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Monday 23 April 2018

Brexit Fallout: The Rebel alliance

Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd
Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd

Kevin Doyle and Niall O'Connor

While the Fine Gael rebellion has fallen flat, a number of TDs would like to see more clarity about Enda Kenny's exit strategy.

Kerry TD Brendan Griffin yesterday became the stand-out backbencher as he launched an all out assault on the Taoiseach - but it appears he was a one-man army.

Senior party figures yesterday pointed to the fact that Mr Griffin was among the small number of second-term TDs not to get a junior ministry. However, several other TDs have been openly critical of the party leader in recent days while stopping short of calling for his head.

Carlow/Kilkenny TD Pat Deering, who has been appointed chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, said he would like Mr Kenny to "clarify the situation" when the parliamentary party meets tomorrow.

Cork South West TD Jim Daly and Wexford TD Michael D'Arcy have taken similar lines.

Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd talked about "new leadership" at Fine Gael meeting last week but said yesterday that a motion of no confidence in Mr Kenny is "not the right thing to do".

His constituency colleague, Peter Fitzpatrick, was forced to issue a statement after some confusion over where he stood.

He has called on Mr Kenny to put forward a succession plan but also said he wanted to "highlight the outstanding work Enda Kenny has done as Taoiseach and for Fine Gael".

Ultimately, the voices calling for Mr Kenny to make a quick and quiet exit have waned significantly since the controversy began.

Nonetheless, some TDs and senators who would normally be seen as being close to Mr Kenny believe he is fatally damaged as a result of the talk over his leadership.

One senior Fine Gael figure, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "You can rest assured there will be another election in 2016."

Irish Independent

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