Thursday 8 December 2016

Kenny won't be in Dáil when vote of confidence takes place

Published 19/09/2015 | 02:30

Enda Kenny will likely be absent from a motion of no confidence against his leadership
Enda Kenny will likely be absent from a motion of no confidence against his leadership

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to be absent for a vote of confidence in his leadership next week as the Dáil debates the damning findings of the Fennelly Commission report.

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Several senior ministers are to be rolled out to defend Mr Kenny's role in the departure of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan when the Dáil returns from the summer recess on Tuesday.

The Government will table a motion of confidence in Mr Kenny to counter a Fianna Fáil motion that criticises the Taoiseach and the Government.

The Fianna Fáil motion states: "That Dáil Éireann, arising from the contents and the conclusions of the Interim Report of the Fennelly Commission, does not have confidence in An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD."

It is signed by the entire Fianna Fáil Dáil team, including party leader Michéal Martin.

But a Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in Attorney General Máire Whelan, who was also criticised by the Commission, is expected to be ruled out of order.

Mr Kenny will say that Mr Justice Nial Fennelly found that he did not sack Mr Callinan by dispatching the former General Secretary Brian Purcell to his home on March 24 last year.

The Taoiseach will also emphasise the finding that Mr Callinan chose to retire on his own accord.

While Mr Kenny will address the Dáil during the debate on Tuesday, he is expected to be absent for the vote of confidence the following day due to the arrangement of an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss the refugee crisis.

Engage

Health Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday said he has requested speaking time to allow him to defend the Taoiseach in the debate on the Fennelly report. Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is also expected to contribute.

A senior Government source last night accused Fianna Fáil of trying to engage in "political theatre".

"This is clearly a contrivance. Fianna Fáil is more interested in second-guessing a retired Supreme Court judge than focussing on issues that matter to the people," the source said.

Nonetheless, Mr Justice Fennelly found that the decision to dispatch Mr Purcell to Mr Callinan's home was the "immediate catalyst" in his decision to step down.

A senior Labour source said, while the party remains uneasy about the findings, a number of its members will use the debate on Tuesday and Wednesday evening to talk up the Coalition's record.

Irish Independent

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