Wednesday 16 August 2017

Key quotes in the leadership stakes

Enda Kenny (centre) with Richard Bruton, Simon Harris, Paschal Donohoe, Leo Varadkar, Frances Fitzgerald and Michael Noonan at an election news conference. Photo: Tom Burke
Enda Kenny (centre) with Richard Bruton, Simon Harris, Paschal Donohoe, Leo Varadkar, Frances Fitzgerald and Michael Noonan at an election news conference. Photo: Tom Burke
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Taoiseach Enda Kenny last Thursday insisted he's focused on his work and a series of engagements in the coming weeks. He said: "I'm focusing entirely on a really busy and challenging time ahead. Politics is a vocation. It draws you into stormy waters as well as calm."

Leo Varadkar on Saturday: "Everyone is waiting to hear from the Taoiseach. The current situation is distracting and destabilising for the Government, the party and the country. I have full confidence in the Taoiseach to settle it."

Minister Simon Coveney on Sunday: "My view is that the Taoiseach should go to Washington for St Patrick's Day. But I expect the leadership within Fine Gael, and ultimately the leadership in the country, and the issues around that will be dealt with very quickly after that."

Mr Kenny's spokesman said on Sunday: "The Taoiseach will address the parliamentary party on Wednesday and won't be making any comment on the issue until then". Mr Kenny reiterated that yesterday in Mayo.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, on whether or not she will enter the leadership race, said yesterday: "The Taoiseach has said that he'll be speaking to the parliamentary party on Wednesday. It's very important that we wait and hear what the Taoiseach has to say [on Wednesday]. And when he's made that clear I'll be considering my own position."

Minister Charlie Flanagan on his WhatsApp message suggesting Simon Harris may contest the leadership race and "wants out of health".

"It was a joke which should be taken as that. It was jovial Sunday afternoon banter and I regret that its been taken so seriously."

Minister Simon Harris: "My colleague Charlie Flanagan has many, many fine attributes. He's a great colleague of mine but I think funny jokes on a Sunday afternoon is clearly not one of them. I'm absolutely honoured to hold this position."

Minister Richard Bruton when put to him he's not ruling out a leadership bid: "There is no vacancy. I'm not commenting on any of the contenders, I'm not commenting on this matter."

Irish Independent

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