Farce and fluster as tensions rise over how long Kenny can remain
Enda Kenny faces an undignified end to his career as the backlash against him gathers pace
Noel Rock was not the first Fine Gael TD to call for Enda Kenny to set out a timeline for his departure. In fact, he was the 11th. But his comments in last Monday's Irish Independent and his interview on RTE's News at One will be remembered more than that of those who preceded him.
Rock is a loyal and outspoken supporter of Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar. However, he insisted Varadkar was not behind the intervention. Soon after the interview aired, a junior minister, who is also close to Varadkar, texted journalists to make it clear the Fine Gael leadership front-runner had not orchestrated the move by Rock. Ironically, the same junior minister was considering a similar intervention only two weeks ago.
Rock, a first-time TD who four times nominated Kenny for Taoiseach during protracted Programme for Government negotiations last year, got some flak from within the party for his comments. He was approached by a number of senior Fine Gael figures and asked not to repeat his comments but it was too late - the starting pistol had been fired.