Monday 19 March 2018

Hypocrite tag to stick as Bruton returns to frontbench

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

DEFEATED Fine Gael leadership-hopeful Richard Bruton yesterday admitted he could be labelled a hypocrite for returning to Enda Kenny's frontbench.

During his botched heave, Mr Bruton said it would be the "height of hypocrisy" to serve under Mr Kenny again -- but yesterday completed a spectacular U-turn by doing precisely that.

"Well, you could say that," the new enterprise, jobs and economic planning spokesman said when asked if he was a hypocrite.

"But in the middle of a very intense campaign, you don't contemplate defeat. If you're in the dressing room and you're urging yourself and your team on, you don't start talking about what might happen if the back door is our route."

And he finally declared he had full confidence in Mr Kenny -- having failed to do so in the aftermath of the heave.

When asked if he had confidence in Mr Kenny as leader and as a Taoiseach who could lead the country back to economic recovery, Mr Bruton said: "Absolutely, I am fully confident."

During the heave two weeks ago, Mr Bruton said people didn't have faith in Mr Kenny to lead economic recovery and that he had been "found wanting" on the economic crisis. But he turned his fire back on the Government yesterday.

"One of the things that has been missing in this Government has been any sort of a coherent economic plan," the Dublin North-Central TD said.

"They believe that fiscal retrenchment and pouring money into failed banks is enough of a strategy."

He will build on his previous work on public-sector reform in the new, beefed up enterprise portfolio.


Mr Kenny said he would allocate a full cabinet position to public-sector reform when he became Taoiseach, but said that did not automatically mean Mr Bruton would make it into Cabinet.

Mr Bruton, who said he was excited about his new role, also said he was disappointed for his supporters, such as Brian Hayes, Denis Naughten and Michael Creed, who had been left out of the new frontbench.

"We are all colleagues, at a human level I do feel for people who had a contribution, of course I do.

"Personally, it is a difficult issue when people have, I suppose, put their neck on the line in supporting a view that I adopted. At the end of the day, we are professional politicians. We're in the business of serving the people."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News