Wednesday 18 July 2018

Enda Kenny loses second vote to be elected Taoiseach - and secures fewer votes than last time

Kevin Doyle, Barry Lennon and Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has failed to secure the support of any of the 15 independent TDs who have taken part in government formation talks.

A vote on his nomination for Taoiseach was defeated in the Dáil this afternoon by 80 to 51.

The 51 votes came from his own 50 TDs, while Tipperary Independent Michael Lowry had indicated he would vote for Mr Kenny although his support was not officially sought.

It means Mr Kenny actually secured less support for his re-election than when the 32nd Dáil sat for the first time on March 10. On that occasion the Labour Party voted with Fine Gael, however today their seven TDs chose to abstain.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s bid to become Taoiseach has also failed to garner any extra support since the first vote.

His nomination was defeated by 95 votes to 43.

Party leaders Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin
Party leaders Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin

Ruth Coppinger, the first woman to be proposed to the role of Taoiseach, has been defeated by 108 votes to 10.

Ms Coppinger managed to secure four more votes than six guaranteed from her own party, the Anti-Austerity Alliance.

Read more: 'The spinning of things have to stop to move things forward' - Micheal Martin tells Enda Kenny

Earlier Fine Gael had launched a stinging attack on TDs not engaged in the negotiations for a new government as Mr Kenny was again nominated for Taoiseach.

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

Dublin North West TD Noel Rock told the Dáil that there were people elected 40 days ago who are obsessed with “hugging the opposition benches tight”.

“The reality is this country needs a government and as Robert F Kennedy said ‘one fifth of people are against everything all of the time’,” he said, adding that he hoped that figure would not rise above one fifth.

The attack was aimed at Sinn Féin, the AAA-PBP and independents who have ruled themselves out of playing any role in government.

“Parliament simply can’t afford too many passengers,” he said.

Mr Rock’s speech was much more pointed that the one which he gave when nominating Mr Kenny on March 10.

“I would rather nominate the right person for Taoiseach twice than even contemplate the wrong person once,” he said.

He went on to say that “no democracy can function without compromise” but that’s “no bad thing”.

“What we now need is patience and composure. This process takes time and this process take resilience,” he said.

“I know Enda Kenny is serious about governing and forming a government.”

Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers nominated her party leader Micheál Martin for Taosieach saying he is "very well qualified to undertake the duties of the office".

Read more: Labour to seek meetings with Soc Dems/Greens with view to forming ‘Progressive Left Alliance’

She said his CV "speaks for itself" outlining how he served as minister for education, health, enterprise and foreign affairs during the course of his career.

Ms Chambers said he "represented this country and government with distinction on both the national and international stages".

"As leader of the opposition over the last five years he has consistently opposed government policies with were unfair and hit the vulnerable hardest. He has campaigned tirelessly for a fairer and more inclusive Ireland".

"We campaigned for a change in government. The people gave their verdict on the outgoing government and their policise and it is very clear that they voted for change. On that basis I belive that we must do the very same in this chamber today. We must vote for change.  By voting for Micheál Martin as Taoiseach you are honouring that commitment," Ms Chamber said.

Richard Boyd-Barrett proposed Ruth Coppinger for Taoiseach, making her the first woman to be proposed to the role.

Mr Boyd-Barrett said he wished Ms Coppinger could have a “realistic prospect of being elected,” and hit out at larger parties for “not getting a Government together.”

“Jesus Christ went into the wilderness for 40 days and nights to think about how he could save humanity,” he said.

“Bigger parties have left this country in the wilderness for the past 40 days since the election.”

Mr Barrett used his proposal speech to hit out at Fine Gael for its TDs' praise of Enda Kenny's “resilience.”

“He does not have the same reslience as people waiting on a house on the housing list,” he said.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance's Mick Barry also spoke calling on voters to continue a boycott of water charges.

Acting Tánaiste Joan Burton attacked Fianna Fáil as she told the Dáil they will abstain on the vote for Mr Kenny but vote against Mr Martin.

She claimed Fianna Fáil are trying to look after their own interests and have not put forward any serious proposals that could lead to a new government.

And she said their plan to abolish water charges was “an act of national vandalism”.

“They’ve really brought us back to the days of old Fianna Fáil,” the Labour Party leader said.

Ms Burton added that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil now need to sit down and hammer out a deal before the next vote for Taoiseach.

She said Fine Gael had put forward a discussion document for a Programme for Government, it was “not progressive enough”.

“People are become fearful about the ongoing political uncertainty,” she said.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said he will take part in the talks about government formation with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail for “another week but no more”.

Denis Naughten, of the Rural Five, said his group would be abstaining from today’s vote in order to offer the leaders of the two parties “a last chance” to work together.

“It’s time to stand up and do the job that they were elected to do,” he said.

Danny Healy Rae told the Dáil he and his brother Michael had worked tirelessly with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail “since our last session” in the Dáil.

“We have made little progress. We have done as good as we can,” he said.

But he alleged that the two parties have been holding secret “high-level talks” for the past 10 to 12 days.

“My rumours are very well substantiated,” he said.

Micheál Martin laughed across the Dáil chamber and shouted that Mr Healy Rae might update him on the progress of those talks later.

The Kerry Independent also hit out at Health Minister Leo Varadkar’s “antics” when he tweeted a picture of his election posters stacked and ready for reuse.

He warned that while the Healy Rae posters might not be neatly stacked, they would find them quickly.

“We are as well able to go as ye are,” he said, adding: “Nobody wants another election.”

Online Editors

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