Thursday 23 February 2017

The generation game unfolds

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

FINE Gael's young bucks declaring against party leader Enda Kenny yesterday highlighted a generation gap in the leadership contest.

A series of young backbenchers followed the lead of their ambitious colleagues the day before by saying they had no confidence in the party leader.

The move left the contest appearing like a battle between the old hands, behind Mr Kenny, and the new figures, against him. Dublin South-East's Lucinda Creighton, Wexford's Michael D'Arcy and Meath West's Damien English went strongly out to bat against Mr Kenny.

Senator John Paul Phelan was the first of the younger generation to back Mr Bruton and call for Mr Kenny to resign.

After keeping quiet about his intentions, Donegal North-East's Joe McHugh finally declared against Mr Kenny last night by appearing alongside Mr Bruton.

Mr McHugh joined his wife, social welfare spokeswoman Olwyn Enright, who was part of the Gang of Nine frontbench members to oppose Mr Kenny.

She was joined by fellow youth wing members Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and Denis Naughten. Mr Coveney celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday.

The party leader does have the support of young TDs like chief whip Paul Kehoe from Wexford and Clare's Joe Carey. But the majority of his backers appear to be from the older ranks of the party.

Irish Independent

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