Tuesday 20 March 2018

Varadkar: No more displays of 'public disunity' over Kenny's leadership

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar. Picture: Tom Burke
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar. Picture: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has warned so-called Fine Gael rebels of engaging in any further “displays of disunity” over Enda Kenny’s leadership.

Last week, several Fine Gael backbenchers said they believe the leadership issue needs to be addressed.

There is discussion within the party of a potential motion of no confidence in Mr Kenny’s leadership before Christmas.

But speaking on RTÉ’s ‘The Week in Politics’, Mr Varadkar urged colleagues to get behind the Taoiseach.

“Obviously I want to be part of Fine Gael’s future. But in the meantime, I think it’s really important that we support Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. He has to concentrate on government. He has to concentrate on his job as Taoiseach and he can’t be distracted by internal party matters. Secondly, there shouldn’t be any further public displays of disunity,” Mr Varadkar told told broadcaster Áine Lawlor.

“Nobody wants to support a party that is more interested in talking about its own issues than the hopes and fears and problems that people face,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald  said she is “amused” by media reports that suggest senior party figures in Belfast “dread” the prospect of her becoming leader.

“We are a single party. We know each other. We have all worked together for a very long period of time. We are not adversaries. We are not opponents. We are all on the same page . We are committed to the same politics,” she told the same programme.

The Dublin Central TD said there is an acceptance within the party that “nobody goes on forever”, referring to Gerry Adams’s announcement that he has a plan to step down.

“When the time is right the change in leadership will be made,” Ms McDonald added.

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