What did he do for them when times became troublesome?"

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar noted that the election campaign earlier this year "became very presidential".

"Enda has a lot of skills but he is not a champion debater.

"Micheál Martin shone in those debates. So did some of the others," he said.

Irish Independent

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