Thursday 19 October 2017

Fine Gael can see winter leadership contest on the horizon now that Kenny's getting the cold shoulder

After a week of clangers, misjudgement, and with tensions rising, there's no way back for the Taoiseach

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster at the North South Ministerial Council in Dublin Castle
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster at the North South Ministerial Council in Dublin Castle
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

There's now no way back for Enda Kenny. The events of the past week have guaranteed we can measure what's left in his tenure as Taoiseach in, at most, months, possibly weeks and - in the worst case, though probably least likely, scenario - days.

Kenny has privately been telling people since the election disaster that he wouldn't be sticking around for too long. That his priority was to get Fine Gael into Government; leave the State and party in good stead and then ride off into the sunset without looking back. No heave necessary.

However, the temptation to stay for just a little bit longer, to perhaps early 2018, must always have been in the background. And two weeks ago, post the Brexit referendum shock, he may have flirted with the idea of staying longer. The 'national interest' might require his experience and his knowledge of the corridors of power in Brussels.

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