Tuesday 24 October 2017

Kenny's leadership of Fine Gael 'under threat' after hugely-disappointing election - party sources

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Philip Ryan and Andrew Phelan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny’s leadership is set to come under intense pressure in the coming days with Fine Gael on course to lose a significant number of seats in the General Election.

Several prominent Fine Gael candidates, some seen as extremely loyal to the Taoiseach, have today admitted Mr Kenny’s days as leader of Fine Gael could be numbered after a devastating election for the party.

Read more: 'Given a choice between stability and chaos, people wanted chaos': Seven things we know so far

Senior outgoing Fine Gael TDs are incensed by they called an “utterly f**ked up” election campaign and are now looking to Mr Kenny for answers.

The party looks set to lose close to 20 seats in the General Election.

“I can’t see him staying no matter how many seats we get at this stage,” a senior Fine Gael TD told independent.ie

Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Collins
Fine Gael's Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Collins

Read more: Election 2016 LIVE: Fine Gael and Labour in poll meltdown

Another Kenny loyalists said it is likely the Taoiseach will step aside and be replaced by Frances Fitzgerald who will then handle coalition negotiations with Fianna Fáil.

However, other Fine Gael figures have suggested Ms Fitzgerald also has questions to answer over her role as chair of the party’s election strategy committee.

“Everyone one of them should face the firing squad over the election strategy,” a senior source said.

Mr Kenny, who is to top the poll in his own Mayo constituency, is unlikely to face a heave but several party members said they believe he will step aside.

Read more: Enda Kenny in crisis: Key advisor admits Fine Gael 'reaping whirlwind' of error-ridden campaign

However, Ms Fitzgerald has praised Taoiseach running of the country and refused to be drawn on whether she would run for leadership in the event of a contest.

Minister Fitzgerald was commenting after she was re-elected on the first count to the Dublin Mid West Constituency.

Asked if there would be a leadership contest, she told reporters: "The Taoiseach has done an extraordinary job for this country, he has rescued this country, we have sent the IMF and the troika away and we are now in a position that we have the resources to invest in the kind of services that the public want to see and he has done a remarkable job in relation to that."

Asked if she would be interested in running for leader herself, she answered: “I’m not saying anything else now, we will leave it at that."

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