Tuesday 24 April 2018

Taoiseach: 'I have no intention of being diverted' from running Government

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: Tom Burke

Caroline Crawford and Eilish O'Regan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he has "no intention of being diverted" from the task of running the Government.

Speaking in Castlebar at the Sacred Heart Hospital he told those gathered he was focusing on the tasks before him including the impact of Brexit on Ireland and setting up a task force for Dublin's north inner city.

"Let me say I have no intention of being diverted from that work that I have undertaken and for which I have received a mandate to fulfill," he told Independent.ie.

"That is my focus and my focus is entirely on the future and I will not be diverted from that task and that duty and that responsibility which is the mandate given to me by the people."

He said he would also concentrate this week on putting together the final plans for the North Inner City task force in Dublin "following a number of serious murders in that area".

Welcoming the media to the event Mr Kenny said: "I'd like to say it's been a great privilege to be elected Taoiseach for a second time by the Dail.

"Let me say this very clearly. My objective has always been to secure the future of our country. That is what the people expect of their Taoiseach and their government.

"And that is what the Fine Gael people around the country expect of their leader and that is what I intend to deliver for them," he added.

He said he will travel to Germany tomorrow to meet with the German Chancellor to discuss Ireland's unique relationship with the UK.

"We have a major challenge up ahead and we are going to need support from other countries in explaining what it is that that relationship is," he added.

Earlier, Mr Kenny had joked that there would be no election any time soon.

Recalling previous visits to the residential care unit to assess residents ability to vote in elections, he added to laughter from the room: "Of course we won't have to do this for a very long time in the future".

Meanwhile, Health Minister Simon Harris expressed his support for Enda Kenny today and said he believes the Taoiseach will know himself when the time is right to indicate when he will step down.

Mr Kenny will know when it is the correct time to have an orderly transition, said Mr Harris.

He also ruled out suggestions that loyalists of Mr Kenny will put down a motion of confidence to clear the air.

“The Taoiseach has worked extraordinarily hard to bring my party back  from the doldrums when he took over in 2002 and I have no doubt that he wants to leave the party in  a  good state whenever he decides to leave.”

He added:”I know Enda’s priority, along with all members of the Cabinet, is to deal with the challenges we face.

Anything else is a distraction and we don’t need a distraction,” said Mr Harris.

He was speaking during a visit to Arc Cancer Support Centre in Eccles St in Dublin where he expressed admiration for the good work being done.

He insisted:”The government must get on with the job. We live in different times.We have a minority government . There are challenges facing the country. Enda has vast experience and he has my full support. I know the Taoiseach will make his own plans in due course.”

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