Friday 27 April 2018

Taoiseach tells Fine Gael members to 'recharge your batteries' in party rallying cry

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has admitted both Fine Gael and the Labour Party must improve their popularity if they are to serve a second consecutive term in Government.

Mr Kenny issued a rallying call at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, telling TDs and senators to “recharge your batteries” during the summer recess ahead of the long running election campaign.

The Fine Gael leader said on at least six occasions that the election will be in 2016, despite speculation that he is gearing towards calling a waiting poll.

Despite the insistence that the Government will go the full term, Fine Gael Oireachtas members at the meeting queried whether Mr Kenny is still considering a November election.

“He mentioned 2016 so many times, it’s like he is trying to put everyone off the scent,” said one deputy.

During a 20 minute address to the parliamentary party meeting, Mr Kenny also admitted that he would like to see improvements in the poll ratings of Fine Gael and coalition partners Labour.

Read more: Fianna Fail in poll boost as Fine Gael big losers

He also spoke on the Irish Water controversy, insisting that the Government was standing firm while other parties such as Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have changed their positions.

Mr Kenny spoke about the situation in Greece, having been part of an extraordinary emergency European summit on Sunday that lasted a record 18 hours.

He said he has empathy for the Greek people and that there many difficult days ahead of the Greek economy.

Sources at the meeting said they were impressed at Mr Kenny’s contribution, given that he came under fire last week over the top-ups to pensions for former ministers.

At last week’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, Mr Kenny stunned deputies by suggesting that former taoisigh and ministers should enter into voluntary agreements and refrain from accepting the money.

Despite the criticism. ex-ministers such as John Bruton have said they will not take the top-ups, which have been laid down as part of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

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