Sunday 23 July 2017

Enda can't just settle for blithe pledges that all will be well after Brexit, he needs to fight our corner

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Collins
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Collins
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's feisty declaration that he has no intention of vacating the stage is timely. Persistent rumblings by cheerleaders of those eager to replace him as party leader do nothing to reassure citizens that matters are under control. This unusual minority administration has enough to be getting on with, keeping itself together on a weekly basis, without the distractions of a destabilising leadership heave.

This untrammelled pursuit of leadership is a male preoccupation. Currently, the frontrunners are viewed as Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, both high-profile and competent males. There is scant mention of Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, who by any measure is every bit as qualified to be leader should a vacancy arise.

The Taoiseach links his intentions to remain on with the challenges of Brexit for Ireland. These are growing ever gloomier as time passes and the dysfunction of British politics is exposed. When this period of British history is written, it will not be glorious. The folly of David Cameron initially being bounced into the Brexit referendum by the forces of ultra-nationalism within and outside his own Conservative party; the insanity of allowing some cabinet ministers to campaign against the government position to remain in the EU and ultimately the shocking loss of the referendum on the day is probably the biggest calamity in post-war British politics.

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