Tuesday 21 November 2017

Enda Kenny: 'Election date is immaterial... it'll be in the Spring'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks at a press briefing during the party ArdFheis in City West. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks at a press briefing during the party ArdFheis in City West. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

Enda Kenny says he intends to serve a full five year term if re-elected as Taoiseach.

But the Fine Gael leader repeatedly declined to say whether it is his intention to lead his party into another general election beyond this one.

Speaking to reporters at the Fine Gael Árd Fheis in Citywest, Mr Kenny said that politics is "not about being liked" and that his party is asking voters to give their "trust" and "support" to the current Government.

In relation to future coalition options, Mr Kenny said there has been no discussions with independent members of the Oireachtas.

"Let me confirm for you.There is no discussion taking place between Fine Gael and any independents...For us it's about saying to people, it's about asking for your trust and your support in keeping Fine Gael and Labour in government," Mr Kenny said.

But the Mayo politician refused to rule out working with certain independents such as Tipperary TD Michael Lowry.

"I am not speculating beyond putting Fine Gael and Labour before the people to ask them for their support and their trust. I never presume to discuss the outcomes of elections. I know the media want to determine the result after the election. We're putting a proposition to the people with a clear and costed plan independently to re-elect the Government of Fine Gael and Labour."

Mr Kenny said that if he is re-elected as Taoiseach, he intends to serve out the full five years.

"I answered the question, I thought, truthfully and honestly when I said I intend it wold be my intention to serve a full term," Mr Kenny said.

But he pointedly declined to say whether this would involve him leading Fine Gael into another election. This raises the prospect of Mr Kenny being replaced by a new leader towards the end of the next term would fight the election on behalf of Fine Gae;

In relation to the election, Mr Kenny said he will not be naming a date during his keynote leader's speech.

"The date of the election is immaterial," Mr Kenny. The "date is immaterial, it's the choice that's important. The election will be early in the spring. It's not far away, everybody knows that. But I don't propose to announce the date this evening."

He said Fine Gael will fight the election on three fundamental principles: More and better jobs, making work pay and better investment in public services.

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