Sunday 18 March 2018

Rebel TD won't push 'no confidence' motion - if Taoiseach steps down after St Patrick's Day

Possible motion: Fine Gael Vice Chairman Pat DeEring. Photo: Tom Burke
Possible motion: Fine Gael Vice Chairman Pat DeEring. Photo: Tom Burke

Philip Ryan and Kevin Doyle

Rebel Fine Gael TD Pat Deering has said he will not put down a motion of no confidence in Taoiseach Enda Kenny if the Fine Gael leader commits to stepping down soon after he returns from his St Patrick’s Day visit to the US.

Mr Deering heaped huge pressure on Mr Kenny last Thursday by threatening to table a no confidence motion if the Taoiseach did not set out a timeline for his departure this week.

Speaking to today, the Carlow-Kilkenny TD insisted “the numbers are there” for a motion but said there is “no desire” to force a vote on the leadership if it is not necessary.

“My initial comment on Morning Ireland were he should reassess his position and inform the party this week, which he is going to do,” Mr Deering said.

“If we are talking about the timeframe announced by (Housing Minister) Simon Coveney on Sunday I think it would be reasonably acceptable,” he added.

Speaking to RTE’s The Week in Politics, Mr Coveney said he expected the Fine Gael leadership issue to be resolved “soon  after” the Taoiseach returns from his State visit to Washington.

Mr Kenny was asked about his intentions at today's Cabinet meeting by Independent Alliance Minister Finian McGrath.

However the Taoiseach said he would be dealing with the issue tomorrow.

"He gave no indication of what he's thinking," said a source. 

Meanwhile, at a meeting of Fine Gael ministers this morning, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan apologised to Health Minister Simon Harris over his what's app comments.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny did not address this particular meeting on his leadership .

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