Friday 23 February 2018

Kenny to take rebel TDs on day-trip to Belfast

Brian Hayes: Rebel TD is a member of delegation
Brian Hayes: Rebel TD is a member of delegation

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

NORTHERN Ireland's leaders will be advising Enda Kenny on how to heal the wounds of conflict on Monday when he leads a Fine Gael delegation to Belfast.

Mr Kenny will be joined on the trip by a number of those who plotted his downfall this week, including Brian Hayes, a chief orchestrator of the leadership heave.

Mr Hayes and fellow frontbench rebel Fergus O'Dowd will be on the visit, along with Joe McHugh and Seymour Crawford. Mr McHugh declared late as a backer of Richard Bruton in the leadership heave.

Mr Crawford was originally backing Mr Kenny strongly but wavered as the week went on and was believed by Mr Bruton's supporters to have swung over to their camp. But in the end he was thought to have backed Mr Kenny.


Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly, who did back Mr Kenny, appeared on the amended list on those on the delegation last night -- although his name was not on the original press statement.

Given the line-up accompanying Mr Kenny, the visit is expected to draw a lot of attention from this side of the Border.

The Fine Gael delegation will meet Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP and the North's First Minister Peter Robinson.

Mr Kenny will also meet with the leaders of the other political parties: Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness; Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey and his deputy leader Danny Kennedy; SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie and Alliance Party leader and Justice Minister David Forde.

Irish Independent

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